A crash course for dads-to-be

2009-12-04 00:00

MOST first-time fathers think that their lives will only change once the baby is born. They think that pregnancy will only affect them when they have to dart off to a fast-food takeway for an occasional late-night craving. Poor things. They have no idea that their lives will never be the same again.

Pregnancy is not for sissies. The mum-to-be has a few months to absorb the information that family, friends and random strangers on the street provide.

This crash course is designed for pregnant dads to help make the ride less bumpy over the next nine months.

Be prepared

You don’t want to be the man who faints in the prenatal class when they show the childbirth video. Take a leaf from the boy scout book and be prepared. Information is power. Read articles and browse the Internet. Many dads think of the baby as an alien invasion that is about to happen. This sort of thinking is not going to help you.

Premenstrual syndrome for nine months

As your pregnant partner’s body changes, it is flooded by hormones. Imagine crying for no reason, going into irrational rages that come out of the blue or having anxiety attacks about nothing. Try to be supportive and develop a sense of humour. Did you just fart, honey?

Flatulence, heartburn, piles (haemorrhoids), varicose veins and bladder problems are some common problems that women face during pregnancy. The mum-to-be will not like it any more than you do and it will be a sensitive topic. Learn the lingo

If you’re a typical South African male, the chances are that you can handle a bit of blood on the sports field. The idea of a vaginal discharge, however, makes you want to throw up. But it’s a normal bodily function, which, during pregnancy, becomes an important indicator of the baby being in trouble or about to arrive. This is not the time to be squeamish. New accessories

Don’t be alarmed if she only wants to visit baby shops and discuss items such as breast pumps, nipple shields and breast pads (no, these are not like shoulder pads). What is that smell?

Almost all pregnant women report a heightened sense of smell, which is attributed to the high amount of oestrogen in the body.

Pregnant women find that certain smells turn their stomachs. I know of one woman who suddenly found her husband’s body odour disgusting. Start taking showers twice a day. It beats being kicked out of your own bed.

Pregnancy can either be a time of great intimacy and bonding or one of tears and drama. How you treat your pregnant partner will have a significant effect, not only on the pregnancy, but on the quality of life, not to mention how much your sex appeal will increase when she finds you reading a magazine about pregnancy.

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