Advice for dads

You might not be pregnant, but it’s important to know what’s happening to your partner during pregnancy and to support her during this time.

Find out about your changing partner, how you can support her and how to be ready for baby’s birth.

Your changing partner

During pregnancy your partner will change. Not just her body shape, but also how she acts around you and other people. In early pregnancy (up to around 12–14 weeks) your partner may feel very tired. Certain tastes and smells might make her feel sick, and she might seem grumpy for no reason. This usually goes away in mid-pregnancy and she will feel much better again.

In the second half of pregnancy, as baby gets bigger and the birth approaches, your partner may feel tired again and start feeling worried or anxious. If she’s feeling worried or anxious, get her to talk about her feelings. You may feel the same way – so listening and talking to each other is a great way to support each other during pregnancy and after baby is born.

Help around the house

  • Share the housework.
  • Do the cooking. Some food smells may put your partner off cooking; if you cook she’s more likely to eat what she needs to stay healthy and well.
  • Do the heavy lifting. Carry the groceries, washing baskets, older children, etc.
  • Help with older children. Take them to school or daycare, get them ready for bed, and take them out of the house for a while so your partner can rest.

Stay healthy and well

Both of you need to be healthy and well for your baby. This includes getting plenty of sleep, being activeeating well and being smokefree.

Throughout the pregnancy your partner will have checks to make sure that she and the baby are well. Try to get to as many of these checks as you can. That way you’ll learn more about the pregnancy and you’ll be supporting your partner at the same time. You could also attend classes together to learn about pregnancy, giving birth and parenting. You’ll meet other dads-to-be and be able to talk about the pregnancy and the approaching birth. Plus, the more you know about what happens during labour and birth, the more you’ll be able to help.

Sometimes there are problems during pregnancy that need urgent medical attention. Know what the danger signs are.

Be ready for the birth

Babies arrive when they want to – this could be before or after the due date. Here’s a list of things to think about or do in the final few weeks before the due date.

  • Make sure that you can be contacted at all times.
  • Decide how you’ll get to the hospital (if you have planned a hospital birth).
  • If you’re using your own car, make sure it works and has petrol, and do a trial run to see how long it takes to get from your house to the hospital.
  • Know where your partner’s hospital bag is, and be ready to take it when she goes into labour.
  • Pack your own hospital bag, including snacks, a camera and your phone or change for the telephone.
  • Make sure that you have a baby car seat for when you bring baby home from hospital.
  • Have somewhere safe for baby to sleep.

Check out the Being a great dad page for tips on supporting your partner once baby is born.

Related websites

A dad's survival guide (SKIP) 
Information for dads-to-be about the birth and being a dad.

Pregnancy, birth and beyond for dads and partners – NHS Choices (UK)
Information for dads and partners about supporting a pregnant woman.

NZ Child Restraints
Information about baby and child car seats, including where they can be hired from.

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