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.

Remember, women are strong and able to grow a baby and give birth. Birthing women often know what they need, so follow your partner’s lead in labour. If you are worried about labour and birth, make sure you discuss this with the midwife and have your questions answered.

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 or birthing centre when planning a birth away from home.
  • 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 or birthing centre.
  • Know where your partner’s hospital bag is, and be ready to take it when she goes into labour.
  • Pack your own bag, including snacks, a camera, and your phone or change for the telephone.
  • Make sure that you have a baby car seat installed in the car (hospitals and birthing centres will not allow you to leave unless they have seen your car seat or capsule).
  • Think about what you and your partner will need if you are having a home or water birth. See the Preparation and Practicalities section on the Home Birth Aotearoa website.
  • Have childcare organised for other children.
  • 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.

Getting your home ready for baby

Your baby needs a safe place to sleep. They need to be in their own cot, bassinet or other baby bed for every sleep. Find out more about Keeping baby safe in bed.

If you need financial support to help with the cost of having a baby, see the Work and Income website.

Stocking up

Both you and your partner will be busy with your new baby in the first few weeks, so do as much planning as you can in advance. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, sanitary pads and nappies. If you have a freezer, cook some meals in advance and freeze them. Ask your whānau and friends to help you.

Time off work

Partner’s leave is available to help you support your partner and your new baby. If you are eligible, this will be 1 or 2 weeks of unpaid leave. You can find out more about partner’s leave on the Employment New Zealand website.

You can also divide parental leave between you and your partner. Go to Pregnancy and your job to find out more.

Related websites

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

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