What partners should know: the first trimester

While you’re not the star of the show in this pregnancy, you play an incredible supporting role.

What partners should know: the first trimester

Dad, your partner’s journey to becoming a new mom can be a wild and crazy ride that may leave you feeling a little out of the loop. You should know, however, that while you’re not the star of the show in this pregnancy, you play an incredible supporting role.

To help you help the glowing mama-to-be, here is an overview about how baby is growing, what changes you can expect to see in your partner + a few tips about how to play an active + loving role in this pregnancy.

The basics

Pregnancy is counted in weeks, and your little human is expected at week 40, aka the due date. These 40 weeks are then split into three trimesters—the first trimester spans from conception through 13 weeks and six days.

What’s happening with baby

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Your baby develops in incredible ways during this time. One sperm and one egg meet in the fallopian tube, and six days later the fertilized egg has started to implant in the uterus (the place your baby will call home for the next nine-ish months).

By five weeks—Your kiddo has a heartbeat.

By eight weeks—The arms, legs, eyes and ears are starting to form.

By the end of the first trimester—Your baby is looking like… a baby!

He has a nose, fingers and toes, and is starting to move around in the womb. You can’t feel baby moving yet, but you may see movement during an ultrasound.

Fun fact! Your little one also starts peeing around the end of the first trimester. ?

Whats happening with mama

The big changes you can expect to see in your partner during this trimester are both emotional and physical.

A new pregnancy can bring with it a huge range of emotions, as becoming pregnant is easily one of the most exciting and fearful times of life for many women.

Just remember that all these emotions are completely normal and that you have a unique ability to comfort, support and encourage her in a way that no one else can.

By six weeks—In addition to the emotional aspect of this first trimester, the early pregnancy symptoms kick in around now. Your partner may be noticing symptoms like:
—Breast tenderness
—Frequent urination
—Food aversions
—Mood swings

By eight weeks—Eight weeks is usually when morning sickness is at its peak, but beware: “Morning sickness” is a misnomer. It is frequently all-day sickness, and may leave your partner exhausted and miserable. Some women dodge this bullet and feel all right, but either way, extra naps are likely in her future, as are anti-nausea meds and lots of saltine crackers.

Other changes you can expect for your other half include no alcohol, limited coffee and diet modifications.

What’s happening with you

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During the first trimester, there will be many chances for you to be involved as Dad. This is your opportunity to show how excited you are about the new human you and your partner have created and to prepare yourself to be an excellent father. But above all it’s your time to reassure your partner that you are by her side through this pregnancy, parenthood and beyond.

One important day to clear your calendar for is your partner’s first obstetrician (OB) or midwife visit. It’s usually a pretty magical moment the first time see your baby on the ultrasound. On that note, your partner isn’t the only one who needs to go to the doctor. You should also schedule a checkup for yourself to make sure you’re up to date on all your immunizations, especially flu and pertussis.

No matter what happens during the first trimester, just remember that as dad your biggest job during pregnancy is to be supportive and encouraging.

We hope this helps you to anticipate some of your partner’s needs, and to be ready for the journey ahead.

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I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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