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.
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
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. ?
What's 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:
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
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.