By Dr Shagufta Kazi
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey of 9 months that converts a woman into a mother. Journey from a woman to a mother is super thrilling and full of exciting moments. Moments, bonding, love, emotions and learning of being a parent is super awesome and full of surprises. The journey of pregnancy needs every kind of support to reach the destination safely. A healthy pregnancy requires proper physical and mental care.
While pregnancy seems so heavily like a woman’s job, there is so much that the father-to-be can do to help both mother and baby. Not just doctors visits or helping in setting up things, there are aspects related to comforting mother -to -be both physically and emotionally that are so important.
Many studies have shown that the husband’s involvement in the pregnancy reduces negative maternal health behaviours, risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, foetal growth restriction and infant mortality. It has been proven that if the husband is generous with emotional, logistical and financial support, there is significant reduction in maternal stress.
The pregnant woman can get really vulnerable during pregnancy. And needs extra care physically and emotionally. The husband has a big role to play but most of the men in our society just ignore the role and because of which the woman suffers. A small efforts of husband can leave a big difference in the journey of a pregnant woman.
How can the husband help?
1). Taking care of her diet…Get her fresh fruits and veggies. Fix her a nutritious snack. Take care of her medicine routine.
2). Accompany her during walks. Help her with household chores.
3). Listen to her carefully-Being pregnant can make her want to talk to someone, express all her feelings, take out all she has inside her. Remind her about things her “Pregnancy brain “ is causing her to forget. Read books on pregnancy. Watch baby videos together. Talk to her reassuring, without judging. Try to keep her away from the family drama. Talk to the baby too.
4). Provide financial support-While some pregnant women may be perfectly capable of taking care of the added expenses of pregnancy the doctors fee, the cost of tests, the dietary additions, there may be some who are dependent on their husbands. Denying or grudging her this support can make her extremely anxious and even depressed.
5). Show care and sympathy through your actions. Take some time to introspect about your daily routine and behaviour. It would be nice to make some adjustments. Maintain the calendar of her prenatal visits. It is also good to prepare for doctors visits with a list of your own questions and have a checklist ready for emergencies.
Becoming a father and a parent, particularly for the first time, is an emotional experience. The role of fathers during pregnancy entails a lot of challenges . As an expectant father, learn as much as you can about pregnancy, things a dad should know about pregnancy to make sure the baby is safe, and help the mum-to-be to become happier and healthier during and after the birth of the child.
Dr Shagufta Kazi is an expert in Breastfeeding and childbirth and is working in Govt health sector since 2008.