Written by Paula Jones Last updated: September 12, 2007
Fathers can get actively involved in their child’s health from even before conception. There is plenty for Dads to do during the pregnancy, labour and early development…
Find out how fathers can get actively involved in their child’s health and development right from the beginning…
Get fit: research shows that the father’s health can also have an effect on the health of the baby. Smoking and drinking can have negative effects such as lower birth weight, lower intelligence and increased risk of certain illnesses. Improving the diet and overall health will help increase male fertility, making conception easier.
Read up: get as much information on pregnancy, birth and parenting, by reading books and information on the internet. This will help in making decisions and also with bonding with your child.
Antenatal: go along with your partner to the initial consultations so that you understand what birthing options there are and what role you can play. Scans: being present at the ultrasound scan of your baby will make the baby seem more of a reality than merely a ‘bump’. Classes: your being present at antenatal or pregnancy yoga classes is not only a support for your partner but also helps you to understand the father’s role during labour. Baby’s movement: you can feel your baby kick and listen to its heartbeat by placing a cardboard tube on your partner’s abdomen and putting your ear to it (it’s a subtle, light pulsating sound, which takes a bit of practice to hear). Planning: you can work out what you’ll need to prepare, buy and what budget you need to put aside for additional expenses. Baby gear: you can take charge of buying a buggy and car seat. Decorating: if you’re doing up a nursery for the baby, get it ready well in time.
During the birth
Calm: stay calm so that your partner can draw strength from you. Support: offer support and encouragement at every stage of the labour. Position: suggest a change of position if your partner’s feeling tired or getting stressed. Massage: offer to massage her back, feet or shoulders. Breathing: join your partner in breathing exercises. Cord: you could cut the cord after delivery, if you wish. Contact: try to have skin‐to‐skin contact with the newly born baby as soon as possible, as this helps in early bonding.
Housework: try to help out around the home and give your partner a break. Post‐natal depression: understand that your partner may be influenced by the change in hormones and offer support. Feeding: you can share the highly rewarding experience of feeding your baby (even if your partner is breastfeeding, she could express some milk into a bottle). Bedtime: taking charge of the baby’s bedtime routine; giving a bath, massaging and putting the baby into the cot can give you a role to play in his/her daily life.