TMH Living Well: Fathers play important role during pregnancy and delivery
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, including expectant ones!
June 13, 2014
When it comes to pregnancy, it's not just the woman who is expecting. So is her partner. While moms-to-be carry the load, literally, during pregnancy and delivery, fathers also have important work to do.
According to research studies, expectant moms have a better pregnancy experience when the father is engaged and involved. Here's how expectant dads can support their partners:
Know your partner's needs
"Expectant fathers often know their significant other better than anyone else, so they can be a wonderful support person," said Dr. Jim Summers, OB/GYN at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic.
During pregnancy, your partner is going through many physical changes, so reassuring her that she still is beautiful throughout is appreciated more than you know. Kelsey Loya, a TMH Babies Happen Here mom-to-be (follow her pregnancy on The Memorial Hospital website, Facebook and Twitter), talked about how she shared her insecurities about her body changes with her husband, who responded with loving acceptance.
"My feelings for Kelsey have only grown stronger during her pregnancy. I try to care for her needs, and I try to be a supportive guy with her changing hormones and emotions. I am just in awe of my wife for working so hard through this process, and I sympathize for her through these physical and emotional changes," Trini Loya said.
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Lend a kind ear
Instead of saying, "Stop worrying," or "It will be fine," really listen to your partner —even when you think her worries might be unfounded. Let her express herself and help her find answers to her questions.
"Be involved. Go to appointments, ask questions, research pregnancy, be caring, be patient. Also, seek her heart, come alongside in lightening her daily load, and celebrate the milestones of pregnancy together," said Dr. Scott Ellis, OB/GYN at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic.
Be an advocate
With pregnancy, the mother-to-be has a lot on her mind. She may feel tired, ill or uncomfortable, or simply worn out at the end of a workday. Having someone else watching out for her needs and desires helps.
"In the labor room, the father can help set the tone based on what he and his partner want. If there's a birthing plan, he can help keep that on track. Or if decisions need to be made, he can lend that strong voice. It's not only about the woman, it's really about a family coming together," Summers said.
Keep plans on track
Be the organizer — don't just help her pack her bag several weeks before the due date, pack yours, too. Think about solutions to offsetting the chores your partner usually does — if it's cleaning, can you hire a housekeeper the first few months or enlist family members to take turns helping you clean? Suggest inquiring friends and family make large, freezable meals for after the baby is born.
When TMH Babies Happen Here mom-to-be Daina Wagner told her husband Wayne that she wanted the house painted before the baby shower was going to take place, he was very attentive. Knowing he wouldn't have time to do it himself, he called and set up a crew to come in and get the job done.
"I am so thankful to my wife for carrying our daughter and being such a great mother to our children. Whatever I can do to help, I want to do," said Wayne Wagner. (Follow their pregnancy at http://www.thememorialhospital.com.)
Find a doctor and hospital you trust
Trini and Kelsey Loya knew immediately upon meeting Dr. Ellis and Dr. Summers and seeing the modern facilities at TMH that they had found the place where they wanted to have their baby.
"Meeting with the doctors helped us make our decision to stay in town. I am born and raised in Craig, and I hope people in Craig give our clinics and hospital a chance. I have had nothing but great experiences so far at TMH. The facilities are clean, the staff is friendly and welcoming, and the equipment and technology at the hospital are great," Trini said.
Share in the care of your newborn
The bond between a newborn and father is a powerful one that's enhanced by active feeding, holding, cuddling and eye contact.
"Smiling and looking into your newborn's eyes is imperative for brain development. Talking to your baby and relating joy provides the basis for life-long emotional security," Ellis said.
"It's a pretty intimate experience to bottle feed your baby. That early imprinting happens with both moms and dads. The father's support role cannot be highlighted enough. After all, what you have here is a family," Summers said.
This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.