Finding out that you will be a father for the first time can bring a huge swell of emotions ranging from elation to apprehension. If you are not quite sure what's going on with your partner during her pregnancy, getting informed can help you enjoy the anticipation of your child and allay any fears you might have.
1. Why is my partner so sick? Won't all of this vomiting hurt her or the baby?
Morning sickness can happen at any time of day or night, and it is very common. Hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects only 1% of pregnancies, is dangerous and should be treated by a doctor. If your partner is feeling fine and able to hold down liquids, don't let it concern you.
2. How much weight should my partner gain?
A woman who was at a normal weight before pregnancy usually gains anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds. If she was underweight, overweight or obese, her doctor will be able to guide her on proper weight gain. While some women do gain quite a bit during pregnancy, it's not usually an enormous amount.
3. What should I do so she doesn't have to?
Handle any chores that deal with chemicals, such as flea-bathing the pets, painting the nursery and spraying the weeds in the walkway. If she insists on cleaning, vinegar and baking soda will clean nearly everything in your home without resorting to chemicals.
4. Are our pets safe for her and the baby?
Properly trained or contained, there are few domestic pets that pose a risk to a pregnant woman or a baby. There's no need to re-home your dog or cat. Be aware, however, that reptiles can transmit salmonella and that cat feces can contain toxoplasmosis. She should wear gloves when cleaning up after critters. Animals should also be checked for ticks, as they can transmit Lyme disease.
5. Is it safe for her to continue to run, bike or do other exercise?
Unless her doctor has told her otherwise, yes! According to Dr. Gilbert Webb, staying physically active is important and it helps reduce the risks to future problems for you and your baby during your pregnancy. While pregnancy is no time to begin a harsh training regimen, most women can expect to continue normal exercise routines. Of course, kickboxing is definitely out and moderation is important.
6. What about sex?
For most women, sex is not a problem during pregnancy. Of course, she may not feel in the mood, especially as she gains weight. Other women experience a rise in libido. As long as her doctor hasn't found reason for concern, your sex life can continue as you both wish.
7. Should she be eating that?
There are some foods pregnant women should avoid. Sushi, high-mercury fish, cold lunch meats, caffeine, alcohol, soft cheeses and raw eggs are to be avoided. Everything else is fine, even if she is dipping those pickles in chocolate sauce.
8. What is my role during the birth?
This depends on your partner and her birth plan. Discuss what she'd like you to do. Some women give birth in a hospital, surrounded by a medical team. Others give birth at home, with family members at a respectful distance. There is no single ‘correct' birth experience.
9. Is our sauna or hot tub safe for her?
Unfortunately, no. Temperature regulation is a problem for pregnant women, and they should avoid becoming overheated. If your hot tub has the option of being cooled down to a tepid temperature by shutting off the heating coils, however, she may lounge as much as she likes.
10. Is sleeping this much normal?
Most likely, yes. Exhaustion is prevalent throughout pregnancy, and many women need to sleep longer at night or take naps during the day. It's all part of creating a new life.
Becoming a father for the first time can bring up a lot of questions. By understanding the basics, you are in a better position to be supportive as you both look forward to welcoming your child into the world.