Guys: here are the things you might be doing (but really, really shouldn't be doing). The experts below will tell you what they are, and how to stop them. Dr. Jacqueline Worth and Dr. George Mussali, of Village Obstetrics in New York City, have some great advice:
1. Don't be a hero! "Strongly consider using a birth doula and maybe even a postpartum doula, says Jaqueline Worth, MD, of Village Obstetrics in New York City. "Many dads to be think they can be the perfect coach for their partner. It sounds romantic and saves money on the doula fee. But labor is hard work and so is surviving the adjustment of new parenthood in the first few weeks."
Still, doulas can range in price from $500 to $3,000 or more, depending on their level of experience. If that's not in your price range, try to really read up on labor and birth so you can support your partner as much as possible.
2. Don't be cheap! Yes, many dads-to-be love gadgets, shiny cars, and golf trips--but they also love their, you know, wives or girlfriends! Dr. Worth and Mussali remind us not to "forget that pregnancy is a time when our partners need lots of support and pampering. And indulging your baby mama is well worth the effort. Massages, reflexology, hotel nights away--these can all be instrumental in helping keep your partner happy and supported." Pregnancy involves many emotional ups and downs, they add. "The little things help your partner overcome her fears and anxieties about the unknowns ahead." Even if you're not into being showy (or don't have that much in your bank account!) picking up her favorite root beer float or fro-yo on your way home will make her feel special.
Generally, just try to be thoughtful overall. Pack her a work lunch with her favorite crave-fulfilling snacks. Or give her a loving massage . . . even if you can afford to spend on one, she'll love getting one from her main squeeze.
3. Don't miss the anatomy sonogram. George Mussali, MD, of Village Obstetrics in New York City says: "While the anatomy sonogram is primarily for confirming that all the baby parts are present and normal, once that's confirmed it's an amazing opportunity to see your baby. Couples are truly thrilled by what they see and it's a huge bonding moment not to be missed."
He notes that medical purpose of the anatomy sonogram is to confirm that the fetus is structurally normal: "it is possible that an abnormal or suspicious finding could be discussed. It's important to have a support person, preferably the partner, present." Be aware that the anatomy study isn't just about getting a photo and learning the sex of the baby. "It can be a big shock if there is an abnormality detected and the couple is not aware that this is even a possibility."
4. Don't lose your cool. Pregnancy can be stressful for both the dad-to-be and mom-to-be. Don't let the stress get the better of you. "Be very patient with the tears and struggles--don't try to fix everything--just listen and be supportive, she will remember what a great partner you are."
5. Don't forget the magic that started you down the parenthood path in the first place. "The love and spark that led you to want to have a child together will need to be nurtured so it doesn't get crowded out in all the parenting and life demands," Dr. Worth says. "This is a good tip for both the baby mom and dad. Remember to spend some alone time and keep the magic going. Remember when the time is right the best way to reward that demanding precious baby is to give them a little brother or sister to deal with!"
Copyright & copy 2013 Meredith Corporation.