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You may get stuck with the morning sickness and swollen feet, but being pregnant also brings a lot of celebration your way. Giddy comments from strangers in the grocery store, surprise gifts from co-workers, and mid-day kicks from the little one all add to your excitement about being a mom. Your partner isn't so lucky. Aside from a few initial high fives from his buddies no one is congratulating him daily on becoming a dad, and he doesn't have a big bump to rest his hands on, which means he could be feeling left out. "Pregnancy can shift the focus of a relationship from the two of you, to just you," says Craig Malkin, Ph.D., a psychologist in Cambridge, MA. "It's a good idea to talk about moments when you feel disconnected, and help your partner feel like an important part of the pregnancy." Here are ways to do just that.
Have a heart-to-heart "List out the qualities you love about him and the traits you hope the baby will get from him," says Cathy O'Neil, co-author of the book Babyproofing Your Marriage. Letting you partner know how excited you are to be doing this together will help him feel like he's part of the team.
Give him a to-do list Your guy may not be able to take on your heartburn, but he can run out for ice cream. "Men like to solve problems, but they don't always know how to help," says O'Neil. "Telling him exactly what you need or giving him a specific task will help him feel like your hero," she says.
Make him use his tools Physical chores can help him feel more connected to the new baby. "Get him involved with some of the more hands-on parts of baby prep -- like researching car seats and putting the crib together," says O'Neil.
Let him feel your belly Encourage your partner to bond with the baby before she arrives by putting his hand on your bump to feel her moving. "Talking to the baby and playing his favorite music are also great ways for your husband to deepen his connection to the baby before birth," says O'Neil.
Put him on bump watch Every week, have your partner measure your growing belly by taking a photo of your body in profile. Sure, you could snap a selfie, but getting him involved in tracking your transformation will help him feel more connected.
Set aside non-baby time You'll both be under a lot of stress when the baby comes, so nurturing your relationship now is really important. Get used to scheduling dates and alone time. "It may not feel romantic to know you're going to have sex at 2:00pm on Sunday, but you'll be able to find passion in the moment, which will help you reconnect and feel closer as a couple," says Malkin.
Copyright ? 2013 Meredith Corporation.
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