The New Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy

Never has your wife spoken more life changing and incredible words to you than “You’re going to be a dad!” We’re guessing that means a lot of different things to you, and can bring about a ton of different emotions, too. This is totally normal. And, correct us if we’re wrong, but the biggest thing on your brain is likely, “Now what?” You’ve heard all the tales of crazy, hormonal wives, weird cravings and the delivery might that might just make you faint (it won’t). But what do you really need to know? Consider this a new dad’s survival guide to pregnancy. We’ve got you, dad!

What Should You Expect as a New Dad?

A whole lot of changes, for starters. You’re bringing a human into the world. Life is about to get very different and a lot more exciting. Here’s what you can expect over the next nine months — we’re breaking it down for you trimester by trimester.

First Trimester Symptoms

As things get going, you’ll both be adjusting to this new way of life. Here are a few things you’ll each experience in the first few weeks of the pregnancy:

Morning Sickness. Yep, it’s the worst. And surprise! It happens all. day. long., not just in the morning! Be ready with crackers to calm her stomach, and try to remind her to snack in small bites all day because this will be easier on her stomach than larger meals.

Food and Smell Aversions. Did you have a beer at lunch yesterday? She can smell it, and it makes her sick. Did you try to make her favorite food for dinner to cheer her up? Sorry, it’s now the food she hates the most. Be patient, dad, this part goes away soon!

Hormones. There might be days where you wonder who this woman is in your house and what she did with your partner. Rest assured, those hormones are just as hard on her, but remember it’s all in preparation of growing a tiny human. Be patient and support her as much as you can.

Prenatal Appointments. Get ready to know your doctor better than your best buddy. Pregnancy is filled with doctor’s appointments to ensure the health of both mama and that growing babe. There’s a chance you just won’t be able to make it to all appointments, but try your best. You’ll love getting a chance to see your child growing, and she’ll want your support through some of the testing.

Picking up extra chores. That first trimester fatigue is no joke, dad. Let her rest, and try to pick up some of the slack around the house. Do a few loads of laundry, offer to make dinner and clean up, etc. She’ll be grateful for the help!

Second Trimester Symptoms

Phew! That first trimester was a little rocky. The good news is that the second trimester is often referred to as the “honeymoon trimester,” and for good reason. Here’s why:

Increased sex drive. Nope, not joking! Many pregnant women experience an increased sex drive as they come out of the first trimester. Mix extra hormones with no longer needing to throw up every hour, and she’ll be really feeling herself. Rawr!

Gender reveals. Hooray! The second trimester is usually when most parents find out the sex of the baby, and there’s plenty of fun ways to celebrate. Don’t worry if you feel a bit of disappointment if the gender isn’t what you expected – you’ll love your little one just the same. You just need to adjust to a new idea of that growing family of yours.

Cravings. Here’s the fun part: your partner’s going to start craving food like a wild banshee. This won’t be a “hey, we should have this sometime soon, it sounds really great!” This will be a, “I need this….NOW.” Hurry, if that craving changes before you get back, it might spell trouble, dad! Best part? You get to indulge in and enjoy all the goodies right along with her.

Baby kicks! If you don’t feel like a dad yet, this might do it. In the second trimester, you’ll be able to start feeling the baby move around. If he or she is kicking, make sure you place your hand over her belly to feel. It’s a great way to bond with your little one.

Reading to Baby. Speaking of bonding, the second trimester is a great time to start speaking and reading to your growing little one.

Third Trimester Symptoms

It’s the final stretch! The last inning! You’re almost there, dad! This can be the craziest trimester yet, as you and partner start really preparing for little one’s arrival – you’ve got this.

Birth plans. You’ll never hear so many ways to have a baby as you do when your partner starts deciding how she wants the birth to go. Doula, midwife, doctor, etc., they are all viable options for her birth plan. Be an active participant, but remember: it’s her decision. Support her and be her biggest advocate in the delivery room.

Foot massages. Seriously, get those hand muscles ready, dad, because foot swelling during pregnancy is not a joke. Rubbing her feet, ankles and calves can provide some serious relief (and necessary circulation to swollen areas).

Nesting. Think the Tasmanian Devil, but with cleaning instead of wrecking. She’ll be cleaning like crazy for baby’s arrival, including the nursery, the attic, the basement, the junk drawer. Don’t be surprised to find her reorganizing the fridge at three a.m. Don’t judge, just let her do her thing.

Baby Time! The best part of the third trimester is baby’s arrival! If you need tips and tricks on how to survive the upcoming labor and delivery, we created another guide that walks dads through labor and delivery

General Advice for New Dads

Here’s the good stuff, dad. Now that you know what you can expect throughout the nine months, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure it’s enjoyable for both of you!

Keep food cravings on hand. They might not be the same every time, but you’ll start to get a feel for the cravings that keep coming back. Have a stash on hand and you’ll make life a little easier.

Remind her she’s beautiful. She’s going through a lot of changes with her body, and might not feel as beautiful as you think she is, so let her know every time you get the chance. It will make her feel loved and cared for.

Let your boss know she’s pregnant by the second trimester. Save both of you a headache by being proactive on this one. When you need to take time off for the delivery and first couple of weeks, they’ll be ready and not surprised.

Keep gas in the car and keys on hand. This is imperative in the third trimester. You can never be too sure about when the mad dash will begin.

Pack your own hospital bag. You’ve got her bag packed — great. Don’t forget to put some extra changes of clothes and snacks in a bag for yourself. It will keep you from running home unnecessarily.

Hey, dad! You’re now prepared to go out into the world of pregnancy. And don’t worry; you’re going to be great!