The stork is going to be visiting you? Congratulations (for obvious reasons!) and all the best (coz daddy-to-be, you need to pull up your paternal jeans as well!).
While a pregnant woman is harbouring life and riding a roller-coaster, overdosed on hormones, the man is more often than not, just plain confused as to how to handle tantrums, cravings, mood swings, and sometimes, all kinds of emergencies.
For every man, his wife’s pregnancy is also a chance for him to transition from boyhood, to actual, real manhood. The first thing to know is that from the very moment she announces her pregnancy, she’ll be the centre of attention – not you. Get used to it.
And if you still want to continue reading, then you are ready (and qualified) to be Daddy!
So here are 7 crazy things every man ought to know about pregnancy and exactly what it entails.
1. Food Choices Will Become Strange
Everyone knows that a pregnant woman may want to eat anything at any time! And that tastes and flavours get weird is an understatement.
But there is scientific research available that links cravings with nutritional deficiencies.
The Western approach to pregnancy cravings leans heavily on the idea of the “wisdom of the body.” Cravings are thought to be a Darwinian mechanism to meet the body’s demand for certain nutrients.
So while I was ridiculed for gobbling green chillies soaked in lemon juice and chaat masala, my gynaecologist reassured me that it was probably to do with my body’s need for more sodium because of my increased blood volume and mild vitamin C deficiency.
This is also the reason why women prefer pickles or sour-tasting foods – but then, if your woman craves sugar, or ANYTHING ELSE that is edible, it is absolutely FINE!
She also knows dipping fried chicken into marmalade isn’t normal – but she FEELS LIKE IT! Just don’t pick on her for what she eats. Rather, be prepared to run to the store to go get her something, or cook for her.
2. Your Wife WILL Swell Up
Some of the food – as well as her hormones – will cause her to put on weight (not to mention the belly growing with the baby).
Save the commentary. It is natural and definitely healthier than the beer belly that most men seem to proudly flaunt.
Rather than ridiculing her size, it will be a nice idea to watch your own figure and girth in the mirror on a daily basis. Your wife has a valid reason for putting on the extra kilos, you better watch your weighing scales!
3. Mood Will Be All Over The Place
If you think this is bad news, also remember that the fingers on the diffuse switch will be yours. It is entirely up to you to make her feel better – no, make that GOOD – about herself.
Think about it – she is creating life INSIDE her – and also juggling life and it’s a roller coaster on a daily basis.
You are Amit – or whatever your name is. She could be Cruella De Ville, Black Dahlia, Laxmibai, Wonder Woman, Black Widow all rolled into one. Hormones can make her feel like she has multiple personalities. Achtung!
Get to know each one, and roll with it. This is temporary. Be empathetic, not just sympathetic. Provide a patient ear. Else it will only spiral into more mood swings.
4. ‘Pregnant Sex’ is a Wonderful Thing – Only If Your Wife Is Happy With It
Pregnant sex is a wonderful thing. And you should definitely check if she is ready for it at that moment.
Sex is not harmful for the baby – unless the doctor advises against it. But that doesn’t mean your wife will enjoy it!
So, consider your wife’s changing sexual needs. Some women get hypersexual while pregnant. Others lose interest. This knowledge should help you both sail through till the baby is born.
Within six months after your baby is born, you’ll resume some semblance of a sex life.
5. ‘Due-Date Sex’
Sorry, this might sound a bit mean, but women can use you for just sex as well.
There are biologically plausible reasons why having sex at term may help to speed up the arrival of a baby.
- First, semen is a natural source of prostaglandins, which are used in synthetic form to encourage cervical ripening in preparation for labour.
- Second, sex, plus or minus orgasm has been found to increase uterine activity.
Again, PLEASE let your doctor let you know if this is okay or not.
It won’t be good sex, or romantic sex, or sexy sex. It will be stressful, uncomfortable, high-pressured sex. You have been warned.
6. Morning Sickness Is Not Limited to Mornings
Morning sickness is quite possibly the worst part of pregnancy (well, besides that whole labour thing).
About 75 percent of all pregnant women go through headaches, excessive sleepiness and of course feelings of nausea and sometimes vomiting, even violent vomiting.
Most women will start feeling the symptoms of morning sickness about a month after conception, and it will typically last until the twelfth to fourteenth week of pregnancy. Some women will experience morning sickness their entire pregnancy.
Despite its name, morning sickness doesn’t happen only in the morning.
Most women experience the symptoms of morning sickness all day long. When helping her through this rocky period, the key is to keep experimenting with different remedies.
Introduce new treatments each day to see what works for her and what doesn’t. Be willing to make many trips, sometimes late at night, in search of something to ease her troubles.
Vitamin B6 supplements, seasickness bracelets (elastic bands with plastic bumps that apply pressure to points on the wrist to reduce the feelings of nausea), ginger ale, ginger or peppermint tea are some home remedies that help.
But do consult the ob-gynae for more.
7. Be Nice While You Prepare For the Daddy Role
Becoming a Dad is easy, being one needs training. Here’s how you can truly be a better half to your pregnant missus:
- Help her. Even with basic chores. Does this even need to be explained? But to let you know – she is going to find it difficult to bend to pick up a towel if she drops it. Don’t overdo it though. But yes, use your brains, and heart.
- Let her get the sleep while she can. She will sleep. A lot. When a woman is carrying life inside of her, her own body is growing, stretching and changing. Let her rest. She won’t get much of it after the baby is born.
- Don’t be a whiner! Your wife is carrying your child and that is her trump card! If it is unfair, try imagining yourself in her shoes, with that belly and feeling how she does. To put it crudely, she is growing something the size of a watermelon that eventually has to be pushed out an opening the size of a lemon.
- Share her pregnancy. If she can’t have caffeine, don’t insist on having a cuppa in front of her. It’s a way to show moral support and to help her follow doctor’s orders as closely as she can. Exercise is incredibly beneficial to the mom and baby-to-be, so help her get in the habit by offering to go for a walk or to the gym together.
- Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. And MEAN IT! Your wife will be undergoing some serious body transformations during pregnancy. Reassure her that you think she’s beautiful and that you love her immensely.
- Keep an open door policy for venting. Pregnancy, especially for first time moms, can be a little scary. Women wonder if the baby is doing okay, what labor will be like, whether they’ll have to have a c-section, and whether they’ll be good at being a mom. Be willing to let your wife vent or cry whenever they need to, even if it’s in the middle of the night. If there’s something specific that’s worrying your wife, do some research so you can confidently tell her, “Those pains you’re experiencing are normal and do not mean you will give birth to a two-headed hydra baby.”
Pregnancy, and taking care of a baby will change you, your wife, and your marriage. It will take a toll on your otherwise perfect relationship. A good sense of humor is something you’ll need to survive.