You’re the one craving McDonalds at midnight, navigating tidal waves of hormones, dealing with morning sickness, and researching baby gear for hours on end. Your body is changing every week, and you’re still trying to get used to the whole “I’m about to be a mom” thing.
Quite frankly, pregnancy can be overwhelming and all-consuming.
What about your partner, though? Are they involved every step of the way, or sitting more on the sidelines? And what role do you want them to have?
Over the past few months, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the topic of how to involve your partner in your pregnancy. I really want my husband to feel like he’s on this journey with me, learning about our little girl along the way, and getting ready for her arrival.
But what’s the best way to do that, and how can we empower our partners to feel involved?
In today’s post, I’m sharing seven things you can do to engage them in the process.
(Also, a BIG thank you to my husband for weighing in on this post – he gave me some great suggestions from a partner’s point of view!)
#1. Share development updates and things you learn along the way.
One of the best ways to keep your partner feeling involved in your pregnancy is to give them updates on your (and baby’s!) progress. This can help them feel connected to the process. Here are some ways to do this.
Subscribe to weekly pregnancy updates
Many pregnancy- and baby-related websites have a weekly “Your Baby This Week”-type email newsletter. They’re normally free, and give you weekly updates as to the size of your baby, key milestones in their development in the womb, and things to think about and consider as parents-to-be at each stage.
I’ve loved getting these, since they keep me up to date, and they’re really easy to share with my husband! I just forward him the emails every week, and often highlight a few things in the newsletter that stand out to me.
Add your partner to your pregnancy app
If you’re using a pregnancy app (I’m personally a big fan of the Glow Nurture App!), add your partner! Depending on the app’s features, they can get daily updates, participate in message boards, and track your progress along with you.
Update them on your progress
Learn something interesting at a doctor appointment or experiencing a new symptom? Share it with your partner!
For example, when I realized I was only a few days away from starting the third trimester, I excitedly told my husband. I’ll update him on how much the baby is moving, any new symptoms I’m experiencing, and things I hear about that we should start thinking of, like prenatal classes or tracking fetal movement.
Just because some of the changes may not seem like things he absolutely needs to know, keeping him informed is a great way to involve him.
#2. Invite them to key appointments.
Depending on where (and when!) your doctor appointments are, it may not always be feasible for your partner to be there. But it’s a great idea to include them where possible, especially at key appointments like when you first meet your OB-Gyn or midwife, or when you get to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time.
Not only does this help them feel involved, but it allows them to start building rapport with your care team and ask any questions. Your partner can also answer any questions about their family medical history that may impact your baby.
My husband came to the first doctor appointment where we could hear the heart beat, and also to our first OB-Gyn appointment to meet our doctor. I’ve been going to the other appointments solo, and it’s been a good balance for us.
#3. Let them feel the baby move!
Once your baby starts moving, let your partner feel it! It’s a really cool way to help them start to create a bond and feel more connected.
Our daughter started out shy, and would stop moving whenever she sensed her daddy’s hand. But after a few weeks, she started wiggling around often and I can now quickly grab my husband’s hand so that he can feel her moving. It’s been one of my favourite parts of pregnancy!
#4. Create your birth plan together.
Before learning much about birth plans, I thought they were pretty straightforward. Isn’t the plan to just bring the baby into the world in the safest, smoothest way possible? What else is there to it?
It turns out there are many decisions to consider before going into labour. (The Bump has a very comprehensive tool to get the wheels turning!) And while I’d recommend asking your doctor or midwife what specific items you should be thinking about, there are probably more decisions to make than you would have thought about.
You may have a strong preference about certain things, but crafting your birth plan with your partner is a great way to get their input and involve them in the process. Do they want to cut the umbilical cord? And do they want to sleep in your delivery room? Who should be given visiting rights? These are all important questions to consider as a couple.
Also, it may be worth discussing how you’d like your partner to support you during labour. Do you want them to help you stay calm and focused on pushing? Are there breathing or visualization exercises you’d like them to remind you to do?
We’re still in the process of creating our birth plan, but it will definitely be a collaborative effort!
And my post How to Communicate With Your Spouse (About Anything!) has some tips on broaching topics like these.
#5. Get their input on registry items and baby gear.
If you’re the one taking charge of researching baby products and building your registry, it can be easy to plow forward without asking your partner for input. But, in most cases, they will be using the products and gear you’re asking for! So it makes a lot of sense to have them weigh in on what type of gear they’d like to use.
For example, when choosing a stroller, my husband and I went shopping together to make sure the one we chose would be adjustable to work for both of our heights, and that we’d both feel comfortable maneuvering it. We did the same thing for most of the big purchases like our nursery glider and car seat.
When it comes to smaller items, your partner may not want to be as involved. (Things like bottles, sleep sacks, and hooded towels aren’t everyone’s favourite thing to shop for!) But ask them if there’s anything they’d like to pick out or weigh in on.
#6. Take prenatal classes together.
Prenatal classes are an amazing opportunity for you and your husband to learn about everything from the signs of labour to pain management options, postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, baby care, and everything in between. We were initially hesitant to sign up, but after looking at the curriculum, realized we have a lot to learn as first time parents!
While you can take a prenatal class alone, bringing your partner has numerous benefits. First, it ensures you both get the information which is key in helping them support you through labour and play an active role in caring for your child. Second, it’s a great bonding experience and allows you to go through the learning process together. And third, it involves them in the pregnancy and gives them the information they need to know to step into their role as a parent.
Not sure prenatal classes are in the budget? Look into whether your health insurance company covers them! You can also opt for more of a “crash course” style approach which may be fewer hours (and dollars).
Don’t have time for prenatal classes? Buy a good pregnancy book or two to read together.
#7. Involve them in putting together the nursery.
One of the biggest projects during pregnancy is the nursery itself. You may want to paint it, add new window coverings, and install shelving. Then there’s the furniture to buy and build: a crib, changing table or dresser, glider, and maybe a side table and book shelf.
Having your partner help with the process can really empower them to feel involved in prepping for baby, and is yet another great bonding experience. We had a lot of fun choosing paint colours, shopping for furniture, and seeing everything come together.
And as an added bonus, you shouldn’t be doing much painting or heavy lifting when pregnant, so it can help to have someone else tackle those projects!
Those are my tips for how to involve your partner in your pregnancy. They are some helpful ways to share the load, bond as a couple, and engage them in what’s going to be one of the greatest journeys of your life!
How have you involved your partner in your pregnancy? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the Comments below.