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Being There: Advice for Expectant Dads

Remember scenes from old movies where the husband paces around the waiting room while his wife is in labor? As a father-to-be today, you know that you can participate throughout your partner's pregnancy -- even in the delivery room. Here are some things you can do.

  • Offer emotional support. Pregnancy is stressful. Expectant mothers need help, and studies show that the support they find most helpful comes from the baby's father. This means more than just helping out around the house. Let your partner know that you love her and that she's attractive. Try to do something special for her each month.

  • Go to the doctor with your partner. This is an important time that you and your partner can share. You'll learn what needs to be done to have a healthy baby. You can also ask questions and help provide information the doctor needs to guide you and your partner through a healthy pregnancy.

  • Support her healthy lifestyle. It's easier for your partner to maintain a healthy diet, despite cravings, if you follow one, too. And if you smoke, get help to quit. Secondhand smoke can harm your baby.

  • Allow for your own needs as well. Pregnancy can be stressful for you, too. Talk with your partner about your feelings, and have a friend you can talk with as well.

  • Make time for intimacy. A couple's need for closeness often increases when they're expecting. There are many ways to be intimate. When you're not choosing a name for the baby or decorating the nursery, spend some quiet time together.

  • Attend birthing classes together. Even if you will not be the birthing coach, classes can help you prepare for the big day.