It goes without saying that a pregnancy can be somewhat frightening and unpredictable, given the hormones swirling round a woman’s system, and the many unsettling changes her body is experiencing. These factors can have a significant impact on your home life as well. Taking the time to understand what you can expect may make this process easier. It can also help you identify opportunities to support your partner.
Because of natural hormones like human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone, many pregnant women feel nauseous, bloated, and exceptionally tired. They typically need plenty of rest and a bit of extra help around the house.
So-called ‘morning sickness’ can be something of a misnomer; many pregnant women report feeling ill throughout the day. This may continue through the first trimester, and sometimes throughout the entire pregnancy. Naturally, this can affect your partner’s appetite and sense of wellbeing. Avoiding strong-smelling odours can keep waves of sickness at bay. Offering her dry crackers or camomile tea will also provide relief when she feels peaky.
Doctors believe that excess oestrogen can lead to emotional sensitivity and volatility. Understand that your partner may feel easily overwhelmed and occasionally out of control. Having this knowledge can make seemingly unreasonable, erratic, or argumentative outbursts and moodiness easier to bear. Whenever possible, bite your lip because she probably does not mean it when she loses her temper.
Sore legs and an aching back are other common complaints among expectant mothers. Choosing to drive when going out may help to minimise this, as will early nights and shorter shopping trips. Being thoughtful when it comes to meals and chores will also be appreciated. Although you may find it frustrating, she will not be able to function at her usual pace or do as much as she used to. Remembering that this situation is temporary will help to circumvent any hidden resentment you may feel about taking on more around the house.
Most women find their second trimester the easiest to cope with. Not only are they generally less nauseous, but they are not too heavy yet, so buying baby items is best accomplished now. Show an interest by accompanying her to scans and antenatal classes. Being involved in the purchase of suitable baby equipment and nursery gear will also make her feel that you want to be involved.
As the pregnancy continues and she starts having trouble getting around, she may be feeling enormous or cleaning frantically. It is important to show that you care by complimenting her on her appearance, rubbing her feet or back, finding an extra cushion, and keeping your bits around the house as tidy as possible.
After the birth, watch for signs of post-partum depression or fatigue. Relieving her of chores and sharing feeding shifts, bathing and diaper changing, will be greatly appreciated. Your support will help to take the pressure off while she adjusts to a new routine.