Why this podcast?
It’s The Pregnancy Podcast again. Yep, I know, it features a lot but it’s great, so why not?
The host, Vanessa Merten, does all the research for you. All you need to do is tune in and listen to her break down, in a super simple and accessible way, everything you need to know.
Vanessa has a very relaxing voice and an easy style. All of the research is linked to in her show notes so that if you want to, you can explore the studies mentioned in more depth.
How does it look?
Each episode is thirty minutes or less and you also have the Q&A episodes which typically last only five to ten minutes.
A regular episode takes a specific topic like induction, ultrasounds, doulas, pumping, home birth, skin to skin or vaginal exams and explores them in more detail whilst the Q&A episodes focus on specific questions from listeners.
These episodes are a lot shorter and therefore less detailed but there is still a good overview given and again, studies are linked to if you want to explore further.
Q&A episodes have covered areas such as sushi, pregnancy & hair dye, choosing the right crib, C-section suture methods, breast crawl and Misoprostol (Cytotec).
Why this episode?
I just love the idea of an episode for partners. Although this episode tends to refer to Dads, the info is handy for all partners.
From communication to hormones, sex and how you can support your pregnant partner during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum, this episode has it all.
Who should listen to this episode?
Pregnant women and their partners could both really benefit and it might be fun to listen to together.
Vanessa starts by acknowledging that whilst knowing you are about to become a parent is super exciting it can also be pretty overwhelming. Time is on your side however and you don’t need to get everything done in the first few weeks. Take a breath and prepare a little bit at a time.
This is huge. You and your partner need to be open with each other so that you both know what your preferences, expectations and worries are.
Being open and honest is key. You need to be a super strong team for when your baby arrives.
Worries are normal but pregnancy, birth and parenting are all pretty steep learning curves. You’ll become more knowledgeable every day and you have longer than you think to figure everything out.
Go to as many as you possibly can, preferably all of them.
Not only will you be able to listen to your baby’s heartbeat (which might help to make it all a bit more real) but you’ll hear all the info firsthand and be a part of any decision-making.
You’ll also have the chance to ask questions or to raise any concerns you may have.
You get a designated driver (but it’s not a license to party)
During pregnancy it is especially important to be hydrated, eat healthily, exercise and sleep well. You can support your partner in making healthy choices and also help them to break any bad habits, like smoking.
Your partner will be avoiding alcohol for a while but this doesn’t mean you can go out and party every weekend! Make sure there are non-alcohol nights too so that your partner doesn’t feel left out (or source some really good alcohol-free beer or wine!).
Morning (or all day) sickness
Just have empathy. This side of pregnancy is pretty awful but it should pass by the second trimester.
Hormones can have a big effect on your partner’s mood. Again, this is normal (although maybe not lovely for you) but the worst should be over by the end of the first trimester.
Try not to take things personally and just understand that a lot of the time it’s the hormones talking (or shouting) and not your partner.
But, look, don’t touch.
Yes, your partner may now have breasts which are significantly bigger than they were pre-pregnancy but they are probably pretty sensitive too. So, look but make sure you ask before you touch.
Your partner may be tired, super tired. She may fall asleep on the sofa in the evenings or just go to bed really early. That’s normal and it won’t last forever. By the second trimester, she will probably have a lot more energy.
Enjoy your new-found me time and do some things you really want to do.
Your partner’s changing body
Some women love their pregnant bodies and some don’t.
Remind her that she is beautiful and that her body is doing an amazing thing; growing a tiny human!
If she seems insecure you can also reassure her that this is temporary and definitely worth it.
Sex? Yes, you can!
Again, hormones could mean that your partner is way more interested in sex than normal or way less.
If she is more interested, yey for you. You can’t hurt the baby so just enjoy.
If she is less interested just be understanding and again, it’s temporary.
Talk to your baby
I am so glad Vanessa mentions this!
Your baby can hear sounds and may respond to familiar sounds by moving around.
Talking to your baby is a great way to build your relationship with them before they are born and, after they are born, they will already be familiar with the sound of your voice.
This is wonderful for you because you will more easily be able to comfort your baby and your partner will benefit if she can leave the baby with you and catch up on some sleep.
Take a birth class together
You’ll know what to expect and be more relaxed when the time comes for your baby to make an appearance. If you are calm you will also be a better support for your partner.
You will also have the information you need in order to ask questions and make informed decisions in the event that birth takes an unexpected turn. Your partner may not be in the frame of mind to do this and so you need to be her advocate.
If you possibly can, take some time off after the birth. This can be a challenging time and having two parents at home is definitely preferable.
This one is interesting and whether or not this is relevant to you will partly depend on where you live.
You probably don’t want to get it wrong though.
Talk to your partner to see if this is something she wants to include. If she is expecting a gift after the birth get some hints to help you choose one.
Labour is a marathon (for you too)
Be rested, be present and be prepared to be her advocate.
If she is set on having an epidural as soon as possible, make sure she gets that.
If she wants an unmedicated birth make sure she is not being pushed towards unnecessary interventions. Remember, you can ask questions and ask for time to discuss things with your partner so that you know what she wants.
Have a birth plan
And write it together.
That way you will have a piece of paper with all of the birth preferences which you can refer back to during labour.
Discussing and creating a birth plan are also great ways for you and your partner to discuss your involvement and make sure you are on the same page.
If you are planning on sitting on a chair and holding your partner’s hand during the birth and they are envisioning you catching the baby it’s probably best to discuss that before the big day.
To wrap up
This episode is a fun one but also covers a lot of really useful information. I encourage you to listen to it in full and would love you to drop me a comment with your own experiences.
As a partner, what was the most surprising thing for you about pregnancy and birth?
What did you enjoy the most and what did you find the least appealing aspect of the experience?
As an expectant mum, what was the most helpful thing your partner did for you during your pregnancy or labour?
Other episodes on this topic
Fear Free Childbirth – How to Prepare Dads for Labour
Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.