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Categories > Pregnancy and Childbirth > Pregnancy: What to expect

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Looking forward to fatherhood

» A healthy environment

» The language of love

» Baby smarts

» Family ties

Dos and don’ts during labor

DO remember to coach your wife through contractions and in breathing techniques.

DO offer ice chips and dab her face with a cool cloth.

DO hold her hand and say, “I love you.”

DON’T forget to act as your wife’s advocate if she does not want certain procedures used.

DON’T forget to eat, rest and stay hydrated. You’ll want to be strong for your wife and for the moment the nurse places your baby in your arms.

Congratulations! Sometime in the next few months, a new life will enter the world—a life that wriggles, cries, smiles…and looks to you for survival. Like many “expectant” dads, you may feel not only happy but a little perplexed about your role. After all, your wife and child already share an intimate bond. But don’t underestimate the importance of your presence. Your baby relies on your relationship, too. Below are some ways to begin the most meaningful job you’ll ever have.

A healthy environment

Accompanying your wife on prenatal doctor visits will help you understand each stage of your wife’s pregnancy and make her feel cherished.

In addition to eating a varied, healthy diet, your wife should take prenatal vitamins containing folic acid (a vitamin that helps prevent birth defects) and refrain from smoking, alcohol and overexertion. Make this easier for her by practicing healthful behaviors yourself. Remember that secondhand smoke is harmful to your wife as well as your baby.

The language of love

You may feel silly at first—a grown man talking to a blouse. But bend close and let your baby hear your voice. Research shows that babies hear sounds from inside the womb and, as newborns, are able to identify their parents’ voices in a roomful of adults. Use this time, too, to communicate your commitment to your wife: Little things like rubbing her feet and doing household chores will go a long way toward a happier, healthier pregnancy.

Baby smarts

Childbirth classes will teach you about labor and delivery, making the event less stressful for your wife, your baby and you. You can also brush up on baby basics by attending child education classes where you will learn first aid, signs of illness and basic feeding and care.

Family ties

You can look forward to exciting moments, times when you will play with your baby, guide him or her and build your new life together. As your child grows up, he or she will look to you for “Dad’s point of view.” This bond is yours alone and begins now.

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