Women

Pregnancy Can Affect Your Partner (part 2) - Help Dad Bond with Baby

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3. Help Dad Bond with Baby

Bonding between parent and child is very important. It’s easy for a mother to bond with her baby; they are linked in a number of physical ways. It’s harder for a man to bond with baby, but you can help your partner do this. He can begin bonding with the baby before birth and continue after baby is born. Encourage your partner to do any of the following.

Talk to the baby while it is in the uterus.

Talk to the baby soon after birth. Babies bond to sound very quickly.

Hold the baby close and make eye contact; a baby makes associations based on sight and smell.

Feed the baby. It’s easy if you bottlefeed. If you breastfeed, let dad give baby a bottle of expressed breast milk.

Help with daily chores, such as changing diapers, holding the baby when it is restless, and bathing and dressing baby.

Care for baby in ways that work for the both of them. Even if he doesn’t do something the way you would, if it works for dad and baby, let them do it their way.

In my work, nearly all the phone calls I get are from women. When the answering service said they had Josh on the line, I thought they had the wrong healthcare provider. Josh explained that his wife, Anne, was a patient of mine, due in about 2 months. He was very upset. They had always been open and close during their marriage, but now he felt left out. They had lost some of the intimacy they had always shared. He confessed he wasn’t sure what to do or how to get involved in the pregnancy. He feared Anne didn’t need him, and they were drifting apart. I suggested Josh come with Anne on her next visit, and I’d help him “break the ice.” At the visit, I brought up the topic of sex and intimacy during pregnancy. It turned out they both had some misconceptions. I told them this was normal. They might need to make some changes in their lovemaking, but they could still be intimate. Anne had felt Josh was a little aloof, but she didn’t know what to do about it. It took some effort from both of them, but Josh confided in me at the delivery that things were much better. Anne really did need him after all.

4. Sex during Pregnancy

Most couples are concerned about sexual activity during pregnancy; however, men are more often concerned with this aspect of a relationship. It’s an important topic, so discuss it with your healthcare provider. You will need to ask for individual advice and to rule out any complications. Most healthcare providers agree sex can be a part of a normal, low-risk pregnancy.

My husband and I are afraid that having intercourse might harm the baby. What can we do?

Take your partner with you to a prenatal visit, and ask your healthcare provider this question. Most couples can have normal sexual relations during pregnancy without risk. Some conditions are exceptions, such as an incompetent cervix.

Sex doesn’t just mean sexual intercourse. There are many ways for couples to be sensual together, including giving each other a massage, bathing together and talking about sex. Whatever you do, be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling—and keep a sense of humor!

Can Sex during Pregnancy Hurt the Baby?

Sexual activity doesn’t harm a growing baby. Neither intercourse nor orgasm should be a problem if you have a low-risk pregnancy.

The baby is well protected by the amniotic sac and amniotic fluid. Uterine muscles are strong, and they also protect the baby. A thick mucus plug seals the cervix, which helps protect against infection. Discuss sexual activity with your healthcare provider, especially if your partner goes with you to your appointments. If he doesn’t, assure him there should be no problems if your healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead.

Frequent sexual activity should not be harmful to a healthy pregnancy. Usually a couple can continue the level of sexual activity they are used to. If you are concerned, discuss it at an office visit.

How Pregnancy Affects You Sexually

Generally, women experience one of two sex-drive patterns during pregnancy. One is a lessening of desire in the first and third trimesters, with an increase in the second trimester. The second is a gradual decrease in desire as pregnancy progresses.

During the first trimester, you may experience fatigue and nausea. During the third trimester, your weight gain, enlarging abdomen, tender breasts and other problems may make you less desirous of sex. This is normal. Tell your partner how you feel, and try to work out a solution that is satisfactory to both of you.

Pregnancy actually enhances the sex drive for some women. In some cases, a pregnant woman may experience orgasms or multiple orgasms for the first time. This is due to heightened hormonal activity and increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

Some women feel less attractive during pregnancy because of their size and body changes. Discuss your feelings with your partner. Tenderness and understanding can help you both.

You may find new positions for lovemaking are necessary as pregnancy progresses. Your abdomen may make some positions more uncomfortable than others. In addition, experts advise you not to lie flat on your back (for sex or anything else) after 16 weeks of pregnancy until baby’s birth because the weight of the uterus restricts blood flow to the fetus. You might try lying on your side or use a position that puts you on top.

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