Parent to be: Ready for the changes ahead?
So your partner is pregnant. We don’t have a crystal ball but here are some changes on the horizon.
So you’ve found out your partner is pregnant. Excited? Overwhelmed? Scared? Can’t put the feeling into words? All of the above? The lifestyle you're used to is about to change, and it's important that you're prepared for what’s ahead. Here’s what you need to know about the changes on the horizon for both you and your partner.
Pregnancy and food cravings often hand-in-hand, so be ready to stock up the pantry. While some women might crave weird and wacky flavour combos, others will turn up their nose at what used to be their favourite food. Her eating habits may also influence yours so aim to stay healthy together by eating a balanced diet.
Say goodbye to alcohol
Now that your partner is pregnant she has to say goodbye to the booze. For some, this can be a bit of an adjustment, especially in social situations. To help understand the changes your partner is making to her lifestyle, try reducing your alcohol intake too.
If you or your partner is a smoker, quitting now is more important than ever. Quitting smoking might feel like a big lifestyle change but it’s crucial to the health of your baby. Smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke, either before or during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications and impaired infant and child development.
If you’ve got a baby on the way you may be facing a reduction in your household income. Babies are expensive so expect your spending habits to change. It’s important to keep the conversation open about finances and make a plan together.
Some days, your partner might be more irritable emotional worried or forgetful. It’s also not uncommon for some women to feel depressed or anxious during pregnancy. It can sometimes be difficult to separate symptoms of depression and anxiety from typical pregnancy symptoms. Mood swings are part of the pregnancy package but if you’re worried your partner is developing more serious symptoms seek professional help from your GP or an organisation like beyondblue.
It’s normal for your partner’s sex drive to change during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It’s easy to see why, with morning sickness, headaches and disrupted sleep all common during the first twelve weeks. However, come the second trimester, some women experience an increase in their sex drive. So whether your partner’s sex drive is through the roof or having some down time, remember everyone is different, and whatever she’s going through is normal!
READ MORE: Will we still enjoy sex after pregnancy?
How to talk to your partner if you’re worried about the changes ahead
This probably isn’t the first time you’ll hear this and it certainly won't be the last: keep communicating! Set aside time to check in with your partner and share what’s on your mind. Don’t be afraid to share what you’re scared of or the parts of being a parent you’re not looking forward to. And of course don’t forget to verbalise the positive things you’re looking forward to as it will fuel each other's excitement.
Expect the unexpected
When it comes to babies and pregnancy, it’s important to keep an open mind. At the end of the day, all the planning in the world might go out the window. Read up, keep the communication channels open and be ready for the odd curveball. From unexpected pregnancy symptoms to changes to your birth plan, expecting the unexpected is all part of the pregnancy package.
And while it might look like all your friends are nailing parenting, nobody is perfect. Social media doesn't capture the moment your partner’s waters break in the supermarket or you taking an embarrassingly long time to assemble the Ikea cot. Be kind to yourself and your partner, there’s no right way to do this!