My wife is pregnant now what?!
Whoa! Who knew peeing on a stick can be such a significant moment in your life?
One moment you are going about your day, you were probably thinking about what to eat later or what to do this weekend.
Then BAM! She pees on a stick, and suddenly your life is about to shift in a seriously different direction.
Now, you have so much more to think about, and most of those things are significant decisions that can impact your life, your partner’s life, and this unborn baby you do not know yet. Yup, I said the “b” word, baby, scary, isn’t it?
But that is the end result once your wife or girlfriend or FWB is pregnant, and then that baby turns into a kid, but I am getting ahead of myself.
You are going to be a dad now!
First of all, congratulations and welcome to the club. Many men have been in your situation and many more that will come after you. It’s just your turn to take this crazy journey!
I know what you are thinking, ‘what do I do now?’ You are probably overwhelmed and have no idea where to start.
Yes, there are a million things to do before your partner gives birth. But you can still take everything one day at a time and one task at a time.
Hopefully, I can help you figure out where to begin your “dad journey.”
I created an easily digestible list of things to do since you just found out you are going to be a dad. I divided them up into four categories for you to make it even easier. I also added loads of details (like a crazy amount), so once you are done reading, you will be ready to take on being a dad!
But first, I have one question for you…
Are you scared of becoming a dad?
If you are scared of becoming a dad, that is totally normal.
Especially if you never saw yourself in that position.
Some men know they want to be a dad someday, and even those men get scared.
Many men have a fear of becoming a father. You are not alone. Some fear stems from not wanting to be like your dad, and some fear is thinking you can ruin your baby’s life by not being a perfect dad. There are just so many reasons to be scared, and it is totally normal.l
Being scared just seems like the right way to feel about something as life-changing as having a baby. Not everyone knows how to take care of a baby, not everyone is financially prepared. Knowing that things are going to change immensely is tough to grapple with too.
According to verywellmind.com, “fear is natural and a survival mechanism.” Everyone’s reaction to fear is unique, think of it as your body’s initial reaction – your mind may not know how to process it any other way.
As you begin to learn more about babies and parenting, your fear will transform. It may become excitement, anticipation, and all sorts of other emotions. I mentioned earlier this is a crazy journey, and emotions are a part of the ride.
5 things to do for your partner
1. Double-check that she is pregnant
There is absolutely nothing wrong with double checking that your partner is pregnant. It could be a false positive test or something else.
I think my wife took 3 pregnancy tests and was still in denial by the time we saw a doctor. It took hearing the heartbeat for us to get it through our brains that she was pregnant.
So if you are in a bit of denial, that is okay. Enjoy your ignorance for a little while longer. Bond over the unknown with your wife.
2. Talk to her about it
The first thing you two need to do is really talk about it. Talk about the whole situation and how you feel.
It’s okay to get emotional about this because it is a big deal. If you are used to only taking care of yourselves, then this is going to be an enormous lifestyle change.
Talk it over, go over your options, and try to get on the same page as to what you want for your future.
I understand that a “hookup” can get someone pregnant as quickly as a married couple, so depending on your situation, you may need to have a real in-depth talk.
When you do talk about it, be open-minded, listen, and if your partner is freaking out, let her get it out. Both of your emotions are perfectly normal. Be supportive.
3. Think about being parents together
One cool thing to do is to think and talk about being parents together. It may seem so surreal at first, but before you know it (or in about 9 months), it is going to be your reality. So what may seem like a fun conversation will be true sooner than you think.
It’s also good to discuss how you want to parent. You do not want to be in the delivery room arguing about whether to circumcise your baby boy or not. You want to think about those things throughout the pregnancy.
Having an initial conversation upfront can help. If something is significant to you, like having the nursery gender neutral – bring it up.
Start communication early and do it often during these nine months. Once the baby is born, that is a whole other ballgame, but communication will always be vital.
4. Learn about things your wife can’t eat or do while pregnant
Pregnant women have a lot to think about when it comes to their bodies.
The pain, the hair growing all over the place, the baby, the sickness. So it’s nice when future dad helps out by researching things for the future mom. There is plenty to research, but to get started, here are a few topics to look into.
Foods that she can’t eat while pregnant, these are the thing she needs to avoid immediately according to Web MD Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy.
- Raw or uncooked foods
- Hot dogs and lunch meats
- Seafood and certain fish
- Unpasteurized foods
Do some research on caffeine as well, especially if your wife loves her coffee. There are a few rules when it comes to drinking coffee. Such as sticking to 12 oz. but some coffees are stronger than others, so do research based on the coffee and caffeine that your wife likes.
Another thing you may want to look into is exercising. During the first trimester, my wife was lethargic, she slept and worked most of the time. But all pregnancies are different, so if your significant other enjoys working out, find out what she can and can’t do. Some exercises are dangerous for an expecting mom.
Do you plan on going to a spa for a soak in a hot tub? If you are, you may need to adjust your plans because that is not good for pregnant women.
There is plenty to learn on this topic, so get learning and help ease your wife’s mind. Remember to use common sense too. If it seems risky, it probably is, and you do not want to harm your child in any way.
5. Take care of the pregnant lady in your life
This one extra important, taking care of your pregnant wife needs to be your number one priority. Trust me, it will make her life easier and your life easier. You do not want an unhappy pregnant lady around you. It is not fun.
This is so important, I wrote an entire article on it, you can find it here Caring For Your Pregnant Wife Guide: 60 Ways To Be Her Hero.
Herea is a quick list of things you can do for her starting today. I encourage you to review all 60 at some point in time.
- Feed her – if you do not do anything else just make sure to keep your wife fed, as in making her food and ask her what she needs
- Walk with her – one of the most essential things your wife can do during pregnancy is to keep moving, so walk with her and encourage her to stay healthy
- Comfort her – during the first trimester your wife may feel sick or exhausted, so do what you can to keep her comfortable – maybe it is getting her a new pillow or keeping the volume on the TV low, no matter what it is – think of the little things you can do to keep her comfortable as her body changes
- Spoil her – I like to say, treat her like the goddess she is! Her body is changing, her body parts are moving on the inside, who knows she may be making an ear next week? So keep her happy by spoiling her, help her with everything, do not make her do chores or worry about the stuff that you can handle
- Listen when she complains – you need to really just listen and sympathize with her and if she asks for your opinion then you give it to her, but if she does not ask – just listen
5 things to do for your baby
6. Go over your finances
When your baby arrives (and even before), you are going to need cash to get by. Go over your money situation and figure out what you need to do to support your child. Working on a budget is the best way to go about this.
I do not think it is much of a surprise, but babies and kids are expensive. I suggest you work on saving immediately.
You need to cut out some stuff from your life, here is what I cut:
- Video games – no new games or subscriptions
- Eating out – I started cooking way more for both of us
- Going out – I stopped partying and spending money on trips
- New clothes – neither of us have bought new clothes in about 3 years and counting
My wife also did the same, here are a few things she cut out:
- Salon services – Manicures, pedicures, hair coloring, waxing, etc.
- Makeup -she was a Sephora addict
- Starbucks – she could not drink coffee anyway, it would make her sick
- Shopping – in general, we have not bought anything new for our house or us
We basically minimized our spending as much as we could. Well, at least spending on ourselves. It is not too hard when your mind is focused on having a baby.
The hard part is you will want to buy everything for your baby. There will be an urge to buy the nicest stuff for her nursery, the most adorable baby clothes, and all the cool baby gadgets. But you also have to slow down on that too. Not everything is worth the price tag.
Your baby is only a ‘baby’ for about a year, or so, then she grows up and is this independent toddler.
There are things you really do not need. My wife wrote a post on the absolute basics you need, check it out Most Essential Things A Newborn Baby Needs.
7. What is your insurance situation?
Did I mention having a baby is expensive? I mean it, the giving birth of your baby in a hospital costs a lot of money.
A vaginal birth in Texas can cost anywhere from roughly $8,000 to $16,000. In New York, I saw it can reach up to $26,000. With insurance, you pay a percentage of that – depending on your healthcare insurance, of course.
Then you also have to pay for doctor visits, such as prenatal care for your wife and pediatric care for your baby. It all adds up. Then the bills are separate for things like hearing tests or even anesthesia.
The medical industry does not help us, little guys, when it comes to health care for our families – it’s confusing and tough to navigate. This is why you need to start looking into it now to see what you can do for your wife and baby’s care.
**These are MUST-READs for future dads:**
8. Learn pregnancy vocabulary & trimesters
These are the timelines for pregnancy. Get used to talking about trimesters, weeks, and months when it comes to pregnancy timing.
First Trimester – first 12 weeks or months 1,2, and 3 of the pregnancy; usually consists of early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, exhaustion, and breast tenderness
Second Trimester – weeks 13-27 or months 4, 5, and 6 of your pregnancy; according to many women it’s the more enjoyable part of pregnancy (not for my wife though), her belly starts showing
Third Trimester – weeks 28-40 or months 7, 8, and 9 of your pregnancy; your wife’s belly is huge, and it is usually very uncomfortable and painful for her
Fourth Trimester – after your baby’s birth, your child is 0-3 months adapting to life in the outside world while your partner is recovering from pregnancy and childbirth (lots of sleepless nights for many new parents, very exhausting)
Learn how to talk “pregnancy” and baby lingo; here is a quick lesson with definitions by Merriam-Webster and what we learned during our pregnancy:
Prenatal – occurring, existing, performed, or used before birth (like prenatal vitamins, you take them while pregnant before you give birth)
Ultrasound – sound or other vibrations having an ultrasonic frequency, particularly as used in medical imaging (the process to you see your baby)
Sonogram – the actual image of your baby from an ultrasound
Labor – the process of childbirth, especially the period from the start of uterine contractions to delivery
Contraction – a shortening of the uterine muscles occurring at intervals before and during childbirth (aka worst pain ever)
Epidural – an epidural anesthetic, used especially in childbirth to produce loss of sensation below the waist
Postpartum – following childbirth or the birth of young, usually associated with postpartum depression
OB/GYN – obstetrician-gynecologist is the doctor who will provide your prenatal care and will deliver the baby (unless you get a midwife)
9. Go shopping
I know, I know, I said save your money, and now I am telling you to go shopping. Sorry for the contradiction, there are a few things you can buy early, so you do not have to spend as much later on during the pregnancy.
Maternity clothes – You will need to buy more down the line but have something so when the belly suddenly pops, she is prepared with at least an outfit (because one day she will not be able to fit in her regular clothes)
I recommend you and your partner go out and get a few essential items like:
A nice shirt – here is one that is comfy and can be worn the entire pregnancy, comfort is critical Jezero Maternity Tops Short and Long Sleeves (Affiliate Link)
Pair of pants – working women usually end up living in pants like this pair Motherhood Maternity Women’s Maternity Super Stretch Secret Fit Belly Skinny Ankle Workpant (Affiliate Link)
Nursing bra –the ones with the clips that come down work well. They are also comfortable to wear your last months of pregnancy once your regular bras stop fitting you HOFISH 3 Pack Seamless Clip Down Deep V Neck Push Up Nursing Bra Maternity Bras 3PACK Including Extenders & Clips (Affiliate Link)
Small gift for mom – I recommend this be something more sentimental than large and expensive, make it something to let her know you care, and you are there for her
This is a beautiful picture frame for the baby’s sonogram Pearhead Love at First Sight Sonogram Keepsake Frame (Affiliate Link)
In virtually every article we recommend the Leachco Snoogle Original Maternity/Pregnancy Total Body Pillow (Affiliate Link). It is a maternity pillow and my wife used it every day of her pregnancy and for about a year after, I actually had to convince her to throw it away because she used it so much it was destroyed by spills and body fluids.
One big-ticket item – you may want to do this after the first trimester is complete and all is going well, there are so many big items you need to get like a car seat, bassinet, or changing table; if you do not start to invest in things over the 9 months, having all the expenses at once can be tough so make a goal as to when you want to get these larger items.
I recommend getting a pack n’ play because your baby can use it immediately once he or she is born. Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Napper DLX Playard, Manor (Affiliate Link). We own this one.
10. Think about potential names
One of the most important things you can give your child is their name. They have to live with it their entire life, it is a big deal.
Start thinking about the potential names now and discuss them with your significant other.
Learn about what you both want from a name and what it means to both of you. Here are some questions to think about:
- Will he or she have a middle name?
- Do we want a name that represents our heritage?
- Do we want to name our child after someone?
- Do we want a rare name? Or a more common name, think about the John Smiths of the world.
- How long do we want the name to be? One syllable like Ed? Or four syllables like Esperanza?
- Do we want our child to have a nickname?
- What do the initials spell out? If Danielle Ursula Matthews ever wants a monogrammed shirt, it’s going to spell out DUM.
- What about when your child gets older, and someone googles them? Do you want them to be easy to find or impossible to ever rank?
There is a lot to think about when it comes to names, it’s okay to take months on finding the best fit for your future baby. Just give yourself plenty of time to think and make sure the name is agreeable for both of you. You do not want to get mad every time you fill out a form for your child.
5 things to do for yourself
11. Snap out of the disbelief
Becoming a parent is a HUGE deal, do not let anyone minimize it otherwise. You have to be prepared for significant changes and challenges along the way. It is okay not to believe it for a while. It is okay to think that your future reality is just a dream, and you are not going to be a dad.
Eventually, you have to snap out of it and take on all the challenges you are facing. There is going to come a time when you are put to the test, and you need to be ready.
Pregnancy is really tough for women, it’s hard on the body, mind, and wallet, trust me – that is why you need to be a strong presence for your baby’s mama. She is going to need someone to lean on from time-to-time.
She is also going to need you to be there physically.
There will come a time when she can’t tie her shoes or even get out of bed on her own. Reflect now, but as soon as you are ready – step up and be there for her.
One way to snap out of it is to envision the type of dad you want to be for your future child. Think about the childhood you want her to have, and all the things you would have changed in your childhood. This baby is going to come out with a clean slate, you can shape and mold her, that is a fantastic gift.
12. Break those bad habits
Do you smoke? Do you drink? Are you on your phone, 24/7? Do you have any other bad habit that you do not want your child to be around or see you do? Whatever it may be, now is a great time to work on breaking that bad habit.
Use your baby and your new family as motivation to stop. Or, if needed, get professional help.
Money, health, a clear mind, time – these are all things that bad habits eat up. Those are also the things babies and kids of every age needs from their parents.
Work on breaking these habits while you have time – once the baby is around, she becomes your primary focus, and these bad habits can be things you turn to when you get stressed out. You will find yourself doing them more than being able to quit them.
Starting with nine months is much better than three months any day. Plus, those last three months of pregnancy are pretty much filled with baby prepping to the max.
When I found out my wife was having a baby, I did the thing all of us dread… I put away my Xbox, but it had to be done. My wife needed me alert, I needed to put baby furniture together, and my time was going to so many other things.
Yes, it still hurts sometimes, and I tell myself I will start playing again when I have time, but I still have not found the time. Life happens, and I enjoy every minute I spend with my daughter.
13. Set up doctors appointments
Doctor visits can take over once you find out you are expecting, so take the time out to help your partner with her medical needs. Figure out what doctor you can visit and together set up those appointments.
At the same time, get a check-up for yourself too. Besides her health, look out for your own. You both need to eat healthily and exercise during this time – it will help with her labor, and you need the energy to take care of her and your new baby.
Do your best to be there for her at as many appointments as possible.
Your support is crucial, you also want to be there so you know what you can do for her medically. Also, you do not want to miss hearing your little pea’s heartbeat for the first time or seeing the sonogram. Yes, the appointments are predictable, and you can find out when an important one is coming up – but being there as much as possible is irreplaceable.
You ready to be a super dad?
Take a notepad to the appointments and take notes, so you do not forget a thing. Do some research before the visit and have questions ready. If anything bothers your wife, take down a note and be prepared to ask about it at the next appointment.
If you take pregnancy and baby classes, do the same thing, take notes, and have your questions ready. Those classes may seem cheesy, but when you are trying to dress your newborn for the first time, you will be thankful you “kind of” have an idea of what you are doing thanks to the classes.
14. Prepare for your relationship and life to change
Sorry if I sound like a broken record (if you even know what that means), but you really do need to prepare for changes. The one thing that every parent has in common is your life changes, no matter what the situation is. Knowing a little helpless person is on her way that will look like your or your partner is amazing and will turn everything upside-down.
Babies are unpredictable and are experts at making things inconvenient (not on purpose, they are precious).
If you are a morning person, your baby will be a night owl. If you like keeping your home immaculately clean, your baby will be prone to making messes. If you are used to doing whatever you want at any given moment, guess what? Now you have to find a babysitter.
If you are used to living on two incomes, that may change, too, depending on the choices you make once your child is born. Here is how I made the decision to be a stay at home dad: 7 Questions to Think About Before Becoming a Stay at Home Dad.
The list of changes goes on and on, as will your relationship. No matter how long you have been with your partner or how well you know them, with this child in your life, the dynamic of your relationship will change.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pregnancy is hard, stressful and can get confusing
- Being a parent is even harder
- Romance and having a newborn is tough to pull off, but you can bring it back eventually
- Newborns are rough in general, they scream to communicate, and it can get frustrating for both of you
- You may disagree on how you want your child to be raised
- Not having intimate or alone time can take a toll
- It’s easy to forget to appreciate one another
- Life is a challenge, and your partner is your one teammate, this makes it easy to place blame or resentment on someone other than yourself
- Money can become an issue
- Missing your independence or old lifestyle can cause arguments
- When one person takes more care of the child than the other, it can cause resentment
Honestly, there are way more reasons for disagreements and a million things that will put your relationship to the test. There is no way to get around this except to be empathetic with your partner.
Try to understand where she is coming from, you are both probably feeling the same things.
After long days with a baby or toddler, you both just want a break, but that is not always possible. Babies need care throughout the night, just like toddlers need constant supervision – the breaks for both of you are far and few between.
You are both in the same boat, so rather than fighting and taking up more energy, start working as a team now to get ready. Start talking about dividing up responsibilities and how you want to get through the rough times.
**Further reading for dads:**
15. Become a photographer
One of the more fun parts of expecting a baby is taking belly photos. It is great to document, you will appreciate that you did once your baby is born and years later.
The belly growth is amazing!
There will be plenty of times when your partner will not want to take her photo, so just try and convince her – she will appreciate it in the long run. But if she really does not want to, then back off.
One thing to do is get a good camera. The camera will come in handy too when your baby is born, you are going to want to take a ton of pictures. The camera will also provide the photos in an excellent quality, and the photo overall may look better. Using an external flash on your camera will give you good lighting if you take the photos indoors.
We are fans of Canon cameras. They are investments, and that is why the price is on the higher end. We recommend them because of the quality of the photos, and it takes the best pictures on the “auto” settings hands down. You can point and click without any experience with an expensive camera. A great option is the Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera Lens and Bundle (Affiliate Link)
When it comes to taking the belly photos I recommend you do the following:
- Take the picture in the same spot, same lighting and similar clothing (the same shirt works best) if you use a tripod you can even mark precisely where to put it, but at the very least try to stand in the same spot too
- Be consistent in taking the photos, try your best to take at least one a month – if you really get into it, take them every few weeks
- At the very least, have the last photo you take (should be close to the due date) to show her actual belly – its cool to have all of them show the actual belly, but some women prefer not to show it
- Take the photo with your camera and then one with your phone, it’s nice having a version of your belly photos conveniently on your phone
- Take a picture of yourself too! See your transformation over nine months, did you age from stress? Or did you work on your health and lose weight?
5 other things to do
16. Start a to-do list
This list of the few things you should do when you first find out you are going to be a dad is pretty short in the scheme of things. There are plenty of things to do over the course of nine months.
Nine months will feel like forever for your wife for what her body is going through – but they will fly by too.
Start jotting down things on your list, it can even include some of the things I have discussed in this article.
For instance, if your house has stairs, add to your list, putting up gates, and baby-proofing the house.
Or if your dog is wild, add to your list dog training; by the way, here is an article on Pets and Your Baby: Prepping and the First Months.
One thing my wife did was put our list on Google Docs so we could both access it and edit it. It was a never-ending list, but we got through it. You will get through your list too! The things we did not get to were not significant.
This whole article was a massive dose of reality, I know. But having a baby is an amazing part of life. So take the time out to celebrate. It is excellent news, and the moments you will have with your child will more than makeup for the hard times.
So take your partner out and have a good time! In fact, try to do something fun together each trimester at the very least, you two need that bonding time for your relationship.
Once the baby is around, it stops being about you two, and everything is focused on the baby.
18. Get ready to share the news
It is a very personal moment when it comes to telling people you are expecting a baby. It is exciting and fun too, everyone loves finding out that someone is expecting.
You need to figure out how and when you want to tell people.
It will depend on your relationship with the person as to how soon to tell them.
Typically people like to wait until after the first trimester for a few different reasons. One reason is for health purposes, if your partner ends up having a miscarriage, it can be tough when you have already told everyone.
Delay sharing the news if you want time to get through the early part of her pregnancy with privacy. You may not want everyone trying to give you advice or judge what you are doing at every moment. Whatever your reason for not telling people, it is fine to wait.
Here is the order we announced our pregnancy to give you an idea:
Parents – immediately
Immediate family – after first OBGYN appointment
Very close friends – after first OBGYN appointment
Extended family – after the first trimester (announced it at Christmas)
Coworkers – during the second trimester
Neighbors – during the second trimester
Friends and acquaintances – during the second trimester
Clients – during the second trimester
One thing to think about is how you want to share the news.
Do you want just to tell them, or do you want to do something special?
There are plenty of exciting, unique ways to share the news. If you do end up doing something like that for your parents, just make sure to record it.
19. Survey your home or living situation
You need to provide your baby a home and a safe place to live. Take a look around at where you or your partner live and see if you need to make adjustments.
If you live in an apartment complex that is for bachelors, it may be time to start looking for a more family-friendly environment.
Or if your house is falling apart, you may need to start making repairs and fixing it up.
Another thing to think about for some guys is who you live with. If you do not live with your partner, start thinking if moving in together makes sense or not.
If this is a long-distance relationship, it is also an excellent time to figure out what to do about that. If you live with your parents, it may be time to move on.
If you have a roommate, it’s also time to think about them too. I am sure having a newborn was not a part of the roommate agreement. Nobody wants to be around a screaming baby all night either if they do not have to.
20. Get rest while you can
My final piece of advice for you is to get some rest now.
Enjoy your sleep and its majestic beauty while you can.
Enjoy being lazy and doing nothing.
Enjoy the silence. You do not know how fantastic sleep is until you lose it.
Having a kid is incredible, amazing, everything you could ever want, but alone time at home is gone forever.
Kids will wake you up, cry at the door when you are on the toilet, cry for the most random things, and you feel like you can’t even shower sometimes because something might happen to them.
When they are quiet, you freak out a bit and jump from the sofa to see if they are okay or to see what mischief they are causing.
It’s not just about rest, its about peace of mind. Even with a pregnant wife, it is hard, you worry about her and the baby nonstop too. All I can say is breath and enjoy the times when you know she is okay.
If you just found out you are going to be a dad, congrats! You are going to meet a whole new side of yourself that you never knew you had – if you dive into fatherhood will full force.
Change is inevitable, but preparation and having expectations will help soften the blow.
Now, everything you do is for your partner and your child. Yes, do things to help improve yourself, but also find the selfless part of you.
After you have your baby, no matter how much your baby consumes you, keep an eye on the health of your partner. It is easy to forget what her body just went through. If this was a typical surgery, you would be waiting on her hand and foot. Instead, she is going to dedicate all her strength to the baby rather than healing. You will feel the need to do the same and only focus on the baby.
Do not let that happen; take care of her too.
Remember, we live in different times from our dads and especially our grandfathers. When they became dads, it was expected for them not to be involved with their kids. Today, fathers pitch in as much as mothers and expectant dads do whatever it takes to take care of their pregnant partners.
Do not be pigeonholed by other people’s expectations or outdated sexist notions. Be the father YOU want to be. You can do it, and there are dads like me who are here for you when you need help.