A Man’s Guide to Pregnancy: How to Take Care of a Pregnant Wife

by Brett on March 13, 2011 · 125 comments

in Marriage, Relationships & Family

In today’s society, it’s easy to forget that there any major differences between the genders. Until your wife gets pregnant. Then the difference between the sexes will yawn like a great chasm before you. While your pregnant wife spends nine months growing a baby inside of her, you will be left to watch from the outside; after you’ve made your deposit, your role in the baby-making miracle is complete.

But while your biological contribution might be over, if you’re like me, you’ll still want to be part of the pregnancy process.

Being a pregnant wife is tough. Seeing what Kate went through to bring my progeny into the world certainly gave me a greater appreciation for her and for womankind in general. As a man I wanted to be there for Kate as much as possible while she cooked the Gus bun in her oven. I wanted her to be as happy and comfortable as possible, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help our little kiddo come out kicking and screaming like a champ.

A lot of guys find the pregnancy process a little bewildering. Not knowing what to do, they end up nervously backing away instead of stepping up the support when their women need them the most. So I decided to start a series for dads-to-be to discuss the ins and outs of this very cool but nerve-racking period in your life. Today, we’ll talk about how to take care of your pregnant wife . Then we’ll talk about how to get ready for the new arrival to come home, how to deliver a baby in an emegency (you never know!), and how to be an awesome coach during the birthing process.

How to Take Care of a Pregnant Wife

Respond appropriately to the news your wife is pregnant. If you weren’t planning on the arrival of a bundle of joy, make sure you don’t respond in a way that shows you’re not excited about the news. Inappropriate responses would include: breaking down and crying tears of agony, making a face of disgust, or asking why she wasn’t using her birth control. You want your wife to feel confident and secure that you’ll be there for her during these trying nine months and that you’re willing to step up and be a great dad.

Read some books on pregnancy. The more you know about what she’s going through, the better equipped you are to empathize and know how to help. There are hundreds of pregnancy books to choose from. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a classic and guides you through what your wife is experiencing during each step of her pregnancy. They have a section dedicated just to dads that has a lot of useful information. It also lays out the development of your baby throughout his/her incubation. I thought it was kind of fun to check the book to see when Gus lost his vestigial tail or his eyes moved from the sides of his head to the front where they belong.

Accompany her to doctor’s appointments. This serves three purposes. First and most importantly, it shows your pregnant wife that you’re with her all the way in the pregnancy. Second, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with her pregnancy and will be better prepared to help her.  Pay close attention to what the doctor says at these visits. A woman’s memory takes a dive during pregnancy and she may be nervous and excited, so your wife might rely on you to remind her about which cheeses she’s not supposed to eat. Finally, seeing your baby’s picture, even when it looks like an indistinguishable lump, and hearing its heartbeat will help create a fetus/father bond. Even if you’re really busy at work or school, always make time for the doctor’s appointments.

Reduce her stress. Pregnancy is physically and emotionally demanding, so don’t burden your  pregnant wife with any unneeded pressure. Take on more of the household chores so your wife can rest.

Help her get some ZZZs. Sleeping will become a more and more uncomfortable as your wife gets further along in her pregnancy.  When women sleep on their back, the baby’s weight puts pressure on their spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels. All this can lead to pain, decreased circulation, and consequently trouble falling asleep. On top of that, the baby could be using your wife’s uterus as a punching bag right around bedtime. Try falling asleep when you’re getting punched and kicked from the inside. (Gus was super-active at nighttime when he was in the womb. Which didn’t make Kate very happy.)

There are a few things you can do to help your pregnant wife get some shuteye.

  • Get your wife a full body pillow. Pregnant woman are supposed to sleep on their side instead of on their back or stomach. A full body pillow makes side sleeping a bit more comfortable by helping support the back and cradling your wife’s belly.
  • Backrubs right before bed.
  • Herbal tea that relaxes the mind and body.
  • Cuddling
  • Sexy time.

Be patient. Pregnancy totally wreaks havoc on your wife’s hormones. Some days she’ll feel fantastic, some days she’ll bite your head off as soon as you open your mouth, and some days she’ll break down and cry for no reason at all. Be patient and recognize that it’s the hormones. Also, be understanding when it comes to your love life. Your wife’s sex drive will be all over the place during her pregnancy: often plummeting in the first trimester, bouncing back in the second and falling again in the third. Patience, friend, patience.

Handling frequent peeing. Pregnant women pee frequently. Very frequently. I’m talking every 30 minutes they’re making a run for the bathroom. It’s kind of funny, but put yourself in your wife’s shoes, and you’ll see just how much of an inconvenience it is. Imagine having to get up three times during a movie or several times in the middle of the night just to take a leak. Two things you can do to help your wife out in this area:

First, be understanding and accommodating. Don’t roll your eyes or grumble under your breath when your wife asks you to pull over into a gas station so she can go to the bathroom.

Second, keep her path to the bathroom clear so she doesn’t trip over anything during her night trips. Installing a night light in the hallway can be really helpful as well.

Act like you’re pregnant. No, I don’t mean you need to put on one of those ridiculous bodysuits that let men know what it feels like to be pregnant. Nor am I encouraging wild mood swings and consuming ice cream sprinkled with pickle juice. What I’m talking about here is adding or dropping the same habits your wife has to add or drop because she’s pregnant. It’s a way to show moral support and to help her follow doctor’s orders as closely as she can. So when your wife has to give up alcohol and coffee, become a teetotaler too (or at least don’t imbibe in front of her). Exercise is incredibly beneficial to mom and baby to be, so help her get in the habit by offering to go for a walk or to the gym together.

Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. Your wife will be undergoing some serious body transformations during pregnancy. Reassure her that you think she’s beautiful and that you love her immensely. Affirm your unwavering dedication to her each and every day.

Help her through morning sickness. Morning sickness is quite possibly the worst part of pregnancy (well, besides that whole labor thing). It strikes about 75 percent of all pregnant women. Symptoms of morning sickness include headaches, excessive sleepiness and of course feelings of nausea and sometimes vomiting. Most women will start feeling the symptoms of morning sickness about a month after conception, and it will typically last until the twelfth to fourteenth week of pregnancy. Some women will experience morning sickness their entire pregnancy.

Despite its name, morning sickness doesn’t happen only in the morning. Most women experience the symptoms of morning sickness all day long. When helping her through this rocky period, the key is to keep experimenting with different remedies. Introduce new treatments each day to see which work for her and which don’t. Be willing to make many trips, sometimes late at night, in search of something else to ease her troubles. Here are a few remedies that might do the trick:

  • Vitamin B6 supplements. Studies have shown that vitamin B6 supplements can alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness.
  • Seasickness bracelets. Seasickness bracelets are elastic bands with plastic bumps that apply pressure to points on the wrist. Supposedly this pressure can reduce the feelings of nausea.
  • Ginger ale. The fizziness of ginger ale or any other clear soda can help with nausea. And ginger has been shown to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness. So ginger ale is a winning combo. Most popular brands of ginger ale don’t have any real ginger in them; look for smaller, independent brands that still use the real McCoy.
  • Crackers. The problem with morning sickness is that your wife will not feel like eating much, but an empty stomach will only make the feelings of nausea worse. Crackers are easy on the stomach and can stave off the nausea that starts in the morning. Have her eat some before she even gets out of bed.
  • Ginger or peppermint tea. As with ginger, peppermint has been shown to help reduce the feelings of nausea associated with morning sickness.
  • Be flexible. Some foods will be totally unappetizing to your wife one day, and the next it will be the only thing that appeals to her. Be flexible and give her whatever her stomach will keep down. Be willing to run out and buy whatever she craves.
  • Keep yourself clean. Pregnant women become hypersensitive to smells. Even scents she once enjoyed can now start her stomach churning. So brush your teeth and shower daily, or she may not be able to stand having you around.

Keep an open door policy for venting. Pregnacy, especially for first time moms, can be a little scary. Women wonder if the baby is doing okay, what labor will be like, whether they’ll have to have a c-section, and whether they’ll be good at being a mom. Be willing to let your wife vent or cry whenever they need to, even if it’s in the middle of the night. If there’s something specific that’s worrying your wife, do some research so you can confidently tell her, “Those pains you’re experiencing are normal and do not mean you will give birth to a two-headed hydra baby.”

A Man’s Guide to Pregnancy Series:
How to Take Care of a Pregnant Wife
How to Deliver a Baby in a Pinch
Getting Ready for the Baby Bomb
Your Progeny Enters the World

That’s all the advice I can think of. Now it’s your turn. All you dad’s out there, what advice do you have on taking care of a pregnant wife? Share with us in the comments.

{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Warren March 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

When my wife was pregnant with our second child, I was stunned how hypersensitive she became to my odor. We’re talking a cologne-free, no BO, average guy. I finally found a solution in going to the local sporting goods store’s hunting section, and scrubbing down with hunters’ scent-removal soap. Bizarrely enough, it actually worked.

2 KB March 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

- Shave her legs. It’s unbelievable how many brownie points this will earn. Double score for painting toes.

- Be ready for feast or famine. Those hormones work on the business as much as on the brain. Highs and lows, delights and desolation will ensue.

3 Jon March 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Must admit when I saw the title of this article show up in google reader I thought it “take care” was of a different context at first.

4 Kaz March 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

GREAT article! About the only thing I would add (sorry, I’m not a man, but I was just pregnant a little while ago :^)) is to bear in mind that more than just your wife’s tummy is going to swell, chances are her ankles and hands will too, and it can be quite difficult getting up and down, so don’t grumble if she asks you to fetch things for her more than she used to. If all the men treated their pregnant wives like this article prescribed, there would be a lot more happy marriages around. :^)

5 John March 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Not sure about the whole “let her vent” stuff. Too often “experts” are telling us that the path to bliss is to let a woman take her zig-zagging random course all over the map and for us to be enablers.

Hogwash.

Women (pregnant ones included) rely on men for stability. Stay the straight-forward tried and true STEADY course. Don’t let a few hormone tears or a harsh word dissuade you. Leadership is what she needs. Y’know, the “follow me” kind of leadership not the “do as I say not as I do” nonsense.

Because it will take her mind off it. it will. and instead of wimpering and simpering your way through it with her losing the slightest bit of respect for you along the way, she’ll still admire you when it’s all over with. Men see the end goal and stay on target. Women lose sight of the end goal and will be distracted by the emotion of the moment. that’s why we need each other.

help her stay the course, and you’ll both (well, all three, including the baby) be better off for it in the long run.

(Source – Proud father of 2 beautiful girls and one handsome as hell little boy)

6 Josh March 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

There are two things you should always do for a pregnant wife/significant other:
Anything and Everything.

7 Neca March 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

John;

Every woman and man is different, and so.are relationships. That may have worked for you, however you’re not the author of the article. Clearly, that worked for him.

My husband did let me whimper and whine through my pregnancy because I was frightened, and very unsure of everything. I never lost respect for him; he comforted me, and let me know that everything was going to be okay. If he didn’t let me vent about the pain, and stress, and just made me take my mind off of it, I would have been a stressed out emotional wreck; that would have taken a huge toll on my health, the baby’s, and our relationship.

I honestly can’t say that any women I know who have children or want children would want to stay with a guy who didn’t let them ‘vent’.

But we are all different. :)

8 Nik Rice March 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Great timing again, Brett!

Just found out last week that my wife is pregnant. Like Gus, this will be our first. I’ll be excited to read the next segments of this series.

9 Stephanie March 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Sounds like everything my husband did when I was pregnant. John, that might have worked in your marriage but I think my husband was rather of the opinion that I was the one doing the “heavy lifting” while he should run support. It’s really, really odd to know your body is performing an incredibly delicate, complex process and it’s physically and emotionally taxing. You feel vulnerable, incredibly so at times. It’s so important to be supported through the process. I get the point you’re making, but I don’t know that many pregnant women want to be led around and told to keep a stiff upper lip.

10 Stephanie March 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Also, I hope to see a balanced discussion of the pros and cons of having the man in the labor ward. Personally, I’m of the opinion it’s not the best idea. Maybe the delivery would be fine for most, but labors can be long, harsh, and horrific for the man to have to sit by and endure.

11 Matt March 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I agree with Neca, every woman is different. For me the worst part about my wife being pregnant was that critical time leading up to establishing that she really was pregnant. The hormones were out of control.

My advice on taking care of a pregnant wife? You are with her, and she is pregnant for a reason: because you love her and you’d be just another schmuck without her. The only thing that you need to do for the next 9 mos. is to make sure that the sun rises and sets by her every time you’re in the same room together.

12 AN March 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Great article, Mr. McKay. Even though I have quite a few years before I would be ready for a wife and child, I find this article uplifting and helpful. I definitely can empathize a bit more with expecting mothers, and with this knowledge, I would not be helpless. I look forward for the time when I could employ your tips. :)
Regarding advice, I would think it would be smart to ask the doctor about the teas and remedies before trying them out (especially since both mother and father would be at the appointments ;) ).
PS: How is your son doing, Mr. McKay?

13 Noah March 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

As far as books go, I think one that goes hand in hand with this site is Be Prepared by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden. The book is completely centered on explaining the first year of a baby’s development to fathers, and what their role in it is. It was the right combination of being incredibly informative and side-splittingly funny. It doesn’t necessarily give focus to the nine months leading up to that kid popping out, but true to its title, it leaves you PREPARED for the instant that baby arrives! Check it out: http://www.beprepared.net/

14 Doug March 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

Buy an old pickup with vinyl upholstery and a rubber floor mat. Clean up from morning sickness is much easier. One can take the truck to the car wash and hose it out. It also cleans the same way when a baby kills it’s diaper.
Seriously, be there for your wife during pregnancy and after. She will need your support and you will experience the time of your life watching your children grow. Children grow much too quickly.

15 ken March 14, 2011 at 12:34 am

Learn to give a good foot rubs and back rubs…
A card that says how much you love her once a month or so does wonders.

Also take the advice given to you by other people and use what is right for you.
Once everyone knows they will give you advice, most of it unwanted and unneeded.

16 Elle March 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

John, I found your comment ridiculous. Letting a woman vent (especially while pregnant) is not being an enabler, it’s called empathy. No amount of “leadership” is going to “take her mind of it”, and a man who won’t let his wife vent her fears, frustrations, concerns, sense of inadequacy, and bouts of depression to him will end up missing out on some of the greatest adventures into the female psyche, as well as possibly a wife who suffers silently and alone. When I was pregnant with my first, my hormones were so insane that I felt almost suicidal. Thank goodness my husband let me vent to him so that he could pray for me and be the friend that I needed. He did not “enable” my feelings, but he heard them and he encouraged me gently.

17 Colin March 14, 2011 at 2:24 am

Cuddles when required.

Help with everything that’s on the floor/ low down. I’ve found this included doing up shoes/ straps of sandles/ anything that belly destroys line-of-sight.

Ditto the heavy lifting. Ditto the expressions of love.

….three days to go until #1, so advise is fresh in the mind :)

18 Leo March 14, 2011 at 5:10 am

Lol @ “labors can be long, harsh, and horrific for the man to have to sit by and endure.”

Great article!

19 Renee March 14, 2011 at 6:16 am

Heya Brett!

I so appreciate you for writing this. I have not had a child yet, but I find it incredibly heartwarming and wonderful that there are men out there looking to help other men understand and contribute to a woman’s life, instead of the typical, value-sucking sites out there for men.

Truly appreciated, and it was a great article, even I learned something from it :)

Renee.

20 Kevin March 14, 2011 at 6:25 am

I can’t speak from experience, but this seems to be really solid advice. Real men want to take care of the Mrs when another addition (or may the first) to the family is coming.

21 Wil W March 14, 2011 at 7:24 am

While “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” is perhaps a good book for us husbands to read, I would suggest thinking twice about having your wife read it. It covers a ton of things that can go wrong; albeit unlikely. If your wife has an active imagination, it might not be the best help.

I would suggest perhaps a book like Sleepless in America (http://www.amazon.com/Sleepless-America-Child-Misbehaving-Missing/dp/0060736011?tag=browsetheriver-20) as something to help with the focus on the child and their needs after birth.

Finally, I suggest thinking about having the birth at home or in a birthing center. At very least check out the possible hospitals before you choose one (if you have a choice). All hospitals are not equal in their treatment of births. Making sure that you have one room for labor, birth, and recovery is particularly helpful. I guarantee that your wife will not want to be moving from room to room while going through the birth.

22 Texian March 14, 2011 at 7:53 am

In regards to the exercise. My first wife went to the gym regularly and without fail until 2 weeks before she delivered. She was back in the gym about 2 weeks after delivery. In about 2 months, you would not have known she was ever pregnant / just had a child.

She did mostly weight training, and all of that was adjusted (obviously) to the actual lifts she was able to do, eventually winding down to moderate rep, low weight, machine work.

However, be careful, as women are very prone to injury at this time. Hormones coursing through the body include those that “soften” the joints for eventual childbirth. It is easier for them to strain or over stress those joints.

23 Gamermomma March 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hello!

As a mom of 2 I wanted to give some advice…The What to Expect books are HORRIBLE. They should be called “What to be scared sh*tless of while you are expecting”. All they really did is increase our anxiety. A better book would be “The Expectant Father” (http://www.amazon.com/Expectant-Father-Advice-Dads-Be/dp/0789205386/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300111199&sr=8-1). I bought this for DH and I read it after WTE and let me tell you, it was much better. Like the WTE books, it went into detail about what was going on that month/trimester but also had hints for dad as well. DH really enjoyed the book too and he thanked me for getting it for him.

AS for anything else…support and listening is the key. During pregnancy there are always fears and insecurities and DH was always there to let me know it was ok what I was feeling and that everything was going to be ok. That meant more to me than anything…and now our kids are here and my body isn’t near like it used to be…he still lets me know that he thinks I am beautiful, in spite of the changes in my body.

24 Danny March 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

One thing to be prepared for is the “nesting” stage. As it gets closer to the little one’s arrival women often begin preparing by cleaning, organizing and buying all kinds of baby gadgets. My wife would randomly out of the blue have some chore for me to do like clean out the fireplace, or organize the storage room. Several times at 10 or 11 at night my wife would start pulling things out of a closet then expect me to get out of bed and help her organize. Be patient. she can’t help it. It is her motherly instinct kicking in. Help her where you can and if it is an unreasonable request like cleaning out the garage at one in the morning be kind, understanding and make a compromise. Although it may seem stupid to you it is very important to her.

25 Steve March 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

The best advice I ever got was as follows: Beginning right when you find out your wife is pregnant, start socking away $5, $10, $15, or $20 cash every week without fail. Save whatever you can comfortably afford and make sure it is cash, not some savings account. Don’t let your wife know about it. Then, two weeks after the birth, when she is most likely to be tired and depressed, hand her a huge wad of cash and send her out to buy new clothes or get a spa treatment. Give her strict instructions to spend it on herself and not on the baby. And be sure to watch the baby while she does it. You’ll never regret it.

26 bo March 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

Nesting is for real. It is crazy, but my wife definitely did it.

The SeaBands instantly helped with her morning sickness. Which started in the late afternoon and worsened until she went to sleep at night. Ok the next morning, then start over again that afternoon. Everybody’s different is right.

Also, they really like a “push present.” The idea about the wad of cash would work too; I’ll remember that down the line. The push present for my wife was a really nice ring. Gave it to her like a suprise after the baby was born and the nurses left us alone for a while and we had a few minutes of respite before people started showing up and checking in and such. I think it means more sentimentally than her wedding band.

Just a few thoughts. Great article.

27 EJ March 14, 2011 at 11:12 am

I have 3 kids of my own. Seeing my kids being born labor/delivery was the highlight of fatherhood for me so far. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Its a moment in my life I will remember forever. It somehow created a bond that when I see my children I remember that happy time when they came into this world. It also created a stronger bond between my wife and I. I also wouldn’t have wanted to leave my other half alone without support. She greatly appreciated me being there for her during the whole process each time from care at home, check ups, ultrasound, birthing, to staying overnight at the hospital sleeping in crappy chairs by her side. I guess I’m doing something right as we got married right out of high school in the 90′s and we’ve been together for 18 years now. Unless it’s just all those home cooked meals I get just keeps me coming back. Just kidding :) Very good article, there wasn’t much info except from a womans perspective when we had our children. Men didn’t matter and may still not to the system. I don’t know it things have changed in the last 8 years since I had my last child but the feminists really messed the system up by the time we had ours. The social workers and Hospital staff really upset my wife trying to push options like abortion when we arrived at the Hospital, that she could sue me for support, that she could put another persons name down for the child’s name, telling her constantly that anything in regards to the father doesn’t matter. They just refused to accept we were an old fashioned married couple. It was an experience that made what should have been our special time less enjoyable. I hope things have changed. I know my wife sure learned how to raise hell at people from the first experience, she did not approve of the disrespect towards fathers/husbands.

28 Austin L. Church March 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

My wife and I haven’t gotten to the real pregnancy yet, but we have been through the rigmarole of the home pregnancy test. Why didn’t my friends prepare me for this? I finally understand what the word “conniption” feels like. While she peed on an expensive plastic stick, I sat at the kitchen table and prayed: “If that test comes back positive, I guess that means You wanted this to happen. I guess we’ll just have to trust that You know what You’re doing. But please let it come back negative.” It came back negative.

But when it comes back positive, I’ll be rereading this post. In the meantime, I’ll be giving all my single and engaged friends the lowdown on home pregnancy tests: “Don’t worry. Most of the time, her friends got her all worked up for nothing. It’s probably just gas.”

29 MomOfFour March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

Some thoughts from a young mom of four: (We’re all so different, here are a few things that worked, didn’t work for me/us in regards to this article and the comments)
1. it was important for me to have my hubby at my doctors appts with baby #1. But some we had to wait a really long time. He had to work, I wanted him to work and keep his job and support our family. With baby #2, 3 and 4 I felt secure and comfortable enough to go alone(alone meaning not with hubby, but occasionally a couple of our kiddies tagged along).
2. I got really, really sick during 2 of my pregnancies. So sick I was constantly throwing up and nearly had to get an IV. With the other two,I threw up occasionally, but mostly fought with nausea and fatigue. My hubby took on all the household chores once he was home for work. It was a hard couple of months for us both. I would suggest that the couple be prepared before the baby is born. You never know if you’ll be deathly sick or not. It’d be wise to stock up on frozen meals. I also prepared my kids before hand by making sure the older ones(my oldest is 6 so not that old) knew how to help younger ones get dressed and get food. They’re all pretty independent children and they all did an amazing job.
3. It is very important to me that I have hubby there, at the hospital, during all my labor/deliveries. I want him to hold my hand during the pain, I don’t want to go through that alone. I want and need his support. Maybe some women don’t, but I’m not that kind of woman. I need him.
4. I loved the ‘tell her that’s she’s beautiful’ comment and agree completely. My hubby did a good job with this and I appreciated it very much.

30 Dan Bates March 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Great timing!!! Just found out yesterday that my fiance is pregnant! Thanks for the advice, keep it coming!

31 Josh March 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I am sure this will be covered in upcoming posts, but go to birthing classes! As much as we want to be Don Draper, as a man, we need to be in the delivery room. Mom’s and sisters are okay, but the daddy really is the most appropriate person in that setting. Go to classes, regardless of what they are and regardless of what insane videos you have to watch. My wife and I did Bradley, which is totally natural birth with no drugs. My wife labored for 16 hours unmedicated (talk about an Amazon woman), yet had to go to emergency c-section due to super weird positioning. This said, we delivered a healthy baby, but we were as prepared as possible – to my women, it meant the world that I was excited to learn and not scared s-less to be an active participant.

32 James March 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Brett,
Great article and certainly something I think is well needed in today’s world. As has been put out in articles before, we need to get away fom the “bumbling dad” stereotype and unfortunately, pregnancy and the delivery room is one place where that stereotype is most often presented. Gents, if ever there was a time to “Man up,” it’s when your lady is going through this amazing, terrifying, wonderful process.

EJ, i had a similar experience when our first daughter was born, not as extreme as yours, but I went away with the feeling that the hospital didn’t give two shakes if I was there. That said, our second child’s birth was completely the opposite, maybe because it was a military hospital.

Society as a whole still seems to be coming to grips with how to address active fathers during pregnancy and afterward. Take a look at an parenting mag, and if you are lucky, you’ll find 2 pages dedicated to fatherhood (usually with the headline “Fun things for dad to do when he babysits”). Remember Dads, you are a father, not a babysitter, and don’t let anyone make you feel any different

33 Brett McKay March 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

@Nik and Dan-

Congrats guys! Fatherhood is definitely tiring and sometimes frustrating, but it’s honestly even better than I thought it would be, and I had high hopes going in.

@AN-

Gus is doing well. He’s an awesome, happy kid and it’s amazing to watch how much they change every day.

@Josh-

I actually didn’t the birthing class we went to all that helpful. But Kate didn’t do a natural birth so they’re probably more important if you do.

34 Eric March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I did pretty well during my wife’s pregancy but the one area that I had real difficulties with was sex. We’d always had an active and passionate sex life prior to her pregnancy, and the things that happened to her body during her pregnancy just sort of threw me out of my game, sexually. I was not sexually attracted to her during much of this time, and I am a terrible actor, and it was very hard for both of us. To this day it is still a sensitive subject. (Our sex life rebounded like gangbusters post-pregnancy and has remained great over the years). I did think she was beautiful and I was in awe of what her body was doing, and I told her so often… but just was not ‘turned on’ by it, and was even sort of ‘turned off’.

I hear a lot of men talk up the virtues of pregnant sex. I don’t get it.
Have always wondered if many other men have had the same issue.

35 Dustin March 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Thanks Brett. My wife is 7-months pregnant with our first child. I can’t wait to read the rest of the posts in this series (& I hope that you get them in before our due date).

36 SuzRocks March 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I am saving this for my husband in a few years. I have a feeling he’ll need it.

37 Matthew Poertner March 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Great article and perfect timing. My wife is about 3 months pregnant with our fist (and probably only). She is getting the “Morning Sickness” pretty bad. She has a hard time keeping anything down and has had to have an emergency IV to get fluids a couple times now. I feel so helpless watching her be sick and knowing there is nothing I can do to alleviate her nausea. It’s so weird how nature chooses to make women so sick at a time when their developing baby needs nutrition the most. Looking forward to the rest of this series.

38 Ariel March 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

One of the best pieces of advice form AoM! Thank you!

39 jon March 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

@Stephanie: Have you had a baby? I don’t think I’ve run into a couple that didn’t want the dad in the delivery room in a long time (though I don’t go around asking everyone I meet…)

Like others have said in the comments – different women (and men) are different, but I’m having a hard time imagining why a woman wouldn’t want her husband helping her throughout labor. For my wife, she has said numerous times about how I knew more about what she wanted than the midwives did, so knew when things they were doing that were trying to be helpful were not, but she didn’t have the energy to tell them.

40 Rich March 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I will have to remember to reread this in 3-5 years. Great article.

41 Lucas March 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Help her put on and tie her shoes.

42 Greg March 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Good article, but I think it misses an important one….Keep your fears and apprehensions to yourself.

I think when a man finds out his wife is pregnant, he is naturally going to spend some time taking stock of himself and his life. It will probably not take long for you to realize that the rest of your life is not your own because your prime job has become to be a good example to your child. No matter what the circumstance, this will require that you make more of an effort than ever to be the best man you can possibly be. Likewise you will realize that nothing you have ever done compares to the gravity of this situation.

What kind of father will I be? Am I good enough to do this? Can we afford this? What is going to happen if I cant handle this?

These are all natural questions to ask and things that I think most men are apprehensive about. When you find yourself at this point, go to your wife, tell her you love her, ask how her day was, anything except whining about your fears and apprehensions. She has enough going on that you do not need to burden her with your emotional baggage. This is a time for stoicism, not touchy feely “share your feelings with your mate” garbage.

The up side is that this actually has the worlds biggest support group. Virtually any man with children will know exactly what you are talking about if you bring this up with them, and the vast majority will be sympathetic. Believe me, all of us men with children understand. You are full of self doubt and you are starting to wonder if your wife has gone completely insane. We have all been there and very few of us would deprive another man the opportunity to vent a little, be comforted, and know that he is not alone.

Just don’t bother your wife with it.

43 Suzanna March 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It really warms my heart to read this post and many of the comments here and be reminded that there are good, caring men out there. I think this is a great idea for a series.

44 Carter March 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

You continue to happily surprise with new and useful advice!

45 Dan S. March 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Don’t forget about diet. Those little munkies take nutrients from Momma while she’s cookin’ ‘em. I used to make my wife eggs every morning to increase her protein intake. The cooking method differed depending on what she could stomach (each pregnancy was different) but I made sure her protein intake was higher than normal. If your wife doesn’t care for eggs then try an egg, whey, or rice protein powder. I’d stay away from soy since I’ve heard it can mess with hormones. I grilled up salmon twice week because of the healthy oils but stay away from high mercury fish like tuna and mackerel. See a complete list here: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/fishmercury.htm. I also made her take a good, easily digestible multi-vitamin with folate. I say “made her take” when in reality you can’t make a woman do anything but she did because she knew I was trying to take care of her. Great article though. I’m glad you guys are helping men step up today since most men in this generation didn’t have father’s that could or would initiate them. Many marriages are in trouble because of that fact. Treat her like the irreplaceable princess she is (even if that’s not what you “feel” at the time) and she’ll make you feel like a king. Keep up the good work guys!

46 Winston Smith March 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

It disturbs me that a woman during pregnancy needs to be told she is beautiful. Not saying it is the womans fault but why at the anticipation of having a child does being physically attractive mean so much?

I am not saying I am unwilling to say it to her? Not saying I wouldn’t like telling her that either. Is society’s influence so powerful that during the miracle of pregnancy and seemingly the least selfish time in a woman’s life being good looking is still such an important attribute.

I may come across as a total jerk but I feel sorry that society puts this much pressure on women.

47 Sara Beth March 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Go get her what she wants to eat when she wants to eat it whenever possible! Don’t make excuses about it b/c she is carrying your child! I really did appreciate that from my husband when I was pregnant under 2 months ago!

48 CC Matthews March 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

This is great! Thanks Brett. The timing is perfect for this article as my husband and I had been discussing starting a family and agreed just last night to work on getting me pregnant. Getting this in my inbox this morning was like an affirmative sign that our efforts paid off ;)

49 Logan Parker March 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm

No experience on the pregnancy front, but I did get some good value out of this post, especially on how to show decent moral support to my woman when the time comes. Thanks AoM!

50 flitekiing March 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Listen, I love this website, but I am really disappointed there are so many “well adjusted” men reading this article and readily bending to preconceived social norms.

What are the chances of a baseball article showing up on the http://www.familycircle.com/ website and tons of female readers commenting on how much they loved it?

Maybe we could forgo the next installment and cover Highland Bird Hunting instead.

Seriously guys, have your Doctor order a “Total Testosterone” test and supplement as needed.

The article didn’t mention what is really lacking in this country, “Marry her, get a job, and save for college”

I know, I know, my wife says I am a dinosaur too. Although I’m sure you weren’t thinking “dinosaur”…

51 Theresa March 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

I am currently pregnant with my second child so I’d like to offer a woman’s perspective on a couple of these comments. (Thankfully my husband didn’t need this article to figure it out, but I’m glad it is here because many women are not blessed with a husband that does these things.)

First of all, please don’t try to “make” your wife eat or take anything. There is nothing more frustrating than to have an overly helpful husband forcing food on you and telling you that you “must” or “must not” eat when all you want to do is throw up or you have a nasty case of heartburn. Instead offer to make your wife a healthy snack, ask her if she wants a refill on her drink and be able to make a decent dinner appear if she’s feeling too tired or sick to do it herself. If you notice she’s having a hard time remembering her vitamins then ASK her if she wants help remembering (she might not be taking them because they are making her ill). And do tell her she’s beautiful. If she’s always been slender she will weigh more than she ever has before. In the early parts of pregnancy she won’t look obviously pregnant, just fat and bloated. On top of this the hormones give many women acne which they haven’t had to contend with since high school and the hormones can make them sensitive about the fact that they no longer look like the fox you married. Many of us women like to look good for our men, when we feel like we are falling down in this a simple, honest compliment is great.

Bottom line is remember that your wife is strong, smart and capable, but also remember that even when she is sitting on the couch she is working very hard to create a person. Treat her like the strong woman she is, but be there for her when her strength is not enough.

52 Stanley smith March 15, 2011 at 1:10 am

Wow I have read this article and it has Given me some pointers about the whole term of my significant other being pregnant with our soon to be baby. I wanna do what ever I can do to help her be as comfortable as possible and be there for her in any way I can be. So any advice you can give me will be very much appreciated. This is my first baby so I need all of the help I can get. Thanks to all!!!!

53 Insomniac March 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

Anybody have any idea what the heck flightkiing is talking about? Seriously OT in any event.

Pregnant women can indeed be a roller coaster ride. They can go from happy, glowing, and at times voraciously libidinous, to sad, tearful, and telling you how fat and ugly they feel. How you handle this depends greatly on your wife’s personality and your relationship with her – and whether it’s effective can vary from situation to situation. Being the shoulder to cry on may be helpful at certain times, but not as much at other times. Humor might be the thing sometimes, but not others. So, if you want to support your pregnant wife, but stay sane in the process, you have to be extremely flexible and expect the unexpected.

54 Insomniac March 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

44 Sara Beth March 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm
Go get her what she wants to eat when she wants to eat it whenever possible! Don’t make excuses about it b/c she is carrying your child!

In the words of Bill Lumbergh, ummm, yeah, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you on that. Excessive and/or overly-rapid weight gain during pregnancy isn’t healthy, and can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes. There may be all kinds of cravings, but my understanding of the science is that the additional caloric intake that’s needed for a healthy pregnancy is relatively low. Occasional indulgence is probably OK, but you should make sure to talk to your OB doc about healthy weight gain.

55 Jim March 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

Great Article. You are spot on, particulary with the back rubs (and foot rubs can relax her immensely if shes not too ticklish). My wife still likes me to rub her back and or stomach muscles which still get sore during her cycle.

Remember pregnant women can get super emotional and a little crazy, but thats ok and you have to see them through it all. They always appreciate the attention and it makes them feel very secure once the hormones wear off (somtimes during if they are on the manic side of the swing, lol).

56 Chris R March 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

This is Great! My wife is 12 weeks pregnant with our first child, and I am so excited! Keep these coming, because I am lost out here.

57 Jon Odom March 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

Really appreciate this series, Brett. My wife is due with our #1 this October– your article couldn’t have come at a better time. Keep it coming.

Jon

58 DeliBoy March 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

Brett, great subject and article. Wish I could have read it 5 years ago. I knew this article was going to be coming when you announced the Gus’s birth! Here’s my comments, vetted by my wife:

It’s time to admit that you have a major life change coming up, and unlike your student loans, it won’t be delayed.. If you’re reading the Art of Manliness, you’re already ahead of the game. There’s a lot of rich material here to help you in the skill of Manning Up to the responsibilities that’ll be coming your way soon.

Your woman is going to be going through her own physical and emotional turbulence. One thing she’ll be seeking is security, and the job is primarily yours. My wife and I have four children, and only the first one was planned. As far as I’m concerned, though, it doesn’t make a difference – I let her know frequently and in many different ways that I’m not going anywhere, our children will be provided for, and that I’ll be there for her.

Life Insurance – If you don’t currently own life insurance now is the time to obtain some. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper it will be – so purchase it as soon as your budget allows. It will bring your woman peace of mind to know that her and the kid won’t wind up as a tragic story out of Dickens.

Advanced Directive – Have a serious discussion ahead of time about what sort of medical care she would want if she were unable to decide for herself. The forms are available at your local library or post office. If you complete them together, it won’t seem as morbid.

Getaway – Go on vacation, now, if only for a quick weekend in a B&B. The ability to be spontaneous and romantic is going to be severely curtailed soon. Get away and enjoy each other.

Enjoy Taking Care of Your Woman – Think of this as a trial run of being a provider. Think beyond your own needs, and place yourself in the shoes of your wife. Part of this means thinking one step ahead of her. Move around the heavy stuff that she normally does – laundry, furniture, gun safes, etc. Do the things that make her happy, and you’ll be happy.

Enjoy her Body – By God, my wife is beautiful when pregnant. I feel extremely sad for any woman whose man doesn’t feel the same way. Please – appreciate her new form while you can: you never know if she’ll be pregnant again (Don’t tell her that last part). Enjoy her body in every physical way, but also find a way to capture her beauty in pictures. This was difficult for me, since my wife hates pictures of herself, so you must be persistent. This would also be a good time to reassure her that you are not going to pressure her to ‘lose the baby weight’ or really have any expectations about her body afterward.

Be Aware of Influences – Every woman has heard stories of horrible deliveries, boyfriends/fiancés/husbands who walk out on pregnant women, husbands dying, etc. While you cannot totally eliminate the late – night fears that arise out of them, you can help by understanding and NOT dismissing them as silly. This is the classic technique of not attempting to be a problem-solver (a habitual man trait), but by being empathetic.

Be Her Advocate – Her pregnancy is probably going to be the most dramatic and uncomfortable body changes that she’d gone through, filled with nausea and discomfort, all cumulating in hours (or days!) of medical procedures that are painful, invasive, and panic inducing. Your next few months are going to be filled with many medical decisions. The role of being her advocate is most acute during labor and delivery, but there are major decisions that you’ll both be making along the way, such as amniocentesis testing, gender determination, OB/GYN choice, hospital choice, and more. Whose side should you take when a doctor, nurse, or anesthesiologist gets in an argument with your woman? The answer, typically, is HERS. Don’t argue against her and take someone else’s side. Remember, the medical professionals that you encounter work for her (and you to a much lesser extent). They are paid to deal with patients and will eventually forget you both. Indeed, 20 years from now, her attending doctor will be retired, but you’ll still be the guy that sided with him when he wanted to cut back on the good painkillers, and she felt she still needed them. This also applies to family – hers and yours.

Time Off – Plan ahead now in case your wife ends up with a c-section or is going to be incapacitated for longer then usual. If you can save up some vacation days for that time, great. Plan on two weeks minimum if she does have surgery.

Sleep Schedules – Discuss ahead of time how you are going to handle the midnight feedings. If you both agree to a plan, it is less likely that resentment will build at a time you are both sleep deprived. Figure out which hours are for sleeping and which hours you are on duty. Then go out and buy some earplugs. Use them during your sleep time so that the night rustlings don’t wake you.

Your Sex Lives – If this is your first child, you won’t have a clue how postpartum lovemaking will go, however it is good to have a few discussions on what you think each of your needs will be, and how to meet them.

Feeling Special – Buy a few special items for her to take to the hospital and sneak them into her bag. I bought my wife some expensive soap and shampoo that she loves. She was able to use it for her first shower after the delivery. We don’t believe in push presents but I did give her a new wedding band at the birth of our 3rd. It was our five year anniversary.

Go Easy on the Diet – There’s a lot of alarmist information out there about what a pregnant woman shouldn’t eat or drink, or what medicines they shouldn’t take. Before you start trying to restrict what she’s allowed to consume, get the full facts. For one, women who want to drink a single glass of wine in the final trimester are fine to do so; the research is out there. My wife could have also not have survived without pseudoephedrine, which the OB/GYN had no problems with.

59 John March 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Be prepared if things go wrong. I won’t bore you with details. but life can throw plenty of surprises at future moms and dads…

60 Justin Powers March 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Very timely article, Brett. My wife is pregnant with our first child right now, and it is super exciting. One thing that has been hard for her to understand is that I think she is more beautiful now (as a pregnant woman carrying our son) than she has ever been. It is the most feminine and womanly that a woman can be.

61 Esquire March 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm

What a load of crap! Come on! I really enjoy this site but this is the most ridiculous gynocentric BS I’ve seen in ages.

Following this list will be a good way to give your BabyMama an absurd sense of entitlement that she will get used to and ruin your life with till she shrews you into the ground. Oh, and she’ll secretly have contempt for you too, just the role model you want for your future kid.

Be a good guy, cater to her legitimate (ie physical) needs that are the invitable by-product of being knocked up with your (knock on wood!) seed. Do not be a pussy like you are being told to here. It’s really important.

Be a MAN! Don’t let her rule the roost especially when she’s knocked up. Life is going to be difficult for you both, for a while, when the little one arrives, and you will have created a female entitlement monster here, the worst possible preparation for what’s coming.

Do NOT put her on a pedestal, guys, treat her like your wife, not a princess. Otherwise you will wind up in beta-chump misery, at best, or alone and divorced at worst, seeing your kind on weekends.

62 J. March 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Thank you Gentlemen

63 Jake Abbott March 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Something that should be added on your respond appropriately heading is to buy your wife flowers the day you find out she is pregnant. I am 0 for 4 on this one, and I don’t think I will ever make it up her!

64 Dan March 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

I like this article, completely new topic to this site.

The photo illustration though – that dad is ripped but why is he shirtless wearing khakis?

65 Dan March 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

I like this new topic here. Will be useful in a bit.
The photo illustration – the dad is ripped but why is he shirtless and in khakis? The ’50s were different.

66 DeliBoy March 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

Esquire – a few questions:

Would you agree or disagree that women have emotional needs?

Would you agree or disagree that, in a relationship, one should put their partner’s needs over their own?

How important is a man’s pride, and what bearing does it have in a relationship?

If you impregnate a woman, what are your duties? You mentioned taking care of physical needs, is there anything else?

Finally, you say not become a pussy, like this article suggests, and that “It’s really important.” Can you tell us to whom it’s important, and why?

67 His Wife March 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Agree with Theresa, comment #51. Don’t force food on your wife. Yes, she should be eating healthy, but don’t shove things “because they’re good for her” down her throat. It’s tough to munch carrot sticks while watching your husband eat the bag of chips you’ve tried to avoid all day.

Brett, maybe you’ll cover this in the next parts of this series, but I’ll say it here: Continue supporting your wife after the pregnancy. Having a baby is a big life change for you both. Just because you’re not the one primarily responsible for the baby doesn’t mean you can still do what you want, when you want.

68 anna March 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Hey great article!

Just wanted to tell you that protein is also a HUGE help with morning sickness for most women. We need about 80g of protein a day when we’re growin’ a baby. You might want to add that to your list so that husbands can be aware too. We’ve found protein shakes and bars to be helpful.

69 Erica March 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm

DeliBoy is spot on my friends.

oh and Esquire.

70 Jon March 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I can’t overemphasize the following. Sign up for and attend child care classes with her at whatever hospital you intend to deliver at. Not only are you likely to learn some very useful things such as baby cpr, what to do when an infant is choking, soothing techniques, etc, but these classes also help women to feel like they have a little more understanding and control over a situation which may be incredibly frightening to them. And frankly it will help you feel like you have more control too. As much as I hated the idea of giving up hours each weekend for 3 weeks when it first came up, I am glad that we went.

71 Laura March 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Erica: please don’t pay any attention to Esquire, the mother of his children is/will be a VERY LUCKY woman (not really)

72 Esquire March 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

@ DeliBoy (btw why not DeliMan? oh, I can see why)

Would you agree or disagree that women have emotional needs?
- Of course, so do men.

Would you agree or disagree that, in a relationship, one should put their partner’s needs over their own?
- It’s about compromise. Putting the woman’s needs over then man’s, consistently, produces an entitlement princess who will quickly loathe the man for being a beta pussy. In the long run, it has to be equitable.

How important is a man’s pride, and what bearing does it have in a relationship?
- Hugely important. And no faster way to lose any self-esteem than to be the beta pussy who’s controlled emotionally by a harridan of a woman. A man without pride and self-respect is hardly a man at all. And a lot of women like it that way, at least for a while; as stated, they actually hate men they control, and eventually leave (or make life unbearable so he leaves).

If you impregnate a woman, what are your duties? You mentioned taking care of physical needs, is there anything else?
- Let’s see … I call that woman my wife: she gets roof, room, board, etc … you know: “marriage.” She stays at home with our wonderful children, we like the deal. Her needs – emotional, economic, spiritual, sexual – are getting met just fine, as are mine. And she’s the first one to admit that she respects me as a man, which I value highly, precisely because I treat her kindly yet firmly, and she is treated like an adult, not a little princess on a pedestal.

Finally, you say not become a pussy, like this article suggests, and that “It’s really important.” Can you tell us to whom it’s important, and why?

- Because if you allow yourself to become a pathetic beta pussy (which puts you in the company of far too many American men in the 21st century) she will despise you, I promise you, and she will treat you poorly, perhaps cheat on you, maybe even up and leave for a real man. Which you will know you are not. Not a happy ending.

This is a fun website but, as with this post, it emphasizes the externals, not the inner realities, of manliness. I hope readers realize what total pussies our grandfathers would think most men today actually are. Be like grandad, accept women as they are, treat them as granddad did, and be a MAN.

@ Laura: Actually my wife thinks she’s pretty lucky. She’s married to a very handsome, quite successful, highly educated and hard-working professional, a real man’s man (not as in go-to-the-gym but a decorated combat veteran) who is traditional and attentive to her needs as in days of old, when men were men and women were women. She gets a nice house and lovely kids out of the deal, plus we enjoy each other’s company immensely. We share core values across the board and are very compatible emotionally, spiritually, and sexually … We have our ups and downs – it’s called life – but never fight for long and never go to bed angry, per the (valid) cliche. She ain’t left yet, and neither have I.

73 KierO March 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

My fiancé’ is only three and half weeks away from giving birth to our first child. For her it has been one of the most stressful and physically exhausting times of her life.

She suffered with Hyperemesis Gravidarum – Morning sickness that is severe, unyielding, can last the whole pregnancy and can in rare cases be dangerous.

At one point she was dangerously dehydrated, she couldn’t keep fluids down, let alone food and when taken into hospital she was two steps away from coma, confusion and dizziness frequent at this point.

Yes it has been one hell of a roller coaster, but the above advice is basically right. Care for her, take some of the slack, be understanding, be forceful when you have to but understanding the rest of the time.

Biggest bit of advice: Bit your lip and think before you speak. A lot of what she will say, do or complain about may sound like she is having a dig at your but TRUST ME she isn’t. Women are wired that when they are pregnant almost everything becomes a secondary priority, caring for the unborn is top of the pops.

If you are a good man, then you will treat her right and find your way through it. I have.

74 hello March 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Interesting that most critics of this article seem to view the treatment of their spouse as a power issue & considerate treatment being a relinquishment of power.

75 Prize March 19, 2011 at 2:32 am

I fail to see how showing kindness, compassion, or thoughtfulness to anyone diminishes your manhood. Some people sure have a skewed vision of masculinity. It’s not about asserting yourself because you can. It’s about leading through service. Use the strength you’ve been given for others. If you do that, you won’t have to prove your manliness to anyone. It also won’t be so important to you that everyone else know how manly you are.
Esquire- I don’t know what kind of women you’ve been exposed to if you think that thoughtfulness=doormat, but I would guess that they are not the kind of women most men here are discussing. Show some respect.

76 Andy G. March 19, 2011 at 2:54 am

No use arguing with losers like Esquire who are into “The Game.” They pick the wrong women and are bitter about it. I treated my wife just like the article outlined when she was pregnant and she never developed a sense of entitlement or a princess-complex. It must be pretty damn awful to be married to a woman who would, to a woman you would have to spend so much time thinking about female psychology to have a relationship with. Yeesh.

77 Don March 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Second what, Andy G. says. Don’t argue with Game-tards. They’re the male version of crazy, angry feminists. Time would be better spent arguing with a wall.

78 Blackman March 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Esquire’s delivery of his words may need work but the message is true. Just like money, looks, and ambition of a man effect his overall desirability. My friend treated his woman like how this guide outlines during her pregnancy . He now wonders if they will last. Before he fell in love with this woman , he was a jerk ( played the game) but was happy. The women he went with respected him because they could not dominate him. Using his heart instead of his brain is costing him his happiness and a child may suffer from the broken relationship. Being gentle yet firm is different from being soft. Women will simply not respect (love) a servant/boy/chump.

79 Greg March 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

Blackman, she did not lose respect for him because she used his heart instead of his brain. She lost respect for him because she actually got to KNOW him…a process that takes time. Eventually she realized he was a jerk playing nice.

I have been married for quite a while. I have watched people around me marry and divorce, date, break up, date again, get engaged, break off the engagement, on and on. It occurs to me that a lot of people have trouble with the marriage thing because they are just plain doing it wrong.

A marriage is a partnership. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Sometimes you carry your partner, sometimes they carry you (and all of you who just puffed up and went “SHE NEVER CARRIES ME” are so used to being carried that you don’t know anything else). Your marriage partner should always have you back, not matter what, even when you are wrong. They should not hesitate to step up and support you when you are weak and cant stand on your own, and they should never feel bad about you having to step up and do the same for them.

You push them when they need to be pushed, coddle them when they need to be coddled, but above all be MAN ENOUGH to put the needs and happiness of your wife and your family before your own. If you wife is actually a good match for you, she is probably trying to do the same.

I think the author of the article, and most of the people in the comments section, discuss this in context of pregnancy because when a woman is pregnant her needs change dramatically and do it quickly enough that even a good man, one who is always willing to sacrifice for his family, can end up way behind the game by the time they figure out what those needs are. If your wife does not respect you for shouldering the extra load when she needs it, you are married to the wrong woman anyway.

80 Jason Chamberlain March 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I used to teach a class called “Boot Camp for New Dads,” which is very much in line with what AoM is about. It is a class just for men and we talk about pregnancy and early fatherhood from dad’s perspective. The best part is that the class has veterans who bring in their 6 week-old kids to show off. Everyone gets to hold a baby, and for many it is their first time.

If your wife is pregnant I cannot recommend the class highly enough. It is not available everywhere in the country, but if you can take it do so.

81 Kathryn March 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

@Esquire – Admittedly, I don’t really understand what “Don’t let her rule the roost” means, however, when you say “she’ll secretly have contempt for you too”, as a woman, I disagree. If I see a man putting my needs as a pregnant woman before his own, my love and respect for him will grow, not diminish.

@Blackman – “Being gentle yet firm is different from being soft.” Agreed. However, “Being gentle yet firm” sounds more like the role of a father, not the role of a husband.

Men who are soft on the outside, but hard and stable on the inside (like a peach), are real men, unwavering and strong at the core of their being. Men who are the opposite, who are like watermelons (hard on the outside but soft and squishy on the inside)… they are not men. They are children.

82 Ancelyn March 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

Esquire,
I am sure that you feel you are being somewhat attacked for stating your opinion, and there is a good reason for that. You are being attacked, at least in a mild fashion. But there is also a reason for that. Most the people on this site recognize that if you really believe the things you are saying, those beliefs can (and usually do) lead to some very bad results. Not usually for you and perhaps not even for your wife, but for those that are the most vulnerable and for whom the damage is most long lasting. You see, I have a very unique perspective on such situations and I can see where things are probably heading in your particular situation. And I feel I should at least try to say something to alter the course of the oncoming train wreck, even though I am also pretty sure you will not listen. You see, you sound VERY much like a man I knew. Let me tell you about my father.
My father met and married my mother in another state than the one we lived in
while he was there to find employment. Yet after marrying her, he moved her away from her family and friends (i.e. support system to the psychoanalytical types) and moved her to this state among HIS family and friends–even though there was little work in his trade here. I dare say it would not take a PhD. to realize why he did this, since it was actually detrimental to the welfare of the two young children he already had when they married.
Now by your comment “she gets roof, room, board, etc … you know: “marriage.” I get the feeling that you share my father’s view of marriage that the house was his and he “allowed” her to live in it, rather than it being equally hers. I mean it should have been just as much hers in his mind, he stood there and watched her participate in BUILDING the freaking thing. Never mind that she literally broke her back trying to care for their home. He continued that attitude his entire life, the end result of which is that the house I grew up in never felt like home to me. It was just “the house”, not home.
Because he wanted to know where she was at all times (and I’m sure because it gave him even more power in the relationship) he did the best he could to keep her from getting a driver’s license for this state by letting the insurance lapse every time she got a learners permit (and I do mean EVERY time) and then when my state passed a law that all motorist had to have insurance, he managed to find a policy that only covered the car if HE was driving. Because he knew she was not stupid enough drive around in an uninsured vehicle as an unlicensed driver. Even though this too was detrimental to his children because she had no way of getting us to the hospital or doctor unless the situation was severe enough to call an ambulance. (By the way, he tried to pull the same crap on me but by that time I had people in my life that knew what he was up to and let me use their vehicles to practice on.)
And God forbid he ever listen to her advice about anything. There are two stellar occasions that stick out vividly. One where if he had listened to her, he would almost certainly have become wealthy or at least very well off. And another when he was considering going into business with a man she told him she did not trust. Of course he couldn’t listen. After all, the information came from HER. The local business that she asked him to invest in (IPO of $1 a share) was very, very successful for many years and then merged with a national chain which is still extremely successful to this day. The man she didn’t trust robbed him blind.
My father was man without much sense of balance or perspective, I guess you could say. Or at least that is the most charitable explanation I can come up with for why he expected you to be able to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it done without much regard to what should actually be physically expected from a child. Thanks to lugging around crap that was too heavy to expect from a child of my size OR gender my back will never be right or anything other than painful. He also believed the solution to any problem with a child was physical punishment (also delivered without much consideration to the size, age or health of the child and since he was 6’3″ and over 300lbs, a lot of which was muscle, you can see where that might be something of a difficulty). He would often not tell you what he thought you had done wrong first, it was not uncommon for him to simply walk up behind you and hit you with no warning. As I result, I don’t deal well with people being behind me. Anyone trying to hit me from behind is likely to find it was one of their worst ideas ever. When I was nine, a boy came up behind me and tried to hit me. I gave him a straight punch to the ribs that knocked him all the way down a flight of stairs. Thank God there was someone there to catch him at the bottom or I don’t know what would have happened when he hit the concrete.
If you have been paying attention then you will not be surprised to hear that one of my father’s big points was that he wanted to be “respected”. In fact that was one of the more frequent factors involved the smack up the back of the head. That you weren’t being “respectful” enough. And again if you have been paying attention, it will not surprise you that, in fact, he didn’t really want to be respected. I’m not even sure he understood what real respect is. My father spoke of respect and fear almost as synonyms. What he really wanted was for all his children to be afraid enough of him to kiss his ass constantly. That was his definition of respect.
I could tell you many more things about my father, but I hope at this juncture I will have made my point sufficiently that it won’t be necessary. Because if at this point you can’t see a similarity been the man who said “Putting the woman’s needs over then man’s, consistently, produces an entitlement princess who will quickly loathe the man for being a beta pussy” when someone was simply saying to be extra considerate of your wife when she is pregnant and the one who told my brother “You’re going to spoil that woman until there is no living with her” when my brother simply bought a nice stereo for his wife AND himself, then you will never get the point.
So if what you want to achieve at the end of your life is a wife that even though she loves you has to admit you have been much more of a burden than a blessing then you are definitely on the right track. If you want your children to (at least in my case) have a grudging love for you simply because you are their father and they aren’t emotionally evolved enough for that not to make a difference you are right on schedule. If you want your family’s most lasting memories about you to be of your pathetic insecurities and petty power plays, you are doing wonderfully.
I hope this helps.

83 Ben Olson March 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Esquire, on the whole, I side firmly with you. However, what you appear to propose in absolute terms (e.g., women’s nature) I accept in more relative terms (e.g., nature interacting with some really awful social conditioning). In other words, I believe there is a minority of women with whom one can safely apply Brett’s guidance – his guidance being excellent in an ideal world – such that the relationship grows, deepens, and improves as a result. These are good women, all things considered, who will not take advantage of their husband’s goodness. This is admittedly a very small group of women, but I have met some, so I must believe more exist. They are probably 1 in 1,000 or less.

On the other hand, I caution all men against applying Brett’s advice wholesale to any of the remaining 999 women. It is indeed a recipe for creating a harridan. You will not find you and your wife are getting closer; you will not find your bond solidifying; you will not hear her express appreciation or gratitude for your effort to smooth, as much as you are able, the challenging path she must travel during pregnancy. You will find, rather, your wife mistreating you, disrespecting you, and possibly abusing you. And if you don’t see it coming, you’ll be shocked and confused when it happens. This is the contempt about which Esquire was speaking, and it absolutely is the reality. (YMMV.) Most men take for granted that it is acceptable for women to treat them this way. Are you one of them?

84 Brett McKay March 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm

With Brad, we finally have a semi-reasonable comment on the debate, although I would quibble with his ratios. I can only write from my personal experience, and in my experience, treating my wife like the article outlines produced not even a whiff of entitlement. Instead, it engendered more gratitude and good treatement for me. That’s how our relationship works; I treat her extremely well, she treats me extremely well, and the better we treat each other, the even better we want to treat each other!

This is why I find sweeping generalizations from folks like Esquire both silly and cynical. There are surely women out there who would get a sense of entitlement, but it certainly isn’t true across the board, and I have to question what a man is doing in a relationship with that kind of women. Yes I write about an ideal world, but doesn’t everyone want an ideal relationship? And why would you settle for less? It is hard for me to imagine what a relationship would be like with a woman who you couldn’t treat well because she’d get a big head about it. Sounds like a recipe for hard work and unhappiness.

Anyway, the topic of this post is the specifics of how to treat your wife well when she’s pregnant. If you have a comment on that topic, go ahead. But this threadjack will not be continued and comments on it will henceforth be deleted.

85 Johann March 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Good advice, but just one word of warning. Be careful with ginger ale and especially ginger tea. Ginger is an herb traditionally used to cause a miscarriage. The tiny amount in ginger ale probably won’t hurt, but teas can be strong. When in doubt err on the side of caution or consult a doctor.

86 Annie March 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Guys, all of Brett’s aricle is full of great and helpful info. But having heard this from quite a number of female relatives, I think we should include a word of warning so that you don’t end up feeling like “I’v done everything I can to make this easier and THIS is the thanks I get?” when your ladies actually get down to the business of giving birth.

When a women is in labor, especially a long and extra painful one (my brother was my mother’s first baby and took an excruciating 3 days of labor to arrive), things can come out of her mouth that you may have never heard in your life. Some of it may even be directed at YOU! And not only that, but some women (my relatives included) have been known to inflict pain on anyone that happens to be in reach–preferably a male someone (does not even have to be the hubby). Just remember guys–SHE DOESN’T MEAN IT. It is just that it hurts so flipping MUCH ( you try pushing something the size of a watermelon out of YOUR behind and see) and suddenly she looks over at you and it occures to her that she has spent 9 months undergoing all the ailments and conditions that Brett mentioned plus murderously bad hemeroids for some women and she realizes that you are about to experience the same baby/parent moment that she is and is outraged that you didn’t have to barf daily for 3 months, have a 15-20lb weight pressing against your lungs and stomach, have your bladder used as a punching bag/football or risk your life to give birth. And if you think that is overly dramatic, you should know that most of what I have read on the subject states that 1 out of 10 women experience life threatening conditions or disorders during pregnancy and child birth.

But in almost all cases, the minute the baby is born, she is reminded that YOU helped her make this marvelous little person, and if you are following Brett’s advice that you were so wonderful during the entire construction period. So don’t take the “You miserable S.O.B” remarks to heart!

Good luck guys, you’ll need it.

87 Adrian April 4, 2011 at 5:49 am

Yea, when my girl was pregnant… God what a roller coaster. She’ll be pissed at you while you sleep and be stomping around angry, and screaming at you and you don’t even know whats going on.

Glad I wasn’t the only one.

88 Lea April 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I am in my 9th month of my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy was a horrible experience. I was with someone who was not very pleasant and i will leave it at that. But I got my daughter out of it and that makes it so worth it. Now in my second pregnancy with a wonderful man who made me realize what a wonderful thing pregnancy can be. When my back hurts he rubs it. He encouraged me to talk to my doctor about the horrible back pain I was having and because of this my doctor sent me to physical therapy and we found out my hips and pelvis were displaced. I learned exercises and was given a maternity brace and the crippling back pain I thought was inevitable has been relieved to great extent. In the end having him validate how I feel. Not assuming I am just exaggerating the pain or discomfort but listening to what I say and being my advocate, making me speak up when I am at the doctors office and I suddenly decide I don’t wanna be a complainer. I agree with a previous poster who stated to always side with your woman when it comes to the doctors and nurses it can be very intimidating and I have found that sometimes they tend to think that the woman is overreacting but many times once they are forced to do what the woman is asking it turns out to be the right course of action. No matter what in the end she knows her body more than anyone and if she thinks something is wrong you need to be the one who isn’t afraid of being rude to get the results you want. Even if it does end up being nothing wouldn’t you love to have the story of how you were your wife’s knight in shining armor who stood up to the big bad maternity nurse?

89 Sara November 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Esquire, I actually almost vomited with laughter from reading your posts.
We always laugh about the good ‘strong hearted’ American, thankfully I’ve never met one of these, I dunno what to call it, self-righteous, egotistical types. And I’m quite glad, most of the Americans I’ve met have been more than lovely.
But if you think, than in ten, thirty or more years you and your wife are going to be happily married, with THAT attitude. Oh my God, I just can’t help but laugh. Poor you. I suppose you’ll learn eventually. I hope your learning journey isn’t too difficult. And I hope your partner doesn’t have to have all of her children with you. x

90 AJ Muller November 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

My fiancé and I just found out today that we are pregnant. I am extremely excited and unbelievably happy. She is to, well when she can get past the morning sickness, but she can’t help but to scared and worried. Im sure all of that is very common. I just don’t know how to help her. Is there any books in specific that i can pick up? Any specific things i can say to calm her? I have so many questions. And I’m sure there are many more that i can’t think of, is there any questions in specific that i should be asking?

help me,
concerned, father-to-be

91 Janey November 17, 2012 at 4:34 am

Thank you so much for this article! My man does a decent amount of these already but if he did most/all of them without me having to beg I would feel more like treating him like a god! Lol Most women love to reciprocate- at least I do, so when a man steps up and acts like a strong supportive man (not wimping out and avoiding listening to/helping his sig. other)—it does wonders and it’s really a win win! :D If they don’t then everybody loses. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! lol

92 Nathan November 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Hey Thanks for all of the tips. I just found out that my wife is pregnant and i am so happy. We got pregnant one other time and we lost the baby in the 2nd month.

How can i re assure my wife that this one will be ok. Not gonna lie its breaks my heart that we lost our first one.

93 Chasnew22 November 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm

@nathan – my wife miscarried once before and after reading your question we discussed what would be the most comforting for her to hear when she is pregnant again. She answered that above all else be genuine with her. Acknowledge that while there is no way of predicting what will happen, you are going to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening again. Talk to your doctor about any safety precautions that can be taken and make them happen. Finally, be there for each other, someones your presence can alleviate much of her stress.

Good luck with everything and thank you everyone for all of the great advice!

94 PinUpGirl December 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

Great article! I’m 37 weeks & my fiance never really did any of those things you listed! He went to two sonograms. I was at high risk during me 23rd week & I spent that day in the hospital alone because he was too hungover to accompany me.
I do all the household chores, still bend, lift & put my own shoes on. I have been pushed off to the couch because my aches keep him up at night. I have never gotten a foot or back rub and am in a lot of discomfort. If I have a midnight craving or am hungry I have to make it myself, swollen feet and all. Can’t forget to get him something while I am at it or he will bitch.
All these women who have received good treatment, be so thankful. I’m 23 & this is my first child & my whole pregnancy has been so lonely & very tough. He always makes fun of me because of my baby belly calling me a whale even though I’m in perfect shape for being as far along as I am, I was thin to begin & caring like everyone elsem
I can’t wait until the baby is born, I don’t think I ever want to experience pregnancy again……..

95 SG January 31, 2013 at 2:00 am

I am amazed at this article and most of the comments. I am truly happy to see there are good, caring men out there! Unfortunately, I didn’t see my husband in any of this. He slept through most of my labor, when I was in tears from pain and terrified. When I got upset with him he just yelled. He left for hours after she was born, late at night, and I couldn’t get ahold of him. He said I complained to much, and that there was, “always something wrong with me”, when morning sickness hit hard. He refused to help out with the few cravings I did have, and told me I was selfish. Never once told me I was beautiful, and actually rejected any sort of intimacy. If I was uncomfortable, or couldn’t sleep- I would be scolded for annoying him. And last but not least, when I slacked on home-making duties due to severe morning sickness I was told I was lazy and all I did was sit on my a$$.

You don’t have to bend over backwards, you don’t have to be perfect- just be there.

96 Mark February 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Eh, is it not a little close – minded to write this piece about helping a pregnant ‘wife’?

A growing number of people no longer believe in marriage. Maybe it is the church scandals, the incredibly high level of divorce or maybe even the decreasing spiritualism in society.

Way to show you’re modern men….let’s all go back to the 1950s….if a woman is pregnant, she better be someone’s wife.

97 Marise March 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

who ever has a man that does half these things is a very fortunate woman!

98 Tara March 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I fervently wish my other half would have found this site, not just for me but also for his ex wife during her pregnancies, because your initial list of things to do has yet to happen for me and never happened for her…he’s gone so far as to ban me from having a pillow to sleep with for support because it interferes with his comfort…i wish you could have a face to face chat with him…thank youfor this site though its wonderful to see someone trying to guide men through this process.

99 Joel March 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

@PinUpGirl, why are you marrying this dude?

@Mark, some of us still believe in marriage. The advice is about taking care of a pregnant wife. If you want to find articles about how to take care of a pregnant “partner,” I’m sure Google can help you out.

Great article. My wife and I are at 7 weeks and I am loving learning all I can! Hope to find more useful information on here.

100 C.M.B March 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

okay um so I’m 17 and my girlfriend recently got pregnant and I have absolutely no idea what to do and I’m panicking and freaking out so badly, not to mention scared and still in shock. if anyone has any advice on what I should do apart from what this article says ( which I also have taken into account ) could you please reply to this or send me to another website that could help ? I need as much help and advice as possible. note that my girlfriend and I do not live together just yet because of our age, but I am with her almost every day. thank you in advance !! I really need help on this :(

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