Practical Tips For the Expectant Dad

For the sixth time in sixteen years, I’m thumbing through my dog-eared copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis, M.D., OB/GYN. The medical stuff kind of goes in one ear and out the other at this point – I get it. What draws me back week after week are the “How Big Is Your Baby?”, “How Big Are You?”, and “How Your Baby is Growing and Developing” sections in each weekly chapter. It just makes it all seem more real, somehow. Wow, my baby is the size of a softball now? Or, wow, I only should have gained 8 to 10 pounds by now? Uh oh . . .

Also somewhat entertaining are the weekly “Dad Tips” – practical advice for the expectant dad aimed at helping him be a good expectant dad. A sampling:

Clean or vacuum the house without being asked. Wait. Clean or vacuum the house? Since cleaning the house involves a whole lot more than just vacuuming, which do you think most expectant dads would pick? Also, without being asked? What, do you expect him to be a mind reader?

Bring home flowers for no special occasion. Um, the fact that this tip is in a pregnancy book means that the special occasion is that she’s pregnant.

Pregnancy is an opportunity for increased closeness and intimacy for you as a couple. Sex can be a positive part of this experience. Written by a man for a man. Like any man needs to be encouraged to have sex. Although, some are heebie-jeebied out by the whole pregnancy thing. I’ve heard.

If you go out of town, call her at least once every day. Really? Men need to be told this?

When you need to be away or out of touch, ask friends and family to check on your partner or to be available to help out. You know, like, for instance, if you have to go to Washington DC. For a week. And she’s left to take care of your six spawn while growing the latest baby you put in her. Hypothetically, of course.

Around 20 weeks of pregnancy, your partner may have an ultrasound exam. Try to be present for this test. Again, men need to be told this?

Now’s the time to begin discussing baby equipment, such as cribs, car seats, or blankets, with your partner. You’ll need to make some of these purchases before baby’s birth. Okay, listen up: there will be no discussion. She will pick everything out. Just go along with it.


Alright. After some pondering, I’ve come up with some real tips for expectant dads – from a woman who knows (not from a doctor who never has been and never will be pregnant):

Do not scoff at her need to take pregnancy test after pregnancy test, either just to make sure, or each time hoping for the other result.

Do not stare at or acknowledge in any way the huge hormone-induced zit that has sprouted on her chin. She can’t help it, and she’s desperately trying to wish it away. Just tell her she’s beautiful.

If your snoring should keep her awake at night, go sleep on the couch.

If her pregnancy-induced snoring should keep you awake at night, go sleep on the couch.

Don’t mess with her Ben & Jerry’s. Trust me on this one.

Don’t mention how tired you are, or how your poor widdle back hurts. Seriously. Do you have a live human being inside you sucking the very life out of you? No, I didn’t think so. So shut up.

When she starts unselfconsciously scratching her expanding belly (and she will), just tell her she’s beautiful.

Buy her Tums. Just for the heck of it. And hell, throw a Snickers in there, too.

If she should happen to wax bitchy or tearful, just tell her she’s beautiful.

Do the obvious things that need doing: if you see that the garbage can is full, empty it. Instead of balancing one more cup on the pile of clean dishes in the dish drainer, put the dishes away! And for god’s sake, take more bread out of the freezer if you use the last of the fresh bread!

Remember: just because she’s hormonal and bitchy does not mean that you’re not actually being a jackass.

Whatever you do, do not chuckle as she screams, pushing a human being out of her vagina, even though she insisted to you beforehand that she’s not a screamer.



6 Comments on “Practical Tips For the Expectant Dad”

  1. Heather Stewart Seal
    February 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    I still need to go back and read the rest but you got me at Glade Curtis. He was an OB/GYN here in Utah. His kids went to my high school. He got busted a few years back for stealing his patients pain meds. Most of the time he was stealing them from them while they were in the hospital recovering. He lost his license. Wonder if he is practicing again?

    • Lisa
      February 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

      Ha! That’s kind of funny, Heather. I have a pretty old edition of the book, so no idea if he’s still practicing.

  2. Heather Stewart Seal
    February 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Ha! I love your list of real suggestions. I think these are good suggestions for all partners. . . pregnant or not. All we want is a little help.

  3. Caryl Becker Phillips
    February 7, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    Lisa would you just write a book already! I about peed my pants at the Tums and Snickers part! HAHAHAHA!!! You slay me.

  4. Asha
    February 7, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    That used to be my bible when I was pregnant with my first! We actually read it together… oh the memories!
    Thank god now you can go online and actually see the in utero pictures of the baby.

    I want to add a tip for dads: If she is screaming in agonizing pain during birth, do not ask: does it hurt?

  5. Juno Lucina
    July 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Great article, Lisa! Any advice on push presents? Most expectant dads get lost on this topic, and with the tradition becoming so common worldwide, it’s surprising that there aren’t a whole lot of suggestions out there. Any thoughts?

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