As a new father-to-be, it can feel like there's so much to take in and learn. Don't worry; in the end, it all boils down to the baby — the most important thing of all. Here's how to manage stress and anxiety in the lead-up to the best job of your life: parenthood.
It takes two to form a perfect pregnancy team — mums carry the baby, but dads have a vital supporting role to play. As you reach week 12 of your pregnancy, your partner, the dad-to-be, might start to feel some jitters, which is perfectly normal. Share this article with him and help him gain control.
A big way to get prepared emotionally? Accept that pregnancy is a time of massive change for both of you. Many people don't internalise this and can end up surprised or resistant to inevitable changes. Instead, embrace the excitement of changing circumstances with a smile on your face!
Being in control of the practicalities will help you feel more solid emotionally, because should panic or uncertainty strike, you can go back to your to-do list and say, "No problem, I've got that." In fact, lists for all facets of the pregnancy experience — from expenditure to packing lists for your partner's hospital stay — are a great way to feel in control.
As parenting or pre-parenting duties fill up your schedule, it can be easy to consign healthy eating or exercise to the back burner. But you'd be surprised at how a regular workout, eating your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and getting a good night's sleep will reinforce your strength.
Ultimately though, it all boils down to being teammates on the same journey. If you can experience early parenthood together, so much the better. So be there when your partner is feeling the stresses of pregnancy and needs cheering up. Be there when she's feeling overjoyed and wants to share her delight. Above all — be there.
By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Senior O&G Resident,
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
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