The Role of Fathers in Ensuring Safe Motherhood: How Dads Can Support Moms During Pregnancy and Beyond

By Dr. Manju Khemani in Obstetrics And Gynaecology

Apr 11 , 2023 | 3 min read

Becoming a parent is an exciting yet challenging time for both mothers and fathers. While much of the focus is often on the mother during pregnancy and childbirth, fathers play an equally important role in ensuring safe motherhood and healthy child development.

Research has shown that involved fathers have a positive impact on maternal and child health outcomes, with children benefiting from better cognitive development and academic achievement. Despite this, fathers may feel unsure of how to support their partners during this time.

In this blog, we will explore the ways in which fathers can play an active role in promoting safe motherhood, from supporting their partners during pregnancy to providing emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Supporting Moms During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a physically and emotionally demanding time for mothers, and having the support of their partner can make a significant difference. Fathers can support their partners during pregnancy in various ways:

  • Attending Prenatal Appointments: Attending prenatal appointments with their partner is an excellent way for fathers to stay informed about the pregnancy and to ask any questions they may have. It is an opportunity for both parents to learn about the progress of the pregnancy and to receive guidance on how to promote a healthy pregnancy.

  • Providing Emotional Support: Pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster, and mothers may experience anxiety, mood swings, and other challenging emotions. Providing emotional support, such as active listening to their partner's concerns and feelings, can be beneficial. Fathers can offer a listening ear, show empathy, and provide reassurance during these times.

  • Encouraging Healthy Behaviours: Fathers can encourage their partners to engage in healthy behaviours such as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Physical activity during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia. Eating a balanced diet can also help promote healthy fetal development and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.

Preparing for Childbirth

Here are some ways in which fathers can support their partner during this stage:

  • Creating a Birth Plan: Creating a birth plan is a crucial step in preparing for childbirth, and fathers can work with their partners to outline their preferences and priorities for labour and delivery. This can include choices such as whether to have a natural or medicated birth, who will be present in the delivery room and preferences for pain management. By working together to create a birth plan, fathers can help their partners feel more in control of the process and can ensure that their preferences are respected.

  • Knowing What to Expect: Knowing what to expect during labour and delivery can help fathers to provide support to their partners during this time. This can include learning about different breathing techniques, massage techniques, and positions that can help ease pain and discomfort during labour. Additionally, fathers can be present during the delivery, providing emotional support and reassurance to their partner throughout the process.

Supporting Moms During the Postpartum Period

The postpartum period is equally challenging as the pregnancy period. Here are some ways fathers can support moms during the postpartum period.

  • Help with Household Chores and Cooking Meals: After childbirth, mothers need time to rest and recover. Fathers can help ease the workload by taking care of household chores and cooking meals. This will allow mothers to get the rest they need and focus on bonding with their newborns.

  • Assist with Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can be challenging for new mothers, and fathers can provide much-needed support. Fathers can help with positioning and latching, bring their partner a glass of water or a snack, and be present during feedings to offer encouragement and support.

  • Offer Emotional Support: The postpartum period can be an emotional time for new mothers, and fathers can provide emotional support by actively listening to their partner's concerns and feelings. Fathers can also offer reassurance and encouragement, helping mothers to feel more confident in their new role as a parent.

In conclusion, fathers play an important role in ensuring safe motherhood and healthy child development. By supporting their partners during pregnancy, preparing for childbirth, and providing emotional and practical support during the postpartum period, fathers can have a positive impact on maternal and child health outcomes. As fathers become more involved in the pregnancy and parenting journey, it is essential to recognise and value their contributions. By working together, both parents can promote safe and healthy development for their children.