What To Expect When She’s Expecting
What To Expect When She’s Expecting

What To Expect When She’s Expecting


Preparing to welcome a baby into the world is an exhilarating journey that can seem daunting. From navigating medical appointments to providing emotional support and preparing your home for a new arrival, here’s what three experts recommend you can do to ensure a healthier and happier pregnancy for both of you…

Malena Monteverde

consultant midwife at My Expert Midwife

Understand The Hormonal Changes

“Hormones are at the centre of all the physical and emotional changes a woman experiences in pregnancy. In the first trimester, levels of oestrogen and progesterone soar to protect the pregnancy and support the development of the embryo, but these high levels of hormones also result in symptoms like morning sickness (which, despite the name, can happen any time of day or night), aching breasts, constipation, a whole new level of exhaustion, and heightened emotions. This stage can be hard for you, too, as you may be caught off guard by how different your partner may seem and how much she is struggling. Your support and validation of her feelings and symptoms here is crucial.”

Make Life Easier For Her

“Hormones can change her mood throughout pregnancy, making her more sensitive to things that wouldn’t ordinarily bother her. Be ready to listen to her concerns, and equally talk to her about your feelings, but also try to put yourself in her shoes. Help more with jobs around the house, and ask your partner what she is finding tricky – for example, many women have an aversion to cooking smells, so taking on the responsibility of preparing meals can be a huge help.”

Prepare For The Third Trimester

“By the third trimester, things start to get real, and her bump will be growing by the day. As lovely and reassuring as this is, it also comes with tired and swollen legs and feet, heartburn, constipation, piles, broken sleep and pelvic girdle pain. Chances are you’re both feeling excitement and apprehension in equal measure at this stage – be open with her about your feelings, and listen and validate hers without trying to ‘fix’ them. Make this last leg of the journey smoother by massaging her feet in the evening, keeping her well fed and watered, and helping her get comfy in bed, accepting this may mean you moving to the spare room or sofa.”

Support Her In Healthy Decisions

“Encourage a healthy diet for both of you, delve into new cookbooks and create colourful, nutritious meals from scratch, and create a new habit of going on an evening or weekend walk together. Or find her a local pregnancy yoga class and make it easy for her to be able to attend it regularly. Do more around the house, too – ask her what would help take stress off her. Remember it’s her carrying the baby, and her bodily autonomy must be honoured and respected at all times.”

Be A Great Birth Partner

“Preparation is everything if you’re going to be a birth partner. Get involved in everything related to the pregnancy including antenatal appointments and classes, and knowing what your partner’s plans and wishes are regarding birth. The more you know, the better. Plus, the more knowledge you have if things don’t go to plan, the more confident you will feel about supporting your partner’s wishes when you know what alternative options are being offered. Remember you are a vital member of the team, but if your understanding is limited to TV, films or the description of a friend’s experience, then you may be surprised about just how different birth can be. Time spent talking to your partner as well as to other parents-to-be is important in helping you grasp the role of birth partner: as advocate, cheerleader and protector of your loved one and your baby.”

Get Organised For The Weeks After Birth

“There is often an overfocus on the birth and not enough preparation for the recovery period and the realities of life with a newborn. Explore this during pregnancy and plan with friends and family how you would like to be supported. Often, a lovely homemade meal is far more helpful and appreciated than a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates when you’re busy learning about and responding to your newborn’s needs. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to organise a ‘meal train’ for the first few weeks and create a WhatsApp group for the support squad, and let friends and family know not to visit without a prior invite, and to cancel calling in if they are unwell.”

Visit MyExpertMidwife.com


Gordon Dowall-Potter

owner & founder of MANtenatal

Be Her Health Advocate

“If you can, attend appointments with her, ask questions and actively participate in discussions with doctors and midwives. This will not only keep you informed but also shows your commitment to the pregnancy journey. Get acquainted with the BRAIN acronym, which provides a logical approach to the many choices you’ll face during pregnancy. It stands for benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition and nothing. What are the benefits of making this decision? What are the risks involved? Are there any alternatives? What does my gut say to do? What if we wait it out and do nothing? By asking these questions, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your situation and highlight evidence-based information versus the opinions and advice of others.”

Get Involved

“Being present at all stages of her pregnancy, as well as in the early days with your new baby, makes a world of difference. Being a dad is not a spectator sport. Get off the bench and get stuck in. Learn about newborn care – including nappies, feeding, bath time and soothing techniques – and be hands-on from day one, share caregiving responsibilities, and embrace bonding opportunities like skin-to-skin contact and cuddling. Assist in setting up the nursery, creating a birthing plan, and arranging for postpartum help if needed. Being proactive at every stage can alleviate stress for both of you.”

Drop The Concept Of Perfection

“Be prepared for a mix of failure and magic dad moments. Perfection doesn’t exist, but progress definitely does. Give things a go and don’t be too hard on yourself if techniques or advice from family and friends don’t work – no baby is the same. Embrace the journey with patience and a willingness to learn.”

Follow @Mantenatal

Emiliana Hall

doula & founder of The Mindful Birth Group


“The most common fears men have about becoming a dad include financial worries, the fear of not being a good parent, concerns about changes in their relationship and the fear of the unknown. Know these are all normal feelings and communication with your partner is key.”

Know You’re In It Together

“If it’s your first baby, remember it’s all new for both of you – sharing the highs and lows will only bring you closer. Remember, no one really knows what they’re doing, and you are both learning together. Offer comfort and encouragement at every stage of her pregnancy, and don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers, just being there will have a huge impact on how she is feeling.”

Educate Yourself

“Antenatal classes are invaluable for both of you. Make the most out of them by actively participating, asking questions and practising techniques. Choose a class that aligns with your approach and don’t just go to make new friends. It’s important the education is up to date, inclusive of all choices (so you never feel like a failure if things do not go a certain way) and provides continuous support right up until after birth. It also goes without saying you should learn the baby care basics ahead of time – think feeding, nappy changing and soothing techniques. Be proactive in learning these tasks so you can share responsibilities and bond with your baby.”

Visit TheMindfulBirthGroup.com

Gordon and Malena will be speaking at The Baby Show Olympia London on 20th-22nd October – to book tickets, visit TheBabyShow.co.uk. For more from Emiliana or to sign up to an online course, visit TheMindfulBirthGroup.com

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