by Lilly Gordon
Wondering what to expect during your partner's pregnancy? It's a good idea to have realistic expectations -- then you may be pleasantly surprised. Just for the record, only about 10% of women experience happy, blissful pregnancies. The rest of us experience what I like to call the "year I went crazy."
When a woman finds out she's pregnant, she's usually about 4–6 weeks along (which in medical time is actually only 2-4 weeks). As you can imagine, the hormones are just starting to brew. You might notice a little change; she may be a bit more emotional, her breasts may instantly perk up, and she may look at you like you're an Adonis who fertilized her womb.
Most of you don't know this is the calm before the storm.
This is the time when, if morning sickness strikes, it's going to start happening now and probably last until you hit the 12–14 week mark. If you're not okay with your lady throwing up, don't go near the bathroom. And it usually doesn't happen in the morning. It could be noon, it could be the middle of the night, or it could be all day.
Her breasts will be so sore that she'll take a swing at you if you even look at them. She may cry during breakfast. Or on the phone. Or while she's peeing. This is normal.
12 – 20 Weeks
This is the trickiest time in the pregnancy. She might look as if she's put on a few pounds -- around the middle. Just a heads up for you guys: Don't comment. When she asks, "Do I look pregnant, or just fat?" you can do one of two things:
- Say "Pardon? I didn't hear you because I was too busy cleaning the bathroom for you. I know how tired you’ve been."
- Pretend to pass out and just avoid the situation entirely.
The Mother-to-be of your child may also be very tired right now. Let her sleep as much as possible.
Morning sickness should be over now and give way to the whole new enemy: constipation. There is nothing you can do to help with this problem except to nod sympathetically if she brings it to your attention, and pretend not to cringe when you see stool softeners in the medicine cabinet.
20 – 28 Weeks
Now you will start to see your partner blossoming into a beautiful, life-giving entity. For those of you that are lucky, this is when some pregnant women get a little "randy" and suggest passionate sessions of sex. For those of you with a different type of extremely hormonal partner (remember, she can't help it) this is when she will swear off sex for the rest of the pregnancy, if she hasn't already.
Also, she may take on an odd smell -- caused by extreme flatulence -- a common side effect of pregnancy. Also beware of: overheating, swelling of extremities and weird ailments (skin rashes, hemorrhoids, etc.)
It's a great time to get the baby's nursery in order. Be prepared for her to shop. A LOT. If this is your first, she may break the bank at baby boutiques buying everything from burp pads and potty seats and headbands (baby girls may cause a significantly bigger shopping spree).
If your wife is going to get bitchy, it's apt to happen now. There are varying degrees of bitchiness. She could range anywhere from Disney-princess to Linda Blair (think The Exorcist.) Women will shake their heads and disagree, but I for one, didn't allow my husband to chew inside the house. Yes, chew. It's not uncommon either. Here are a few things that may or may not set her off like an atomic bomb:
- Breathing on her, or breathing in general
- Chewing by her or chewing in general
- Drinking alcohol or general merriment with "the boys"
- Mentioning there's a funny smell by her (she probably farted, keep it to yourself)
- Your suddenly stronger-than-usual odor
- Your hygiene habits -- do not clip your toenails around her
- Any sudden noises (like coughing
- Any failure to understand what she's going through (dude, just pretend)
- The mere mention of sex
38–42 Weeks (I really hope for your sake it's 40 weeks)
You're in the homestretch! You've both almost made it to the end of a long, hard journey. This is the nesting period, when your lovely will clean out the whole pad, scrubbing like she's Cinderella and working for food. Don't get in her way, even to help. She won't notice anyway, and she'll just clean it again. You are to offer your heavy-lifting services only.
Your wife will look as big as she's going to get now. Her breasts will be massive and need to be poured into a nursing bra 2-3 sizes bigger than normal. Her belly will resemble a massive beachball and her feet may be so swollen she has to have a foot rub twice a day (get on it).
Quick Tips to get you through 40-ish weeks of joy/scariness:
- Go to the appointments with her.
- Don't miss the ultrasound!
- Give her foot rubs every day.
- Be excited about everything.
- Be less annoying in general.
Lilly Gordon is a freelance web publisher and author and enjoys writing on a variety of topics. She is a wife and mother of two and specializes in babies, burp pads and diaper changing.