Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...


Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...


Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Dads role during pregnancy

dad_pregDespite the fact that only women can become pregnant, men are expectant too. Dad’s-to-be are not only essential members of the baby making team; but share in the excitement, responsibilities and worries of pregnancy. Although some men may feel that they are merely “glorified sperm donors”, they play an invaluable role in caring for and supporting their spouse, and are also nurturers of their unborn child. Some concerns may overlap with those of expectant moms, while other feelings, hopes and fears are unique to dads. Proud, excited and expectant dads can fulfill a number of wonderful functions that benefit expectant moms. This is no easy task when the impending arrival of a newborn is compounded by the added anxieties of watching your spouse go through discomfort, mood swings, pain, morning sickness, childbirth etc., and if you are a first time dad… not really knowing what to do. You are probably also hoping to be the best father you can be before, during and after pregnancy.

  • It is natural for loving husbands to worry about their pregnant partners, and to want to make their pregnancies as safe and comfortable as possible. One of the most important things you can do for your spouse is to be supportive, understanding and offer able-bodied assistance. This can include ensuring she has the best medial care possible, following a healthy, balanced diet, doing exercise as a couple, and allowing her to rest while you do the laundry, make dinner or clean the house. Remember that supporting mom is being a good dad. If your partner is healthier, happier and more comfortable, so is your baby.
  • The many changes that come with pregnancy are likely to test your resilience and patience. Hormone surges may leave your partner feeling emotional, vulnerable and volatile. Try reminding yourself why she is irritable and uncomfortable; and that pregnancy is transient. Do your best to be supportive and understanding. This may mean different things during the three distinct stages of pregnancy.
  • The first trimester is usually the worst in terms of morning sickness. Avoid exposing your partner to the taste, sight or smell of foods that make her queasy. Bring her breakfast in bed, so that an empty stomach and low blood sugar levels do not increase or trigger her nausea. Eating frequently has been shown to reduce morning sickness. Buy your partner high carbohydrate snacks, such as raisins, rice cakes, pretzels and wheat crackers. These are useful to eat between meals, during the night or as an early morning snack. As your partner’s body changes to accompany your growing child, she will have to reduce the intensity of her workouts. Look for exercises to do as a couple; walking, yoga and pilates are possible options to consider.
  • The second trimester, often referred to as the “honeymoon phase”, is generally the one in which expectant mom’s feel their best physically. If possible, this is the perfect time to get away together as a couple. Organize a surprise holiday or day trip to a spa. During the fifth month, you are likely to start feeling your baby’s movements for the first time. Even though your baby is not nearly ready to make an appearance, these movements together with the serious rounding of your partner’s abdomen, let you know that there is actually someone in there. Thinking of possible baby names can be fun and challenging. Search the net and read baby name books to help you find the perfect name for you.
  • Your partner is likely to feel uncomfortable with her body and limited mobility during the third and final trimester of pregnancy. Common problems include swollen ankles, fatigue, constipation and hemorrhoids. Your partner may find everything from walking to sitting to be tedious and difficult. Try help around the house as much as possible. As your baby’s due date approaches, your partner may have a powerful urge to clean and prepare the house for the baby. During “nesting” time show your support and excitement of impending parenthood by helping to set up the nursery, buy baby essentials, and attend your prenatal classes.
  • Some expectant fathers experience a certain degree of couvade syndrome or “sympathetic pregnancy” during their wives gestation. The French word couvade means, “to hatch” and symptoms mostly appear in the third month and then again at delivery. Symptoms are the same as those of morning sickness, such as nausea and vomiting, mood swings, fatigue, food cravings, abdominal pain and weight gain. Have a physical examination to make sure that there is no underlying illness responsible for your symptoms. Theoretically, couvade may be due to an increase in female hormones, which is nature’s way of bringing out the nurturer in the man. Alternatively, couvade may occur because you are in sympathy with your wife (find other ways to express your concern. For example, bring her breakfast in bed), you may be feeling jealous because of being left out (become more involved in the pregnancy), or you may be anxious about becoming a dad (educate yourself about fatherhood). Talk to your partner, family members and other dads about how you feel.
  • Sex during pregnancy, is a turn-on for some men, while for others, being intimate is completely off their radars. Both of these responses are completely naturally but one guarantee is that your sex life will change. Whether you find the pregnant female form to be enticingly erotic, are afraid of hurting your unborn child, feel that mothers or mothers-to-be shouldn’t be seen as sexy, feel worried that your partner is feeling unattractive, or want to express your feelings of closeness erotically; it is best to discuss your thoughts, feelings, needs and desires as a couple (Read our article: sex during pregnancy).
  • In the world of women, it is often the little things that count. Since fluid retention and swollen legs are par for the course in pregnancy, offer your partner a relaxing foot rub, run her a bath or even allow her some time to put her feet up and unwind.
  • Although parental love comes naturally, parenting skills need to be learned by both expectant moms and dads. Attend a class where you are taught the basics of child care in advance, such as diapering, bathing, holding, burping, soothing and first aid. This will alleviate some of your fears of being a new parent by giving you a sense of confidence and competence.
  • Give your baby a nickname in utero. This will help you to start thinking of the foetus as a real person who is growing and developing inside your partner. It is an important way of bonding with both your partner and unborn child. From 6 months, your unborn child is able to hear voices. Talk, read and sing to your baby so that they become familiar with your voice. Another way to feel connected is to share in your baby’s movements. Once your baby starts kicking and moving, lie in bed quietly with your partner and feel her tummy in the spooning position. Many dads report feeling truly connected for the first time, after experiencing their child’s movements.
  • It is important for dad’s-to-be to attend prenatal classes not only to learn about pregnancy and birth but also to show support for what their partner is going through physically.
  • There is a lot to learn when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Read books and articles, chat to friends, family and colleagues, and write down your thoughts about what you’d like to do as a dad and what kind of dad you’d like to be. Listening to other men talk about their experiences and how wonderful it is to be a dad is a liberating experience for many guys. It is also exciting to learn that this week your child developed fingernails or is now the size of an orange, for example.
  • Take the initiative, do some research, buy a car seat and have it installed, so that it is ready for when your baby is born. Expectant dad’s worry about their unborn child’s health and safety. Installing a regulation car seat will constructively help appease your protective instinct and keep your child safe in the car.
  • Preparing and setting up the nursery is naturally something you’ll want to discuss and do together. Although women have the edge in bonding with the unborn baby, being involved in every aspect of the planning and preparation for their arrival, will help you make contact with your baby too.
  • Attend prenatal visits, especially those that include an ultrasound. Ultrasounds will offer you the exhilarating experience of seeing the baby you helped make. For many dads, seeing their baby in action inside the womb provides a wonderful way of connecting with their child.
  • Make practical and financial plans for when your baby is born and thereafter. For example, organize time off work, knowing which route to take to the hospital if your spouse suddenly goes into labour, taking into account insurance, medical costs and expenses once the baby is born.
  • 80% of dads-to-be experience performance anxiety relating to labour and the birth of their baby. Our culture commonly makes fun of men in cartoons and sitcoms etc., by depicting them as queasy, fainting, freezing, or vomiting birth partners. In reality, this seldom happens. It is natural to feel frightened and intimidated about anything new and unfamiliar. Read up about the subject and speak to other men, so that you know what to expect. Remember that childbirth is only the beginning of your parenting education and that no one performs perfectly. It doesn’t matter if you forget what to say or do, as long as you are there with your partner offering the comfort and support of a familiar touch and face.
  • Since expectant parents have become more involved in the birthing process and in making many childbirth decisions, it is common for couples to formulate a birthing plan. Birthing plans are written statements expressing your preferences with regards to important issues such as; who will be in the delivery room, if you will be videotaping or photographing the labour and birth, whether your baby will be breast or bottle fed, your views on the use of pain medications, if you would like to cut the umbilical cord, etc. Discuss your birthing plan with your partner’s physician, ensure that he has a copy and make extra copies for the hospital staff. Be prepared that certain deviations may need to be made from your original plan, especially if there are any risks to the well being of mother or child.
  • Once a baby enters your world, your relationship as a couple is likely to change. Keep the lines of communication open and cement the love you share for one another. Anticipating these changes during pregnancy is an important first step to dealing with them postpartum. Talk about your hopes and fears as a twosome, so that you are emotionally prepared for the threesome.

For Expectant Fathers Only


Murkoff, H.E., Eisenberg, A. & Hathaway, S.E. (2002). What to expect: when you’re expecting. Simon & Schuster: Sydney. doubt about that