The Rotunda Hospital Dublin

Advice for Partners

Pregnancy can be a time of mixed emotions for parents. It can be wonderful and exciting, but it can also be challenging. It is important to remember that these feelings are perfectly natural and that your confidence will grow throughout the pregnancy. If you have any questions or concerns about how best to support your partner during pregnancy, make sure to ask your healthcare team for advice.

Helpful Tips

Going to antenatal appointments and parent education classes with your partner will give you helpful knowledge of the many changes happening to your partner and your growing baby. The more you know and understand, the more you will be able to take part and stay connected with your partner during the pregnancy.

  • Talk to your partner about their birth preference list, so that you are aware of their preferences for labour and birth!
  • Have a small bag ready with all of the essential hospital items from phone chargers to money for the car park… or better still, ensure you have your Car Parking App downloaded. 
  • Remember that you could be in the hospital for a while so pack a spare t-shirt, toothbrush and some snacks to keep you fresh and energised!
  • This is an exciting day that you and your partner will want to capture. Don’t forget to take lots of photos!
  • If you forget anything you can always pop into the hospital shop!

More Helpful Tips

In early pregnancy, your partner may be emotional and irritable. This is because of a rapid change in hormone levels. Certain smells and tastes may make her feel sick and she may feel very tired. During the second part of pregnancy your partner will get back her energy levels. During the last months she can become tired and irritable again. 

Partners too can get symptoms of pregnancy – the most common being sleeplessness, indigestion and feeling sick. These symptoms are probably caused by stress. During the pregnancy you should not smoke in front of your partner as research shows that passive smoking will harm your partner and baby. You should also encourage your partner not to smoke or drink alcohol and to eat well.

Being at the birth of your baby

You can keep your partner company during the early stages of labour by holding her hand, offering sips of water, preparing snacks, and helping her to find comfortable positions. You can provide massage and touch, give her encouragement and help her to relax and concentrate on her breathing. You can also speak on her behalf so it is important that you know and understand her wishes for labour and birth. 

Watching your baby coming into the world is an incredible experience! After the birth the midwife will place baby on your partner’s chest so that she can have direct skin to skin contact with your baby for at least 60 minutes after birth. Afterwards, you will be encouraged to hold your baby and you may also have time to enjoy some skin to skin contact with your baby.

It is normal to feel emotional after the birth of your baby. It is important that you can go home and rest once your partner is settled into the postnatal ward. Don’t feel like you have to contact everyone yourself to give them the good news. Organise yourself so that you tell the closest family first such as grandparents and they can then contact other people. You too need to build your energy levels to be prepared for taking home your partner and baby. 

Going home after the birth

Take some time off work when mother and baby come home from hospital. Plan the time so that you can give your partner time to rest and you can get involved with caring for your baby. Get family members involved at an early stage which will give you and your partner time together to enjoy these special moments as you develop your parenting skills and get to know your baby. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if too many visitors arrive, as they will quickly exhaust your partner, and your baby.

80% of mothers will experience the ‘baby blues’ in the first two weeks after the birth. This is perfectly normal, try to be as supportive as possible during this time as your partner is probably facing the biggest challenge in her life so far. Helping to prepare nutritious meals and keep the house organised can be a big help! You too need support so make sure you talk to your partner and friends. Your baby will need night feeds for some time which will mean you will have broken sleep – just remember it will get easier over time.

Try to keep a sense of humour! You are a family now, however still try to make time for yourselves. As much as your baby needs you, your adult relationship is still important, so make time for adult conversation. Your physical relationship matters too. Sex is often the last thing on a new mother’s mind. You need to be considerate as it may take a number of weeks or months before your partner feels comfortable having sex. Your relationship with your partner is key to the family. When parents are happy together, your child will be happy too. Get off to the right start by making sure you stay connected to each other, give time to each other. Being a new parent is a daunting experience but you can do it!!