Some men gain sympathy weight. Others actually believe they’re experiencing sympathy food cravings. The truth is that no man truly understands what it feels like to be pregnant. In order to behave in an understanding and supportive manner for their partner’s well-being, however, there are some vital facts about pregnancy that every man should know.
Pregnancy not only causes incredible physical changes within a woman’s body, but monumental psychological ones as well. The wide range of hormone fluctuations that take place during a pregnancy can cause pregnant women to experience a varied range of emotional symptoms, including irritability, weepiness, overt joy, fear and an eclectic mix of all those feelings. Men should be advised that negating any of these emotions–making light of them, disregarding them, or poking fun–will result in hurt feelings.
The hormone influx in pregnancy is essentially preparing the woman’s body to carry the child to term, as well as nourishing the baby and helping the mother’s body maintain good health. In addition, those same hormones help the mother adjust to the notion that she will be responsible for this new life that will appear in a matter of months. While blatantly rude behavior isn’t ever excusable, men are best advised to overlook negativity and what might be perceived as snappiness, insults, exclusion, neglectfulness (with regard to intimacy) and aloofness. It is quite likely that these outward appearances are a result of inner feelings, powered by these raging hormones, of which the mother-to-be has no control.
As the pregnancy progresses, some minor physical limitations will set in, requiring extra patience and efforts on behalf of the man. For example, lifting may become prohibited. Exhaustion, while not necessarily chronic, will strike from time to time and is her body’s way of saying, “Stop!” Pregnant women must heed these messages for her own well being as well as that of her unborn child. That means it is probably time for the man to take over and assume some of the responsibilities typically carried by the pregnant woman. Take on these added responsibilities with a look of joy on your face. Otherwise the hormones will combine with the physical limitations, making any semblance of home and relationship normalcy a very distant memory.
The first few weeks and the last few weeks of pregnancy are likely to be the worst, both physically and emotionally. As with the first few weeks, the last few are hormonally charged, as the body prepares itself to deliver the child and feed it as well. In addition, if this is a first pregnancy, some sense of fear is likely to set in on behalf of the mother. Fear of the unknown is a simple concept to understand, but even worse with pregnant women, who imagine the logistics of an average 8-pound baby descending the birth canal and winding up in the actual world. It can be a daunting fear. Men must never negate the impact of the birth process. They have no inkling of the physical sensation and they never will.
In addition to the physical aspects of identifying the onset of labor and delivery, there are some important emotional signs to identify as well. Nesting is an important point to recognize. While scientists haven’t proven its significance in human beings, naturalists and biologists have recognized it in the animal world for centuries. When a mother is nearing the time of giving birth, she will nest. This may involve cleaning, rearranging furniture, adding or eliminating belongings and creating a sense of order within the home. A smart man will embrace these changes, praise them, help with them (only if asked) and praise them yet again.
Understanding and sympathizing with both the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy will result in a range of benefits that are likely to last a lifetime. First and foremost is the benefit of a healthy mother and child. There is nothing in the world as precious as the knowledge that mother and child have emerged perfectly healthy from a pregnancy. Second, any woman who recognizes the extra care and concern her partner took to ensure this healthy pregnancy, and the understanding he bestowed, will also realize the depth of character her man possesses. This will likely deepen the relationship and make for exciting changes and meaningful days ahead.
High Risk Pregnancy Information
Smoking while expecting increases a woman’s chances of a high-risk pregnancy.
Pregnancies are classified according to the end of the risk continuum to which they belong. High-risk pregnancies increase the chances of the mother and/or child encountering health complications at different stages of the pregnancy or after delivery.
Approximately 10 percent of pregnancies are classified as high-risk, according to the University of California, Irvine-Healthcare.
A low-risk pregnancy can become high risk at any time, with complications arising unexpectedly. This includes preeclampsia, which involves a sudden rise in the mother’s blood pressure after she has been pregnant for 20 weeks. Preeclampsia may begin at an even later stage, such as delivery or several weeks after the birth.
Factors that increase a mother’s chances of a high-risk pregnancy include being overweight or underweight; carrying multiple fetuses; being 35 or older; having previous pregnancy complications; abnormal fetal position; and having a condition such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure, a sexually transmitted disease, autoimmune disorders or cancer.
During pregnancy, keep your immunizations current; start prenatal medical appointments in the early stages; maintain a healthy diet and weight; exercise; avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco; and get a minimum of 400mcg of folic acid every day, recommends the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
A high-risk pregnancy could result in miscarriage or stillbirth or the mother’s death. High-risk infants may be born with genetic disorders, birth defects or other medical conditions that slow their development. Mothers may suffer from depression or obesity as a result of a high-risk pregnancy.