Congrats—you're going to be a dad! But first you've got to get through the next few months of pregnancy. Think you have a handle on everything you need to know about pregnancy? Let's see about that.
Here is some A to Z pregnancy information to help you understand what's going on when the woman in your life is expecting.
- Afterbirth - So once your partner delivers the baby that's it, right? Wrong. The placenta still needs to be delivered, usually no more than 30 minutes after your baby is born. This is known as the afterbirth.
- Birth Plan - You and your partner may want to write up a birth plan that gives her medical team information, such as who she wants in the delivery room, whether or not she wants pain medications and other details. One way you can be helpful during the labor is to enforce the birth plan. She certainly won't be in the mood to do it.
- Crowning - When you can see your baby's head begin to appear after your partner has started to push, you know you're in the home stretch of the delivery process.
- Dilation - Dilation indicates how far along your partner's labor is. Her cervix needs to stretch to 10 centimeters before she can start pushing.
- Epidural - More than half of all women who give birth at a hospital use epidurals—a form of regional anesthesia used to block pain to the lower half of your partner's body during labor and delivery.
- Fetus - This is your developing baby, after the embryonic stage and before birth. The fetal stage begins at the 11th week of pregnancy.
- Gestational Age - When someone asks your partner how far along she is, they're asking what your baby's gestational age is. It is measured in weeks, beginning on the first day of your partner's last period.
- Heartburn - Your partner may experience this during her third trimester when her uterus puts more pressure on her stomach and intestines. Encourage her to drink a glass of milk or eat some yogurt to help relieve the symptoms.
- Induction - Your partner may need to have her labor induced if she is past 42 weeks pregnant or a complication develops that puts her or her baby's health at risk
- Jealousy - What you may feel after your wife has given birth and your child gets almost all of her attention. Remember that a newborn needs its mother for survival. The best way to overcome this is to take ownership of some aspect of caring for your new baby. Or take ownership of caring for her.
- Kangaroo Care - Holding your newborn on your bare chest—yes, you can do this too—which helps him maintain a stable body temperature, regulate his heart rate and sleep better. It's also a great way to bond with your baby.
- Lamaze - Those breathing and relaxation exercises your partner may want to practice before labor. Go to lamaze classes with her so that you can help her do these exercises properly when she goes into labor.
- Morning Sickness - Your partner may experience nausea or vomiting during weeks 6 through 12 of her pregnancy. Make sure she stays hydrated and eats regularly, even if only in small amounts.
- Nesting - Her urge—or obsession—to clean and organize the house, especially towards the last few weeks of pregnancy. As long as she's careful not to do any heavy lifting or overly strenuous activities, it's probably best to let her have at it.
- Obstetrician Gynecologist - A doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system. Your partner will want to find an OBGYN she feels comfortable with to see her through her pregnancy.
- Placenta - This organ is found inside the uterus. It is connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord and is responsible for making pregnancy-related hormones, as well as relaying nourishment from your partner to your baby.
- Quickening - That magical moment when your partner feels her baby move inside of her for the first time. This may happen any time after week 13 of pregnancy.
- Rupturing of the Membranes - You may also hear this referred to as having your partner's water break. It means that the amniotic sac around your baby has ruptured, and is a sign that your partner is in labor.
- Stretch Marks - These are the lines that may appear on your partner's hips, breasts, abdomen or thighs as her body grows to make room for your baby. She may be self-conscious so don't make a big deal out of them.
- Trimester - Your partner's pregnancy is divided into 3 blocks of time, lasting about 3 months each. These periods of time are known as trimesters.
- Ultrasound - This is the test where a technician puts some gel on your partner's belly then rubs a wand around so you can get a look at your baby.
- Vagina - Don't laugh—most men don't know exactly what it is outside of sex. It's the muscular, mucous-lined tube that connects the uterus and cervix to the outside of a woman's body.
- Weight Gain - Not hers, yours. Men sometimes experience this and other pregnancy-like symptoms—known collectively as Couvade syndrome—when their partners are expecting.
- Xtra Attention - What your partner needs when she's pregnant. Body changes and symptoms can mean she needs a little more TLC from you.
- Yes, No Problem - The phrase you say in response to your partner when she asks you for a back-rub, or a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Even if it's 3 in the morning. After all, she's carrying another human being inside her.
- Zzzs - Sleep—make sure your partner gets lots of it while she's pregnant.
For more information, or to schedule a tour of the EIRMC Women's Center, call 529-7157 today!