Thursday, January 20, 2011

Partner Support During Pregnancy

by Cameron Selby

Modern fathering starts at conception, give or take, depending on your political/religious views. I am talking about partner support here fellas. The pregnancy is a time for you to prepare and to hone your skills as the domestic superstar that every modern father becomes in order to look after the health of his partner and children. Below are just a few areas of focus to kick off this week's blog.

Nutrition / Hydration
During pregnancy your partner's body needs greater levels of specific nutrients and better hydration than usual. As our baby grew, her mother's blood and internal organs had to carry away and filter the waste of two people. Good hydration also insures a healthy level of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby which aids in the development of baby's muscles, limbs, lungs and digestive system. Our remedy for both of these needs was daily breakfast smoothies. My wife had a hard, ney, impossible time swallowing the recommended pre-natal vitamins, so I would just blend them up for her each morning. Drinking fish oil for its necessary and beneficial fatty acids is gross and eating that much fish is no longer recommended due to the high levels of toxins found in many wild and farmed fish species, so I would simply add a few tablespoons of wonderful citrus flavored oil supplement to the mix.

Here are a couple links on prenatal vitamins and supplements, one from western medicine and one from the alternative.
Mayo Clinic on Prenatal Vitamins
Herbal allies from Mothering Magazine

As for smoothie recipes, who needs them? It is hard to go wrong with fruit and juice. Being from Maine we used lots of B vitamin rich wild blueberries. Frozen fruit is easy, cheap, and great too. My only tip is to put the vitamin in first and blend it with the liquid only, otherwise you get big chunks of the pill throughout the drink. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out.

on a walk with my wife at 7 months pregnant, and our dog.

Exercise and Body
During my wife's pregnancy, our midwives said that walking daily would shave minutes maybe even hours off her labor. Obviously this is not true in every case and we did not take what they said literally, but the promise of a short labor was a good motivation and helped to get us out the door. I guess that was their point and I think generally the concept must hold true, a strong body can mean a healthier pregnancy, easier labor, and a faster recovery. Pregnancy is tiring and it is the partner's job to be a cheerleader for fitness and to motivate you both to get outside. Incidentally, our walks turned out to be great quality time where we checked in with each other and shared how we were feeling about the pregnancy.

Finding relaxing settings to exercise together can also be a consistent escape from the stresses of pregnancy. A beautiful walk in a local park becomes a new joy, one that turns into a healthy family habit once the baby is born.

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