There are all kinds of guides for dads-to-be on what not to say to their pregnant partners, because we all know putting their foot in their mouth is somewhat of a specialty of theirs. There's also a good deal of direction for expectant fathers for positive things to do for the pregnant lady in their life, including pampering and showing interest. Still, I'm of the opinion that dudes need all the help they can get. That's why I'm sharing the things every dad doesn't ask his pregnant partner to do.
Luckily for him, my husband is a quick learner. We had way more fights during my first pregnancy, but this time around he's treading carefully so as not to poke the mama bear. He's a supportive partner and I appreciate him, but I won't hesitate to give him what-for if he crosses the line. Before you give me the "pregnancy is no excuse for being a pain in the you-know-what" line, let me say that I'm the first to admit that I'm not easy to be around. But I think it's perfectly understandable given what challenging pregnancies I have. When you've had hyperemesis gravidarum that keeps you vomiting into the second trimester or three hemorrhoid surgeries in two pregnancies, feel free to come at me with your opinions.
So, yes, I absolutely expect my husband to limit his demands on me while I'm growing our future child. And if you're a dad who's alive and would like to remain that way, I suggest you follow suit.
Top Off His Drink
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Surgeon General, there is no amount of alcohol that can be considered safe during pregnancy. Some dads give up drinking in solidarity with their pregnant partners, especially knowing that a father's alcohol consumption can impact the baby's health.
Abstinence isn't something that I ask for, but I draw the line at fetching my partner's beer. I'm pretty sure I bored holes into my husband with my eyes when he handed me his empty wine glass at a wedding, hoping I'd hook him up with a refill.
Do His Laundry
Maybe my husband's right and it's the Northwest liberal in me, but I don't want to do my partner's laundry even when I'm not knocked up. I'm already washing, drying, and folding the household sheets and towels, along with my clothes and the toddler's. I'm not touching his sweaty workout attire.
When a woman is pregnant, her partner should not be adding tasks to her literal and proverbial laundry basket.
Carry In The Groceries
I don't know about you, but at my grocery store they fill my bags really full. I ask for help out to the car (*emphasizes growing belly*), and when I get home, I expect the garage door to open and my husband to transport my parcels inside.
I'm not saying that a pregnant woman will never prepare food, but a dad-to-be definitely shouldn't ask what's for dinner. Especially in the first trimester, when nausea, exhaustion, and food aversions are at their worst, men should get friendly with their local food delivery service (or, you know, cook for themselves like grown-ass human beings who are more than capable of preparing meals and feeding other human beings).
I'm happy to cook during the second trimester and when I feel the best, but if all I can manage is a frozen pizza I don't want to hear about it. If I'm really not up to being in the kitchen, then I'll be serving up heaving portions of "I Don't Know Fix It Your Damn Self You Didn't Starve Before We Met."
Stay Up Late
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, pregnant women need a few more hours of sleep than the recommended seven to nine hours for adults ages 18-64. That means that late at night is not a good time for dad to initiate a discussion on, say, finances or child-rearing.
Fellas, don't make your pregnant partner feel guilty for not waiting up for you when you get home late or getting up with you in the morning. Remember she's "sleeping for two."
Make Room For Him In The Bed
In what is perhaps the cruelest of pregnancy ironies, needing more sleep does not equate to getting it. Pregnant woman have trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons, including disruptions (think frequent urination, fetal movement, etc.), leg cramps, heartburn, and backache.
Sorry, guys, but if a pregnancy pillow is the only way your partner can catch some sweet, sweet dreams, you'll have to get used to it or get real comfortable on the couch.
Drive His Drunk Ass Around
I don't think I'm asking a lot here. I don't expect an expectant father to give up his favorite libations. I get that having a built-in designated driver is a pretty big perk of having a pregnant partner. But, seriously, exercise some self-control.
If you need her to drive home from a BBQ because you had a few beers, that's cool, but don't ask her to be your personal Uber.
Guys, the key here is to take things off your partner's plate. If she's working or taking care of your other children while dealing with the discomforts and indignities of pregnancy, she doesn't need to call the cable company or pick up your dry cleaning, too.
My husband recently asked me to be his Family Resource Group Leader. For those not familiar with the military, this is not an insignificant ask. I agreed, but not before I'd negotiated his involvement in three photo shoots and a promise to never ask me for anything again ever.
According to The Bump, most pregnant women first experience frequent urination at 10-13 weeks along. They get a short reprieve during the second trimester, but it's back with a vengeance in the third, as baby puts increasing pressure on the bladder.
If the pregnant lady in your life tells you she has to pee, and you value both your life and your upholstery, pull over and clear a path.
Suck It Up
If you do one thing for your pregnant partner, take her pain seriously. Do not dismiss her suffering or in any way insinuate that she might be exaggerating. If you feel the urge to utter anything along the lines of "it can't be that bad," swallow a spoonful of peanut butter. And bring your partner one while you're at it.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.