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11 Ways Dads Can (& Should) Help During Pregnancy

Most articles about preparing for the arrival of a baby focus solely on the mom and what she needs to do. And, to a degree, it makes sense. She is the one carrying and birthing the child, after all. But what about the other half of the equation? Though they aren't the ones physically carrying the child, it's definitely not time to kick back and relax until the baby arrives. There are plenty of ways dads can (and should) help during pregnancy.

Believe it or not, dads, your help is actually essential to the well-being and ease of your partner's pregnancy, labor, and recovery. Many women don't have the support of a partner, so don't take your job lightly. Though these tasks might pale in comparison to everything your partner has to face, it doesn't lessen the role that your support and even doing simple tasks like picking up around the house can mean to her.

Throughout my two pregnancies, my husband was more crucial than he realized. And without his support during labor, I'm not sure I could have done it. From relieving stress, to lending a listening ear, to attending child birth classes together, your role is vital in the health and happiness of the pregnancy too. Here are just a few ways a dad can make pregnancy easier for his partner.

1. Listen To Her

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Although there's really no way you can relate to what she's going through, you can lend a listening ear and (try to) be as empathetic as you can. She'll want to tell you about every little detail, from the way the kicks feel, to how hungry she is, to the fact that she has to pee every five minutes. Being there to listen will be huge.

2. Help Before She Asks

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You've probably noticed a difference in her productivity and energy levels. Even if she's in her second trimester when her energy is supposed to return, it can be overwhelming trying to get everything done while taking care of herself. Try to pitch in whenever you can, no matter what the task may be. If there's a sink full of dishes, just do them. Clutter around the house? Pick it up.

3. Pack Your Own Hospital Bag

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Though she'd probably prefer to pack her own bag for your delivery day, there's nothing holding you back from packing your own. It's a simple task that will only take you a few moments and will definitely help her rest easier.

4. Make The Announcement List

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She'll be busy doing "other" things when the big day comes, so the task of announcing that she's in labor will probably fall on you. Take it upon yourself to make a list of people to inform them of baby's arrival, and then make the calls.

5. Stay Educated

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Though the pregnancy affects her the most, it's ultimately just as important for you to know what's going on. Go to childbirth classes with her, read the baby books together. Staying informed will help you feel much more confident when it comes time to help her through labor.

6. Support & Join Her Lifestyle Changes

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Pregnancy often means a complete change of lifestyle for many women. From quitting smoking, to giving up alcohol, to simply eating much healthier, you can not only support her in these changes, but make them easier on her by joining in yourself.

7. Massage, Massage, Massage

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Whether you're a regular back rubber or it's not really your forte, there's no getting around it when your partner is pregnant. She isn't lying when she says her back (and everything else, for that matter) hurts. Take some of the pressure off by giving her a quick massage at nights.

8. Tell Her She's Beautiful

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With all the changes her body goes through during and after pregnancy, it's more important than ever that she knows how beautiful she looks.

9. Help With Her Recovery

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Regardless of what kind of labor she has, recovery is sometimes the hardest part. Be there to help her through it, because just because the pregnancy is over, the aches and pains won't be.

10. Create Memories Together Before Baby

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As soon as the baby arrives, time with just the two of you will be hard to come by. Take advantage of the freedom you have now and take her on a spontaneous road trip, or to somewhere she's always wanted to go. Making a few fun memories together before the baby's arrival will help strengthen your relationship and prepare your even more for parenthood.

11. Be There

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Simply being there for her through the ups and downs and hormones and body changes and fears will be the most important job you have during her pregnancy. Your support is needed more than you realize.