Expectant Fathers – 9 months of Pregnancy explained

by pew

new father, pregnancy

So, your wife/partner has broken the wonderful news and you are expecting a baby. Do you have any idea what is going to happen in the next nine months? It is a time of big changes and challenges, especially for the mother to be. You have just started this journey together and you need to be prepared for what is up ahead. It is a wonderful time of learning and discovery. The wonder of human nature and creating a new life will all be revealed to you.

Pregnancy itself is divided up into three distinct periods, called trimesters. Basically the first three months, the second and then the last three months. The first trimester already started on the first day of your wife/partners last menstrual period. This is a bit strange as the due date of your baby is also calculated from this, regardless of when you think you actually conceived. Never mind, it seems to work and we don’t need to get into that too much. The main thing is to know what is happening in each of those periods and what you can do to help.

1st Trimester

It is truly amazing what occurs to the embryo in this stage. All major body organs and systems are formed during this time. That means arms, hands, heart, lungs, brain, spinal cord, ears, eyelids etc. It’s pretty busy in there. The heart starts to beat by day 25. By the end of the first trimester your baby has gone from the size of a pinhead to about 10cm long and weighs about 30g. Between the 10 and 12 week mark you will be able to hear the babies heartbeat using a ‘doptone’ instrument. When you hear this for the first time as a father, your life will change. You suddenly realize there is a real being in there and it is your child!

The mother to be is the carrier and experiences much more than you do of course. The first trimester is normally the period of morning sickness for her. Her body is also creating hormones in order to grow this baby and she suddenly has more blood in her body.

The mothers that do experience morning sickness all experience it in different ways. Some will have it all day and not just in the morning. Others in the night. Some will actually be sick whilst others will just feel bouts of nausea. All you can really do is give your support and help out with chores as much as you can. My wife experienced it mostly overnight and I was awoken on more than one occasion to the sound of her munching into crackers in the middle of the night.

2nd Trimester

The baby is now what is technically known as a fetus and is in a phase of rapid growth. He actually starts to move and turn and generally become very active. It’s at around 18 weeks that the mother begins to feel these first movements, and it’s a momentous occasion! He now sleeps and wakes at regular intervals too and can hear your voice. Even the fingernails have grown by this stage. By the end of this trimester the fetus is 28cm – 36cm long and weighs anything between 450g – 700g.

For the mother hopefully the morning sickness starts to disappear and she becomes more energetic. She will start to feel the baby move and her body starts to change shape. She may need more sleep overnight and also naps during the day. All in all you should have a much happier mother now as the morning sickness would have been very tedious for her. She will start to get aches and pains in her body simply from the fact that the baby is growing and getting heavier.

I found that during this stage my wife felt the best and had an amazing amount of energy. Plus, she had that famous ‘glow’ that everyone talks about. She was radiating motherhood!

3rd Trimester

Baby continues its growth in this stage. He begins to open and close his eyes, suck its thumb and even cry. Our first baby experienced lots of hiccups! The baby towards the end of this stage will move into a head down position, ready for birth. He will not have much room in there now and will find it difficult  to move.

Mother will be growing too and that bump will be an amazing site. You will also become more emotionally involved as reality is around the corner. You should be talking regularly to your baby and touching and feeling the bump. This is a great time for bonding as the baby responds to sound and touch now. 

Mother will become pretty uncomfortable during this stage, particularly towards the end. Sleeping may become difficult just because getting comfortable is hard. She cannot turn and lie in every position for obvious reasons. Baby will be getting stronger and he can kick!

The next stage is birth and I will cover that in another article.

By knowing what is happening during these first 9 months of pregnancy you are better prepared. You will recognize the different phases both in your babies development and with what is happening to your wife/partner. Above all remain supportive, read more articles on this site and enjoy the process.

This time is gone before you know it and suddenly you have a baby in your arms that you both made together. Remember most of all that the mother to be will go through many changes not just physical, but emotional too. She has a lot of extra hormones flowing through her and she is creating a new life. Her reactions may not be what you normally expect but she can be forgiven for that. Find ways to be supportive and to understand. Most of all enjoy the process and each other. You still have a lot of time for each other, make the most of it.

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