Becoming a father: congratulations!
It is a very special moment in a man’s life: becoming a father. What does that imply? You are going to start a family and you will discover new responsibilities. Exciting! Let the adventure begin!
A father in the beginning of the pregnancy:
In the first trimester of the pregnancy you might not notice many changes just yet. Your wife can be a little bit more emotional than usual. Perhaps she is absent minded more often, regularly suffers from nausea or can’t stand the smell or taste of a cup of coffee all of a sudden. Those are the kind of clues that give away her pregnancy. What she needs, is you. She wants to share her feelings and experiences with you and needs to be comforted. Besides mental support you can also provide practical help.
- Clean the house
- Clear some space for a nursery
- Create or buy a crib for your baby
- Check if your supplementary insurance is adequate enough or is there a need to switch insurance policy? (N.B. maternity care is covered by the mother’s insurance only!)
The sooner you involve in your baby’s development and upcoming arrival, the better. Don’t wait to fulfill your role as a father until after the actual birth. Participate in choosing a midwife, in making sensible decisions about the birth (at home or in hospital) and accompany your wife to her check-ups. That is how you can develop into becoming a father. It is an emotional period for you too. Needless to say that your wife will be very grateful for your involvement from the very beginning.
Arrangements you can make during pregnancy
- Maternity Care! Register on this website, call us or call your insurance company.
- Names; have you thought of names already? And which surname will the baby get?
- Birth announcement: do you want to design something yourselves or will you be ordering from a printing company? And where did you put the address list?
- Arranging baby day care if required.
- Maternity leave: as a father you are entitled to paternity leave. Under Dutch law you have a right to two days of paid paternity leave with the possibility of three extra days of unpaid leave. Make your arrangements in advance!
Maybe you prefer to use your leave days after the maternity nurse has left, but it can also be very pleasant take your days off in the first week as there is a lot going on in those days. You are a significant part of this! The maternity nurse will not be present all the time and when she is, she will be teaching you how to take care of your baby and guarantee your much needed rest in these precious but busy times. Use your leave days and preferably some extra days if possible because the maternity week is very special and should be a happy period for everyone. You don’t want to miss out on anything, do you?
The mid-term ultrasound is an examination of your unborn child. Various aspects of your baby’s development will be checked thoroughly. This is often the first time you see and hear your child. A very special moment. Don’t miss it! If you want, they can reveal your baby’s sex.
It can also be a little bit intimidating; what if something is wrong? Many of your questions will be answered during the ultrasound. Remind yourself to make a list of your questions to avoid forgetting them. Talk to your wife about possible negative results of the examination to create clarity. Fortunately, most of the mid-term ultrasounds show good results.
Your wife has probably already felt movements of her baby. This is very special. You will have to keep your patience for a little while longer. But your patience will be rewarded, that is a promise!
Your tasks as a father during labour:
Even though it is one of the most natural processes in life, labour is very hard work. That is why they call it labour! Your wife might express herself very emotionally; angry or agitated. She is in pain. Labour is forcing her abdominal muscles to contract to push the baby out. These contractions are very powerful. When she is having regular contractions, more or less every 4 minutes, it is up to you to inform the midwife.
You can support your wife during labour by allowing her to relax as much as possible:
- Comfort her, relieve her pain by applying warmth to her lower back or abdomen.
- Encourage and motivate her constantly
- Stay by her side. Subconsciously she will feel supported and accompanied on this painful, yet incredible journey.
Father after birth: postpartum period
The postpartum period is very joyful but also very busy. You wife needs time to recover, your baby will keep you up at night and the both of you have to get used to the new situation and responsibilities. Above all, you want to share your happiness with family and friends who can hardly wait to visit. Kraamzorg Zuid Gelderland’s maternity nurses will help you find a healthy balance in your daily routine. Monitoring that you get enough rest is very important to us, for your wife and child as well as for you!
More practical tasks that you carry out in this period:
- Running errands; diapers, nursing pads, groceries
- Washing, drying, cooking and cleaning
- Learning how to change diapers, bathing and dressing the baby, making hot water bottles
- Helping your wife with her personal hygiene and showering
- Sending birth announcements
- Birth registration
- Insurance registration
- Child day care (don’t forget to apply for Kinderopvangtoeslag)
- Informing employers, etc
Our maternity nurse is your tower of strength. She helps you develop your role as a mother and father, giving you enough confidence to face the future together. She will also take care of other siblings, by paying genuine attention to them and involving them in bathing and changing the baby. This way, the whole family can grow together and create a new balance.