How can a husband support his wife during pregnancy?

Dear husband, a pregnant woman faces several physical and mental changes during pregnancy. And she will need your support and understanding. What are those changes a woman faces? How learning about them will make you more supportive during pregnancy? Read on to find out

Nisreen Nemer
Published on:May 19th 2022 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024

The husband’s role during pregnancy

When does the husband’s role start? And what is it? Below are a few topics I would like to share with couples who are planning to conceive:

-A word to the husband: Talking to your wife about pregnancy is an essential pillar for the success of a marriage. It is also the first step toward a stress-free pregnancy, where you are by your wife’s side in every step to help and support. Usually, in this conversation, a couple will discuss their financial, physical, and emotional readiness for this journey.

- Pre-pregnancy medical check-up for the couple is also important. In addition to, fertility screening to make sure neither one has any issues. And if any issues are found they will be able to treat them early.

- Agreeing on the place of birth is a conversation that eases pregnancy-related stress. Whether the birth will take place in their country of residence, or the mother will travel for example to have the baby where her family is.

- Be honest about your financial situation, during the past two years, with the Covid pandemic, many families' financial situation has changed a lot. Therefore, financial planning for the pregnancy is very important, to avoid any surprises or marital disputes. This financial planning includes knowing the benefits of the couple’s health insurance plan and finding out whether it covers pre-natal visits and childbirth or not. In addition to having an emergency financial plan in case, the birth expenses change due to an emergency c-section or preterm labor, and the baby needs admission to an intensive unit, which will cost extra money.

- Emotional readiness is essential for a stress-free pregnancy. Find out whether your wife is ready or not to get pregnant, based on her plans for work, or study. You need to discuss with her if either one of you would like to postpone having children immediately after marriage for any reason.

- Sexual education is the most important education for a newlywed couple. They need to learn everything about sex, how pregnancy happens, natural contraceptive methods, and many other things. This should be complemented by a doctor’s visit right after the honeymoon to have the medical and fertility check-up mentioned earlier.

Physical changes pregnant women face

- Sleepiness and excessive sleep

During the first trimester, a pregnant woman might feel lethargic, sleepy, and would want to sleep all the time. This might be unusual for you since you are used to your wife being active just a few weeks earlier. This is a normal pregnancy symptom, that fades away usually after the first trimester. We are telling you about such symptoms and helping you understand them, to be supportive and helpful to your wife during the first stage of pregnancy.

- Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are among the major early pregnancy symptoms. This uncomfortable symptom to a pregnant mother might seem to you odd and repelling sometimes, as you haven’t seen a woman go through this before. This is why you must be prepared that your wife will go through similar symptoms and that they are normal and temporary. To be able to support her as needed, your support will consist of providing alternative foods that ease nausea, in addition to the emotional support needed to overcome this phase.

- Sensitivity to certain smells

The hormonal changes happening during pregnancy might make a woman sensitive and repelled by certain smells. Especially the smells of some foods like chicken or meat. You need to understand this, accept any changes it might cause, and not blame your wife or feel annoyed. You can have these foods outside the house until she is no longer annoyed by their smells.

- Sensitivity to the husband

Don’t talk to me! Don’t come near me! These are some of the things your wife might say to you. And as funny as it sounds, due to the moods swings and the effect hormones have on emotions, some pregnant women feel annoyed by their husbands’ presence sometimes. Therefore, you need to know about such possible changes, to be able to accept them and avoid any marital complications.

- Back pain

You might think that the back pain felt by your wife is because she did an excessive effort in cleaning the house, or that she exhausts herself and endangers the baby. You must know that back pain during pregnancy is normal, caused by the excessive curvature of the spine to balance the weight of the enlarged uterus. In this case, support your wife by encouraging her to stretch, and do mild exercise, in addition, to gently massaging the location of the pain.

- Muscle cramps

A pregnant woman might experience muscle cramping in her legs, another normal symptom of pregnancy, and the husband needs to know about it, to better ease it and help his wife overcome it.

- Heartburn

Another uncomfortable and common pregnancy symptom, that if the husband knows about, he will be helpful and supportive. He can help by encouraging her to eat healthy foods and increase her protein intake to beat this symptom.

Advice to the husband

- Know that each pregnancy and each woman is different than another.

- Rest assured these symptoms are temporary and they will be easier with time.

- Be ready to support and help your wife physically and emotionally.

Mothers: the fountain of knowledge

My advice to mothers of young men who are about to get married, or just got married. To have a conversation with them to tell them about the pregnancy and its effect on a woman’s body and soul. Such conversations play an important role in educating husbands and encouraging them to be supportive of their wives during pregnancy.

How can a husband be supportive during pregnancy

- Support her emotionally, to help her overcome fear, stress, and anxiety especially if this is her first pregnancy.

- Encourage her to eat healthy foods that ease some uncomfortable symptoms.

- Help her with housework, hire a house helper, or ask for the family’s help to support your pregnant wife.

- Accompany her during all prenatal visits.

- Attend pregnancy and birth education classes with your wife.

To learn more about the husband’s support during labor read this article

From my experience as a doula, and through reading many studies, I can say that the husband’s support during labor makes her birthing experience more positive. Some signs of support could be physical touch, holding her hand, kissing her forehead, or hugging her during labor. This increases oxytocin levels, which reduces anxiety and helps ease labor pain.


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Nisreen NemerDoula

Nisreen graduated as a registered nurse from Sharjah University and received her master’s degree in Public Health from Hamdan Smart University. She is a lactation specialist, AMANI childbirth educator, Certified from AMANI Childbirth in Saudi Arabia, and a Doula. With years of experience in woman’s health care and health education, especially the education of pregnant women, to help them be prepared for childbirth. Nisreen dedicates all her time to supporting women in their motherhood journey and makes sure she does her role as a birth companion perfectly. She is always there for her clients from the first contraction, until the baby is born. She is passionate about helping women through birth and breastfeeding and other steps in their motherhood journey.

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