You have been given a due date, and this is your first time as an expectant Father. How do you prepare for the final weeks of pregnancy?
Here I will give you a guide on preparing for life after 35 weeks until the birth.
If you are a first-time expectant Father, this is what you need to get ready for when you get the call!
35 Weeks Pregnant – Time To Ramp Up The Prep, Future Dad!
You need to ramp up the preparations from 35 weeks onwards. If your childbirth experience is like mine, you will still have 7 weeks to go, but you should still be on DEFCON 3 from 35 weeks.
Hang on, let’s check the DEFCON Levels of Pregnancy:
Expectant Father DEFCON Levels
DEFCON 5 – Your Partner Is Not Pregnant. Normal Peacetime.
DEFCON 4 – Your Partner Is Under 35 Weeks Pregnant*
DEFCON 3 – Prepare For Childbirth – From 35 Weeks.
DEFCON 2 – Childbirth Imminent. Immediate Threat To Peace.
DEFCON 1 – Waters Broken. Peace Time Over.
*An immediate jump from level 4 to 2 or 1 can still happen.
Here we are dealing with Defcon 3.
So as an imminent Father, what do I do?
What Do I Prep As a First Time Expectant Father?
- Fill Up The Tank
- Plan Your Route
- Get The Hospital Bags Ready
- Practice Baby Changing Skills
- Learn The Birthing Lingo
- Arrange Your Work
- Install Car Seat
- Check Your Equipment
- Messaging Groups At The Ready
1. Fill Up The Tank
From 35 weeks, never run on empty! Always make sure you have at least half a tank of fuel.
Pretend the ‘half a tank’ marker it now your ‘completely empty’ marker.
When you get the call – you need to get in your car and get to the hospital.
No messing about trying to fill the car up!
2. Plan Your Route
I am sure you already know this! Having said that, it is worth checking for planned road closures in that area.
You know the route to the hospital, so make sure it doesn’t need to change!
Have a few routes planned, and get used to a few shortcuts, just in case you need to use them.
A few trial runs after 35 weeks is a great idea! You might be very familiar with the route, but it is worth passing by the hospital a few times to ensure no new signs indicate planned road closures.
3. Get The Hospital Bags Ready
Make sure you have your partner’s bag ready, and you have your own hospital survival kit ready.
There are two options here:
- Put them next to each other near the front door, ready to pick up and go when the time comes.
- Put them in the car, so you can just up and leave.
It depends on how confident you are that your car will be safe! You do not want your car being broken into on the night before childbirth…..
In the last few weeks of my wife’s pregnancy, I put us both in ‘essential travel only’ mode. That basically meant the supermarket and my work.
During those trips, the bags were in the car. When we were at home, I put them back in the spare bedroom!
4. Practice Baby Changing Skills
Maybe you could start this before 35 weeks, but now is also a perfect time.
If you are not used to changing a kid, get some practice. Have your friends got any kids? Get to their house and learn. When you are given your kid to change for the first time, wouldn’t it be impressive if you get it done like a pro?
Impress your partner and the midwife by changing your kid like a boss!
5. Learn The Birthing Lingo
Some of the words used during the run-up to childbirth might be new to you.
Learning some of the common words used will give you the upper hand and allow you to understand what is going on.
I gave you a few words with some explanations in my tips for childbirth preparation, but here are some that you may need to know for the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Engaged- Your baby’s head is in position, and he or she is ready to rock and roll.
Colostrum – This is the first stage in the creation of milk. It is everything a newborn needs to eat!
Breech – The baby is in a weird position (feet first), which probably hurts more. Prepare yourself, and be strong for your partner!
Membrane Sweep – This is something a midwife may do to try and induce childbirth.
Contractions – You probably know this one. This is where your partner’s muscles are contracting to push the baby through the birth canal. They hurt, apparently.
Induce – If you go over 40 weeks, the medical folks might be talking about inducing your partner. They can achieve this in several ways, but they usually start with a membrane sweep (See above). Here is a warning though, they induced my Wife….and it still took 3 more days!
6. Arrange Your Work
Occasionally, my job takes me a couple of hundred miles away from my family. This happens at least four times per month.
Imagine being 200 miles away (in a meeting), and you get the call!
Preparation is key here. Make sure you are close to home by arranging to host or join any meetings via the internet. There are loads of options out there! Telephone conference, video conference…..use technology to keep you close to home.
If you do not have a job where you have to attend meetings regularly – lucky you!
7. Install Car Seat
When it is time to dash to the hospital, you do not want to be spending the first few minutes (or 20, if you haven’t read the instructions!) putting the car seat in the car.
Installing the car seat is an essential part of the preparations, and now is an awesome time to get it sorted!
Seriously though, take some time to read and follow the instructions before putting the car seat in. Honestly, they are not difficult to install!
8. Check Your Equipment
I have covered it in the hospital survival kit, but now is the time to check your equipment to ensure you are ready for birth.
Keep it fully charged. Make sure you have lots of space on it for photographs/videos. If your tablet can take a memory card, is it time to buy a spare!
Keep this fully charged and on all the time. Check your space and free some up if you need to, again, for photographs and videos.
You might choose to use a separate recording device for videos. Check your memory cards and keep them fully charged. If you need any more memory cards, now is the time to buy them.
There might be other equipment you plan to take with you to the hospital, such as a TENS machine or headphones. Make sure they are fully charged (If you have Bluetooth headphones) and you have spare batteries.
9. Messaging Groups At The Ready
Let’s go back 40 years. If a baby were born, there would tell loved ones via a phone call. Or maybe a carrier pigeon.
Nowadays, we have various tools at our disposal that we can use to convey good news.
What would I do?
I would set up a group chat or a list of people you would like to update, like Grandparents and best friends.
The reason I would set this up is that you need to be enjoying the moment, and your new baby will need the reassurance and comfort of your voice after going through the turmoil of being born. Type one message hit send, put your phone down.
If you are not careful, you will be responding to messages for the next hour!
If you must add it on social media (I wouldn’t), make sure you turn your phone on silent for the sanity of the new Mother and anyone else within earshot of your phone.
Now is one of those life moments where you may regret having your nose on your phone, responding to messages from people you haven’t heard from in years.
I hope this helps you prepare for the final few weeks as a first-time expectant Father.
Use this time wisely to prep for the big day.
Unfortunately, while you are given an expected date, you can’t be certain when it will happen. The only thing you can do is make sure you are ready to go when the baby is!
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail!
Please let me know if you are doing anything else to prepare for childbirth or if I have missed anything out. Contact us, or leave a comment below.