So, you are going to be a Dad. Congratulation! Hopefully, it was planned, but if not…congratulations anyway! Onwards and upwards! Now, if you are going to be a first time Dad, there are some things you need to know about the pregnancy.
Scratch that, there are LOADS of things you need to know about pregnancy.
Before you prepare yourself for the childbirth, new Dads, you need to have a rundown on what you should expect from each trimester of the pregnancy!
In this article, I am going to cover what a trimester is and what you can expect from your partner during each trimester, along with a brief description on what the baby is up to during their time in the womb.
I will also give you some pointers on what is expected of a Dad during each of the trimesters and throughout the entire pregnancy!
Table of Contents
- New Dad Pregnancy Guide – Quick Links
- What Is A Trimester?
- 1st Trimester – Weeks 0-12
- What You Should Expect In The 1st Trimester
- What Is Expected From A Dad In The 1st Trimester
- What Is The Baby Doing In The 1st Trimester?
- 2nd Trimester – Weeks 13-27
- What You Should Expect In The 2nd Trimester
- What Is Expected From A Dad In The 2nd Trimester
- What Is The Baby Doing In The 2nd Trimester?
- 3rd Trimester – Weeks 28-40
- What You Should Expect In The 3rd Trimester
- What Is Expected From A Dad In The 3rd Trimester
- What Is The Baby Doing In The 3rd Trimester?
New Dad Pregnancy Guide – Quick Links
What Is A Trimester?
TLDR – The time a pregnancy is due to last is 40 weeks, it is split into 3 parts. Each part is called a trimester.
Want to know more? Read on!
1st Trimester – Weeks 0-12
The first 12 weeks of a pregnancy is called the 1st trimester. The first few weeks, your partner is not actually pregnant at all.
Then the magic happens, and you conceive. Within the first month, the fertilized egg embeds into the womb and her body is transformed into a child-bearing machine.
Get your head around that.
The riskiest trimester, the first 12 weeks can be a worrying time, as the ball of cells is expanding rapidly. Every single change needs to be perfectly executed in a timely manner by Nature!
There is a reason why many couples decide not to announce a pregnancy until the beginning of the 2nd trimester. Statistically, 1 in 5 pregnancies does not get past this time.
It is a sad fact of life, and something you need to be aware of.
Unless there have been any complications, your first scan will be booked in at the end of the 1st trimester. I recommend waiting until after your first scan to announce the pregnancy. Unfortunately, we learned that the hard way.
What You Should Expect In The 1st Trimester
A sudden rush of hormones may kick-start the dreaded morning sickness. Your partner’s body will be working overtime to prepare it for hosting a kid, this will result in huge internal changes.
Indigestion, cramp, and stress are very common in this trimester, so keep an eye on her.
Tempers may be frayed during the 1st trimester, due to a combination of an increase in hormone levels, worry, excitement and you leaving the toilet seat up again.
What Is Expected From A Dad In The 1st Trimester
The important thing is that you stay cool for reassurance.
During the 1st trimester, your job is to research how the baby is developing. When you know the answers, you can field any questions! You can also participate in the relentless conversations about ‘what the baby is growing now’.
Give assurances that you are up to the task by kicking off discussions about where the baby is going to sleep and what items you need to think about buying after the first scan.
There is a danger that the excitement will be too much and you will both want to tell everyone as soon as possible! Try not to, just in case. Try to wait for the 2nd trimester for that.
One last thing for the 1st trimester. All of those things that have caused a bit of conflict before she was pregnant need to be remembered. If your partner is anything like my Wife, the reaction would have been completely out of proportion to the cause. Now, times that reaction by 5…..7….10!
That is what you are trying to avoid at a time when she will need to remain as calm as possible. Remember what caused conflict before, and just toe the line. Put the toilet seat down, make sure you tidy up and don’t leave the basin full of your facial hair after a shave!
Reduced stress = a calm Mother, a chilled out Dad and a relaxing atmosphere for a child to be created in!
What Is The Baby Doing In The 1st Trimester?
The first couple of weeks of the 1st trimester, the baby is living two separate lives….one as sperm and one as an egg.
Then, after conception, it needs to travel from a fallopian tube up to the womb, where it will live for the next 38(ish) weeks.
It starts off as two cells, the multiplies again, and again and again…..
During the 1st trimester, your baby will go through a whole world of change! The important week is the 10th because that is when most of the really critical stuff is finished. You can breathe a sigh of relief at the 10 weeks mark because the chances of success increase substantially!
Hands and feet begin to emerge from the fish-like embryo, a heart is created and begins to beat.
Towards the end of the 1st trimester, your baby will be able to move limbs (development of hands and feet has also begun) at will and it takes the shape of a human, instead of a fish-like creature!
2nd Trimester – Weeks 13-27
This is the magic middle trimester, the time when your partner may show signs of her previous self! She will now be familiar with the surge in hormones and her body is used to hosting a rapidly growing fetus.
There are still times when you are likely to upset her, by saying something wrong, doing something wrong or breathing too loudly.
Now that you are out of the 1st trimester, it is a good time to begin the process of emptying your wallet in various stores to buy flatpack furniture that will test your patience.
Also – this is the time when you can find out the sex of the baby! When my Wife was pregnant, we both agreed that finding out was logically a great idea. It makes planning so much easier. Many people choose not to find out the sex, and that is cool too.
Just make sure you both agree on whether you want to find out or not.
What You Should Expect In The 2nd Trimester
Spending money, decorating your babies room, spending money, being on the back-foot in all arguments and spending money.
You will have a scan at around the 20-week mark. This is a scan to check your baby is cool. During this scan, the sonographer will spend a lot of time checking the babies heart to make sure it is developing well.
Towards the end of the trimester, you may begin to notice your partner ‘nesting’. Nesting is a process where they spend a lot of their time preparing your house for the arrival.
You may notice things being moved about and put into storage for no obvious reason. It makes sense to them, and if you need to question a choice, tread very carefully!
Your baby will make themselves well known during the 2nd trimester! Your partner may get butterfly-like flutters from her womb, this is your baby saying ‘Hi’.
As they get bigger, the movements become more obvious and you can feel movement and kicks though her baby bump!
In short – hormones level out, energy returns, sickness (hopefully) disappears and you even get a small glimpse of the sex life you once had.
Do not quote me on that!
What Is Expected From A Dad In The 2nd Trimester
Enjoy the 2nd trimester! It is by far the easiest, both for the Mother and Father.
The magic that is going on with creating this new baby is totally immense!
This is the trimester where your baby morphs from a weird, alien looking creature into something that closely resembles a human.
During the 2nd trimester, your wallet will be hit pretty hard, with all of the things you will need to welcome your new baby into this world.
Get used to erecting (easy) flatpack furniture and get used to shopping for baby goods.
Your partner’s energy levels are likely to rocket during this phase, so you will need to make sure you keep up! Fear not though, you can have a rest in the final trimester! It may be the last rest you get as a human being……..
What Is The Baby Doing In The 2nd Trimester?
Now your baby has entered the 2nd trimester, it is time to start developing and using facial muscles.
At around 15 weeks, your partner might feel a little flutter, which is the baby moving around! It is now getting big enough to feel.
Your baby will start to hear for the first time, so watch the language! It is actually a great time to read them their first story, or maybe lay down some house rules. They will learn to know your voice and when they are born, it is much easier to sooth them!
Baby fat will form beneath their see-through skin and they will even start breathing in the amniotic fluid! It is good practice for when they first get some air.
Towards the end of the 2nd trimester, they will open their eyes and take a look at their first home. There won’t be much to see…..a womb….some legs…..but it will still be new for them.
3rd Trimester – Weeks 28-40
The 3rd trimester is the final months of pregnancy. It is a time for waiting, more spending and more checkups!
Your partner will become a giant and will have a solid pregnancy waddle.
Joking about how big they are is frowned upon in this trimester, just saying.
Very occasionally, you will notice the baby bump move around as the baby changes position, or gives you a good kick.
What You Should Expect In The 3rd Trimester
The baby is now taking up a great deal of space, and this is putting pressure on other parts of the anatomy, namely, the bladder. Wherever you go, make sure you are near a toilet, because it becomes a woman’s best friend as she barrels through the last trimester.
Nesting is hotting up now and you may start to panic that you are not prepared, stay cool! You got this.
In this period, you need to be keeping an eye on your babies movement to make sure your partner is feeling it a few times per day. Any large time period where movement is not felt, get it checked by a medical professional.
I remember during my wives pregnancy, it was around 30 weeks and she had not felt my Son move for over 12 hours. With a worried look on her face, she suggested calling a Doctor. ‘Hang on’ I said, as I went through to the freezer, took out a packet of frozen peas and placed them on her stomach…she wasn’t expecting it! She looked shocked, and the peas got a heavy and decisive boot from a very unhappy baby!
Panic over, but I wasn’t popular for a few hours.
Oh – some bad news – this trimester is where her breasts will become very sensitive. They are no longer solely yours.
In short: Leaky breasts, bad back, tiredness, heartburn, and possibly fake contractions. Arguments here are mostly due to tiredness and generally being uncomfortable in their new giant form.
What Is Expected From A Dad In The 3rd Trimester
You are likely to spend most of this time building flatpack furniture, spending money and being there during all of the midwife appointments.
Your partner will be uncomfortable all of the time, and in pain for most of it. It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible during this last phase of pregnancy. Learn to give a good massage and make sure you have enough bubbles for a relaxing bath…not you, for your partner!
You will also notice a swift reduction in the percentage of bed that you can sleep in. Your partner needs to be comfortable! During the later stages of pregnancy, my Wife found that a pregnancy pillow gave her an awesome nights sleep! It also made regular appearances on the sofa.
The baby will be expanding rapidly, causing all kinds of pains and symptoms, so be there for her as much as you can.
You might also want to book an extra scan for the later part of this trimester.
From 35 weeks onwards, you can get some awesome pictures of the baby in the womb!
We had a scan at 35 weeks and it genuinely looks exactly like my Son! I was very close to using it to verify the identity of the kid they gave us when he was born.
What Is The Baby Doing In The 3rd Trimester?
The 3rd trimester is where the baby just gets bigger and bigger until there is no more room left in the womb, or in your partner’s body!
Something has to give way, that is usually a bladder! Stay close to a toilet.
Your babies bones are getting stronger now and their taste will develop. Finger and toenails are fully formed, as are their kidneys.
A lot of the growth in the 3rd trimester involves putting on more fat underneath their skin (the baby, not your partner). This is preparation to regulate their own temperature outside of the womb.
Towards the end, their lungs are in great working order and are being fully tested with the amniotic fluid.
At 37 weeks, the baby is considered to be full term, which basically means they are ready to come out and make noise.
So much noise.
Eventually, the babies head will move further down, engaging in the cervix ready for birth! Unless they decide to come out feet first. That hurts, by the way.
So there you go, that is a rundown of each of the trimesters for first-time Dads!
The post covers weeks 0 through 40, but what happens if your partner is still pregnant after the 40 weeks? That is officially classed as ‘overdue’.
Where are many techniques that clinicians can use to induce the childbirth, and these are usually scattered through weeks 40 to 42.
My Wife went all the way up to week 42 and 3 days before my Son popped out to say ‘Hi’!
Good luck with the pregnancy and good luck with the childbirth! Feel free to check back to let me know how you got on. I am always interested to hear the experience of pregnancy from the point of view of other Dads!