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Late pregnancy: excitement, impatience and more
The final months and weeks of pregnancy can feel like a countdown.
Becoming a dad might feel very real now - or still not real yet.
What's happening in the third trimester
In the final months, there are more check-ups on mum's and baby's health. It's great for you and your partner if you can get to these appointments. Hearing the sound of your baby's heartbeat through the fetal doppler can be an exciting and reassuring experience.
Your baby can hear you and your partner, too. If you haven't already, you could start talking to baby or breaking out some of your favourite songs.
As you get closer to the birth, your doctor or midwife will check the position of the baby to see whether baby is in the head-down position, ready for birth. If baby is in some other position, your doctor or midwife will talk about your options.
Your partner is likely to feel more uncomfortable as the baby grows and moves more. This could affect how keen you both are to have sex in late pregnancy. Your share of the bed might also seem to get smaller by the day as your partner uses pillows and looks for ways to sleep comfortably.
As soon as your partner is asleep, she might wake up again needing to go to the toilet because the baby is pressing on her bladder. Think of it as early training for those nights when baby wakes often to feed.
Your partner might complain of a sore back, fatigue, heartburn, restlessness or lack of sleep. But this probably won't stop her from nesting - maybe cleaning, organising your home and getting equipment ready for baby.
Preparation in the third trimester
The third trimester is the time to start preparing for your birth support role and the first hours after the birth.
It's also a good idea to think and read about how to make a great start to fatherhood in the first weeks and months after baby arrives. Lots of parents focus all their thinking on the birth and forget about what happens afterwards.
Some good ways to prepare include:
- going to birth classes
- talking to other men who are expecting or who have just become dads
- going on a tour of where your baby will be born.
Late pregnancy is also a good time to think about your work and any changes you want to make - for example, negotiating parental leave and looking at your work-life balance. If you can, talk with your employer about the arrangements that would work best for you. But try to be flexible in your planning, because your situation or feelings might change.
Another great way to prepare is to accept or ask for practical help from family and friends. After your baby is born, practical help can give you and your partner the time to focus on your baby and to get some rest. This could be help with things like housework, grocery shopping, cooking meals or driving.
Things you can do
- Sing or chat to your baby - baby can hear you.
- Talk with your partner about how you can help her feel more comfortable and get more rest.
- Attend birth classes. Ask men in your classes what they're doing to prepare for their babies' births - are they reading books, watching births on the internet, learning relaxation and breathing techniques, helping write a birth plan?
- If possible, book a tour of where your partner will give birth.
- Talk with your partner about how you're both feeling about the birth. It's normal to feel nervous or unsure.
- If you know some other dads, ask them about their babies' births.
- If you want to know more or you're unsure about specific things to do with the birth or the health of your baby, ask your doctor or midwife.
- Check to see how flexible your work will be about time off for birth and after.
- Ask friends and family ahead of time for practical help after your baby is born.