Read about those significant and unforgettable pregnancy moments.
Possibly the biggest pregnancy moment of all is finding out that your partner is pregnant…and that you are about to become a father!
You may first feel your baby move anywhere between 16 and 22 weeks. Known in pregnancy terms as “quickening” this is your first communication with your baby and is concrete evidence that your feisty little sperm do actually work.
Your baby can hear your voice from around 25 weeks onwards.
Womb communication is one way your child can get to know you. Don’t forget it can also hear your taste in music.
First Screen Appearance
Your baby’s first time on the screen is the first antenatal ultrasound appointment usually around 12 weeks. Don’t miss it. It may be a little blurry but a skilled operator will be able to point out the head, body, perhaps the limbs and the heartbeat. Most doctors support a routine scan at 8-12 weeks to date a pregnancy and another at 18-22 weeks to check the baby’s organs and limbs.
The Shape of Things
You will witness a most extraordinary transformation of your partner’s body shape as the fullness and sensuality of pregnancy flourishes. Take time to enjoy the intimate moments and appreciate your partner as you have never seen her before.
This means the amniotic sac in which the baby is cushioned is ruptured. A clear or slightly-blood stained fluid may trickle or gush out. When the waters break, even if there is no sign of labour, call your doctor or midwife as the baby’s protective sac is no longer in tact and risk of infection increases. It is not uncommon for women to lose their waters without realising it. Sometimes the waters don’t break until towards the end of the first stage of labour.
Meeting Your Newborn
The moment you will never forget.
“F**k Cat, it’s a baby!” were Gerard’s first words when he met his daughter Grace. Richard cried for 40 minutes before he could compose himself enough to call friends and family. Daniel said it was a most surreal feeling.
NOT-SO-GREAT PREGNANCY MOMENTS
For some women full, throbbing, tender breasts can be excruciatingly painful during pregnancy and may even be a no-go area. Furthermore, many women experience leaking breasts from as early as mid-pregnancy. This can be spontaneous and at times highly sensitive. Some women leak breastmilk at the sound of another person’s baby crying.
Pregnant women can be uncharacteristically eccentric. This bizarre behaviour is only temporary. As well as being vague, forgetful and at times irrational, know that this is a condition common to pregnancy so don’t take it personally.
Unpredictability is possibly the only constancy when it comes to sex during pregnancy. Fluctuating energy levels and hormones will heavily influence supply and demand.
Blood and Other Things
If you plan to be in the labour room, be prepared to see a tremendous amount of blood. If your partner has a Caesarean birth, brace yourself for some sights you may never have seen before. Brendan described the experience of watching his partner’s Caesarean birth as “Like watching rabbits being skinned”. On cutting the cord, he says it was like “chopping through a hunk of rubber”.
Involuntary Bodily Functions During Labour
As unpleasant as it may sound, most women defecate or urinate while giving birth. It used to be common practice to shave a woman’s genital area and carry out an enema in preparation for birth but this is no longer carried out. “There’s nothing elegant about giving birth,” says Linda, a registered nurse and mother-of-two. “My friend pooed on her husband’s brand-new running shoes”.
After giving birth, your partner will have a bloody, vaginal discharge called lochia for several days, sometimes lasting as long as six weeks. This will turn a brownish colour before tapering to a yellowish-white. Lochia can be alarmingly smelly. Your partner will be advised to use sanitary towels instead of tampons due the risk of possible ascending infection. Large amounts of blood loss may leave your partner feeling weak and dizzy. Make sure she eats regularly to maintain blood sugar level, particularly iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables.
Stress incontinence is common in the later stages of pregnancy and following childbirth. Even a slight cough or laughter can induce involuntary urination. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles helps to reduce this.