NEW ORLEANS – With Father’s Day around the corner, there are many first-time fathers preparing for this life-changing event. Hearing those two words - “We’re pregnant!” – can trigger an emotional spiral that can result in odd responses and behavior.
“It’s common for expectant fathers to feel alienated during this joyous occasion,” says George “Jody” Morris, IV, MD, Vice-Chairman, Women’s Health, VPMA, Ochsner Baptist. “It’s important for dads realize that they play a critical role during pregnancy, delivery and after birth. Providing support and communicating with your partner enables a stronger bond making it an easier transition to becoming a confident new dad.”
Here is some advice to help dad feel more connected.
Conquer Your Fears.
There are a number of potential fears and emotions that expectant fathers experience during pregnancy, birth and the baby’s first year. Most common concerns are financial security, safety and health of the mother and baby, medical procedures, caring for a newborn or feeling replaced by the baby can be an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and stress. Talk about your fears with your partner, seek reassurance and work through the issues together.
Support Your Partner.
Becoming a first-time dad can be daunting, but embrace the moment and take pride in your upcoming role. Accompany your partner to doctor’s visits – not only does it add comfort and support; it allows you to be more in involved in the experience. Spend quality time together and assist her when she needs help with housework.
There are number of resources available that provide valuable information. Ochsner Medical Center offers a variety of prenatal classes for expectant parents and their families available at six locations.
Enroll in a couples prenatal class to gain a better understanding of the birth process.
It’s not unusual for new dads to suffer from a condition known as “couvade syndrome” or sympathy pregnancy which includes insomnia, nausea, mood swings, food cravings and “labor pains”. Rationalize the cause and take action to counteract it so that you can provide the support she needs.
In Winter 2013, Ochsner Health System will be moving its women’s services departments from the Jefferson Highway location to a state-of-the-art Women’s Pavilion at Ochsner Baptist hospital. Dads will enjoy much larger post-partum rooms with comfortable sleeping accommodations, more family-centered waiting rooms, new parent educational classes and special amenities such as 24-hour room service.
Ochsner will continue to provide women’s services at its hospitals on the West Bank, the North Shore, in Kenner and Baton Rouge. Ochsner’s gynecology-oncology team will remain at the Jefferson Highway location.
Visit www.ochsnerbabies.org to see renderings of the new space, a full listing of classes and resources for new parents.
Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 17 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across 11 specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 13,000 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.