First time dads: Important pre-birth milestones

Congratulations! You’re going to be a dad! So you might be wondering how you can be the kind of dad that’s really connected to their kids and involved in their lives. Research says an important way to help achieve that is by getting involved now even before baby is born.

Here are just a few of the important events coming up in the next nine months.

Let's visit the doctor

For most couples, it all begins with your first prenatal appointment. That’s when you visit the doctor to confirm those two little lines on the plastic stick were correct and yes - you’re going to become parents. 
The doctor will look at your partner’s health and get you both to start putting some dates in your diary. You might be a bit nervous at this stage but it's a great chance to show your partner you’re a team and ask an expert those questions popping up in your mind.

And if your doctor doesn't cover every step of the pregnancy journey, this infographic might help set the scene.

Mum pregnancy infographic

Baby's first photo

These days many men choose to attend ultrasound scans. The first ultrasound is at 10 to 14 weeks and is your chance to see your son or daughter for the first time, get a pic, and possibly hear their heartbeat too. 

The test will also give you some basic information such as the baby’s expected due date and the likelihood of any genetic abnormalities.

Give us a wave

Most mothers also have a 20 week ultrasound and this can be quite exciting. The image of your child will be much clearer. Some facilities also offer a 3D scan, which gives you a much better photographic result. It’s also a chance to find out the baby’s sex if you wish. 

Your son or daughter will likely be moving, and this can be quite funny if they seemingly refuse to cooperate while the technician tries to perform further tests. Some first-time fathers say this scan is the moment when ‘everything felt a lot more real’ in terms of a baby coming into their life.

Back to school

Movies portray birthing or ‘antenatal’ classes as simply a chance to learn breathing techniques, but there’s much more than that. 

These days, more and more men attend the classes with their partner, as they are both informative and a good chance to demonstrate your ‘team like’ approach to parenting. 

You’re going to learn more about what happens in pregnancy, labour and birth. You’ll be surrounded by other dads to be with similar questions, hopes and fears and this can be reassuring. 

Some hospitals also offer ‘men only’ classes which can be a great opportunity to learn from other fathers and perhaps speak more openly than you might in a mixed environment. 

Many new dads resolve to ‘be there for the birth’ but recent research suggests that being involved in the previous nine months is even more beneficial. So now’s the time to start putting dates in your diary and making sure you can attend scans and classes whenever possible. Your partner – and even your child – might one day thank you for it the difference it made.
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