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Overzealous Dads in Pregnancy

What do you do when dad is more into pregnancy than you are?

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Dad Inspecting Pregnant Belly
Photo © iStockPhoto
While we all get that pregnancy is a very important time, some people take that a bit further than others. Typically when you think of someone going overboard in pregnancy, it is the mom. But there are dads who also get a bit overzealous when it comes to pregnancy. So what does an overzealous dad do in pregnancy? Here are some examples:

  • Denise, a first time mother-to-be, comes home from work. It’s been a long day and she just wants to relax for a little bit and not think about dinner. So she walks in the door and grabs a snack from the kitchen, something sweet and she sits on the couch with her feet up. Dan, her husband comes in, he sees her eating the sweets and asks, “Why are you eating that? Shouldn’t you be eating some fruit?”

    While fruit may have been the healthier choice, eating something sweet now and again is not a horrible thing. But Dan could have totally changed his tone and his reaction, thus making Denise a bit more likely to listen to his suggestion of fruit for the next time she wanted a snack.

  • Traci decides to skip the gym and head home instead. Her boyfriend, Henry, calls to find out why she’s skipping. When Traci says she’s tired, Henry gets upset and starts lecturing her on the benefits of prenatal exercise.

    It’s great that Henry cares that Traci exercises, but to call her out on it in lecture form is a no no. Perhaps a better way would have been for Henry to offer a back massage and a walk later or even to acknowledge that skipping a day isn’t going to hurt anything. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that something like exercise will help you feel more energetic overall, but when you’re tired, pregnant tired, fatigue is also a very real thing.

Here are some other ways that the partners get up in arms in pregnancy and drive moms-to-be nuts:

  • They record pregnant weight religiously, wanting to know where every pound is coming from and when it should be gained.

  • I’ve heard tales of dads actually measuring the mother-to-be’s belly every week and recording it on a chart for comparison sake. (He supposedly did this through every pregnancy and would tell mom where she was in relation to previous pregnancies.)

  • The dad goes to every prenatal visit and asks so many questions that the mom doesn’t have any space to talk.

  • Or you might have a partner who writes down everything you eat and records it to calculate your nutrients, thus judging every bite that you take for nutritional worthiness.

If you have a partner who is exhibiting these types of behaviors you might be tempted to laugh or scream about it. But there really needs to be a conversation that happens surrounding the pregnancy. Just like moms-to-be can become obsessed with pregnancy, so can the partners. This can sometimes manifest itself in these types of behaviors. One dad said to me, "It's hard to not be the one who is pregnant. I don't feel like I have any control over what happens to my baby…" This dad’s crazy antics were a way for him to feel included in the pregnancy, to try to have his say in what was going on, no matter how misguided.

Talking to him and sorting out your feelings and his can make you both feel better. It's also okay to set up some ground rules about what is okay to obsess over and what isn't. his can also include diet, weight, prenatal visits, etc.

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