Dads supporting pregnant partners

9 Ways Dads Can Support Pregnancy and Postpartum

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share some of the ways dads can support pregnancy and postpartum. While we may have a lot of information for our pregnant clients, it is a good idea to also share tips that can help dads navigating pregnancy and postpartum as well. A partner’s role is essential in pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum, and here are 9 ways dads can support their pregnant partners.

Connect With Baby

Remember, the baby in our client’s belly is not just a physical presence but a sentient being experiencing everything their mother is experiencing. Dads can foster a deeper emotional connection by engaging with the baby through conversations about their daily lives. Advise dads to connect with baby and share what is going on. If their pregnant partner is upset, sharing this with the baby can be beneficial. Similarly, if they have unintentionally upset their pregnant partner, acknowledging this to the baby can help the baby understand and process the situation.

Talking To Baby

The baby is getting to know dad’s voice, too. The more they talk and connect with their baby during pregnancy, the greater the baby’s response to them will be once it is born. I was present in a cesarean birth and when the baby was taken away from mom and placed in the incubator to be attended by the medical staff the baby was very upset. I encouraged the dad to go over and talk to the baby and it immediately calmed down. Dads have power and connection with their baby, too, and talking to baby will help grow this connection!

Posture Support

One practical way dads can support their pregnant partners is to help them maintain the right body posture. When the pregnant person is standing, ensure their pelvis is not in front of their heels. When they are sitting, make sure that whatever one leg is doing, the other does the same. They need to try and keep even balanced pressure on their pelvic bones when sitting. A continual habit of sitting asymmetrically can impact the pelvis’ ability to allow the baby’s passage to be as easy as possible. These simple actions can potentially contribute to a smoother labor and are a great way you can advise your clients to provide support during pregnancy.

Labor Support

During labor, a partner’s role is crucial! Encourage your clients to consider hiring a doula if they haven’t already done so. A doula’s job is to help dad be a rockstar of support for their pregnant partner. Let your clients know that labor can be a marathon and that partners can be a tremendous support in helping remind their pregnant partners to rest during the early stages and to stay tuned into what their body and baby need, including positioning and environmental needs. Dads can be an amazing advocate for what their partner needs, so she can focus on the job at hand of birthing baby.

Tapping Into Instincts

We want our pregnant clients to stay in the reptilian part of their brain during the intense part of labor. This is the part that instinctually knows what needs to happen for the birth. Dads can support their pregnant partners by helping them focus on their body and what they need when they start to think instead of do during labor. Dads can also help the birth team keep mom in this same instinctual state, so mom can stay attuned to what she and baby need during the more intense part of labor.

Rest Is Best

Dad’s job after birth is to keep mom lying low. Educate clients about the postpartum body. Mom will have a dinner-sized plate wound in her uterus, and her ligaments are stretched 10-40 times their normal length. Even though these changes aren’t visible, they are there, and it is extremely important to help her body heal by keeping her in bed for 5 days, around the bed for another 5 days, and near the bed for 5 more days. Some cultures honor a postpartum person for 30-40 days.

Learning Baby’s Cues

Both partners will need to learn how to read their baby’s cues. Babies communicate their needs with their facial expressions, tongue movements and cries. Hiring an experienced postpartum doula can help your clients understand the messages your baby is trying to send and some help with the night feedings as well depending on the support your clients may need.

Breastfeeding Support

Most new mothers are overwhelmed caring for a baby, especially if they are breastfeeding. Dads can help a lot in these early days just by tuning into mom. They can help their partners during breastfeeding by making sure mom has a glass of water nearby and easy to digest snacks on hand. Hydration will help with breastfeeding and with postpartum recovery.

Filling Mom Up

Talking to dads about how their partners will change after birth can be a bit tricky, but it is important information to share and can help support a strong start to life with a newborn. In the first 3-4 months, and maybe longer for some new moms, the goal is to continue to fill mom up, so she can be good for herself and for her baby. Mom is now sharing her breasts with her baby. Most people don’t appreciate having more attention to the nipples in other ways during the early challenges of breastfeeding because they can get pretty sore, especially with difficulties feeding.

In addition, dads may be ready for sex, again, but typically, this is not where a new mom is at physically or mentally. Encourage dads to focus on external ways of connecting. Massages, gentle touch, and snuggles without wanting anything more as this can do a lot more good in the long run.

I hope this article gives you some tips you can share with your clients. I often hear from my clients that their partners don’t know how to give help that is helpful and that they don’t know what to tell them as they are too tired or unsure, so it is always a great idea to get the conversation going ahead of time. When partners work well together, support one another and can have clear communication, this will go a long way in creating a smoother birth and faster recovery for the family as a whole.

About the Author: Lynn Schulte is a Pelvic Health Therapist and the founder of the Institute for Birth Healing, a pelvic health continuing education organization that specializes in prenatal and postpartum care. For more information, go to

Leave a Reply