Congratulations! You’re going to be a father! Your partner is the pregnant one in the relationship, but your life is changing too, and you want to know what to expect now that Baby-to-be is on the way. Here are some things that you may not know about the impending arrival. Some of these facts can be quite surprising—to you and the new mom, too!
Linea Negra: Have you noticed a dark line running from the top of Mom’s tummy down the center of her stomach to the pubic bone? This natural darkening is caused by hormones and fades after birth.
Breast Changes: Your wife’s body is wild with hormones, and the breasts are affected too. She will probably experience an increasing cup size (you’ve likely noticed this if it’s happened!), nipple spreading, and darkening with bumps and large blue veins across the breasts. Don’t be alarmed if you see colostrum, an early form of breast milk, leaking from the breasts even before the baby is born.
The Pregnant Belly: The abdomen of a pregnant woman is actually quite hard—sometimes it may seem like your mate has swallowed a basketball. By her ninth month, that belly will be her own TV table, perfect for resting that bowl of ice cream. Yet the taut belly housing your child will become jiggly just after birth. Thankfully this squishy belly will eventually snap back as the mom’s body regains a non-pregnant shape.
Sexual Activity: Yes, you can have sex during pregnancy. No, you will not dent the baby’s head. Your sex life will change though, no matter what, as you consider the other person in the room. (It could even change for the better, as physical changes can cause heightened sexual arousal for some women.)
Be sensitive to your partner’s other physical changes as well, such as nausea, fatigue and a changing body image, which may curb the sexual desire of the mom or the dad. Discuss any fears you may have with your wife’s doctor, who will also tell you when sex is not OK.
Couvade or “Sympathetic Pregnancy”: A man experiencing couvade mimics the same physical symptoms as his pregnant wife, such as weight gain, food cravings, and nosebleeds. According to Armin Brott, author of The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year , between 25 and 90 percent of dads-to-be in this country experience couvade syndrome (from the French, “to hatch”). Don’t fret, guys! These very real symptoms usually disappear, amazingly, as soon as the baby is born.
Mucous Plug: Yep, it’s a plug all right, and it seals the opening to the uterus. If your wife loses this, it could be as little as one hour or as much as two weeks before that baby car seat is filled with an 8-pound wonder.