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How Can the Father Help?

Fathers are typically the most important supporters for mothers, and your response to her illness often impacts her the most. Consistent and reliable help is very much needed. Thus, we have included some suggestions just for fathers to help you know best how to support her through this.

  • Hire as much help as you can afford for childcare, house cleaning, cooking, etc. Select the tasks that you dislike or that are very difficult to fit in your schedule first.
  • Try to avoid verbalizing your frustrations in a way that make her feel guilty for the extra burden on you. That will only create more stress and worsen her condition. Do talk to her about your feelings and try to find ways to cope without straining your relationship.
  • If possible, call friends and family that are close to her and educate them on her illness. Then ask what they can do to help out for a while, such as calling her weekly.
  • Encourage her to be as active as she can, however understand she may need to rest often. Help her do any exercises suggested by her health professionals and try out comfort productsas needed to ease the pain of muscle loss and bed rest.
  • Be there to let her cry or vent her frustrations and offer understanding and suggestions to help her cope. Know that her emotions are real. They are either positively or negatively influenced by her illness, the support she receives, and her genetic sensitivity to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Read more about her emotions in our Mother's Survival Guide.
  • Try to get her out of the house for something fun, even for a short time, as often as she tolerates. This may just be your driving her to a baby store or a friend's house.
  • Think of something each week to add enjoyment to her life, such as picking out baby names, brief outings, or a special at-home date night. HG can leave her very depressed. If she is ill during the holidays, try to find ways she can participate in the festivities.
  • Make sure she is getting effective treatment, and that her doctor is treating her individual symptoms. If not, help her find another health professional.
  • Try to keep life as normal as possible if you have other children at home. Keep the focus off of mom being ill and reassure them often she will get well soon. It can be traumatic for them, so seek a child psychologist if they become moody or cannot cope.
  • Prepare food for any children, as well as anything she can tolerate. Make it easily accessible so she doesn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and can rest often.
  • Do your best to eliminate triggers of her vomiting/nausea by avoiding foods she cannot tolerate, eating low-odor foods, dining away from home, and cooking on a grill.
  • Try to find foods she can eat and prepare them for her as soon as she feels they are tolerable. Often preparing food increases nausea and creates an aversion.
  • Understand that intimacy may be difficult or impossible for some time. Avoid any comments that might make her feel guilty or pressured.
  • Ask her what you can do to help her most. Open communication is important.
  • If you are struggling to cope, seek professional counseling. It is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness. HG can be extremely stressful and even overwhelming.
  • Educate yourself on signs of depression both during pregnancyExternal Link and postpartum. She is at greater risk for depression if her symptoms are severe and/or last for more than half of her pregnancy. Make sure she gets help if needed.

Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013

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