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The Pregnant Family

If you are having a baby with a partner, it's not unusual for the non-pregnant half of a couple to share pregnancy symptoms, including weight gain, nausea, food cravings, or mood swings. An approaching birth is always a deeply transforming event for both members of a couple, pregnant or not.

Pregnancy and birth make up one of life's great milestones. Expect to learn much about your partner and yourself in this new stage of life. Becoming a family after having been a couple can be a big change.

Partners face nearly as many adjustments to pregnancy as mothers. While their bodies are not affected, they may experience a range of powerful emotions. Some partners feel a little left out as the new mother focuses on her pregnancy and prepares for the baby. Some may become anxious or overprotective, as so much in their lives suddenly is beyond their control. Others may feel strained by the looming responsibility of parenthood. Realize that it is normal for joy and panic to blend as both members of a couple take their first step in the lifelong adventure of parenthood.

Pregnancy and childbirth proceed with less stress when both members of the couple are fully involved and informed. Help your partner adjust to parenthood by sharing your preparations: attending childbirth classes, reading the same books and articles you find helpful, and fixing up a space for the baby. Talk about the change pregnancy brings to both your lives, from worries to sexual feelings, and your partnership will be strengthened.

Other couples or single parents in the same stage of life can be a great source of support and information. You may find other new parents to talk within a childbirth class, an online message board, your neighborhood, or place of worship. It is important to have people in your life to share the concerns and excitement of parenthood, now and in the future.

Find more pregnancy information for your partner here.

Recommended Reading For Women

What to Expect When You're Expecting
Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby
Ann Douglas, John R. Sussman, MD

Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
Jack L. Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Nancy Mitchell-Autio

Parenthood
Camille Peri

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Mayo Clinic Physicians and Staff

Conception, Pregnancy and Birth
Miriam Stoppard

First Baby After 30...or 40: What to Expect When You're 30-Something or More
Penny Stanway, MD

Your Pregnancy After 30
Glade B. Curtis, MD, FACOG

The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Pregnancy and Baby Care
Ellen Levine

A Child Is Born
Lennart Nilsson

Your Pregnancy Week by Week
Glade B. Curtis, Judith Schuler

The Pregnancy Book: A Month-by-Month Guide
William Sears, Martha Sears, Linda Hughey Holt

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth
Sheila Kitzinger

Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy
Elizabeth Somer

Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice From Pregnancy Through the First Year (for Parents of Twins and Multiples)
Cheryl Lage

Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy Through Early Childhood From Doctor M.O.M.
Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin

The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
Martha Sears, William Sears

Recommended Reading for Dads

The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be
Armin A. Brott, Jennifer Ash

What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding: A Reassuring Month-by-Month Guide for Father-To-Be, Whether He Wants Advice or Not
Thomas Hill

Every Guy's Guide as to What to Expect When She's Expecting
William Grant Eppler

What to Expect When Your Spouse Is Expecting
Ken S. Wormack

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth
Penny Simkin

Recommended Reading for Big Brothers and Sisters

Making Me: The Pregnancy Activity Book for My Big Brother or Sister
Julie B. Carr and Josh Cohen

What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby
Heidi Murkoff and Laura Rader

Sources: American Pregnancy Association, College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians

Recommended Online Resources

American Pregnancy Association

myparentingpage.com

pregnancy.com

Baby Center

pregnancy.org

breastfeeding.com

Mayo Clinic

iVillage

WebMD Baby Center