How to Help Your Partner Through the Last Month of Pregnancy

Pregnant woman holding her partner's hand

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In This Article

There's no doubt about it—pregnancy can be an exciting yet confusing time for both you and your pregnant partner. If you've already made it through the first eight months, you've probably gone through cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, new sexual experiences, and more. However, this still doesn't quite prepare you for the final month of your partner's pregnancy.

Here we take a look at what to expect and how your partner may feel so you can successfully support them and navigate the last month together.

What to Expect

The last month can bring a mix of emotions—from relief to anxiety—as well as a host of physical challenges. Understanding how your partner feels, physically and emotionally, is key to supporting them through this final stage.

Here are some things you should know about your partner's experience.

Feeling Uncomfortable

In the last month of pregnancy, the baby doesn't just keep growing—it also changes position. Your partner can feel like their belly is going to pop. The skin is stretched tight and maternity clothes won't fit as well. This may make your partner feel big, uncomfortable, and/or discouraged.

Exhaustion

At this time, the body is working overtime. Because the baby is growing larger and consuming more energy, your partner will feel drained most of the time.

Moving

The size and position of the baby will make every movement of your partner's body feel like a challenge. Getting up out of a chair, getting into bed, and even walking from the bed to the bathroom can be difficult.

Mood Swings

Expect your partner to experience many moods. Sometimes they'll be excited and affectionate. Other times, they'll be miserable, tired, snappy, and impatient. Be patient and understanding when your partner goes through these ups and downs.

Bathroom Runs

The baby tends to push on your partner's bladder more at the final stage of pregnancy, so they'll need to go to the bathroom a lot. Plan ahead, especially if you are out of the house.

Anxiety

The reality of the impending birth is setting in for you and your partner. That realization can cause anxiety, and cleaning (the "nesting instinct") is likely to occur. Help your partner get the house ready for the new baby and calm their nerves about finances, relatives, becoming a new mom, and other worries.

Supporting Your Partner

Luckily, you can respond to a number of feelings your partner is experiencing by following their lead, offering relief, and being gentle. Sometimes your partner will want to talk and cuddle, and other times they will need space.

Follow your partner's lead to understand their desires, and don't try to impose your attitude on them. It's important to keep feelings of hurt or rejection aside, as the space required is likely not personal.

Just Be There

There will be times when there is very little you can do to make your partner feel better. Listening and responding to your partner's needs will help throughout the process. You can offer a foot rub, lower back massage, or soft hug.

Keep It Simple

Be actively involved throughout your partner's pregnancy and keep life simple. For starters, lower your standards on meals, household chores, and other distractions. You can also prepare meals early in the day for warming up later.

Visit the Doctor Together

Another way to be involved is to go to the doctor with your partner and stay informed about their progress. During the last month, visits to the obstetrician will be more frequent, so you can prepare to join her. This is also an opportunity to ask important medical questions.

Prep for the Hospital

Getting your labor and delivery kit ready may help ease some of the pre-labor anxiety. Pack all the bags you'll need for the hospital visit, including:

  • Car seat: This is an important safety measure and required to bring the baby home. Installing the car seat before you need it gives you have time to ensure it's installed properly (perhaps even getting it inspected) and checks one thing off the preparation list.
  • Overnight bag: Your partner's overnight bag may include pajamas, toiletry supplies (such as toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, deodorant, etc), a change of clothes, a nursing bra, and more.
  • Light snacks: Small cans of fruit juice, crackers, and raisins can be a welcome respite from what the hospital provides. You can also bring energy bars, fruit, and sandwiches. Many practitioners, however, recommend against any solid foods during labor.
  • Music: Many moms enjoy soothing songs for the labor process and for after the baby is born.
  • Camera: You'll be glad to have it with you right after birth for a first family picture.
  • Money: Cash and a credit card are good to have on hand for any needed items that come up, like food, parking, and more.
  • Electronics: Bring your phone, charger, and other items like an address book so you can communicate with your friends and family directly from the hospital.
  • Comfort items: Make sure you have massage items like hot and cold packs, which can really help with the pain.
  • Hospital route: Ensure that your GPS is set up for your trip to the hospital. You may also want to write down directions in case the GPS has issues when the time comes.

Contractions and Labor

During the last month, your partner will begin to have contractions. Contractions can be difficult to describe, but often fall into one of the following four categories.

Braxton Hicks

These contractions are natural preparation for labor—they get the uterine muscles ready for the big event—and are generally more alarming than they are painful. Additionally, they are irregularly spaced, which differentiates them from other types of contractions.

Pre-Labor

During the last few weeks of pregnancy, Braxton Hicks contractions will start to become a little more intense, and there will be times when they will be regular and a few at a time. This is the beginning of the process of softening the cervix in preparation for real labor.

False Labor

If contractions feel like a tightening in the lower abdomen, are irregular over time, and eventually stop, then your partner is experiencing false labor.

True Labor

When the contractions are regular, rhythmic, and painful or uncomfortable, your partner is likely in real labor. At this stage, start timing the contractions. You will want to record how far they are from the start of one to the start of the next, and how long they last.

In the weeks leading up to delivery, your partner's doctor or midwife will tell you when they want you to head to the hospital—for example, when the contractions last at least a minute and are 4 or 5 minutes apart.

A Word From Verywell

While your focus is on your pregnant partner, keep in mind that you need to practice self-care, too. It can be wearying and emotionally taxing to care for a pregnant partner, so make sure to eat healthfully, exercise, manage stress, and get proper sleep. This way, you can be more resilient and more able to handle the stress of pregnancy and having a new baby in your life.

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Article Sources
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