Ask the Expert: How to support your pregnant partner without getting on her nerves
Q: WE'VE just found out we're expecting our first baby and while I'm really keen to support my wife through the pregnancy, I don't want to get on her nerves. What can I do?
A: Father-of-two Mark Woods, author of Pregnancy For Men: The Expectant Dad's Guide To The Whole 9 Months (White Ladder, £10.99), says: "Being a dad is fantastic – as is being able to watch your partner do something as extraordinary as bring a baby into the world – honest. You're right to avoid being a pain though – it's remarkably easily done, even by the very well-intentioned.
"Firstly, every woman, relationship and pregnancy is utterly unique, so finding catch-all ways to help is very tricky, and I was utterly awful at it first time around. Here are some things I wish I'd known about...
"Your partner, especially in the first and third trimesters, will almost certainly be exhausted, so regularly and spontaneously changing the bedding so she has lovely fresh sheets to lay on is a simple but much appreciated thing to do.
"Also on the sleep front, put 'pregnancy wedge pillow' into Google and order one. As the weeks turn into months, it'll help your partner find her mattress mojo and get the shut-eye she needs. As the bump gets bigger and presses on her bladder, your partner may also be going to the loo at night much more often than normal, so make sure you keep the doorway and landing obstacle-free, and leave a little night light on in the hall to make sure she can see where she's going.
"Be proactive when it comes to the myriad decisions to be made around baby kit. Do some research, get in some catalogues and print out web pages so you can decide together about cots, changing tables, car seats – even antenatal classes – which need choosing. And don't forget the second-hand kit market – it can be a huge money-saver if you find very well-looked-after items.
"And finally, don't forget to enjoy every second."