An experienced dad’s guide for first-time dads: Third Trimester Edition

Guys, you’ve made it through the morning sickness and nausea, the glucose drink and “feeling pretty” good, to finally this point: the third trimester. But here’s some things you need to know:

1) Your significant other is probably going to grow a little more expeditiously than the first two, because the baby is growing faster. You may likely find yourself in situations where she says offhandedly, “I’m SO HUGE” or even worse, “I’m fat!” Let me say, I’m one of those men that occasionally strays from conversation and just generally answers “Yeah” when I’m not listening. The third trimester is when you learn to say “No” when not really listening, because you never know when this comment might be uttered, and you don’t want to agree with her.

2) The third trimester is where you pick up your paycheck, fellas. Pregnancy is a lot of “what have you done for me lately” and the third trimester is your chance to pick it up if you’ve been slacking or to solidify yourself in history as a coveted “Best Hubby Ever”. You may even get a Facebook post devoted to your excellence. That’s big time.

3) Mom is packing a bag for the hospital. You should too. But also, you need to start researching every possible path to the hospital. From the house, from work, from the store, from the highway. Map out routes in advance, throw in obstacles, what if there’s a wreck, where do you go? Also, research parking garages at the hospital. You don’t want to be incredibly efficient getting to the hospital and have no freaking clue where to actually park the car (you’re not going to be able to just park it in the middle of the road like they do in the movies). That’s just sloppy staff work.

4) It’s time to put together the nursery if you haven’t already. I’m telling you, hell hath no fury like a baby (and a baby mama) without a nursery that you’ve had exactly 9 months to plan for.

5) Your significant other will be likely complaining a lot about discomfort, everywhere. Don’t be dismissive. If you have to, get a backpack, fill it with like 15-20 pounds of stuff, and wear it backwards for 24 whole hours without ever taking it off.

6) It’s probably a good time to start talking about parenting decisions that you need to make. A lot of decisions you make will have to be on the fly or just adjusting to your kid, but you don’t want to be the parents arguing in the hospital about whether or not to use a pacifier, or even something like circumcision.

7) You really need to start reading up on things like contractions, water breaking, cervical dilation, etc. It just needs to happen. You don’t want to be the husband that’s like, “Oh, it’s no big deal”, but you also don’t want to be the one dragging your significant other to the hospital because she said she had a contraction.

8) Back to where the baby is…the baby is likely sitting right on your wife’s bladder in some form, which means she’s going to be getting up to use the bathroom a lot at night. Don’t make her walk through a freaking minefield to get to the bathroom. Make sure the path is clear before you go to bed. Also, you don’t want to be helping a pregnant, now irate, woman out of the toilet bowl at 2 AM. Make sure the seat is down before you go to bed.

9) She’s going to be going to the OB almost every 1 or 2 weeks now. If you have been going with her to the visits this entire time, you may have noticed most of them recently consist of a few questions and perhaps a quick fetal doppler. Well, they are going to start diving in there soon, you need to mentally prepare yourself for that and determine with her what you’re going to do when the OB is up there. If you need to excuse yourself, if you need to remain in the room and just not watch, or…something. Believe me, it can be a really awkward situation if you aren’t prepared for it, so if you know it’s going to happen, it will help.

10) I know finances and things might be on your mind, but take the time to get out and do some things, or just do special things together. It doesn’t have to be a full-on babymoon, but even just take advantage of date nights because you might be on a bit of a hiatus once your kid is here.

11) Compliment her. Even if she looks disheveled, she’s carrying your kid. She may not want to get dressed up, or do her hair, etc. You should be saying the same things to her when she’s wearing sweatpants and an old t-shirt as when she’s in a cocktail dress and heels. Alternatively, take the chance to be disheveled too. See who can out-skank the other. If she hasn’t showered in two days, tell her you haven’t showered in 3.

12) You need to start putting together everything for the big day. YOU’RE probably going to be the one that has to make phone calls, send emails, etc. Make sure you’re calling the parents, siblings, and yes, your in-laws. Also confirm ahead of the day who you guys want in the delivery room, both during labor and during the delivery. You may need to run pass-block that day, so carb up.

13) Newborns do these things: eat, poop, and sleep. You need to start figuring out all the stuff babies need. It’s your job to change diapers too. And let me tell you, newborn diapers can get naaaasty. If you need to practice, do it. Learn how to do a solid swaddle. Know how to prepare a bottle if you’ll be bottle feeding, read up on breastfeeding if you’re doing that. If you can help it, try not to use “I don’t know” as an answer when it comes to parenting stuff. You can certainly master everything you need to know for those three things. You’ll be learning a ton of stuff on the job, but there’s a lot you can learn beforehand. Don’t assume parenting duties all come down to mom, because before you know it, the kid likes her more than you and then you have to resort to bribery (and if you help out, you’ll be in the running for a possible “Best Daddy Ever” Facebook post–that’s big, man).

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