Direct from the Almost A Dad reader survey, here's a list of 10 tried and true ways to help pregnant women feel better, physically and/or emotionally.
1. Back rub / foot massages. This topped the list as AaD reader's favorite way to help their pregnant partners feel better. Pregnant women are often sore and uncomfortable due to increased weight, dietary changes and the fatigue that comes with growing a baby. A massage is a fantastic way to help ease the tension in her neck, back and shoulders. Have her sit on a pillow or lay on her side to make sure she is comfortable and relaxed.
2. Ginger ale. A good old fashioned favorite, ginger has a settling effect on the stomach and can be served in a few different ways. If ingested for an upset tummy or nausea, serve warm and flat. If it just hits the spot, serve cold. Mix with cranberry juice and ice for a refreshing treat and some good vitamins.
3. Time alone / Time to relax. This cuts both ways so be careful; you don't want to leave her alone too long, but you don't want to smother her either. She is tired, hormonal and may need some time to think about all the upcoming changes in her life.
4. Certain foods. Food can be friend or foe to a pregnant woman depending on mood, trimester, health and a host of other factors. Find out what your pregnant partner likes and stock up so she can have it at a moment's notice. Try and find healthy snacks if your partner is at risk of gestational diabetes. Just be prepared that she will suddenly hate what she loved yesterday.
5. Talking. Pregnancy can be as confusing and scary as it is exciting. Pregnant women go through so many physical changes, which says nothing for all of the emotional and even logistical changes you both with encounter. In the face of such a massive life event is helps to have someone to talk to. Give her an attentive ear and share some feelings of your own.
6. Attention / Compliments. Attention and compliments do well even when she's not pregnant. Spend time with her and tell her how beautiful she is and what an amazing mother you think she'll be.
7. Helping her out as much as possible, tasks, chores. Household responsibilities shift during pregnancy, there's no way of getting around it. Expectant mothers tire quickly (physically and emotionally) and often feel poorly a fair percentage of the time. Start by transitioning the chores that involve any lifting or physical exertion. Branch out into the niceties that make it easier for her to relax like some extra cleaning or picking up. Remember that a pregnant woman should never change the cat box.
8. Constant apologies, whether right or wrong. While I don't think you need to become a whipping boy, taking a lighter tack towards proving a point and avoiding conflict with an hormonally charged woman isn't the worst approach in the world.
9. Letting her have her way all the time. I personally disagree with this to some extent, however it came up quite a bit. Like #8, I think that softening your approach and being accomodating is important, but if you totally bow down to every ridiculous whim you may find yourself ready to snap by the end of the pregnancy. It's about balance and understanding that her circumstance is effecting her emotionally. With that in mind, cater to her as much as you can, but preserve your own sanity as you go.
10. Playing it by ear. One reader who seems to have a good handle on what can be a volatile situation wrote "I find that just playing it by ear is best. If she clearly needs space, I give it. If she clearly needs a hug, I give it. If she clearly needs onion rings at midnight, I go out and find them."
And a bonus...
11. Exorcism... because sometimes it's safest to get out of the house for a couple of hours.