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We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
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We offer many resources to help you and your partner prepare for your baby. Learn about what to expect during and after pregnancy including labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and when to call us.
As couples prepare for pregnancy, the focus is usually on the mother's health. But there are things you as a partner can do to take care of your health and support the mother before and during her pregnancy, and then when the baby comes home.
As your partner's body changes over the next 9 months and you both prepare for the new baby, your life will be changing, too. You may have mixed feelings about these changes. Sometimes you may feel excited; other times you may worry about all of the changes and wonder if everything will be OK. It's important to have frequent conversations about a baby and to talk about your feelings.
As labor approaches, you may feel a variety of emotions, ranging from excitement to anxiety and everything in between. Remember: You're not alone; most expectant partners experience conflicting emotions.
Bringing a new baby into your home can be a joyous and exciting time, but it can also cause a temporary disruption in the family routine. As you get ready for the birth of your baby, you can also prepare your family members for their changing roles and responsibilities.
You can even play a significant role in the success of breastfeeding your new baby by supporting the new mother. As a partner of a new mother, you might think that your role in breastfeeding is a minor one. Not so! Studies show that the attitude of the baby's father is the most important factor in whether a mother begins and continues to breastfeed.
It's important to have frequent conversations about having a baby and to talk about your feelings. But how you talk to each other can either strengthen or weaken your relationship. Though it may seem difficult at times, you can learn to improve your conversations so you'll both end up feeling heard and supported. It's important for each of you to know that the other is really listening and that you can talk about your feelings without fear of criticism. Here are some approaches you may want to try:
As you and your partner plan for pregnancy, there are things you can do to take care of your health and support your partner before and during her pregnancy, and then when the baby comes home:
Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after trying for at least 1 year without using birth control. About 15 percent of couples are infertile. The most common cause of male infertility is a varicocele (say: "var-ih-koh-seal"). A varicocele is made up of enlarged veins in the scrotum (the skin "sack" that hangs beneath the penis) on 1 or both sides. The veins make the inside of the scrotum warmer and can reduce sperm production by the testicle on the same side.
Other factors that may affect fertility include tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and use of drugs, emotional stress, obesity, and age (fertility gradually decreases in men who are older than 35). Sometimes the cause of male infertility cannot be identified. In these cases, there may be an underlying genetic problem.
Sometimes getting pregnancy takes time. It may not happen as quickly as you would like. This may depend on many factors, including your age.
Couples under the age of 35 are considered to be infertile if they have not been able to conceive after 12 months of having sexual intercourse at least 2 to 3 times a week without using any form of birth control.
Couples 35 or older that have not conceived after 6 months of having sexual intercourse at least 2 to 3 times a week without using any form of birth control may have a fertility problem.
Infertility in men can be caused by problems with:
Infertility in women can be caused by problems with:
An infertility workup may consist of:
Treatments for infertility could include:
As your partner's body changes over the next 9 months and you both prepare for the new baby, your life will be changing, too. You may have mixed feelings about these changes. Sometimes you may feel excited; other times you may worry about all of the changes and wonder if everything will be OK. You may sometimes feel left out and wonder how you can stay involved in the pregnancy. These feelings are normal, and there are things you can do to stay involved.
Learn about the baby as it grows and care for your partner. Try some of these ways to let her know that you care:
Like your partner, your emotions will probably go through many changes during the pregnancy. Find time to take care of yourself and let off steam.
If you've quit smoking, congratulations! If you smoke, try to stop now for the baby's health.
Amazing as it might seem, babies can hear you talk to them months before they are born. Research has shown that babies hear sounds outside the mother's womb and they respond by kicking or moving.
Talking to the baby will help her recognize your voice and be comforted by it, both now and after birth. Decide with your partner about good times to talk to the baby. Choose times when both of you feel relaxed and happy, such as in the evening or just before going to sleep.
Your newborn is home from the hospital, but is your home ready for your newborn? Even before your child is crawling and toddling around, your house needs some basic safety measures. Here's what you need to know to make your home safe for your baby:
You're supposed to be strong and supportive, especially while your partner is pregnant, right? Actually, you might feel a little worried as labor approaches.
There are a few things you can do to decrease anxiety and feel more confident about childbirth:
As you and your partner prepare for the baby, you may want to consider the benefits of immunizing your newborn. Here are some facts about immunizations (vaccinations), to help you as you decide what is best for the baby and your family.
Immunizations help children as well as communities stay healthy by preventing widespread outbreaks of disease. Kaiser Permanente has carefully reviewed the research on vaccines – both the benefits and risks. Overall, it is more dangerous for a child to risk getting ill with a preventable disease such as whooping cough (pertussis) than it is to risk having a reaction to the vaccine. Consider these key facts:
Your immunization decisions affect not only the health of your child but also the rest of your family and your community. Help your baby, your family, and your community to be healthy by staying up to date with the recommended immunizations.
As labor approaches, you may feel a variety of emotions, ranging from excitement to anxiety and everything in between. Remember: You're not alone; most expectant partners experience conflicting emotions. Perhaps you're concerned about your ability to support your partner during labor and delivery, or maybe you're afraid that you'll simply "fall apart" when you see her in pain and she needs you the most.
There are 2 major things that you can do to decrease this anxiety:
Know what to expect. Much of the fear and anxiety may disappear if you know what to expect during labor and delivery. You can help your partner by:
Trust yourself. Most labor support people rise to the occasion. For example, in a study of more than 200 expectant fathers, not a single one "fell apart" during his partner's labor.
Trust yourself to respond to her needs in a natural way. Listen to her and watch for her nonverbal cues, then respond accordingly.
Bringing a new baby into your home can be a joyous and exciting time, but it can also cause a temporary disruption in the family routine. As you get ready for the birth of your baby, you can also prepare your family members for their changing roles and responsibilities. After the birth, you and your partner need to make decisions about sharing responsibility for baby care and housework. Your baby will demand a great deal of attention in the first weeks after birth, and it may be difficult to focus on your own needs. The more you participate, the sooner your partner will recover, and the sooner you'll see a balance return to your family. Try to keep the lines of communication open as you share the joy and work of new parenting.
Whatever kind of delivery your partner has, she'll need some time (probably more than either of you think) to fully recover. Fatigue, breast soreness, vaginal discomfort, hemorrhoids, poor appetite, constipation, increased perspiration, acne, hand numbness or tingling, dizziness, and hot flashes are common for a month after delivery. Fatigue and soreness may be increased if she has had a cesarean delivery.
Here are some things that you can do to make her recovery process as smooth as possible. These tips will also help you ease into the parenting role. Try to:
Physical contact helps you connect with your baby and encourages growth and development. You will want to:
Although the new mother is expected to fall into her role naturally, most women need some time to get used to the new experience of being a mother. Your partner will need your support, encouragement, and love to ease her adjustment to her new role. Try the following approaches to support your partner:
During the first 2 weeks at home, limit your visitors and the time they stay. People who have colds or other infections shouldn't visit, and smoking should never be allowed. You need to be firm about this rule. Be realistic about entertaining, too. You may need to post your visiting hours or leave them prerecorded on your answering machine. Your partner may want to rest and relax in a nightgown or robe for the first few days at home. This reminds her and visitors that she is still recovering from childbirth. Remember to make her comfort a priority.
Now is a good time to help your partner choose the right birth control method to use after the baby is born. When choosing a birth control method, it's important to decide if you both would like to have more children, how long you both would like to wait before becoming pregnant again, and if your partner decides to breastfeed the baby so the birth control does not interfere with breastfeeding. If you and your partner do not wish to become pregnant again for a while, a very effective method is recommended, such as an intrauterine device (IUD), Depo-Provera (3-month injectable), Implanon (3-year contraceptive implant), or birth control pills. Permanent sterilization, vasectomy, and tubal ligation are also available if you are both sure you do not want any more children. These are surgical procedures that are not reversible. Condoms are also effective and provide protection against HIV and other STDs.
As a partner of a new mother, you might think that your role in breastfeeding is a minor one. Not so! Studies show that the attitude of the baby's father is the most important factor in whether or not a mother begins and continues to breastfeed.
Your instinct may be to protect your new family. One way you can do that is by supporting your partner's decision to breastfeed. Support and encourage your partner to breastfeed, especially when she may feel frustrated. You can read books about breastfeeding or attend classes on breastfeeding with your partner. You can also help by discouraging others from criticizing your partner's decision to breastfeed, especially in the early weeks.
Find your own way to have fun with the baby. This will help you build a relationship with your baby. Take charge of baths, walk baby around in a soft carrier, or be the one to introduce squeaky toys and rattles. And remember, new babies love to nap on dad's warm chest.
Your partner is recovering from the physical and emotional challenges of childbirth and will appreciate all the help she receives. Here are some ways that you can help:
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.