Hesperian Health Guides
To the Father
Showing your wife that you care about her can help her both physically and emotionally. Make sure she has help with her work. If you cannot do some of the work yourself, get someone else to help. Make sure she eats healthy foods and goes for prenatal care. Get tested and treated for STIs, including HIV. If you have HIV, use condoms during sex.
You can help your wife have a safe labor and childbirth by:
Throughout pregnancy, childbirth and after, be alert for danger signs in the mother and baby. Seek help if you think there is a problem.
- making sure there is enough water and food in the house.
- bringing her midwife or health worker to the house to help with the birth, and making sure transport is available in case of an emergency.
- taking care of the other children.
If you stay with her during the birth, you can help by giving her both emotional and physical support. Encourage her and tell her she is doing well. Give her water to drink. Help her walk or squat during contractions or rub her back.
The first 6 weeks after birth are the most important time for a woman to feel strong and healthy again. During this time she needs a lot of healthy foods and plenty of rest. You can help her rest more by doing some of her work--like fetching water or fire wood, taking care of your other children, or preparing meals. If you cannot help, try to find someone else who can.
If you take time to hold and care for your baby, your wife will have a chance to sleep and you can be close to your new child.
Do not have sex until the bleeding stops to prevent an infection in her womb.
To have healthy mothers and babies, it is best to wait at least 2 years between pregnancies. One of the most important ways you can help your family be more healthy is by using family planning. Visit the family planning clinic with your wife and decide together which method will work best. Then share the responsibility for using it.