Dads are excitable creatures that immediately try to help when mom finds out she is pregnant. Rest assured, the help mom needs is not going to manifest until the latter stages of the pregnancy. Dad can, however, tell mom on a daily basis how beautiful she is and how she is going to be a great mother. These emotional boosts are the best way to give support as physical changes are happening to her body.

As the second trimester is nearing an end, the changes in a pregnant woman's body may cause pain and discomfort. Fluid retention can cause swelling and she may feel happy one moment and sad the next. This is the time when dad can step up to the plate. Offering a foot or back massage when mom is feeling swollen and uncomfortable offers connection and support beyond any words. Cooking, taking other children to and from appointments, and offering to do things mom may not be able to complete, like painting and building furniture, are more great choices.

By the time the third trimester is in full swing, mom will be at her wits end. Fatigue, pain, swelling and emotional ups and downs are common. Dad needs to support mom both emotionally and physically through the rest of the pregnancy and beyond. Even when mom swears she doesn’t need any help, she probably does. Instead of asking to help with dinner, cook dinner without telling her your plans or order out a light dinner that is low in sodium and fat.

If planned before the 37th week, a quick weekend getaway is ideal during this time. Mom needs to feel rested and in control when labor starts and dad can help along the way to make that need a reality.