A Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy

How to support one another as partners through the power of bonding in your fertility journey

Kristina Lopez, Health & Wellness Writer  |   4 Jun 2020

We understand that your fertility journey can be a rollercoaster of highs, lows, and moments of uncertainty in between. We often discuss women’s reproductive health, pre- and post-partum, and intimacy health. Now, we want to dive into a topic that isn’t always openly discussed during one of the most sensitive times for anyone trying or struggling to start a family: how to be a supportive partner.

Whether you’re navigating the anxiety of early pregnancy after a loss, embarking on the path of fertility struggles, or embracing the concept of donor conception, finding ways to connect with and support your partner can make a world of difference. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to share the resources that can best help you find the answers to those unanswered questions.

Juno Diagnostics is on a mission to make prenatal genetic testing accessible to everyone. We spoke with their Director of Genetic Counseling, Katie Sagaser, on our The Ribbon Box podcast for some insight on supporting your partner and bonding with baby during pregnancy

Bonding through communication

Communication is critical in any relationship and becomes even more vital as you grow together throughout your fertility journey. There are so many aspects of this time in your life that don’t always get covered in the initial prenatal appointments. That’s why the team at Juno offers genetic counseling so patients can get their answers to questions about their genetic testing results and what they mean moving forward. Katie goes on to explain their efforts. 

“We want to be able to make sure that people everywhere, regardless of how close they are to their OB/GYN provider, what time zone they’re in, or any of those factors, can meet with somebody in real time about their non-invasive prenatal screening results when that’s right for them.”

Partners can take the time to share their thoughts and concerns with one another as they learn more about what’s best for their fertility and overall health. It’s all about finding what’s best for you.

bonding with baby during pregnancy

Learning to navigate anxiety after a loss

We know that the early stages of trying to get pregnant can be an emotionally turbulent time, especially for those who have experienced loss. The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, and unwarranted thoughts of blame can feel devastating. That is why it’s essential to acknowledge and address these anxieties together. 

“Always ask, instead of assume,” shares Katie, who has seen what can happen when assumptions are made instead of connections. “It can be a little bit trickier sometimes for the partner as opposed to the person who’s carried the pregnancy. Particularly in the early days, it doesn’t necessarily feel or look too different. But it must be acknowledged with care—especially after a loss.”

One powerful way to support your partner is by engaging in open, honest conversations without judgment. It can help reduce that anxiety of the unknown as well as reduce feelings of loneliness. Actively listening and empathizing with one another provides a safe space for the comfort and reassurance you need to move forward together.

What are the top tips for bonding with baby as a partner? 

For couples who have encountered fertility struggles, it’s crucial to celebrate each milestone and find ways to deepen your bond during this time. Exploring options like Juno’s at-home gender test can allow partners to connect with their unborn baby’s development. 

“We’ve created lots of genetic counseling educational videos so that, on your own time, you and your partner can learn more through a self-education process,” says Katie. “We answer questions about the right genetic test for you, what conditions you’re being screened for, and what you can learn from each genetic test.”

Juno Diagnostics designed the state-of-the-art Juno Birch Fetal Gender Test to deliver results as early as seven weeks (from your last menstrual period) with a greater than 99% accuracy rate. When the time comes to discover the baby’s gender, you can visualize your future in a more personal setting. 

benefits of dad talking to baby in womb

How to support your partner following donor conception

Communicating with your partner and understanding their expectations regarding involvement during this time is essential. As mentioned on the podcast, Eloise shared an experience when her husband felt disconnected due to donor conception. The idea that another man played a role in her pregnancy was a personal hurdle they had to overcome. As a father to donor-conceived children, discovering the gender bridged that connection and provided him a way to connect with their baby’s development before scans and throughout each stage from then on.

Katie expanded on how partners can make that connection and why it matters. “Attending prenatal appointments together can be a practical way to provide support and strengthen your connection. Participating in those appointments can help you gain tangible information about the pregnancy, such as ultrasounds and other metrics, which can help you feel more connected to the baby. Even in the earliest days, these experiences can contribute to the growth of the relationship you want with your partner and your baby.”

Helping your partner bond with baby during pregnancy

Research does suggest that talking to your baby in the womb has numerous benefits for both the baby and the bonding experience. The benefits of dad talking to baby in womb include creating a soothing environment for better development, reducing stress, and helping the baby recognize dad’s voice.

“This process is going to look different for everyone. What I’ve experienced as a health care provider, and now especially at Juno, is one thing that we hear repeatedly is that the reality of becoming parents often hits home—especially for the non-pregnant partner—once they discover the baby’s gender.” Remember that everyone’s path to bonding is unique, and what matters most is finding the approach that resonates with you and your partner. 

“While I completely recognize that this is not going to be a choice that everyone makes. Some people want to be surprised when their baby is born, and that’s totally fine. But if you’re the type of person that maybe feels like it’s all going to start to feel more real for you once you can grasp the idea of ‘Oh, I’m having a son’ or ‘Oh, I’m having a daughter!’, then consider something like an early fetal sex test to start that initial bonding process.”

Your presence and active participation in the bonding process are invaluable as a partner. By navigating anxieties, embracing communication, and exploring innovative methods like at-home gender tests, you can forge a more profound connection in the supportive role of a partner and a loving parent, even before the baby arrives. 

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