Has your girlfriend said that she has had a positive pregnancy test?
You probably have a million questions right now and that’s perfectly normal. At the Bridge Wellness South, we know that fathers have questions about pregnancy, fatherhood, providing for families (and more!), and what to do if the pregnancy was unexpected.
We can help you and your partner navigate this challenging time in your relationship. Even though pregnancy concerns seem like they are all about the mom, it is important for fathers to be a part of the experience. You are an important part of making plans and preparing for pregnancy and pregnancy-related decisions.
You may have questions about:
- Pregnancy Options
- The development of the baby (fetal development)
- Changes in your partner’s body
- How you can be a supportive partner
- Parental Rights
- Parenting and Coparenting
Once a woman is pregnant there are several important decisions that she and her partner will need to make. A full-term baby will need caregivers. Are you planning to parent or is adoption the right choice for you? If you are concerned with carrying a pregnancy to term and how that will impact the lives of you and your partner, you will need to receive wise counsel. Some women and their partners that choose to terminate their pregnancy find that they experience emotional regret and relationship problems as a result. It is important that you understand all of your options and how those will impact you physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Our staff is trained to help you work through this decision in a non-judgmental environment.
Because of science and technology we now know more than ever about the complex development during the early stages of pregnancy. Recent research has even shown that a microscopic flash of light occurs when the ovum is fertilized by the sperm. This unique reaction of zinc in the moment of fertilization has been captured in this video
After fertilization, the newly fertilized ovum (zygote) journeys through the fallopian tube to the uterus of the woman. At the moment of fertilization, the division of cells began and upon reaching the uterus this set of organized cells (blastocyst) begins the process of implantation into the lining of the uterus. The process from fertilization to implantation can take 5-6 days. It is reported that nearly 50% of fertilized eggs are lost before a woman’s missed menses (period).
It is important to meet with a Licensed Healthcare Provider to determine how far your partner is in their pregnancy before making pregnancy-related decisions.
After implantation, the cells continue to divide and form cells that will be specific to the development of organs, the placenta, and more! By the end of the second week, the embryo creates enough HcG to be detectable with a home pregnancy test. Because each woman’s body and pregnancy are unique, the detectable level of HcG could vary. A blood test may help if a urine pregnancy test has not been conclusive.
As HcG levels rise, this triggers progesterone production in the mother’s body and this signals the body to stop the menstrual cycle and maintain the uterine lining which allows pregnancy to continue.
At this point, a woman has liked missed the start of her regular menstrual cycle. For many, this can be the first indication of pregnancy. During this time, the embryo has formed three distinct layers of cells: The top layer becomes the skin, nervous system, eyes, and ears.
Brain tissue and heart tissue begin to develop, and fetal cardiac activity begins as early as 18-22 days from the time of conception. Blood cells begin to develop in the yolk sac and blood cells begin to form a network by the end of the third week.
The cardiac (heart) tissue is rhythmically beating and newly formed blood cells are circulating through a developing network of blood vessels. By the 28th day, the developing neural tube has formed the folds that will develop fully into the brain and spinal column.
Development is happening at a rapid rate. The arm and legs are beginning to form and all major organs are starting to form: liver, lungs, kidney, stomach, and pancreas. The unborn baby is now 10,000 times the size it was at conception, about the size of a blueberry! At this point, the head is growing much faster than the rest of the body the brain must grow at an average rate of 250,000 neurons per minute throughout the pregnancy.3
So much has happened in this short time! By the fifth week, the first fetal movements are beginning, and the first sense is developing- touch. As the baby starts moving it promotes bone and neuromuscular development evidencing newly formed connections between neurons and muscles. Though the baby’s hair color and eye color were determined at conception, by week 6 the baby’s eye pigment begins to develop. The baby is now growing at approximately 1mm per day. At this point, if the pregnancy is ectopic (developing outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube) signs and symptoms begin to appear. Though rare, it is important to seek early pregnancy detection to rule this out, especially if the woman has any history of prior ectopic pregnancy.
How do I help my pregnant partner?
A woman’s body goes through many changes in the nine months of pregnancy. In the initial weeks following conception, your partner may not experience any pregnancy symptoms. A missed period is often the first symptom of pregnancy. Once implantation has occurred many women report other symptoms such as breast tenderness, tiredness, nausea, and increased urination. Though there are many other possible symptoms, these common symptoms can impact your partner’s daily routine and she may need your help and support during this time. Your presence, support, and help can provide great comfort to your partner as she adjusts to her changing body and hormones. Certainly, the physical part of the process impacts the mom, but as the father, you can be a part of a crucial support system for her.
Ideas to help support your partner may include:
- Scheduling time off work to attend pregnancy and prenatal appointments
- Taking time to learn about pregnancy and fetal development
- Acknowledge and discuss issues that your partner is facing
- Find a support group or friend group that you can receive encouragement for fathers
- Help prepare and plan for the coming birth
- Work with your partner to learn about labor and delivery
- Spend time with your partner listening to and sharing about your emotions, worries, joys, etc.
Not sure where to start? We can help.
- Schedule a no-cost pregnancy testing appointment
- Contact us to learn more about fatherhood classes offered at the Bridge Wellness South
- Call and speak with a nurse with questions you may have about pregnancy 770-957-8288
Disclaimer: The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained herein are for informational purposes only.
Nothing contained in this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
*fetal development information are property of Charlotte Lozier Institute