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Dads Play an Important Role in Pregnancy & Beyond

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children'sExperts in Children's Health
A young father bonding and playing with his infant son in their living room

When it comes to pregnancy and birth, we often focus on mother and baby. But fathers play a vital role, too. They can contribute much more than just another set of hands to change a diaper.

“When fathers are actively involved during and after pregnancy, it can significantly improve the child’s wellbeing,” says Lisa Vagi, CNM, a certified midwife at University Hospitals “For example, babies with involved dads have greater physical and mental health. Throughout life, they tend to be more social, have higher self-esteem, do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems.”

Dads, here’s how you can give your baby the best start.

Connect Early

All dads can forge a powerful bond with their little ones. The key is to connect from the beginning:

  • Talk to your unborn baby. Sing, tell jokes or read stories. Your infant will recognize your voice from the moment of birth.
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. Cuddle them to your chest so they can hear your heartbeat.
  • Participate in one-on-one time by giving baby a bath or feeding with a bottle, if possible. Not only does it give mom a break, but it can also help you grow closer.

Focus on Quality Time

Concerned that work takes you away from your child? What happens if you don’t live in the same household? Not to worry. “When it comes to time, quality is more important than quantity,” says Vagi. To make the most of moments together:

  • Put away your phone and give full attention to your baby.
  • Become an expert on your infant. What makes them laugh? Do they have a favorite song you can sing?
  • As your baby grows, create a special daily ritual with them, such as reading a bedtime story every night. (Video calls work, too!)

Offer Support

Dads can also be a strong emotional support to moms:

  • Attend prenatal and postnatal visits with your partner.
  • Take walks together. It can give you time to connect.
  • Keep tabs on your partner’s emotional well-being, as well as your own. Welcoming a new member to the family is a major transition. Having someone to talk to and finding a support group can help.

Related Links

University Hospitals offers comprehensive care for women in every stage of life, from well woman visits to diagnosis and treatment for the full spectrum of gynecologic and women’s health conditions. Learn more.

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