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These changes are more likely to occur in the first trimester and just before birth, while they may diminish during the second trimester. And additional research has shown that pregnancy is a more stressful period for most men compared to after the baby is born.
4 phases of change identified for dads-to-be
Research published in the Australian Family Physician outlined four phases that expectant fathers are likely to experience, which may help to better understand their difficulties or problems.
1. Developing an attachment to your unborn child
In the early stages of pregnancy, both parents may feel a sense of unreality about the baby bump. However, around 16–20 week mark, a dramatic increase in attachment usually occurs. This coincides with the baby kicking and moving more, or ultrasound examinations.
2. Adjusting to the third family member
For first time expectant fathers, you'll have to get used to sharing your partner’s emotional involvement with a third party. This can lead to resentment in some men, especially if it is associated with a reduction in sexual relations.
3. Seeing yourself as a father
During pregnancy, it's helpful for first time fathers to work through and develop a sense of acceptance of the anticipated lifestyle changes of fatherhood. There are negatives, and some men may feel a sense of loss of their younger, needy selves. But there are also many positives.
4. Discovering the type of father you'll be
Expectant fathers may begin to discuss and examine an acceptable style of fathering. However, men are much less likely than women to want to emulate their own same sex parent in terms of their relationship with their future child.
Practical tips for expectant fathers
These findings may help new fathers to gain some realistic expectations of the journey ahead.
Some practical tips that may also help the dads-to-be:
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