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My fiancée (23) and I (27) just found out she is pregnant. It was not planned. What can I do to prepare myself and to support her?

We have a scan booked for Tuesday, we’ve told our parents and a couple of close friends. I’m scared but also kind of excited.

What can I do to make sure my fiancée feels supported, and how can I prepare to be a dad? What can we expect during the pregnancy?

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  1. You’ve got about a year to childproof the house, between the pregnancy months and the months of growth until the kid rolls over and starts crawling. There’s no hurry, but you may want to start thinking about where you’re going to put those low-lying items you treasure or may be choking hazards.

    You can expect your fiancee to experience wild emotional swings. They vary from day-to-day, and from woman-to woman. Roll with it…it is chemical (not rational).

    Her boobs are going to swell like balloons, and the nipples are going to darken. It won’t last forever, so don’t get too excited or freak out.

    She will have weird discharges…normal.

    She will possibly experience morning sickness; she will have nausea if she eats too much, too little, or not often enough. Smells will send her running away.

    These are some of the more freaky/alarming things I recall from my experiences a decade and a half ago. ymmv. Between these things, it’s a fun period of time. There are highs to match the lows, but it is quite the roller coaster. You’ll learn as you go, just like the rest of us did. Being a dad is going to redefine you, in a good way.

    Congrats, bro.

  2. I would focus on the relationship, not the baby. The number one problem people face in planned or surprise pregnancies is breaking up the relationship because they underestimate just how difficult it is to have children. The toll it takes on any relationship is massive.

    If you’ve got problems in the relationship now is the time to really focus on fixing them. Do you spend too much time in front of the screen and too little with her? Does she get toxic during arguments? Etc. All these things that may seem difficult now will seem like a joke a year from now, compared to the issues you will fight about at that time.

    Your wife’s relationship with your mother may also deteriorate significantly after the baby, prepare for that but it usually gets better.

    The baby will feel like another full time job on top of your full time job. You can’t prepare for that but you can anticipate it so you won’t feel blindsided by it when it comes.

    Now take a deep breath before you close the screen screaming. All this will pass but your relationship needs to survive the first 2-3 years. It is paramount. You need to make a pact with your partner that you will not break up during this time because it does pass. So many people cave in and give up because the stress surpasses any threshold they had and they think breaking up will somehow fix it.

    If you later decide on a 2nd it’s funny once that one arrives you can have the most ridiculously over the top argument with things said that would break up any relationship right there and then but both of you know, this is a phase and it will pass and you will talk it out within minutes and everything will be back to normal because you now have the experience and understand that you don’t hate each other, the stress just knocked a bit too hard.

    Have your fights, scream and yell all you want but never to go sleep without making up. Make this a mantra. You love your SO and she loves you, remember that.

    Now the baby part? It writes itself as you go along. You can prepare in the sense that you can baby proof your home and buy a stroller etc but all of this is peanuts compared to the elephant in the room which is the threat to your relationship and well being. Every time you’re about to explode, remember it gets better. Cherish the moments, trudge through the grind and you will get there.

  3. Miscarriages are way more common than you’d think (” been 10 and 20% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage”). Most people wait till around the end of the first trimester to let other people know.

  4. Listen to her, even when you think she’s gone stark raving mad. Those hormones are wreaking havoc with her and she might know she’s being crazy, but has no control over it. Comfort her, love her, give lots of massages, and just be there for her. Even if she wants you to go away one minute and is crying because she needs you five minutes later. Get her the insane foods she’s craving. Go to childbirth classes with her and/or read everything you can so you’re mentally prepared. There’s no handbook on being a parent. You’ll see your baby and your heart will just expand more than you thought possible. And the sleepless nights, and the crying, and the uncertainty all disappear when that baby smiles at you for the first time, says their first word, makes every milestone for the rest of their life. Love them, nurture them, teach them, and you can’t really go wrong. (Source, I’ve got six of my own.)

  5. Just to be absolutely clear, I know from extensive experience:

    Jokes about skipping town will not be found funny by anyone but you

    …but as a soon to be father, making jokes for your own amusement is also your right and privilege.


    For genuine advice: start treating this as a good thing *now.* Talk to a professional and get your head on straight so you can greet this change with enthusiasm not grudging acceptance.

    Prepare yourself to love this little human.

  6. Young(ish) dad of 2 here.

    Oh man, prepare for a ride. I think one of the best things you can do is to just put your ego aside and be understanding. Your fiancé is going through a life changing experience over the past 9 months that can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Back pain, foot pain, trouble sleeping, it can be very very rough. Just do everything you can to support her.

    Do your research. There’s a ton of stuff you aren’t gonna know. You don’t have to go crazy and buy every parenting book but I rented a few from the library and browsed r/predaddit for a while.

    you are going to have a lot less time from here on out. If you aren’t in shape, get in shape. If you don’t have a great job, try to become established in it (not a great time for that I know). It will be so much easier if you have all these routines established and ready before your child comes because you have less time and energy to make changes.

    Good luck, you’re gonna love it. My kids are my raison d’être. Best part of my day is being with them.

  7. Great advice all around but I don’t see much about finances. If you’re in America then you have a lot of questions to think about. It’s not unheard of to spend 20k on a normal pregnancy even with insurance.

    Everyone’s situation is different but there is a real possibility that staying unmarried and planning for poverty is the smartest route. I know that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people but keep in mind it’s what every successful business does, puts itself in the best position to maximize growth/profits.

    I did this path and highly recommend it as an option. Keep in mind this horror situation that happens all the time for middle class families in America; dropping off your six week old baby at daycare at 8:30 am to go back to full time work so you can keep up with the medical debt/deductables and then picking up the six week old baby at 5:30pm five days a week.

    Staying poor for 5 years but raising your own kids and coming out debt free: The American Dream.

  8. Not even a man but mentioning this because it’s insane no one else has:


    Seriously, kids are giant money pits if you raise them properly, and you need to be prepared.

    1. What’s her health insurance setup? (assuming you live in a country without universal healthcare, damn you USA!).
    2. Are you both planning to work after the baby is born? If so, figure out how you’re going to pay for childcare. Where I live (USA again) you need to start getting on waiting lists for daycares before your child is born and it can cost $2000/month for a decent one. Grandparents can help if they’re nearby, but it’s not their job to care for your kid full-time unless they volunteer. Depending on your circumstances it may be cheaper for her to be a stay-at-home mom, but keep in mind that she’s potentially forgoing a whole lifetime of income and attendant benefits, not just a few years when your kids are young.
    3. Housing / education – Is wherever you plan to live appropriate for a family and located in a good school district?
    4. Budget now! There are all sorts of random things you need if you have a baby (just search online) and they add up. If you’re American, see if you can start putting aside savings for college. Insane I know, but it isn’t going to be cheap in 18 years.

  9. change diapers, help your fiancee, rub her feet, tie her shoes when her stomach gets too big for her to do it. don’t buy a bunch of crap in general and don’t buy expensive items until the third trimester and don’t buy tons of diapers or other shit till the baby arrives.

    you can’t prepare to be a dad. just wait till it happens, if you aren’t a total ass you’ll figure it out.

  10. Been there except the oopsie happened on our honeymoon.

    1. Make a parenting plan. Talk about your disciplinary and parenting techniques. Chore split, post and prebirth expectations. Basically, start to prepare mentally. Do your research. Start with blogs, documentaries, and books on babies. Apparently the Netflix show Babies is good research. But talk about it a lot. It’s good to have a team mentality about this.

    2. Start saving. Babies are expensive but entirely worth it. You can pretty much buy everything second hand. Start stockpiling diapers. Only buy a box of the newborn ones though. Look online for buying diapers that children have already outgrown.

    3. Pregnancy sucks. Make sure you’re checking in regularly and supporting her by doing the things she can’t do, like certain chores, or house maintenance she can’t do. If you’ve got a cat, it’s your turn to pooperscoop for 9 months.

    4. Ask for advice around you. Set up a support system and learn how you guys were as babies. Join baby groups, even on Reddit. Knowledge is all around you and it’s okay to turn down advice that isn’t right for you and your family.

    5. Go with the flow. Babies are unpredictable. Just do your best in the moment and know that you’ll have no regrets making the best informed decisions you have access to as you go along. Good luck! And congratulations!

  11. First off, congratulations! Here is my advice.

    Before Birth:
    Get her food. She’ll be eating a lot. And don’t comment on her weight. Also, just realize you’ve been demoted to third position. 1st is the baby, 2nd is your wife, 3rd is you. Some guys have a difficult time with that.

    After Birth:
    Here is the BEST way to prepare for a child. Stand up. Separate your feet, creating a gap…enough so a little kid could walk between your legs. Close your eyes and place your hands behind your head. Next, call your fiancee over. Then, tell her to kick you in the balls as hard as she can. That’s what having a kids feels like. You can’t prepare for it.

    After you recover, have fun because having a kid is fucking awesome!

  12. Take a class – I did the Bradley Method with my fiance. Was incredibly helpful in preparing me in heloingher through labor instead of just turning pale white and passing out like a little boy.

    Learned so much from that class that I was able to apply. We didn’t use an epidural and labor went well. A big part of it is that you are basically your SO’s “coach”, guiding her through labor, keeping her motivated, etc

  13. Great advice from sameolemike. Enjoy each other through this time as much as possible. One thing for sure, she can’t get pregnant AGAIN during this time. For at least six weeks after the baby arrives, you’ll be on your own. After that, you may still find yourself left out because the baby is helpless and all eyes will be on him/her. Stick with the journey, you’ll adjust and be a great husband through it all. It’ll get rough at times, but family life is a wonderful journey.

  14. My girlfriend (25) and I (24) were in a very relatable spot obviously as young parents. Our son is now almost 10 months old and it has been the most amazing experience. We learned pretty much everything on the fly by asking our doctor and reading about things just when they came up. Everything I read before I pretty much forgot.

    Here are a few big things I wish I did sooner.

    1. Instead of the normal swaddle (which I sucked at) we bought what was called a snoo sack. This was a lot easier and much more secure.

    2. Probably the most important. Black out curtains. My baby had such trouble falling asleep during naps and staying asleep because it would be too bright in his room.

    3. Transfer your baby to the crib early! We did it at about two months old and it helped so much. We could actually sleep again.

    4. For the room get the Nanit camera, Owlet sock, and the most important a white noise machine.

    5. Jolly jumper is amazing for when he is old enough to support his or her head just to get a 30 minute break out of your arms.

    6. Try your best to let your baby fall asleep without feeding them at night when they hit around 4 months old. This is when the baby gets a lot easier because if you let them learn to fall asleep on their own they will not wake up for night feedings and will sleep through the night ( almost 12 hours! )

    7. Just love the shit out of your baby. You will never be fully prepared!

  15. My son is 14 months old now. What works is a lot of massages and just caring for her needs. Maybe her feet hurt and she can’t walk through the mall, take a seat for a while. She wants a Pepsi, stop what you’re doing and get one. Stupid little things make her feel like you are atleast sympathetic. Her body’s going to be going through some craziness so just be an awesome partner and know that your needs are pretty much out the window for awhile. Soon it will just come natural. My Dad (same mom and dad) has 6 kids. I’m the oldest, so I saw pregnancy and babies a lot growing up. Just know your fiancé will sometimes have emotional break downs, just know it’s hormones. Any ways, what I was getting at, is my dads famous advise for me,” just don’t move your feet, just take whatever she sends your way. It will pass” I think the don’t move your feet part is just saying, just hold fast, don’t take her hormonal ness personal. Good luck brother. God bless you and your family

  16. Remember what your parents did and how you feel about it now. It’s one way to know how you want to raise your child.
    And you maybe want to start cooking very healthy.

  17. Man up and be a good provider. Support her and care for her. Shes going to need lots of help as the pregnancy moves into the later stages. Children are a blessing.

    Some more great advice. Don’t blink, you’ll wake up one day in 5ys, and will be walking your little one to his or hers first day of kindergarten. It will bring you too tears. Cherish every waking second with your family.

  18. Proud father of a three-month-old daughter who is is currently asleep on my chest as I type this. Some things that have helped us:

    * Meal prep – Buy an Instant Pot. When you get closer to the due date, make a bunch of different soups and stews and freeze them in gallon ziplock bags. When the baby comes, it will save your life to be able to drop a frozen block in the Instant Pot and have a few meals ready.

    * For swaddles, we’ve had the most success with the Ollie.

    * A baby wrap is the most helpful thing we own. There are times when she just refuses to go to sleep, and the wrap has saved us. Let’s you rock her and walk around without burning your arms out.

    * Take baby classes. One helpful thing in this COVID world is that everyone is doing zoom classes, so it’s more convenient than ever.

    * Her appetite is going to fluctuate massively. My wife didn’t get weird cravings but did have food aversions, so be ready to stock up on whichever items she can stand to eat.

    * This shit is hard. I feel like some people downplay that to try and spare you anxiety, but I don’t find that helpful. It is ok to feel overwhelmed/ stressed/ frustrated/ exhausted, lean and your partner and be each other’s support system. Communicate openly, take turns holding the crying baby when one person is at their breaking point. The more my wife and I talk and come at things as a team, the easier it is.

    * At the same time, my daughter is the single best thing I have ever contributed to this world and is worth the frustration and exhaustion a thousand times over. Life feels so much richer now, and every day she does something that makes my heart burst.

    Congrats OP, you’re going to do great. PM me if you ever have questions, happy to answer what I can.

  19. Getting poop on your hand never killed anybody. The baby’s first few poops in the hospital will be black, that’s normal.

    Every single purchase decision about the baby needs to be made together. Car seat, baby carrier (I highly recommend a daddy carrier so you can carry the baby for her), bottles, brushes, diapers, wipes, cabinet locking mechanisms etc. Do everything together when you make baby decisions.

  20. In no particular order:

    – Minimize spending, and if possible address your debts now. Even something like take-out / delivery meals can add-up to a lot of money over 6 to 9 months.

    – Anchor bookshelves, drawers and cabinets to the walls.

    – Learn to be patient when changing a baby. Carelessly or quickly putting a shirt on, for example, can break a baby’s fingers if they get caught.

    – It’s okay to be frustrated or angry with a baby, but it’s not okay to take it out on them. If you need to scream into a pillow or break some dishes in your garage (and then clean them up) I promise no parent will think any less of you.

    – Get up to feed the baby (with formula or stored milk from a breast pump, either is fine) in the middle of the night whenever you can. It will feel like a chore at first, but you will come to cherish those brief moments. And it will allow your wife to get some much-needed sleep.

    – Speaking of formula, there’s a lot of pressure on new mothers to breastfeed their children, but for various reasons that’s not always possible. Unless you’re in a third-world nation there is probably good quality formula available to you, despite what some of the alarmists will tell you.

  21. Get ready for the next 25 years to vanish. Any freedom or plans you had are gone until you’re 50. Assuming you have no other children.

    Be patient and understanding. Kids can be complete idiots and pitas.

    If you live on a coast move 50 miles inland. Major coastal cities should be flooding by 2045.

    Edit: Not sure why the downvotes. Apparently you’ve never had children? They eat up 100 percent of your free time.

  22. What can you do to prepare **and** support her? After 3 kids, this is all I have:

    Learn patience. Lots of it.

    She will do and say things she would never have done or said before, during and after the pregnancy. Just be there without judgement, as most of it will be hormones.

    After the child is born, there will be a few months where sleep is in short supply. Babies don’t follow your sleep schedule. Take a few shifts and make sure she gets some uninterrupted rest.

    In all of this, there will times where frustration and anxiety may try to overwhelm you. Learn to take a step back, take a breath or three, and calm yourself before responding. This could save lots of hurt feelings and animosity.

    Patience is key. Start hammering that into your brain.

    Good luck and congrats.

  23. Most important thing you can do is just be there and willing to participate. Go to the doctor appointments with her, ask questions, read a couple baby books, and help out however you can. As long as you are willing to be present and learn as you go then you will be just fine.

  24. Lots of people have been giving good advice and I want to also but mine is not for the happy side.

    Miscarriage in the first 13 weeks is high and normal, about 30% of women have this happen within that time frame.

    If that happens it’s just as important you be there for her, she’s going to be crashing emotionally from the hormones and for some people it’s a very traumatic experience.

    If needed I recommend you both see a grief councillor and make sure you let her know it’s ok, it’s normal, it doesn’t make her a failure. It could take weeks or months for her to return to her own mental state of normal and she will need you to be there for her for that as much as she will need your support in the delivery room.

  25. I hope you don’t mind a lady answering here :). Currently 29 weeks pregnant and my husband has been enormously supportive. Early on, I got tired. Like really, deeply tired. Actually, I’m still tired, lol. Husband never complained once – he let me rest and sleep however much I needed to and basically has taken over all of the (bigger) household chores. I also got pretty stressed, I had some pains and some bloodloss. No matter what or when or where, my husband would drop everything to go with me to the midwife’s office if I was worried. He was, and still is, a very stabilizing factor.
    It’s hard to predict what your fiancee will need most. She might get super nauseous, she might get tired or very emotional, she may get anxious if there’s some first trimester blood loss (don’t worry, it’s normal, but be prepared to always have it checked out). Whatever it is, be there for her. Figure out which foods she can still stomach, when she needs a nap, etcetera.

  26. I’m currently dealing with the fact that my pregnant wife can’t stand the smell of me whether I’m showered or not. I haven’t gotten a proper hug from her in 3 months. Hope it goes much better for you!

  27. Currently riding out a similar situation myself. My 4 month old daughter is conked out in the crib right now. Most of the advice here is solid, especially about being there for your soon-to-be wife. I’ll hit a few other things though.

    Don’t be surprised if you don’t feel a world changing connection with your kid as soon as she’s born. Some dads do, others don’t for a little while. I was the latter; it took around three months for the bonding to start, because newborns do not have a personality at all. They just eat, sleep, cry, and poop. So if you don’t form an immediate bond, you’ll be taking care of this baby mainly out of a sense of duty. It doesn’t make you a bad father, you don’t have the luxury of being flooded with bonding hormones like the mother does. (Even then, sometimes mom’s don’t bond well with babies at first.) As soon as that kid smiles at you though, it’s game over because that’s when your heart will melt.

    Make sure you get involved with the whole process. Nursery decoration is an aspect of baby prep that most men gloss over, but you gotta look at that crap too, not to mention build it, so make sure you like what you’re putting in your kid’s room. Have actual opinions on the name of the kid, and realize that it’s going to be a bit of a compromise. If you cannot stand a particular name, make it known, otherwise your kid will carry that name their entire lives.

    If you have animals, make sure you give them plenty of time to get used to all the new stuff you bring into the house. It helps remove the curious factor and makes the baby coming home less of a big deal. After we built the nursery, we let our cats crawl all over the furniture and sniff everything. Now they don’t care and aren’t constantly trying to get in the crib or baby swings because they’re not interesting anymore. When the baby comes home, have mom hold the baby and you can introduce the animals to the kid under controlled circumstances. Make sure dogs don’t get too excited and keep cat paws away from baby faces, but let them get a good look and a sniff. Also, cats don’t steal the breath of babies; they just like the way baby formula smells and will sniff your baby’s breath out of curiosity. Still, don’t let them in the room while baby is sleeping to avoid any suffocation hazards when the cat decides to sleep on baby’s face.

    Edit: To everyone who thought it would be funny to tell this new dad to go get an abortion or a DNA test: Go tickle your uvula with a box of razorblades you fucking mongoloids.

  28. Don’t get married for kids and only if you already wanted to. It’s going to take a lot longer to get ready, more stuff will need to be cleaned up and you might not see some friends that often now that you have to take care of a baby.

  29. Get off of Reddit and stop asking complete strangers for advice. Maybe talk to your parents or some people you actually know. You want people to detail for you what happens during pregnancy? Watch a few videos, talk to a doctor maybe.

  30. Congratulations.. you’re around the right age for this. Everything will now be about the little one.

    Prepare for cravings, prepare for morning sickness (can last the whole pregnancy) prepare to support her decisions during the pregnancy and after, prepare to assemble furniture you’ll need for the little one.

    As for being a dad: you can’t prepare.. prepare to never sleep again? Seriously tho, for me.. baby blues can be a big thing. There’s a small period of time within the first 3 weeks where she might become really overwhelmed.. if it doesn’t go away it can become PND. Be sure to familiarise yourself what the differences and signs are.

    Best of Luck.

  31. Go to every new parent class with her! And find a “Supporting Hands” class (for family/friends/SO/etc who will be supporting the new mom) everything is really good to know and it’ll show her you’re willing to be there

  32. She’s going to spend the next 9 months with her whole body being changed by this experience. Here’s some things that you should try and do as often as possible both during and after pregnancy:
    Rub her feet.
    Rub her back.
    Lotion her belly.
    Get her any foods she wants, day or night.
    Make distinctive memories of this time (what I mean by this one, is there are certain things my wife and I did while she was pregnant that we hadn’t done before. We went to a new museum we’d never been to. We went on a road trip and walked on a beach at sunset. Those memories are distinctive and separate from all the day to day stuff and I cherish them greatly.)
    Change the diapers. Aim to change 3 diapers for every 1 your wife does.
    Train to be a light sleeper.

    The nights are long, but the days are bright and beautiful.

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