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Q. My wife and I are expecting our first baby. Is it OK to attend her doctor’s appointments, and what questions should I ask?

A. One of the most important things a father-to-be can do for his pregnant partner is go to as many, if not all, of her doctor’s appointments.
Whether your partner has had a baby before or not, she will need your moral support and encouragement. Plus, as an expectant dad, you will undoubtedly have some worries and need the reassurance that everything is fine.
It’s a good idea to ask questions, and there are many. Here are two I suggest adding to your list:

Who will deliver our baby?

Due to the unpredictable nature of our work, doctors and midwives plan for back-up care. You should ask how often your partner’s doctor or midwife is on duty, and try to meet any other care providers on their team. You can’t know exactly when your partner will go into labor, but it’s nice to know in advance who might be taking care of your partner and baby during the pregnancy.

What can I do to help?

Understand the different changes both you and your partner are going through as you prepare for parenthood. Watch movies, search the Internet, or read books about pregnancy, childbirth and being a parent. You’ll find that there is a lot of information available. A good medical practice will provide these materials and references for parents-to-be.

It’s also a good idea to attend classes that will teach you and your partner about childbirth and parenthood. Look for classes and support groups affiliated with hospitals or large practices. These often provide the best information because they have access to physicians and certified specialists as guest speakers.

The road to parenthood is filled with many challenges. It’s important for men to educate themselves about the pregnancy process, and share the experience with their partner.

—Dr. Christian Hoffman, RWJ OB/GYN, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician.