Can I have sex with my girlfriend when she's pregnant?

A: Having sex during pregnancy is safe and enjoyable for most couples unless they have been told to avoid sexual intercourse by their doctor or midwife for specific medical reasons.

Sex during pregnancy does not hurt the baby. The baby is protected in the amniotic sac which holds the fluid around the baby and protects the baby from infection entering from the outside world. The cervix, which is at the end of the vagina is also closed, so the penis does not actually touch the baby or the amniotic sac during penetration.

Sexual interest or desire can change during pregnancy, so it's important for both the woman and her partner to communicate these changes and to explore other ways of intimacy if needed.

My girlfriend is gonna have a baby and I'm freaking out. What do I do?

A: If you feel shocked, panicked, overwhelmed, scared, or like you're just not ready, you're not alone. Like any big change, this will require a major adjustment. And if the pregnancy wasn't planned (half of all pregnancies aren't) you may be feeling these emotions even more intensely.

You don't have to feel guilty or anxious about having mixed emotions; it's completely normal. And you can take steps to get more comfortable with the pregnancy, the idea of parenthood, and the preparations that can make both go as smoothly as possible.

No one is born knowing this stuff, not even your pregnant partner — that's why there are childbirth classes. Along with the lessons, you'll meet other guys going through the same experience who might be dealing with similar feelings, and that can be a huge help. The midwives and childbirth educators who lead these classes have seen dads in a variety of emotional states, so don't feel embarrassed or hesitant about asking them for help.

Is it a waste of time to go to childbirth classes? Is it really just for the women?

A: Antenatal classes not only help with information on pregnancy and forthcoming labour and birth, but they also have a great social function – they're a great place to meet other parents to be.

The content of the classes will vary, but should include some of the following:

  • Information about how the labour and birth happens
  • Time to ask questions and practice the decisions you might need to make during pregnancy and labour
  • What-to-expect details of medical procedures and interventions
  • Advice on how to relax using massage skills and breathing techniques
  • Learn about and try different birth positions
  • A guide to pain relief choices
  • Infant feeding and parenting tips
  • Some ideas of how life might change after the birth and in early parenthood

The idea is that both you and your partner will have information, skills and confidence to help make birth and early parenting a positive experience.

If you look around there are also classes specifically just for guys who are to be dads.

How can I get involved when my partner is having a baby?

  • Attend clinic visits
  • Go to childbirth education sessions
  • Talk with family/friends about parenting
  • Seek company of other fathers locally and ask questions or watch their child/parent interaction

How do I cope with the emotional changes in my partner while she's pregnant?

A: Pregnant women experience huge physical, hormonal, and emotional changes, while also trying to cope with the same life changes as the dads to be. As the pregnancy progresses, it may affect both of you emotionally.

Moodiness can be tough to deal with, no matter what the cause, but your patience and understanding can go a long way. Try to help your partner deal with any stress she might be feeling about the pregnancy and parenthood.

If you're not feeling settled or good about your relationship, try to work out the issues as soon as possible. Many couples make the mistake and think that a baby will bring them together. But a baby can't fix a troubled relationship — that's the job of you and your partner. And the sooner you find a way to work together, the sooner you'll feel more comfortable about becoming parents.

You may like to talk with someone about how you're feeling. This could be someone in your family who has already had a baby or it may be your partner's caregiver/midwife or a councellor.

What is the best food for my baby? I want to help feed it but I can't cos my girlfriend wants to breastfeed.

A: Breastfeeding is the best food for your baby. Many guys feel this way and so do their partners. It is important for the guys to be reminded that there are so many other things that they can do with the baby that has enormous benefits for themselves, the baby and their partner.

Dads can:

  • Bath or take a bath with their baby
  • Take the baby for a walk
  • Cuddle/rock/settle
  • Nappy change
  • Massage the baby
  • Sing/talk/play
  • Sleep next to the baby (not following drinking alcohol)
  • Take the baby for brief visits to friends
  • Go for a drive

Once the baby's feeding pattern is established (approx 2 months), the mother could probably express some breast milk into a bottle and dad could feed the baby with a cup (bottle is not preferable as this can upset the baby's breastfeeding technique). He may need help with this. Some useful supports are listed at the bottom of the section.

How much does it cost to raise a kid for 18yrs?

A: The Federal Government's estimate is $384,543 to raise a child to 18! However others suggest if you start adding the cost of electronics, private schooling and sports, dance classes, etc, and considering the average child now stays at home until 24, the real cost to the Australian parent of raising children was $1,028,093! Ouch!

MORE INFORMATION AND HELP

Do you know someone who might want answers about Relationships, Sex, Pregnancy and Early Parenting? Download "The Real Deal"  App for Android and iPhone today!