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How to Be the #1 Supporter for Your Pregnant Loved One

October 9, 2023
Maggie Nash
Image Credit: Vlada Klimovich

When it comes to movies about pregnancy, they all depict the support of parents in obscure and unusual ways. Whether it be the unlikely pairing of Angie and Kate in Baby Mama, the adoptees of Juno’s baby in Juno, or the unprepared surprises that accumulate in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the representation of support is portrayed as comical and rare. While these scenarios could happen IRL, they don’t necessarily represent how one can properly support your partner, family member, or friend as they journey through pregnancy and birth. Below we share some insights on just how to do that. 

If You’re the Partner in Crime

As the partner, you have a big role in this journey: you are the other half, deputy chief, and most importantly, a parent to your child that will be here before you know it.

1. Be her best advocate.

As doctors, nurses, doulas, and family members are flooding your partner with information, it may become harder for her to consider her own feelings and perspective. Make sure you know what she wants in every aspect of pregnancy and birth, share the burden (and joy) of making important decisions together, and be there to defend and advocate for her. Hormonal, physical, and mental changes during these 40 weeks may cause your partner to be vulnerable–but if she feels assured that you have her back, she’ll feel much more comfortable in voicing her needs and wants. 

Put it into action:

If she’s asking for an epidural and the medical team is hesitant, take the lead on asking questions to understand why – and continue to push for it if you need to, unless the decision involves her safety.

With regards to friends and family, be the person that manages the communication around meal trains, visiting hours, and personal needs. Let mama rest and recover by handling logistics like announcements and scheduling.

2. Be available and present.

Let’s face it: while pregnancy is a monumental period in a couple’s life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the business of everyday life stops. You both have other things happening like work, friends, family, and individual interests to keep up with. During these months, it’s important that you stay available and present in each step of the way, such as appointments, shopping trips for baby gear, morning sickness, and all other moments that are worthy of celebration or attention. Keep your schedule flexible; she may be the only one carrying, but you’re in this together, and as a partner, it’s crucial that she sees that you’re accompanying and supporting her through this big change, through all the good and the bad. 

Put it into action: 

If a Friday night rolls around and you have plans with friends, but your partner seems exhausted from pregnancy, stay in for the night instead and treat them to an at-home spa with face masks and foot massages. Better yet, throw on a face mask and enjoy the spa with her!

3. Indulge with her.

If there’s one thing the movies get right about pregnancy, it’s the cravings. If she develops a sudden craving in the middle of the night, go get it! You’ll win some major points on this one (and you can thank us later). Also, feel free to indulge with her. The cravings provide ample opportunities for you to spend some quality time together, and your joining in on all of the cravings will make her feel less guilty about all the sweets and treats she may be wanting. 

Put it into action: 

Designate a day of the week for indulging. Consider the most recent Tik-Tok trend, where you play rock-paper-scissors to take turns on choosing appetizers, main course, and dessert–it’s a fun way to add an element of fun to your date night and satisfy those cravings!

If You’re the Insightful Family Member

Another family member is on the way, and as an almost grandparent, aunt or uncle, you’re likely dying to know anything and everything that is going on with your loved one and the little one growing inside. As family, chances are that you know this person and have been there through many stages of her life, but now is when they will need your love and affection more than ever.

1. Offer advice, and follow through when she asks for it.

If you’re a seasoned veteran in parenthood, you likely have lots of advice to share–but it is crucial to note that she may already be receiving copious amounts of unsolicited advice. Rather than overwhelming her with more information, it’s more important to make it clear that you’re there to support her and offer advice if and when she wants it.

Put it into action

As moments arise in which you wish to propose your opinion, take a second to step back and write that thought down. Create a booklet of advice and tricks of the trade that you recall being helpful to you in those moments. Gift this book of knowledge, and allow her the time to read, process, and return to you with any questions she might have. Of course, if she calls you and asks for advice directly, you should feel free to share right away!

2. Encourage her through the ups and downs.

Pregnancy is hard, and as a family member who may have gone through it all, you will play a crucial role in encouraging, motivating, and supporting your loved one through this time. Be there when she needs to process emotions and feelings with someone who can relate, and listen when she needs to be heard. Your reassurance and encouragement will go a long way in helping her to stay confident and focused throughout the toughest stages of the journey.

Put it into action: 

Though small, plan on giving a meaningful compliment every time you see her. The key is to highlight how well she’s doing; receiving that acknowledgement from a person she admires and trusts will boost her self-esteem and drive.

3. Remind her to plan ahead.

Because so much happens during pregnancy, she may be focusing on what’s happening now, with little time to think about everything she’ll need a few months out. With the knowledge you have, gently remind and help her to prepare for the postpartum period. If she has everything she needs before the little one arrives, such as pre-cooked and frozen meals, a clean and baby-proofed house, and a comfy nursery, she will feel more equipped and ready to approach labor. 

Put it into action:

Just as you might have done for the advice booklet, help craft a calendar that highlights the things that she needs to prepare in advance and by when. The goal is to help her have a clear picture of what needs to be done each week, and stay on track!

Also, you can make it easy for them. Prepare a few frozen meals for her, and place them in the freezer. Offer to help out with tasks like painting the nursery or picking up the crib they ordered. 

4. Be willing to help–in small or big ways!

As humans, we have a hard time asking for help, especially when our lives are changing tremendously. We always think that we can do it on our own, and that it would be a sign of weakness to ask for help. The truth is, however, that whether small or big, any form of help will ease stress in the wild journey of pregnancy. Small acts of service will not only show that you are there for her, but also help her relax and enjoy her time before the little one comes around. 

Put it into action:

Consider offering to be her go-to driver for appointments, or the person to help tidy up her home or drop off her favorite meal when she’s feeling too exhausted and heavy. 

Another way to do this easily is to keep her in mind and check in on her! Also, if you’re shopping and you see something you know she’d enjoy or benefit from, bring it as a gift the next time you see her – whether it’s for her or for the baby, she’ll appreciate that you’ve been thinking of her. If you live far away, consider gifting her a few months worth of a meal kit subscription. Companies like Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot have great options that are simple and easy to make for busy, soon-to-be parents that still want to prepare nutritious meals at home.

If You're the BFF

Having a friend who is pregnant is so exciting! Because your bestie is becoming a mom, you’re gaining a new tiny nephew/niece–and this journey holds so much potential to solidify your friendship for years to come. While the family and partner play a more central role during this time as a new member is joining their tree, you still have a crucial role as her emotional support and outlet. 

1. Be the fun.

The moment your friend becomes pregnant, her whole life will be all about it–literally! Her family, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and parents will likely be continuously talking about their experiences, giving advice, and bringing up everything baby. This is where you come in. While shopping for the little one will be fun, also think about spending time with her like you’ve done any other moment in your friendship. Go get your nails done together, pick her up for late night tacos at your favorite place, or head out for yoga and a hike; whatever it may be, do something that doesn’t involve pregnancy, birth, or anything in between. 

Put it into action: 

Plan a date for you and your bestie once a month, where you and her go and do all of the things you love to do together–and even try something new! Having a designated day will not only allow the soon-to-be momma to plan around it, but also remind her that she can still be herself and have fun though everything may be changing around her.

If you have a little one of your own, this is the perfect opportunity to bring up all of the amazing and exciting things you both can do with your kids as they grow up together. Think birthday parties, trips to the zoo, playdates, and more; knowing that your friendship doesn’t end when the baby comes will not only be reassuring, but also give her something to look forward to.

2. Listen.

Amidst the hubbub of baby showers, constant visitors, and advice, your friend might be in dire need of some downtime to rant about everything that is going on. Be there for her and let her share all of her feelings. When she’s happy, be happy with her, and when she’s frustrated, let her express her emotions and assure her that she can do this and that you’re there for her. Sometimes, all one needs is a loyal friend to take it all in with them. 

Put it into action:

Let them know that you'll always have their back, and actively listen. Knowing that you’re willing to listen to the rants, qualms and frustrating times will make it that much easier for them to come to you when they need it.

3. Send a surprise.

Whether you're near or far, you can be a part of this momentous time. Sending a fun surprise, like a box of cookies, a self-care box from Etsy, or a homemade gift, is sure to lighten the day of your soon-to-be momma friend and will show her that you're thinking about her, even if you're far away.

Put it into action:

You know your friend better than any other, so building your own special gift box from Happy Box Store is the perfect way to go. Key here is to think about gifts that are focused on her that will allow her to relax and a moment to focus on herself among a sea of baby-focused moments and gifts.

If her love language is less of "gifts" and more "quality time," planning an experience or trip is also a good idea. Reach out to her partner or family member and plan a surprise weekend. Whether it’s you just visiting, or planning a fun getaway to a nearby spa or city, she'll be so excited to squeeze in some precious moments before the little one arrives and the chaos begins.

The Final Word

Whether you’re a friend, family member, or partner, the pregnant woman in your life is going to need your support, and a lot of it. Pregnancy is emotionally and physically tough, and any assistance she can receive will be ultimately beneficial for herself and the little one that is soon to be. If you're unsure of how to best support her, you can certainly use our guide as a start - but remember, every woman is different and that at the end of the day, you know her best and what will bring her joy as she navigates this wild journey!

Maggie Nash
Maggie Nash is the Content Creator Intern for Hibiscus Motherhood who brings together creativity and education through her knowledge of all things women and gender. As a recent graduate from Creighton University receiving a BA in Cultural Anthropology, she utilizes her skills of research, adaptability, and analysis to create engaging content for the team. With a background in expanding reproductive health, Maggie is dedicated to Hibiscus Motherhood’s mission and vision of providing quality, comfortable care to mothers post birth, as well as educating interested individuals. If you have any questions regarding her work at Hibiscus Motherhood, you can contact her at maggie.nash121@gmail.com.

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