Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies®, Australian and New Zealand Edition

Visit to view this book's cheat sheet.

Table of Contents

About This Book
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organised
Part I: From Here to Paternity: Getting Pregnant
Part II: What to Expect When She’s Expecting
Part III: The Big Moment is Here: Birth
Part IV: Life After Birth
Part V: The Part of Tens
What You Don’t Have to Read
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: From Here to Paternity: Getting Pregnant
Chapter 1: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know . . .
Dispelling Common Myths about Fatherhood
The pros and cons of fatherhood
Knowing what to expect
Trading in your lifestyle (but not the sports car)
Only Fools Rush In
Introducing the New-Generation Dad
Dadhood: A good time to man up
Joining the movement
Exploring care routine strategies
The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Dads
Chapter 2: How to Make a Baby
Here Comes the Fun Part
Conceiving naturally
Improving the odds — conception tips and tricks
Conception’s not happening
Understanding What Can Go Wrong
Working out why conception hasn’t happened
Exploring other ways to get pregnant
OMG, You’re Going to Be a Dad
Getting confirmation
Knowing what to do next
Things to do before morning sickness starts
Part II: What to Expect When She’s Expecting
Chapter 3: The First Trimester
Eating For Two — Or, How to Gain 15 kg in 40 Weeks
Understanding the Medical Stuff
Dealing with Common Side Effects in the First Trimester
Morning sickness
‘Dog nose’
Tender breasts
What’s Your Baby Up To?
Preparations: Getting the Right Gear
Clothes and shoes
Strollers, prams and buggies
Car seats
Other accessories
Chapter 4: The Second Trimester
Enjoying the Golden Trimester
Understanding More Medical Stuff
Choosing a carer
Birth options
Dealing with Common Side Effects in the Second Trimester
What’s Your Baby Up To Now?
Making Room for the Baby
The nursery
Animals in the house
Chapter 5: The Third Trimester
What Happens During the Third Trimester — Are We There Yet?
The Birth Plan
Understanding Even More Medical Stuff
Dealing with Common Side Effects in the Third Trimester
Finding the Right Consumables
Crème de la crèmes
Shopping for your baby’s health and first aid
Part III: The Big Moment is Here: Birth
Chapter 6: Final Preparations
Stuff You Tend to Forget
Birthing equipment
The hospital bag(s)
The baby shower
Discovering What You Need to Know about Labour
Understanding Your Role in Labour
Getting Ready — Last-Minute Preparations
When You Think You’re in Labour
When You’re Really in Labour
Chapter 7: Lights, Camera, Action: Giving Birth
Helping Your Partner through Childbirth
Keeping Sane
Giving Nature a Helping Hand
Emergency caesarean
The Big Moment’s Arrived
Cutting the cord
When time stops — meeting your baby
Keeping your cool
Welcoming Your Baby to the Real World
What happens immediately after birth
The first few hours
The first few days
Part IV: Life After Birth
Chapter 8: The First Few Days and Weeks
Dealing With the Aftershock
It’s life but not as you know it
At home with your newborn baby
You’ve got the blues
Looking After a Newborn
Getting your hands dirty
Sleeping — you and the baby
Crying — you, your partner and the baby
Daddy time
Juggling Your Other Priorities
Making time for yourself
Looking after your partner
We are family
Managing the work–life balance
Chapter 9: What Happens When
Avoiding Health Problems
A healthy start to life
Protecting against diseases
Providing a violence-free home
Keeping accidents at bay
Reducing the risk of SUDI and SIDS
Coping with Illness and Injury
Spotting injury
Diagnosing a serious illness
Help, My Child is Disabled!
Adjusting your expectations
Finding help, assistance and resources
Chapter 10: Finding Support
Help, I’m a Dad!
Asking for directions
Finding trusted organisations and sources of information
Internet research
Turning to friends, colleagues and family
Starting a dad group
Male and Female Postnatal Depression
Do you feel like screaming?
Support organisations
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 11: Ten Ways to Improve Your Partner’s Pregnancy
Take Care of Your Lady
Get On the Wagon
Give Your Partner Some ‘Me’ Time Every Now and Then
Be There for the Medical Stuff
Get With the Program
Go on a Babymoon
Be Excited about Becoming a Dad
Record That Beautiful Belly
Keep Telling Her How Beautiful She Is
Chapter 12: Ten Gadgets to Enhance Your Fatherhood Journey
iPhone, Smartphone and iPad Apps
Digital Cameras
Video Baby Monitors
Baby Carriers
Bathing Equipment
Picture Frames
Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Night Displays and Mobiles
Cheat Sheet

Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies®, Australian & New Zealand Edition

missing image file

About the Authors has become one of the most recognised organisations promoting active fatherhood in Australia and New Zealand. was brought into this world by Wellington-based dads Stefan Korn, Scott Lancaster and Eric Mooij, who recognised the need for social innovation in the fathering space. DIYFather is a social enterprise that aims to help men become the best fathers they can be. The directors of DIYFather have been recognised for their work by winning the 2009 New Zealander of the Year award in the education category.

Stefan Korn is a New Zealand–based internet entrepreneur. He is passionate about e-commerce and the Web, and in general loves getting involved in new businesses. His wife, Raquel, gave birth to their son, Noah, in May 2007 and the experience of becoming a father, as well as the challenges of looking after Noah, prompted him to join DIYFather. Stefan has a PhD in artificial intelligence and an MBA in international business. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Stefan held senior management roles for large international corporations in the IT, Telecommunication and Hospitality sector. In addition to DIYFather, Stefan runs an investment company for online startups, WebFund. Stefan is also actively engaged in community projects and enjoys tutoring for Wellington Community Education.

Scott Lancaster is the founder of He is married to Renee, who gave birth to their daughter, Pyper, in July 2007. After discovering what little parenting information was available for fathers, Scott approached the other two directors, who helped him build DIYFather. Scott looked after Pyper full-time for the first two years of her life and experienced being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD). Scott has an applied science degree majoring in agriculture and comes from a farming background.

Eric Mooij is married to Andrea, who welcomed baby Ava into the world in April 2008. Eric is also father to Nastassja (16), Christian (15) and Amber (14). Although he isn’t living with his three older children, Eric has regular contact with them and supports them in every way possible. Eric is keen to make a stand for separated families. Coming from a broken family himself and having relived this experience with his first three children, he works hard to be a positive role model. Outside of DIYFather, Eric works in IT and project management.


We’d like to thank our children and families for giving us the opportunity to write about being a father and we’d like to dedicate this book to all dads.

Authors’ Acknowledgements

First and foremost, we would like to thank our children, Pyper, Nastassja, Christian, Amber, Ava and Noah, for giving us the opportunity to be fathers in the first place, and for putting up with us writing a book when we could have played with them! Special thanks, of course, to our partners, Renee, Andrea and Raquel, for their continuing support and encouragement, and special thanks to Raquel for proofreading the manuscript. Thanks also to our families and friends who helped out with baby-sitting duties at crucial times.

Huge thanks to the team at Plunket who provided a lot of the research material this book is based on and helped us ensure the content of the book is safe and sound. Special thanks to Erin Beatson and Claire Rumble who have been a fantastic source of wisdom and inspiration.

A very special thank you also to Kimberley Rothwell who has been the most wonderful support we could have wished for in getting this book together.

We’d like to thank our publisher, Wiley Publishing Australia, and especially Rebecca Crisp for taking on this project, and Catherine Spedding for doing such a great job at editing our manuscript!

And last but not least, we would like to give thanks to the worldwide community of dads who have contributed content and encouragement over the years. Too many of you are out there to list everyone individually, but if you’ve checked out our site, have participated in our classes or have been in touch with us — thanks heaps from Stefan, Scott and Eric!

Publisher’s Acknowledgements

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial and Media Development

Project Editor: Catherine Spedding

Acquisitions Editor: Rebecca Crisp

Editorial Manager: Clare Weber


Graphics: Glenn Lumsden (pages 114, 120 and 122), various artists and the Wiley Art Studio

Cartoons: Glenn Lumsden

Proofreader: Charlotte Duff

Indexer: Don Jordan, Antipodes Indexing


The expression ‘useless as tits on a bull’ comes to mind when describing what many fathers felt about their involvement during labour and when caring for newborns. Fathers historically have taken a bit of a passive role during pregnancy and in looking after babies. Fortunately, things are changing. Lots of guys now want a piece of the baby action and are rolling up their sleeves to muck in with everything that needs doing — from cutting the cord to nappy changes, and baby baths to tummy time.

The number of ‘stay-at-home dads’ (SAHDs) is constantly rising in almost all developed countries — a sure sign that the parenting world is changing and that staying home looking after the kids is no longer a reason to hand in your man card. In fact, SAHDs are leading the way for all other dads to show the world how brilliant dads can be at looking after babies and children.

Countless studies have been done by fatherhood institutes around the world to provide scientific evidence about the difference a dad makes in the lives of his children. Unfortunately, many problems our children experience these days are linked to absent or uninvolved fathers. So it’s fantastic to experience the ‘coming out’ of active dads and the rise of a new generation of fully involved dads in the 21st century. There’s never been a better time to become a dad!

With Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies we’d like to do our bit to help every new dad or dad-to-be start his journey to active fatherhood. Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies, Australian and New Zealand Edition, is based on the very successful Being a Great Dad for Dummies (Wiley Publishing Australia Pty Ltd) and focuses specifically on pregnancy from a male perspective. The great news is being an active dad isn’t difficult. Dads can do everything mums do except giving birth and breastfeeding. So if you’re worried about becoming a dad, relax, read on and know that everyday blokes make fantastic dads. Above all, enjoy the wild ride to fatherhood — being a dad is the best time of your life!

About This Book

We’re pleased to be able to serve as your guide to dadhood. Over the past four years, DIYFather has become one of the most recognised organisations promoting active fatherhood in Australia and New Zealand. In Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies, we share what we’ve learnt from our partner organisations, from our course participants and from dads all over the world who’ve sent us suggestions and tips based on their fatherhood experiences. This means you can find all you need to know in one place (this book) and don’t need to waste time reading lots of leaflets or browse through hundreds of websites to get reliable and practical information from a male perspective. We pack the pages with plenty of useful information so you can become the best father you can be.

So, why this book? The reasons include the following:

check.jpg A lot has changed over the last three decades and compared to the previous generation’s approach to having children. Modern dads want to be involved and they want to find out for themselves what they need to know to look after a newborn baby.

check.jpg Your kids, your family and our world need strong dads. Fathers have been somewhat absent from childcare and upbringing due to work, family situation or a limited understanding of the role of a father. It’s about time we changed that.

check.jpg You may find even approaching the topic of pregnancy and babies hard.

check.jpg You may be missing out on the best moments of your life if you feel you don’t know what to do with (newborn) babies.

check.jpg You have everything you need to be a fantastic dad, you just don’t know it yet, or perhaps lack a bit of confidence to demonstrate your dad skills.

check.jpg Your baby and partner are likely to really appreciate all the cool things you know and are able to do when you’ve read this book.

check.jpg By being an active dad right from the beginning, you make the most significant contribution to your child’s life you could ever make — it beats any expensive present, college fund or inheritance fund your child may receive.

Foolish Assumptions

We assume that you’re reading this book because you’ve just been told that you’re going to be a dad soon or you’ve decided it’s about time you became one. You may also have been told by your partner to ‘skill up’ and read about pregnancy and parenting so she doesn’t have to do all the work around the baby. Good — because you don’t want that anyway. Twenty-first century dads can do everything that mums do except giving birth and breastfeeding.

We assume you’re somewhat puzzled by the prospects of becoming a dad and would like an easy and comprehensive guide. This book is for you if you’re

check.jpg Freaked out about becoming a dad

check.jpg Concerned about your lack of knowledge and experience around all things babies

check.jpg Three months into your partner’s pregnancy and feel like it’s all getting a bit too complicated

check.jpg Looking for an alternative to being told everything you need to know about babies by your partner

check.jpg On your way to the delivery suite and have missed all the ante-natal classes

We assume you haven’t had much exposure to or experience with pregnant women and newborn babies up to now.

How This Book Is Organised

This book is divided into five parts with numerous chapters.

Part I: From Here to Paternity: Getting Pregnant

Part I of our book covers all aspects of the start of your fatherhood journey. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of pregnancy, we provide an overview of modern dadhood by dispelling some common myths around fatherhood and by looking at how highly successful dads do things. We then get stuck into the subject and naturally talk about making babies. We cover tips on how to improve your chances of conceiving and what to do if conception doesn’t happen. Last but not least, we share some suggestions on what to do before the side-effects of pregnancy kick in.

Part II: What to Expect When She’s Expecting

Think of this part as a man’s bible to pregnancy. We share some secrets on keeping your pregnant partner happy and healthy throughout the 40-odd weeks of pregnancy. We also give you the no-bull guide to getting the house, the nursery and your life ready for the imminent arrival of your little addition to the family. Finally, we help you get ready for the big moment when your baby arrives in this world.

Part III: The Big Moment is Here: Birth

This part covers the ultimate dad, mum and baby moment — birth. We start off with some final preparations for birth and things we all tend to forget before we arrive at the delivery suite. After that, we get straight onto labour and a dad’s role in it. We tell you everything you need to know about medical procedures, drugs (no, not the recreational type) and what happens in the first few moments after birth.

Part IV: Life After Birth

This part is really where ‘the rubber hits the road’ in terms of your fatherhood experience. Your baby has been born and plenty of upskilling is required on your part. So we break all the baby care skills down for you in a dad-friendly way. As your baby grows and develops, amazing experiences can be had by every dad. We provide practical tips, activities and inspirations so you can look after your little champ well and have lots of fun along the way.

Part V: The Part of Tens

The Part of Tens is a standard in all For Dummies books. This part is a great place to put many aspects of pregnancy and active dadhood in a nutshell. Here, you can find out how to improve your partner’s pregnancy experience and what essential baby (or dad) gadgets you should buy to enhance your fatherhood journey.


The glossary defines the most commonly used terms you’ll hear during pregnancy or when visiting a paediatrician.

What You Don’t Have to Read

Although we hope you read every word we’ve written, we understand your life is busy and you want to read only the need-to-know info. You can safely skip the sidebars, which are shaded grey boxes containing text. These provide supporting or entertaining information that isn’t critical to your understanding of the topic.

Throughout this book, we give you the website addresses of a number of dedicated parenting or fatherhood sites where you can find more information on some of the topics we’ve discussed, such as buying sensible baby gear and toys, newborn baby care, illnesses and special conditions, as well as male postnatal depression. Although you don’t have to go to these websites, having a browse through them is worthwhile.

Icons Used in This Book

Icons are those little pictures you see sprinkled in the margins throughout this book. Here’s what they mean:

missing image fileThe internet is a wonderful place to access information on being a great dad. This icon highlights some helpful sites for you to check out.

missing image fileThis icon denotes critical information that you really need to take away with you. Considering the state of our own overcrowded memories, we wouldn’t ask you to remember anything unless the information was really important.

missing image fileThis bullseye alerts you to on-target advice, insights or recommendations that we’ve picked up over the years.

missing image fileThis icon serves as a warning — telling you to avoid something that’s potentially harmful. Take heed!

Where to Go from Here

You choose what happens next. This book is packed with information to help you at whatever state or stage you’re at on your fatherhood journey. You can go directly to the topics of most interest to you, or you can start at the beginning and take it from there. With the information in Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies, we’re confident that you’re able to master any challenges your partner’s pregnancy (or your new offspring) throws at you. Most importantly, this book helps you become a confident and competent dad, and have fun along the way.

Part I

From Here to Paternity: Getting Pregnant

Glenn Lumsden

missing image file

‘She’s cute now, but I can’t wait to see her once her cells have divided a few more times.’

In this part . . .

The way each man reacts to the news he’s going to become a father is as individual and unique as his fingerprints, but we all share one thing — our lives are never the same. But being a dad doesn’t start the day you meet your newborn child; the process begins much sooner than that, in some cases even from before your child is conceived. In this part, we look at what it means to be a dad and prepare you for the hurdles you may face on the way to getting pregnant and meeting your baby.