Media Contact
Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

September 1, 2010

What to Expect When You Are Expecting: Tips and Resources for Rookie Dads

DENVER – August 30, 2010 – When learning of a new pregnancy there are a variety of emotions expectant fathers can feel: excitement to anxiety to worry to joy. Fathers play a crucial role in a child’s pre-natal and infant development. According to psychologist MJ Cox’s “Prediction of Infant-Father and Infant-Mother Attachment” study, fathers who are affectionate, spend more time with their young children and have overall positive attitudes are more likely to have securely attached infants. Colorado dads have access to a variety of opportunities, resources and programs throughout the state to help them become the best fathers they can be.

“Becoming a father is a very remarkable experience,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “You can connect with your child before he or she is born. Help decorate the nursery, go with your partner to her medical appointments and do your best to nurture her, and your child, each day of the pregnancy.”

Being actively involved in a pregnancy will help calm feelings of confusion and fear, which can be fairly common for expectant fathers. The following are a few tips for Colorado dads to utilize during those first nine months:

Ask others. Luckily there are other fathers who have been in your shoes before. Ask a family member or friend about their pregnancy experience and for any tips or advice about what to expect during the pregnancy, birth and as a new father. Discussing your concerns and questions will help calm your nerves and give you a new sense of confidence about becoming a father.

Communicate with your partner. Both partners involved are affected by a pregnancy, just in different ways. Talk with your partner about the emotions you are feeling and the changes that are about to occur in both your lives. Speaking openly will identify similar emotions and calm your own mind.

Attend doctors’ appointments and classes. These are critical opportunities for expectant fathers to learn about their child’s development and how to support their partner throughout the pregnancy. Many classes focus on helping both partners understand the birthing process and coaching options during delivery.

Do some research.
Whether it’s reading a book or searching the Internet, there are a wealth of knowledgeable resources available for expectant dads. Websites, blogs and online forums provide an opportunity to ask questions, interact with other dads and learn more about your partner’s emotional and physical changes. The following websites provide excellent tips, video tutorials and other information relevant to new dads:
  • Boot Camp for New Dads offers unique father-to-father, community-based workshops that inspire and equip men to become confidently engaged in their infants’ lives, support their partners and personally navigate their transformation into dads. Learn more and locate a workshop in Colorado at www.bootcampfornewdads.org.
  • Dads Adventure provides constructive and useful information, tools and resources for expecting and new dads. Visit www.dadsadventure.com for tips, videos and more.
  • Great Dad features tips, baby names, book suggestions for new dads and dads of young kids. The site provides a newsletter and much more. Explore and learn more at www.greatdad.com.
Create a plan. As the due date approaches establish a plan for when your partner goes into labor. Have a bag packed, the car filled with gas, the baby seat loaded in the car and other essential details ironed out. Having a plan in place will make the entire birth process less stressful and allow you to focus on your partner and new child.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.