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Moods and morning sickness: a guide for men

Most women have mood changes and morning sickness at some point during pregnancy. As a man, you can work with your partner to make this time a little easier for both of you.

Mood swings

Pregnancy brings on hormone changes, which might cause mood changes in your partner. These can come with little or no warning to you or her. It can be very tricky to navigate situations when emotions run high and her moods change suddenly.

It’s easy to take your partner’s mood swings personally, but they could be more about hormonal changes than about you. You can expect emotional ups and downs when you consider that your partner is adjusting to a major change in her life. She might also be dealing with feeling unwell and other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.

If you’re concerned about your partner’s mood changes or finding it difficult to cope with them, try talking to a friend or  an understanding family member.

It might help to know that these pregnancy moods will probably pass pretty quickly.

If you or your partner have moods or emotional changes that last longer than two weeks and are getting in the way of your daily lives, it could be antenatal depression. Make an appointment with your GP or antenatal clinic.

Morning sickness

For some men with pregnant partners, the mornings have a whole new feel about them. The sound of your partner vomiting isn’t the ideal way to wake up.

Morning sickness is usually at its worst early in the day, but it can happen at any point during the day or night. If your partner has morning sickness, try to work as a team to find out what helps. 

It could be as simple as being sensitive about her food likes and dislikes. If she’s told you she can’t stand the smell of something, don’t buy it or eat it near her. And if she’s vomiting a lot, you might need to get her to the GP.

Managing the nausea together is like a practice run for managing the pain during labour or handling an unsettled baby’s crying.

This is a time when your partner will appreciate your support. It might help you to know that morning sickness, like many other aspects of pregnancy, can’t always be easily solved. Sometimes you just have to put up with it.

If your partner is doing it tough, it might be a cue for you to tell her that she’s doing a great job of growing a beautiful baby. She might not be up to smiling, but just hearing your encouraging words can help her to cope.

Severe morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Symptoms include repeated vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. If your partner is vomiting very often, see your GP or antenatal doctor, because she might need treatment or hospitalisation.

Things you can do

  • Try not to take your partner’s mood swings personally. Talking with a friend or another expectant dad is a better way to deal with it. Or you could check out our online forum for expectant dads.
  • If your partner has morning sickness, avoid buying, cooking or eating things that make her feel sick.
  • Ask your partner how you can help with morning sickness. Does she want to be left alone? Does she want you to rub her back while she throws up? Keep a supply of dry crackers handy to curb her nausea?
  • If your partner has morning sickness, encourage her to eat small amounts often. Nutrition Australia recommends carbohydrate-rich snacks like cheese and crackers, toast, cereal or fruit.
  • If your partner is vomiting very often, or you’re worried about her physical or mental health, go to your GP or antenatal clinic.

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Last updated or reviewed
09-08-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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