The dad pregnancy timeline

When you discover your partner’s pregnant, you may anticipate a nine-month count down before your bit begins. Not so. We count down through the major pregnancy milestones that affect dads so you'll know what to look out for.

 Week 2: moment of discovery

Whatever your reaction (shocked, delighted, angry, confused, or all four), you'll be on tenderhooks. Remember, a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage within the first 12 weeks (so it may be worth holding off on public announcements until that's passed).

The first three months of pregnancy

Week 8: first antenatal appointment

This takes place from about eight weeks. It's useful to attend because the doctor or midwife will need both of your medical histories. Questions may include your ethnic origin (some conditions are more prevalent in some ethnic groups) and any medical conditions that run in the family.

What can a dad expect from a good maternity service?

Week 12: first scan

The first ultra sound scan (to see if your baby is developing normally) is carried out in the hospital after 12 weeks. You'll see your baby moving and the little heart pumping away. This may be the first time it really dawns that you will be a dad. Not one to be missed (and make sure you get a printout)!

Scans: what to expect

Week 17: boy or girl?

You may not want to know, but after 16 or 17 weeks your baby's sex can be determined. Sometimes they get it wrong.

The second three months of pregnancy

Week 20: second scan

The second ultra sound scan takes place between weeks 20 and 22. This time you can see your baby sucking his thumb and stroking his face.

Week 21: first kick

He's starting to get busy – moving, kicking, stretching, punching – and you will soon be able to feel his first kicks. Patting your partner's tummy may prompt a good kick.

Week 22: voice recognition

Your baby will react to sound and learn to distinguish voices by pitch and cadence, including your own. Deeper male voices are easier for the your baby to hear than higher pitched female voices. So, start talking… and singing.

The final three months of pregnancy

Week 25: book paternity leave

You're entitled to two weeks' paid statutory paternity leave at £117.18 per week (or 90 per cent of weekly average if this is lower). Let your employer know in writing 15 weeks before the baby is due. Many companies offer better paternity leave than the statutory minimum.

Paternity leave

Week 28: join an antenatal class

Most fathers join their partners at childbirth classes. You'll come across other soon-to-be parents and learn the basics: what happens during labour, when to call the hospital, relaxation techniques, pain relief, Caesareans and taking care of a new baby.

What goes on at ante natal classes?

Week 35: make a birth plan

Be clear what your partner wants. A normal hospital birth or active birth? Her chosen posture for delivery? Pain relief? Write it down, along with a list of emergency numbers (including family and friends).

Birth plan: what's that all about?

Week 36: plan your hospital route

Full term is 40 weeks but 95 per cent of babies are early or late, so …remain in regular contact, pack an emergency bag and know the quickest way to hospital.

The final countdown

What do I do when she goes into labour?

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Guest Thursday, 03 September 2015