Should Dads-to-Be Attend OB/GYN Appointments?

Annie Krasnow

pregnant coupleThere's a lot to be said for a couple who plans to go into this whole parenting thing "together." They want to be a unit from the start and carry this mindset into parenting. Although it's the woman who gets pregnant, the man can be with her every step of the way. Sometimes men even gain sympathy weight because they are so connected.

Obviously a man cannot get pregnant, but a father-to-be can attend every OB/GYN appointment. He can abstain from drinking and he can go to sleep earlier. He can take some of the brunt of the physical strain by going to the grocery store for his pregnant wife and bending down to load the dishwasher. BUT -- as time goes on I learned that truly sharing in this responsibility almost never happens.

One of the main things that I have noticed is that men rarely attend their partner's doctor appointments. On occasion, they go to hear the heartbeat, but they certainly don't go every time. I'm not sure they need to, but there is this frustrating element that it's implied their schedule is more important than their counterpart's. They are unable to get out of that meeting or they are away on a business trip that day. Most doctors don't have Saturday appointments, so women are forced to take that time out of their day. It's the same with paternity leave. Men just don't take the time off to participate as much as women do.

Of course they don't NEED to be there. But, isn't attending doctor's appointments a way for men to connect physically when that's the hardest way for them to connect in the first place? And what about helping out? The men I know say they want to help out more, but they don't really do everything they can. They still have to be asked to take out the garbage and maybe there's not a blatant eye-roll when it comes to doing the dishes, but there's a figurative eye-roll. It's sort of worse.

I wonder if anyone else thinks attendance to appointments should be mandatory. I think it would force partners to be more engaged. They'd better understand the sacrifices women make from the start and they'd have no choice but to be more connected physically to the pregnancy and the child.

Does your husband always go to your appointments?


Image via MeriaDuck/Flickr

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