We are in a new world for partners and husbands. Until recently, men worried only about being in the waiting room to hear the announcement of their child’s birth and the well being of their spouse. Now, partners are expected to not only be in the birth room but be an active and knowledgeable support person during labor. Partners are expected to partner their partners!
Some reasons for the change of expectations in birth connects to the recent change in emotional responsibilities and a shift in general relationship equality. And some change comes from modern humans no longer forming small tribes and villages to support pregnant women and new parents. For many couples, the only person that could be present at the birth is their partner! Siblings, parents, and close friends are not an option to jump into this role.
For so many, having an ultrasound appointment is a moment full of ripe anticipation. You get to see your baby! Small bubbles, kicks, and flips eventually may be seen as swift movements across a pregnant belly, but at an ultrasound, there is a peek inside. A black and white, 2D peek. And possibly a strong profile shot.
And understandably, there are a lot of feelings that go along with the moment!
But some of those feelings may have nothing to do with what is on the screen, and everything to do with the relational dynamics of the people attending, or not attending the appointment.
Media, mom groups, and even some practitioners voice the suggestion/preference for partners to be in attendance at these specific prenatal appointments.
Ultrasound appointments can be an opportunity for partners to see the movement, size, and realness of the changes their partner’s body and their baby’s body are constantly experiencing. There is a chance for empathy to bloom. There is a chance for shared wonder and excitement.
For the non-pregnant partner, it can be hard to connect with an unborn baby without this visual proof that the child is indeed there. BUT, it is not the only way for partners to feel a part of the pregnancy.
What Happens Generally At An Ultrasound Appointment
- These appointments happen in a dark room with an Ultrasound technician who may or may not be able to answer the questions that come up. They are usually able to share if their findings are normal, but not much more.
- A gel is spread on the stomach and an ultrasound paddle is used to view the baby. There will be a TV that has the image on the screen, or the ultrasound device will have a dedicated screen.
- Ultrasound appointments can be long, and often they are taking measurements of areas of your baby that may be hard to recognize.
- Usually the technician helps to point out features that may be identifiable like the baby’s nose, ears, spine, etc. There may be a chance to learn about heart chambers, valves, and the spine.
- The measurements are used to ensure your baby is growing and is healthy. The placenta is also viewed at this appointment to locate the placement in the uterus, and determine blood flow.
While there are opportunities for connection and empathy, the opposite is also true. Expecting your partner to join your prenatal appointments could spark resentment and distance.
Your partner, while not actively growing a human, is still having a personal experience. Starting your parenting relationship respecting each other’s feelings can do wonders for keeping communication open and flowing.
So, check in! Does your partner want to be there? If yes, then go for it! But if he or she doesn’t, you may need to weigh the pros and cons of asking them there against their wish or having them come without doing any of the work to explore the reason.
Do schedules align and available time off afford for both of you to be in attendance? It is a luxury for many to be able to make these meetings. As the pregnant person, you by default are expected to attend, but policies may make it hard to accommodate the request.
If you have assumptions about ultrasound attendance, consider having a conversation to check in with your partner and give them the opportunity to voice their preferences or hesitations.