Preparing for a family is an exciting time! The anticipation of a bundle of joy brings smiles and lots to do! But readying the nursery and your home for the new arrival is not the only preparation you need to keep in mind when planning a family.

Moms-to-be of course have their regimented schedule of prenatal visits to make sure they and baby-to-be are healthy and cared for.  But expectant fathers and partners also need to be keeping themselves healthy. Not only will mom need support post-delivery in the hospital, but a newborn can also mean sleep deprivation and strain on everyone in the house.

During the nine month countdown leading up to baby’s arrival, here are some things that fathers and partners can do to prepare.

Get your annual exam with your general practitioner. Are you up to date on allvaccinations? Heart and blood pressure healthy? Address any health issues and add or adjust your medications as needed now.  Mom will certainly be tired and more prone to getting sick, so she will need to rely on you.

Start / stick to regular exercise.  Not only will regular exercise make sure you are healthy prior to baby’s arrival, but establishing a routine now will help you to stick to it once baby arrives. When sleepless nights and newborn fatigue set in, having a regular routine already established will help you omit excuses to skip exercise. The extra endorphins released during exercise may also help deal with – although temporarily – the stress that can come with a new baby.

Quit smoking. Smoke and even second-hand smoke are not only unhealthy for you but also for those who breathe it, especially a baby. Try to eliminate this habit before the baby arrives to create a healthy environment for all.

Learn how to stay calm. This may be a time to explore meditation to help calm nerves, anxiety and lessen worrisome thoughts, such as being able to afford a child and how the relationship with your wife may change.