Building a strong foundation of communication is a great way to kick off your impending parenthood. Here's how to foster an atmosphere of caring interaction.

Pregnancy is a shared experience between you and your spouse — a life-changing journey you're both undertaking. But at the end of the day, the physical changes are happening to you alone. So as you enter week 11 of your pregnancy, how can you share the challenges and joys with your spouse?

Suggest fun roles and tasks

The dad-to-be can be your designated researcher, scanning through books and credible websites to read up on all things pregnancy-related. That means that should small hiccups surface, like leg cramps or odd food cravings, he would already know what to do to help.

Share the moments

From visiting the doctor to picking out maternity clothes, these simple chores are much better when done together. Not only do they allow you to make sure you both bask in important moments that will become treasured memories; they also mean you're both able to tackle any challenges that arise, because you would have experienced those crucial moments together.

Don't bottle up feelings

If you're experiencing doubts or irritations, no matter how small, bring them out into the open. Negative feelings that don't have an outlet can often become larger issues.

Gamify communication

Nervous about airing your needs and wants? Lighten the mood with a small game — both of you can come up with three conversation-starting questions that must be answered honestly (think "Truth or Dare" without the "Dare").

For example, your spouse could ask, "What's one thing you're nervous about when the baby is born?" Even if your answer is lighthearted (like "I'm worried we won't be able to agree on a name right away!"), the conversation will allow you both to share your dreams and worries in a safe space.

Communicate positively (and physically)

If you have a gripe to share, start with a positive note. (For example, "I love that you're already buying such high-tech baby equipment, but can we check if we have the budget for it?")

Lastly, don't forget that body language speaks volumes. A light complaint can be soothed instantly by a touch on the arm and a smile.

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Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye
Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KKH

Dr Michelle Lim
Consultant, Minimally Invasive Surgery Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KKH

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

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