We’re pregnant – words that may be met with a mix of unwavering joy, surprise and probably a bit of anxiety from expectant dads. From that moment on, a man’s life changes forever, as the countdown to the arrival of the little one looms and his transition into fatherhood begins.

Alan Hosking, author of the book, What Nobody Tells a New Father (Osgard Media), agrees with this sentiment: “Parenting is like a chronic disease. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life, and you’ve got to learn to manage it.”

While a large part of the birth journey, and process, is strongly focused towards the mother, it is also massively important that fathers are just as involved in the process, as it assists in establishing the bond between father and child, where the birth journey is just the beginning.

READ MORE: When your girlfriend is pregnant and you are not ready for fatherhood

Because this is new territory and can seem quite daunting, here are a few ways that expectant fathers can mentally prepare themselves for the journey that lies ahead:

Start the conversation between yourself and your partner

What do you think it means to be a dad? This is the most important thing a man can do to prepare for becoming a father and it also helps to establish the roles and expectations of parenting between you

Don’t forget to focus on physical affection, sitting down together and talking

This is needed to validate your partner and meet each other’s needs – there are so many changes coming to your lives that you need to make sure you spend time with each other to keep your connection strong.

Pregnancy can also be an uncomfortable experience for fathers and your emotional feeling and fears can sometimes be denied

Try to express your feelings and allow your partner to listen and help you with them.

Actively focus on unpacking and resolving emotional baggage between you and your partner before the birth

A positive relationship between mum and dad is one of the most important factors of creating a positive birth experience and assisting with healthy postnatal adjustment.