Tips for Dads and Those Who Love Them: Providence Experts Offer Health Insights for Men

May 19, 2012
Dads-to-be have a lot of options to learn

Fatherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. New mothers tend to get more coaching and advice during pregnancy and after birth, sometimes leaving dads feeling less than prepared. Providence offers a wide range of classes, from childbirth preparation and newborn care to infant massage and parenting education. Stay-at-home dads can even participate in a new parents group to share real-life experiences.

Kangaroo care, great for babies and dads, too

Providence experts recommend daily skin-to-skin time between parents and newborns for all births. Because babies are “pouched” in a blanket, it’s often called kangaroo care. It’s not just for mom – new fathers are encouraged to participate as well. Studies have shown the practice stabilizes infant heart rate, improves digestion and sleep patterns, and promotes bonding. What better way for dad to get to know the newest member of the family?

Safe sun: Keep your skin protected

We love our Oregon sunshine, but we don’t always protect our skin. In the U.S., 39,000 new cases of melanoma occur in men each year, primarily those over age 50 – a significantly higher rate than in women. Providence experts say be smart on sunny days: wear a cap, use at least SPF30 sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply every two hours. And if you notice an irregularly shaped skin mole that changes in shape, size, or color, check with your doctor right away.

Know when it's time to call for help

Men have a harder time talking about their health and may even ignore warning signs of a heart attack. Yet studies show sudden cardiac events are far more likely to occur in men. According to Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, symptoms include: chest pain or pressure; sudden weakness; a fast or irregular heartbeat; and pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper extremities. Don’t wait – dial 911 immediately at the first signs of a heart attack.