Sometimes it can feel like it’s all about the mom and baby. But as a dad, you’re a very important part of the family, too. If you stay involved, your little boy or girl has a better chance of being healthy, strong and smart.

Early on, your attention and support can help your partner have a healthier pregnancy. Around four months in, your baby can hear and feel you from inside the womb. Gently rub your partner’s belly to build a connection with your baby. And after birth, he or she will love to watch, listen, touch and even smell you.

Research shows that sons who have involved fathers are less likely to enter the criminal justice system. Daughters of involved fathers are more likely to delay their first sexual experience, which decreases their lifelong risk of infection, and are less likely to enter into abusive relationships.

Women without involved partners have more complications during delivery, are less likely to get adequate prenatal care and are more likely to smoke. Get the point? You are vital to your family’s long-term health and success.