How to prepare for being a parent, and making the most of the time before your baby is born.
As well as being an exciting time, pregnancy can also be scary. Most people have heard of post-natal depression, but are not prepared for feeling down during pregnancy. If your feelings become overwhelming, remember there is help available. Talk them through with your partner, a family member, friends or a health professional.
Do not worry about being a perfect parent. Work out your own ideas on what it means to be a parent and how you want to do it. Trust your instinct. If you are confused about anything you can speak to a health professional.
Remember to take care of your own needs and try to carry on doing the things that you enjoy to help you relax. This could be anything from listening to music to spending time with friends. Following the birth you will be very busy concentrating on your new baby so you need to make time for yourself during the pregnancy.
Having a baby can bring back strong memories of childhood. For most people these are happy. If they are not it is essential not to bottle up sad or angry memories. Instead find a trusted sympathetic ear. If you have any real concerns from your childhood you can contact a helpline or health professional.
The most important relationship for you at this time is probably with your partner, if you have one. It is important to talk to your partner about everything, sorting out issues that may lie between you before the birth, and working out how you will make time for yourselves and your relationship once the baby arrives. Bringing up a child is one of the most rewarding but stressful experiences that exist, so it is important that you and your partner are able to support each other.
Take regular and sensible exercise. This will help you remain fit and healthy during the pregnancy. It will also help to have a positive effect on the improvement of your mood and self image after the baby is born.
During pregnancy you can continue to eat most of the foods that you enjoy now, so long as you vary what you eat and keep a balance between food types. If you are unsure about any dietary issues you can speak to a health professional. You can also contact a health professional for advice on the current thinking on the consumption of alcohol and smoking while pregnant.
The effects of stress are bad for you and for dads, so it is really important to recognise the signs. Keep stress to a minimum by avoiding situations that make you anxious. Learn to understand how best to cope with stress. Try to sort out practical worries like housing, money etc as it will be harder once the baby arrives.
If you have older children there is a chance that they could be jealous when the baby arrives. Get them involved in preparing for the new baby. Talk about the baby, read baby books together.
Plan ahead for the birth. Make decisions about the kind of birth you want. It is important that you feel as in control as possible. You can talk to a midwife about an ideal birth plan and what you would like to happen. Also find out about ante-natal and post-natal classes.
As you near the end of your pregnancy you may start to worry about whether you have everything you need once you bring the baby home. Make a list of the essentials. This will help take the worry away and let you concentrate on your pregnancy.
Help and support for anyone caring for children