No doubt, during your pregnancy you’ve heard or will hear all of the weird, wonderful, and maybe not so wonderful stories of pregnancy, labour and what it is like to have a newborn baby. It can be overwhelming, so we have put together a few tips to support your pregnancy journey.
1. When your little bundle arrives, you will be preoccupied with tiny fingers, toes, burps and mastering the art of swaddling. Pregnancy gives you the opportunity organise your new world and indulge in what you may struggle to find time for after delivery. Taking time out to visit family or a holiday destination will help you unwind and process the upcoming events, all while the logistics are slightly simpler. When prams, bassinets, baby bottles, sleeping and feeding times are thrown into the mix, holidays aren’t as regular as they used to be for some of us. Rest assured, you will find a way for baby to fit into the new lifestyle you choose for your family.
2. Spend time with those closest to you. Have girls’ nights, movie nights and go out to have fun with your birthing-partner while you can. Support one another, share your excitement, fears and the vision you have for your child. Remember, this is a life-changing journey for them too. How can you support them? Do you both have a secondary support person to lean on? Tell your birthing-partner what you may need in the coming months. No one should feel alone in this time of their life, so seek someone to chat to. You can also find great resources and friendly team members to talk to at www.healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au
3. As your bump grows, so will the list of baby names and baby clothes. Scrolling through endless lists of baby names that start with A, E and T, shopping for the smallest little booties and beanies you’ve ever seen will bring joy to your journey. Research shows, nesting peaks in the third trimester, when you may feel the urge to sort, organise and unnecessarily clean your house from top to bottom with a toothbrush. Our hormones have a lot to answer for! Preparing the nursery may also set your mind at ease knowing the bassinet, change table and nursing chair are ready to go in case of an early arrival. Feeling creative? Check out the adorable choices of baby décor in your local stores.
4. Easing the Ailments – There will be a time you’ll begin to notice the ailments of pregnancy. If you’re experiencing nausea, headaches or constipation – try drinking lots of water, eating a healthy diet and snacking frequently. Remember, your body is growing another person, so eating and sleeping the best you can – will make a big difference. Light exercise such as yoga, swimming or a stroll down the beach can improve energy levels, sleep, help with the demands of labour, decrease pregnancy complications, stress, anxiety and depression. Chat to your doctor about what exercise is suitable for you – it may differ from your pre-pregnancy routine. Getting up from your chair regularly to move your body and maintaining a gentle stretch regime will also help ease common body aches. If you are experiencing painful cramping, bleeding, fluid leakage or a fever of 39 degrees or higher give your doctor a call.
5. Siblings – Bringing a sibling into your family can be an emotional transition. You are giving your first child (maybe more), a baby brother or sister to love, play with and care for. If you can, spend time with your older child – giving them your undivided attention, helping them feel secure and special with the upcoming changes in their life. They may not be able to comprehend exactly what is about to take place, but do your best to explain what you can and patiently answer their questions. A book about a new baby coming home can help them visualise what will take place.
6. Allow your child to choose a small gift for the baby as this will enable them to feel part of the process and share the excitement. Be wary about the amount of attention your baby will be getting from family, friends and yourself – it will take time for older siblings to adjust to the new dynamics of the family. You may experience feelings of guilt, but remember, they will adore having a new sibling to play with sooner or later. You may wish to have something special to give them, or do with them, when the time is right for being an amazing ‘big brother’, ‘or ‘big sister’. In some families the Dad or birthing partner will take on more responsibilities of the older children, especially if Mum is breastfeeding. Try to mix it up where you can – as kids love one-on-one time with Mum.
This time of your life brings excitement and a multitude of changes. Scheduling time just for you is just as important. Do a meditation, go for a massage, read a book or try new hobbies. The dirty socks and jocks can wait and your loved ones will appreciate a well-rested Mum. Like they say, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’