Prepare for parenthood

The build-up to your baby’s due date is an exciting and special time. When your baby finally does arrive, it might be tricky to find time just for you, so make sure you take the opportunity during your pregnancy to really look after yourself. Now is the time to find healthy habits that will make a big difference to how you feel when the little one arrives.

Looking after yourself

Sleep

  • Plan, schedule and prioritize sleep. A good night sleep will help your physical and mental health. Make your bedroom a calm space that you want to spend time in
  • Sleep on your left side to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby. Try to avoid lying on your back for long periods
  • If you can’t sleep, try getting up and read a book, knit or crochet something for your baby, write in a journal, or take a warm bath
  • Avoid using technology like computers, tablets or your phone immediately prior to bedtime as the light they give out can interfere with your natural sleep pattern. Switching off technology will help you start to unwind and relax
  • Have a daytime nap if you need to, but reduce them or nap earlier in the day if you have difficulty falling asleep at night

Exercise

  • Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day (check with your midwife first), but not before bed. Going out for a walk every day is a good way to exercise now and to continue when your baby arrives

Food and drink

Looking after your emotional and mental health

  • Find some time each week to do something which you enjoy, improves your mood or helps you to relax. It’s very easy to leave your own needs at the bottom of the list. Remember, if you’re exhausted and stressed, it’ll be much harder to enjoy parenthood and family life
  • Try meditation or mindfulness – either through a class or an App such as Headspace
  • Let family and friends help you with housework, shopping etc. as having their support will really help
  • Open up. Discuss any worries you may have with your family, your midwife or GP
  • Make a Wellbeing Plan – this helps you to start thinking about the support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth
  • Consider joining a group you can continue with after the arrival of your little one. Your local children’s centre may run free classes around pregnancy, breastfeeding, baby and child development and parenting. It’s a great way of making friends for you and your baby when they arrive
  • Mush is a free app for mums to instantly become part of their local mum community, to seek advice, arrange meet-ups and to make friends for life

Looking after relationships

  • Finding time for each other is more important than ever when you have a new baby
  • Communication is crucial – tell each other how you’re feeling. Remember, being aware of your own feelings and accepting all of them (even the difficult ones) is a positive and healthy thing to do
  • Feelings in themselves are never bad – it’s how we deal with them that counts. If you feel overwhelmed, or need support with your emotional wellbeing, speak to your health visitor or GP

For further support and advice:

Page last reviewed: 26-08-2020

Next review due: 26-08-2023