We all know smoking is bad for our health but it’s also bad for your baby too. If you smoke, your baby smokes too. And even when they’re born, they can breathe in your smoke second hand, which can increase their risk of getting lung cancer and heart disease. So now is the perfect time for you and your partner to give up. It is hard but you can get help from your doctor, midwife or pharmacy team. There is also lots of information online.
I’d smoked between 10 and 20 cigarettes a day before I fell pregnant and used to go out every weekend but as soon as I realised I was expecting, I quit immediately on my own. Abyie, mum to Kelsey-Jade, four months
As your pregnancy progresses, having friends and family around can make all the difference, whether it’s helping out with your weekly shop or chores around the house.
Now that you’re pregnant, you might think you’ll miss out on things you and your friends and family have always done. But this can actually be a time that brings you closer together. Helping each other to give up smoking and drinking alcohol, getting active and enjoying a healthier diet will be beneficial for you all.
This can be a scary and emotional time for dads too, so attending ante natal classes together will ensure you both feel prepared about the upcoming birth. Even doing things like creating a birth plan and packing your hospital bag with your partner can be reassuring.
Although there are lots of myths about having sex during pregnancy, don’t be frightened! The fear of hurting the baby is a common concern for lots of mums and dads-to-be but there is no need to worry. Your baby is well cushioned by a sac of fluid beyond the neck of the womb and there is no medical evidence that sex causes any harm to your baby. At the right time, it could even help to bring on labour.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve put on weight on my face and chest and I just don’t feel like myself anymore. I don’t feel attractive. But my husband is always rubbing my belly and friends tell me I look great, which makes me feel better Laura, 20 weeks pregnant
Although you’re undoubtedly going to be busy with your new baby, make sure you don’t neglect yourself at this busy time. Getting enough sleep is vital in those first weeks and months, so try and nap when baby does. And eating healthily and being active will also give you enough energy to get through the day.
Also keep tabs on your emotions. Having a baby is exciting but you can also feel teary, irritable, anxious or blue. This can be a natural part of becoming a mum but it could also be a sign of post-natal depression. If you’re feeling more unhappy than usual, go and see your doctor.
Having support from your partner, family and friends at this time is vital. If you need someone to help out, don’t be afraid to ask.
All new mums want to do the best for the new addition to their family and important ways to protect your baby are immunisations and development checks. Immunisations can stop them developing life-threatening conditions like measles and meningitis. Checks ensure everything is OK with their hearing, weight and language and learning skills. It’s a good idea to make a note of when your baby’s appointments are due – and when they’ve had them.
Now that your baby is starting to toddle, why not check what is going on for parents and babies or kids at your local leisure centre. Or you could join a class or a pre-school group. This gives you and your little one the chance to make friends, learn new skills and get out and about.