If you have one or more children at home, your pregnancy simply can't be your central focus. Getting the rest you need can be a challenge. Sometimes you may even forget to take extra good care of yourself. As you juggle the demands of pregnancy and parenting, consider the following:
Your health is a top priority. You are eating, resting, and sleeping for two. Whenever possible, lie down to rest. Carve out time to meet your health and exercise needs. Pay a babysitter, or trade child care with a friend. This gives your growing fetus a healthy start and gives you the most possible energy to use for parenting.
Family members can pitch in. No mother can do it all, especially when she is pregnant or taking care of a newborn. Your pregnancy months are a good time for family members to pick up some of your usual tasks. A toddler or preschooler can learn to put toys away. An older child or teen can do chores and cook. Your partner can do the same, and make it possible for you to go to bed earlier and get naps on weekends.
Involving your child or children
Your local hospital or birthing center may offer a class for small children to help them prepare for the birth of a sibling. Older children can benefit from books or videos that describe and discuss reproduction and birth.
Depending on the age of your child or children, involve them in the upcoming birth as much as possible. Tell an older child or teen about your pregnancy, and answer his or her questions. For a younger child, wait until he or she starts asking questions about your changing body.
To help a child get ready for a new baby:
- Hold and cuddle your child.
- Allow him or her to help choose the baby's name or fix up the baby's room. If baby will be sharing a bedroom with a brother or sister, set up the crib a couple of weeks ahead of time.
- Explain that after the birth, you will have to spend a lot of time with the baby, and that your child can be a helper.
- Show pictures of your child as a newborn. Talk about how it was to be pregnant, give birth, and to take care of him or her.
- Give your child a doll. This can be his or her "baby" to take care of.
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology