During pregnancy your body goes through many changes in a fairly short space of time. As your baby grows it takes minerals and vitamins from your own body and your hormone balance changes, which can affect your mood.
It can also take time to adjust to the big life changes about to happen, or, perhaps, come to terms with an unexpected pregnancy.
It’s quite normal to feel worried or anxious about these changes and new pressures and many other women will experience similar feelings.
1. Talk to your midwife about any worries or anxieties
Your midwife will ask you some questions about your emotional health at your first appointment. While this is a really good opportunity to talk, you are encouraged to share any concerns you may have at any point. Your midwife knows that it’s very common to feel down or anxious and there’s no need to be worried that they might judge you or won’t understand.
2. It’s a good idea to attend a Preparation for Birth and Beyond (PBB) course
For first time parents, Preparation for Birth and Beyond (PBB) courses are available at local Children’s Centres. The programme involves 6 sessions before the birth and 1 after your baby is born. As well as preparing for the arrival of your baby, it’s a great way to meet parents in your area. Ask your midwife about how you can attend.
3. Need more support?
There are other courses available, as well, talk to your midwife to find the right one for you. Baby Steps and Pregnancy in Mind, might be helpful if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression and Leeds Teaching Hospitals offers a range of courses for parents-to-be. Local Children’s Centres also run groups and activities for pregnant women and young families.
4. Download the free Baby Buddy app
It can act as your personal baby ‘buddy’ guiding you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Baby Buddy was developed by a charity called Best Beginnings with the help of mums, partners, midwives and GPs. You can view films of families from Leeds talking about their emotional health and their experiences as new parents and parents-to-be.
5. Look after your general health
- Exercise – keeping active and taking some gentle exercise during your pregnancy can really boost your wellbeing. Find your local leisure centre and information about classes on the Active Leeds website. Exercise like swimming, yoga (remember to tell your teacher that you’re pregnant) or walking can all be great forms of exercise.
- Get a good night’s sleep – you can find helpful information about sleeping safely on the Tommy’s website.
- Eat well – get information about how to eat well during pregnancy
- Get help if you’re a smoker – Leeds Stop Smoking Services offer non-judgemental support to help pregnant women stop smoking.
- Cut out alcohol – the Department of Health has published new guidelines for pregnant women advising that no level of alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy. The ‘No thanks I’m pregnant’ campaign website has local advice and support and tips to share with your friends and family on how they can support you during your pregancy.
- Take time to relax – try some different relaxation or breathing techniques.
- Be mindful – mindfulness is a technique which can help to bring our attention back from worrying, or thinking too much, to the present moment.
You can also create a Pregnancy and Post-birth Wellbeing Plan on Tommy’s website.
Download as a pdf:
This short film tells you what to expect on a Preparation for Birth and Beyond (PBB) course and how it can support you as a parent-to-be.