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Self-help

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What can you do to help keep well?

Becoming a parent is a huge life-changing event. There are things that you can do as a parent to try and prepare for this and to try and reduce the risk of serious health problems.

  • Keep talking and communicating as a couple. Talk about your fears and worries. Be honest to each other. Look after each other, especially when one of you is tired or worried
  • Try not to take on new things during pregnancy. Buying and selling houses, house renovations, or new jobs are all very stressful events. So is pregnancy. Just try and enjoy your pregnancy and prepare for the family changes that a baby will bring.
  • At times you will feel tired and stressed. Take time out to look after yourself. Rest. Relax. Have a day off work.
  • "Respect yourself" Try and stay healthy. Get some exercise. Eat well.
  • Accept any offers of help, such as doing housework, gardening or looking after other children.
  • Talk to your partner about your changing relationship. Sexual needs will change. It is important to talk about this.
  • Look at any financial problems. Can you cope on one wage?
  • Do you have to go back to work after the baby is born? What would happen if you donít feel that you can leave the baby? What will happen if the baby is unwell and you canít work? What if you are unwell?
  • Sort out who will be able to help and support you after the baby is born. Who do you feel comfortable with? Are there other mothers/couples with babies that will be good supports for you both?
  • Go to antenatal classes to help prepare for the birth and baby. Make sure that they talk about things that can go wrong. Be realistic about your expectations of the birth process. These can be good places to meet other couples/mothers.
  • If you are a single mother, try to find a support group for other single mothers. You may feel uncomfortable in classes with only couples.
  • Notice and try to accept the changes associated with your pregnancy Ė this is a time to take special care of yourself.

If you become unwell

  • If you or your partner or family/whanau notices that you are starting to become anxious or depressed, it is important to get help as early on as possible.
  • Depression and anxiety can be treated in pregnancy.
  • It can be hard to pick up, but treatment can help you stay well for the rest of the pregnancy, the delivery and after the baby is born.
  • Tell your midwife or GP how you are feeling.
  • If they dismiss your concerns, then find another midwife or doctor to talk to. Ask your friends who they find good to talk to.
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