Sharing the ups and downs of pregnancy with other parents can create ties that last a lifetime
Discovering you’re pregnant is an unforgettable experience and as your bump grows, so too can your questions about what parenthood will be like. Having someone who knows what you’re going through can help you feel more prepared for the big day and the challenges that lie ahead – plus going through something so major together can mean you’re friends for life.
Connect with local expectant parents at a similar pregnancy stage to you through an antenatal class. From birthing options to tips on how to care for your baby in the first few weeks, these classes are the ideal opportunity for you and your partner to make new friends who understand how you both might be feeling. The NCT offers a wide range of classes for expectant mums and dads and some Children’s Centres also offer antenatal sessions. Both offer a mix of practical advice and the chance to chat with other parents-to-be. In some areas, there are classes for single mothers, teenagers and women whose first language is not English.
Use the powers of social media to connect or reconnect with friends and couples who are also expecting. Even if you no longer live near each other, it can help to have someone you can call, text or message when you need advice. It’s sometimes easier to ‘talk’ about more personal worries if it isn’t face-to-face. A Whatsapp group of other expectant parents will help make those 3am worries (and eventually those 3am feeds) easier to bear.
If you want to meet other local mums-to-be and keep fit at the same time, a pregnancy yoga course is a great idea. Trying to do the downward dog with a big bump will certainly break the ice! As well as making new friends pregnancy yoga can improve your posture, which can alleviate back pain and increase flexibility. It could also help you to relax and teach you breathing techniques to use during labour. Classes are popular so make sure you book up in advance and don’t forget to check with your GP or midwife before starting any exercise classes during pregnancy.
If you’re expecting twins, you might find it useful to meet up with others in the same position as you – dealing with two newborns is a whole different ball game. The NCT does cater to parents of twins but for a more targeted approach the Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) provides a one-day antenatal course specially designed for those expecting more than one baby, led by multiple birth experts.
Although you are unlikely to become lifelong friends, your local midwifery team are there to offer support and advice throughout your pregnancy so make sure you use them. As well as your scheduled appointments, you or your partner can call them at any time if you have concerns and they will be able to answer your questions and reassure you.
Learn all there is to know about breastfeeding and meet other local mums-to-be at a breastfeeding workshop. From latching on techniques to mastitis, these courses aim to give you all the information you need so you can feel more confident about breastfeeding when the time comes. Ask your midwife for details of courses in your area.
If you’re expecting your second or third child, you might not need the same level of antenatal support as you did the first time around — but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any. Juggling the demands of two or more children can take some adjusting to. Although you both might know how to change a nappy with your eyes closed, you may need help with other issues and relish the opportunity to meet other second time around parents. The NCT runs antenatal refresher courses that cover the impact of introducing a new baby to your family, sibling rivalry and the potential changes to your relationship as a couple as well as refreshing you on all your birth options.
And don’t forget to talk things through with your partner or family. Although you’re the one carrying the baby, those closest to you will want to be involved. Sometimes just talking about your concerns will make you feel better and make them feel included in the pregnancy. So share your worries about labour pains and your excitement as your baby kicks and you could find you have a support network closer than you thought.