Pregnancy can be a particularly difficult time for some women. You may, for example, be worried about being alone with your new baby, perhaps because you do not have a partner, you have unwillingly become pregnant or have chosen to have a baby by yourself, or your relationship with your partner may be difficult or you are exposed to violence at home. Alternatively, you may have an illness or physical condition such as epilepsy, diabetes, deafness, or are confined to a wheelchair, or develop pregnancy complications, which increase your anxieties.
‘I was worried that my diabetes would get worse, that I’d have a “hypo” attack and fall over and hurt the baby, but the midwife referred me straight away to talk to the diabetic nurse-consultant about adapting my diet, who also answered lots of my other questions.’
There are professionals who can advise on these situations but it is not always easy to ask for help, or even to acknowledge to yourself that there are specific issues that are affecting you. On the other hand, significant stress could affect your baby, so think about how you can help him to develop, grow and be born safely, despite your situation. A checklist of specific things about which you may need to give some thought is included here.
What to think about if you have special difficulties in pregnancy
– Have relevant telephone numbers ready to call for immediate support and help.
– Arrange social support – family, friends, other mothers, voluntary groups.
– Think about who is going to be with you during the birth and immediately afterwards.
– Discover how you can meet other new mothers, perhaps those in a similar situation.
– Consider where you are going to live and with whom.
– Identify how you will afford/obtain things you need for yourself and the baby.
– Work out how you will physically manage to care for yourself and your baby.
– Find out about your rights to financial benefits, housing, childcare and other services.
– Determine whether the baby’s father has any right of access.
– Identify the rights and role of your baby’s grandparents.
– Make sure you try to find time for yourself.
10 things to remember
1. It is normal to experience a range of conflicting emotions when you first find out that you are pregnant.
2. Take steps to avoid starting any major project at work or home, if possible, to allow yourself the time and energy to come to terms with your pregnancy.
3. Ask for help!
4. Keep a Pregnancy Diary to record your thoughts and emotions, as well as all the physical things that are happening to your body and to remind you of the things you need to do.
5. Try organizing for you and your partner to spend just ten minutes a day discussing the pregnancy and how you feel about it.
6. Consult your doctor or local midwife early in your pregnancy so that arrangements can be made for your pregnancy care.
7. Write down any questions or concerns you may have and take your list with you to your antenatal appointments.
8. Midwives and doctors use a lot of jargon and abbreviations -ask them to explain anything you don’t understand.
9. Explore ways of keeping relaxed and preventing yourself from becoming too stressed, as this will affect your health and that of your baby.
10. If you have particular difficulties during your pregnancy, such as domestic, social, medical or work-related problems, do not be afraid to seek out the various sources of help and advice which exist.