Your health and fitness
Getting enough rest will make it easier to deal with the emotional ups and downs that some pregnant women go through.
All women gain weight when they’re pregnant – it’s part and parcel of a healthy pregnancy. And although your head will tell you that getting bigger is what your body needs to do, it can be difficult to feel OK with your new shape. If you follow a healthy eating plan, it’ll help you feel more comfortable throughout the pregnancy. It might also mean you have less weight to lose after the birth.
Regular, moderate exercise will do you good too. It helps you keep strong for the birth. It lifts your mood, which could be unsteady during pregnancy. It also helps maintain your healthy pregnant weight.
Taking care of some practical arrangements will also help you relax more when baby comes home. If your pregnancy was planned, you’ve probably thought about all of this, although you might want to adapt your plans as the birth gets closer. If you weren’t expecting to get pregnant, now’s a good time to think about these issues.
You might want to think about getting your home ready.
Also, the first few weeks can sometimes be a bit easier if you’ve organised some help beforehand – for example, if your partner can take some time off or if you have a relative who can help you around the house. Some parents-to-be like to stock the freezer with meals that are easy to reheat when you need them – or you could just make sure you’ve got takeaway menus handy!
When you’re ready, it can be a good idea to talk to your boss about:
- what parental leave is available
- when you plan to start your leave
- when you plan to come back to work
- your options for returning to work, including any changes to your role.
Government parenting payments can help with the cost of raising your child – for example, Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus. If you’re eligible for both payments, you can visit the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator to help you decide which one would be best for your family.
You can apply for paid parental leave up to three months before your baby’s due date or adoption date. To be eligible for the full 18 weeks of government Parental Leave Pay, you should nominate a start date for your pay that’s within 34 weeks of the birth or adoption of your child.
The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme doesn’t provide an entitlement to leave. But you can combine Parental Leave Pay with leave provided by your employer – for example, annual leave, long service leave and other paid or unpaid parental leave.
Pregnancy is such a time of change that it can help if you and your partner make an extra effort to focus on your changing relationship. Talking openly about your feelings, doing things together and making decisions together can all help you prepare for this life-changing event.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be extremely exciting and also a little frightening. Prenatal classes can give you and your partner information that will help you understand not just your baby’s growth, but also the emotional and physical experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.