How To Support A Pregnant Person
I was asked if I could write something about how to help a #pregnant person. I am sure that this could go in many different directions, but I am going to try and give a few good examples that seem universal and a few that are important to me.
I will preface this list with a huge *avoid assumptions* warning. Just because someone is pregnant does not mean that they need help. They very well may need assistance with some things at some point, but just because a person finds out they are pregnant does not automatically render them an invalid who needs a full-time caretaker.
#Sleep: Pregnancy, especially at the very beginning and end, can be rather exhausting for a lot of people. This is especially true if the pregnant person is going to school or working (either employment outside of the home or taking care of other children). Getting enough sleep is very important. Things you can do to ensure a pregnant person gets the sleep they need:
make sure they’re comfortable at night with blankets, pillows, reduced noise/interruptions, open/closed windows/doors, fans/heaters.
if night time sleeping has interruptions due to circumstances that can not be mitigated (like a nursing toddler), try to make napping during the day possible.
take on the task of helping get older children to bed.
take care of the evening chores so that the pregnant person can go to bed earlier.
do not wake up a sleeping pregnant person unless you have to!
#Nourishment: Pregnancy taxes the body and the body’s nutritional reserves. Making sure that fresh, healthful foods are available whenever possible is a huge help. Pregnant people’s body’s also have a higher demand for fluids. Things you can do to ensure adequate nourishment for a pregnant person:
take over some of the cooking or food prep (maybe while the pregnant person naps!).
take over some of the grocery shopping (again, so that napping can happen!).
cook in large batches and freeze individual servings.
plan, prepare, and pack a week’s worth of lunches or snacks so they are easy to grab out of the fridge in a hurry.
stock the fridge and pantry with quick, but healthful snacks packed with iron and protein.
don’t shame a pregnant person for eating “junk food” from time to time, as it is going to happen (instead, make sure you offer them a wholesome meal or snack next time they’re hungry).
keep their water bottle full and brew safe herbal teas for them to enjoy hot or cold.
#Exercise: It is safe for most pregnant people to get moderate exercise during pregnancy, but make sure the advice of their doctor or midwife is sought before beginning any kind of exercise, especially if it is something completely new to their lifestyle. Ways you can help encourage a pregnant person to get exercise:
don’t shame them for NOT doing it!
try to make sure they have time for exercise at least three times a week.
understand that chasing after and taking care of toddlers is a lot of work and exercise in its own right.
exercise together — go on walks, for swims, or do yoga together
#Prenatal Care: Every pregnant person needs to have some kind of prenatal care. Even if a pregnant person has made the informed decision to do their own care without the aide of any care provider, they need the time and support to do it. Here is how you can help make sure they get the care they need:
offer transportation to/from visits with their provider(s).
offer child care while they are visiting with their care provider(s).
some people have many different appointments, with different people, and at different locations, so it is nice is someone can help them keep it all straight — help set up reminders on phone/computer or calendar.
if the person is still looking for a provider, help them research their options and ask people you know for recommendations.
help remind them of questions or concerns they have before they go to a visit, so they remember to bring them up to their provider(s).
do not shame them for the type of provider they’ve chosen — it is none of your business!
General & Miscellaneous Things: At the beginning of pregnancy if a person is super sick/tired and at the end of pregnancy when a person is larger & often achy, it can be hard to have the energy or physical ability to complete certain daily tasks or household chores. Here are some ideas for helping out during these times:
help out with cooking, cleaning, and laundry if and whenever you can.
moving heavy objects like boxes of things or furniture can be difficult (or potentially dangerous for some pregnant people), so lend a hand.
stress can really wipe a pregnant person out, so try to give them some alone/quiet time every day to sort through their feelings and vent their frustrations if needed.
taking on more responsibility for older children can really help out in many ways.
volunteering to run errands that can free up time for naps or care provider visits is always helpful.
Strangers: What about strangers that we know or assume to be pregnant? It goes without saying that if you see someone, anyone, struggling with a heavy item, multiple kids running in various directions, carrying multiple big bags of groceries, etc., it is a nice thing to offer a helping hand, but to also kindly accept a rejection of your help. Other ideas to help strangers:
offer to return carts at stores when you are on your way into the store.
if you are within reach, open a door (for ANYONE, not just women or visibly pregnant people).
offer your seat on the bus to visibly pregnant people or people with infants/small children.
if asked for help and you are capable of helping, do so!
if you can “hold it” let visibly pregnant people cut in front of you in line for a restroom.
hold open elevator doors (for ANYONE approaching!).
Do you have some other ideas? Share them in the comments, please!
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