25 Oct Support Networks During Pregnancy
Mental health awareness week 2019 reminded us all that at times we all need support, and that during these times it is hugely important to recognise this and let people help. Having a new baby is one of the biggest life changes you will ever have. It is a time where all new parents will benefit from a bit of support, so let me fill you in on all those lovely people who are just itching to help you out!
Your Inner circle
This is a very privileged group of people who are lucky enough to be your best friends and family members. These guys are all rooting for you, they want to help you in any way, shape or form they can so that your transition into parenthood will be as smooth as possible. The support you will receive from this team of superstars is a combo of ‘wise words and sound advice’, ‘good wholesome dinners’, ‘listening ears’, ‘a helping hand around the house’ and the encouragement that you are doing an amazing job. Sounds good ay? So how does one avail of all this support you ask-you simply say ‘yes’ when they ask, you ask when you need help and you let them know how much they mean to you by simply telling them, its as simple as that!!
Your local GP
Did you know that as part of your antenatal combined care program you are entitled to several free check-ups for both you and baby after your baby is born? The aim of these check-ups is to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy, well and thriving in the first few precious weeks. (more info on these check-ups in our antenatal education class).
New parents will naturally have dozens of questions so my advice is to jot them down (as baby brain can sometimes play tricks with your memory) and your GP will happily answer any questions that you have at these appointments.
Your Public Health Nurse (PNH)
When you and your new baby go home, the hospital will link in with your PHN to share your wonderful news and your birth details. Your PHN will then usually link in within 48 hrs of your discharge from hospital. The role of the PHN is to guide and support you in your transition to parenthood while also ensuring that your baby is reaching all developmental milestones right up until they are approx. 3 years old. They will give you lots of information around feeding your baby, encouraging your baby’s development, keeping your baby safe etc and they are on the other end of the phone should your need any extra advice or support.
Your Maternity Hospital
The postnatal support system given to women and their new babies in the community (GP and PHN) is phenomenal, however from time to time women do feel the need to link back in with the hospital for various supports such as physiotherapy or mental health support-so please don’t hesitate to call your hospital if you have any postnatal concerns.
Mummy and Baby groups
These groups are where invaluable friendships can sometimes be made. There is a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and it is these groups that usually expose you to a group of new Mums (just like you), who are usually living locally, who have children roughly the same age as your little one making it quite likely that these same Mums will be at the school gates on day one of primary school in 5 years-time (word to the wise-time flies!!). Once maternity leave finishes, juggling a job + a baby = not much time…. So it is during these first few precious months while on maternity leave that these friendships can really be nurtured allowing for a strong and long lasting support network for years to come.