How to Care for a Pregnant Woman

Pregnancy often leaves a woman tired and feeling overwhelmed.
Pregnancy often leaves a woman tired and feeling overwhelmed. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Pregnancy may be one of the most exciting periods of a woman's life, but it is far from the most comfortable. Raging hormones, swollen feet and a general feeling of discomfort all mean pregnancy is often a difficult time for a woman. If you are the partner or friend of someone having a baby, you probably feel compelled to help but are unsure how to do it. Showing she has your support is the first step toward caring for a pregnant woman.

Offer to take her to her prenatal appointments. She should attend a prenatal appointment every four weeks until she is 28 weeks pregnant, and then every two weeks until she reaches 36 weeks. If you have a vehicle, ask if she wants you to take her to and from the appointment.

Get her to take a nap when she is feeling tired. Carrying a baby and excess water means a lot of extra weight, and she is likely to feel tired more than usual. Having a short nap will help recharge her batteries. If she has other children, offer to look after them so she can go to bed.

Help her with the practical things. As her pregnancy progresses, she may struggle to do many of the routine jobs she used to do before. Offer to help with the housework, do the grocery shopping or help with the kids. She will appreciate the extra pair of hands, especially as she gets closer to her due date.

Give her a massage. Early research indicates massage is beneficial for both mother and her unborn baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Even a basic massage will help her relax. Swollen ankles are common in pregnancy due to excess water; massage can offer relief from this swelling. She should seek advice from her doctor before receiving any type of massage. It is also important to note, many massage therapists will not massage a pregnant woman during her first trimester, as this is a critical period in the baby's development.

Spend time with her that is not baby-related. While she will be looking forward to having her baby, she is also likely to feel neglected. Make time to talk to her about things other than the baby, or go out together and do something that does not revolve around the pregnancy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid taking over completely. Remember pregnancy is not an illness and she will still want to do many things herself. Always ask her before you do anything to avoid upsetting her or making her feel a burden.
  • Prepare yourself for mood swings. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can make a woman act out of character. If she gets angry or upset, try not to take it to heart.

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