PREPARING FOR THE BIRTH
You may already have a clear plan of how and where you want to give birth to your baby, or you may have no idea yet. There are a variety of places you can give birth and your options about where to have your baby will depend on your needs, risks, and where you live. You can discuss everything about labour and preparing for birth with your midwife at your antenatal appointments throughout your pregnancy. Here are some helpful things to consider.
Week by week advice and support throughout your pregnancy
- Baby Buddy app – Guiding you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months following your baby’s birth. It is designed to help you look after your baby’s mental and physical health, as well as your own, and give your baby the best start in life
- Pregnancy calendar created by ‘Tommy’s’. This calendar provides you with information about your body, your emotions and your baby, covering your entire pregnancy from 1 to 40 weeks
- Your pregnancy week by week (NHS) – This NHS guide covers all aspects of your pregnancy needs week by week as well as what happens after birth.
Other pregnancy resources
- Bounty – supports families in the transition to parenthood, from antenatal care to the toddler years. Sign up to be a Bounty parent and receive free vouchers and codes along with free bounty packs
- Best Beginnings – The creator of the Baby Buddy app, you will find a range of helpful information and resources for parents, including infant feeding, enjoying the first 12 months of your baby’s life and much more
- NHS / Start4 life campaign – Sign up for weekly emails with expert advice, videos, information and tips on pregnancy, birth and beyond
- Tommy’s resources – Providing lots of information on pregnancy, labour and birth
- Corona virus and pregnancy – Information about maternity services and care during the covid-19 pandemic.
- Pregnancy and baby guide (NHS) – Full guide for pregnant women, including information on healthy eating, wellbeing, vaccinations, vitamins and supplements.
- Start4Life – All you need to know about being healthy during pregnancy, from early pregnancy signs, to which vitamins you should take, stop smoking advice, and staying active. This website also provides lots of free tools to remain healthy and happy during your pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy
- Healthy routes – Pregnancy can be a strong incentive for women to give up or reduce smoking. Tobacco use before and during pregnancy has risks associated with it. Pregnant women and their families can access support from Healthy Routes.
Food and pregnancy
- First steps nutrition – An online downloadable guide to eating well in pregnancy with practical tips and examples of how to nourish your body and your unborn child.
- Healthy eating guide (NHS) – As your body develops ready for the arrival of your new-born, it is important to nourish and eat well.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- Alcohol in pregnancy (NHS) –NHS guidance on drinking during pregnancy. This can lead to long-term harm to your unborn child, with the more you drink, the greater the risk.
- Alcohol support in Wigan – Healthy routes offers alcohol-related advice to pregnant women.
Illegal drugs in pregnancy
- Illegal drugs in pregnancy (NHS) – Information and support on the use of illegal drugs in pregnancy and how it can cause serious harm to yourself and your unborn child.
Vitamins during pregnancy
- Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy (NHS) – It is recommended that pregnant women should take a folic acid supplement to reduce the risk of problems in the baby’s development in the early weeks of pregnancy. Taking a vitamin D supplement is also advisable.
- Collect vitamins at Start Well Family centres across Wigan.
Feelings and building a bond with your baby
- Feelings, relationships and pregnancy (NHS) – Even if you feel excited about having your baby, it’s also common to feel more vulnerable and anxious while pregnant. This NHS guide helps you deal with your feelings.
- Building a happy baby (UNICEF)– Download a guide from UNICEF about building a happy baby, this leaflet offers advice and information for parents on getting to know their baby and setting up the foundations for a close and loving relationship.
Advice for dads and partners
- MIND – Physical activity and your mental health – Information and advice on how staying physically active can improve your overall mental health and wellbeing.
- Exercising during pregnancy – Gentle exercise during pregnancy is safe and is good preparation for your body before labour, it can also help maintain a healthy weight in pregnancy.
- General advice and support on mental health (NHS) – It’s normal to sometimes struggle with mental health or stress during pregnancy. This guidance tells you what you can do to get help if you need it.
- Five ways to wellbeing (NHS) – Trying these five things could make you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life
- Postnatal depression and perinatal mental health (MIND) – Offering advice and guidance on postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health issues, including possible causes, sources of treatment and support, and advice for friends and family.
- Wigan Family Welfare – Locally delivered service to support you with any mental health issues you may be feeling during pregnancy or post pregnancy. Pregnancy for many ladies is a difficult time full of apprehension and fear especially if they have had a previous traumatic delivery. This can affect how a woman interacts with her baby as well as lowering her self-esteem and impacting relationships with those around her.
- If you’re in an unhappy place (Wigan Council) – A range of advice and guidance to help you make positive and healthy life choices.
LABOUR AND BIRTH
It is normal to feel nervous and apprehensive about labour and birth, however there is plenty of information and support available online to help answer your questions and provide reassurance.
Planning and preparation
- Packing your bag for birth (NHS) – If you are planning to give birth away from home, you should get a few things ready at least 2 weeks before your due date. This NHS guide will help you decide what to pack
- Where to give birth? (NHS) This NHS guide sets out guidance on where is best to give birth. This can be discussed with your midwife; however reading this guide will better prepare you for that conversation.
- Signs of labour –Labour can be an anxious time for most parents-to-be especially first-time parents. Learn the signs of labour and how best to prepare for them.
- Pain relief during labour – Information on the different options for pain relief during birth and how they compare to each other, which will help you plan for your birth.
- Tommy’s Pregnancy Hub – All the information you could need around pregnancy and where to look if you are unable to go to an antenatal class
- Online breastfeeding course by Dorset Health Care NHS Trust
- WWL Infant Feeding Team– Run a virtual clinic
- Global Health Media– Helpful breastfeeding videos.
BECOMING A PARENT
As a new parent, or parent to be, you are likely to have questions on everything from changing your baby’s nappy and washing your baby, to breastfeeding. Here is some guidance to get you through those first weeks.
What to Expect, When? – A guide for parents produced by the Department for Education and Action for Children. It aims to provide you with an idea of how your child is developing in line with expected progress milestones. This guide covers 0 months to 5 years and is a great way to track your child’s development. Not all babies are the same, and some will not follow this guide perfectly.
Looking after your new baby
- Tiny Happy People – Why you should talk to your bump
- Bonding with your baby (Tiny Happy People) – Videos on bonding with your baby while pregnant, and keeping yourself healthy and well during pregnancy
- Washing and bathing your new baby (NHS) – You don’t need to wash your baby every day. You can just carefully wash their face, hands, feet and bum daily if you prefer.
- Soothing a crying baby (NHS) – Help and advice on how to sooth your baby.
- Safe Sleep guide (NHS) – Information and advice to help you reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and protect your child
- Lullaby Trust– A guide to promote safe sleeping and to protect your child from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Basis Online – Infant sleep and night time care advice.
- How do I know my baby is getting enough milk? (NHS).
- Breastfeeding Together – Frequently asked questions for breastfeeding mums or those who are considering breastfeeding
- Start4Life Breastfeeding – NHS guide for breastfeeding or those who are considering breastfeeding. This guide will answer most of your questions, but it is also important to talk to your midwife if you have any concerns
- The Baby Friendly initiative – UNICEF have produced several resources to help parents overcome concerns or worries regarding infant feed, breastfeeding, and the wellbeing of the child.
Help and advice for formula feeding
OTHER SUPPORT NEEDS DURING PREGNANCY
You may need support with other areas of your life which have been impacted by you or your partner becoming pregnant. Here you can find information around finances and housing, and how to keep in touch with your local Start Well Family Centre.
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction you must tell the council about a change in your circumstances within 30 days, this includes:
- Losing or getting a job
- Having a baby
- A partner moving in or out.
Child Tax Credit is a benefit that helps with the cost of raising a child if you are on a low income. It is one of six benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.
Further advice and guidance
- Wigan Council Housing Benefits advice
- Citizens Advice
- Money Advice Service
- NHS advice on maternity and paternity leave
Are you at risk of being homeless?
Visit Wigan Council to get support if you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The council must provide emergency accommodation if you’re homeless and have children or are pregnant.
You can also contact Shelter for free, independent advice.