When parenting and pregnancy collide

Tips from other mums on coping with the physical strains of pregnancy while caring for a toddler, preschooler or school-age child. 

Congratulations, you’re pregnant again! Welcome to Pregnancy 2.0 (or maybe even 3.0?). Despite the obvious joy you may be thinking: how am I going to care for my children and cope with the hurdles of pregnancy at the same time?  We spoke to two mums to find out their top tips for when pregnancy and parenting collide.

Parenting a baby or toddler while pregnant

Teach independence
Mother-of-three Abby did her best to shape her toddler Mirabelle into an independent soul while pregnant with her second child, Elliot. “I set up a stool by the sink so she could wash her own hands, reach healthy snacks in the cupboard and climb into and do up her own car seat.” The independence you encourage in your child now will be celebrated even more once the new baby arrives.

The independence you encourage in your child now will be celebrated even more once the new baby arrives.

Shop online
When Abby fell pregnant with her third child, Henry, just getting around with two young children was taxing enough. “Try pushing a shopping trolley around 12 aisles of a monster supermarket with a preschooler and an overexcited toddler in the seat! By the middle of my second trimester, I began shopping online and asked my husband to pick things up on the weekend.”

“Pick me up Mummy”
Although it’s difficult to say no to the cries of “Pick me up, Mummy”, it’s not recommended that pregnant women carry their toddlers (or preschoolers!), especially in the third trimester. Why? The body’s joint-loosening hormone is working its magic (which enables your pelvis to expand at birth) and your growing belly causes your body’s centre of gravity to shift. If you do lift your toddler while pregnant, ask them to step up onto a couch or chair so the lift angle is not as steep. If you lift from ground level, take the weight into your legs as opposed to your back. Bend from the knees and lift while straightening your legs. And try to keep movements slow.

Curl up with a good book
Reading to your child is a fantastic way to try and keep everyone happy. Put your feet up while you read your child's favourite books to them. It’s also a lovely way to connect with your unborn baby who can experience the rhythm and sound of your voice. There’s also old-school games such as: singing songs, doing puzzles or any activity that allows you to be together and remain comfortably seated.

The kindness of strangers
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re pushing a stroller with your child and you’re about to navigate serious stair action, ask for help. Now’s the time to take advantage of the kindness of strangers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Now’s the time to take advantage of the kindness of strangers. 

children drawing

Parenting a school-age child while pregnant

Ask for help
When you’re juggling school drop offs and pickups, activities and play dates while pregnant, ask friends and family for help. Mel, mum of Aston and Barney, explains that when she was pregnant with her youngest child, Clementine, she relied on extended family, friends, school mums and the intermittent use of nannies to lighten the load. “Thankfully the boys were old enough to understand that I was growing their new sibling in my belly, which was only a temporary state, and that I couldn’t be as active or involved at that point.”

Time out during playtime

Encourage your older children to help you during the more physically demanding stages of pregnancy, and use their independent playtime to take time out. Mel says, “In those moments when the boys were playing on their own, I sat down and read a magazine with a cup of tea. I knew I was about to get busy with a newborn, so I fully appreciated the downtime when it came my way.”

Being pregnant when you already have a child (or two) can certainly be more physically demanding, but there are ways to get help, make safe choices about the way you move and give your little ones the attention they need.

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