You want the best for your baby.
Creating a healthy and happy life for you and your baby starts with taking care of you. It’s important to understand the changes that will happen in your body and how they affect your health, your baby’s health and how you feel.
What is your “emotional health”? It’s how you feel about yourself and the relationships you have with other people, and how you deal with your problems. You’ll find great tips here on how to stay positive and upbeat, and how to handle life’s pressures.
Ask others for help.
You don’t have to do this alone. Let your partner, friends and family support you by telling them what you need. Learn more about your partner’s role in pregnancy here.
You can get more info on how to connect with people around you a Download Bright Futures — A woman’s guide to emotional wellness (PDF).
Know your rights if you’re working or looking for work.
If you’re pregnant you must be treated in the same way as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. Find out more about your rights.
Ask about the maternity leave you’re entitled to when your baby is born.
Find out how much time you are legally able to take off work because of pregnancy. It will ease your mind knowing you will have time to adjust to parenthood.
Encourage your partner to be involved.
Man Up, Plan Up is a website that can help your partner understand his role in parenthood and how to help you.
Get help if someone is hurting you.
Family changes and the pressure that comes with them can lead to physical or emotional abuse. If someone is physically or mentally abusing you, get help now. The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a 24-hour domestic violence hotline. If you live in Kent or Sussex County, call 302-422-8058. If you live in New Castle County, call 302-762-6110. If you live in Northern Kent County, call 302-678-3886.
Having a healthy body will help you feel great while you’re pregnant — and it will help the baby you are carrying stay healthy. Here are some things you can do to stay healthy while you’re pregnant:
See a health care provider in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
Going to your health care provider regularly during pregnancy helps keep you and your baby healthy. If you don’t get regular checkups when you’re pregnant, it could mean your baby will weigh less than it should when it’s born or have other serious health problems. Find a health care provider near you.
If you smoke, quit now.
Quitting now is the healthiest choice you can make for you and the health of your baby. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to pregnancy complications, a baby born too soon and too small, stillbirth, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You are not alone. For help quitting today, call the Delaware Quitline: 1-866-409-1858. Get tips on quitting smoking.
The only safe amount of alcohol is no alcohol at all.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink and no safe kind of alcohol. Learn more about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Learn how to cope with stress.
It’s natural to feel stressed out during your pregnancy. Learn how you can reduce stress during your pregnancy.
Protect yourself and your baby.
Certain chemicals, molds, tobacco, lead and radon can harm you, your baby and your family. Make sure your home is healthy. Learn more about keeping your home healthy.
Eat healthy for you and your baby.
Having a healthy diet is good for you — and for your baby. After all, the food you eat is your baby’s main source of nutrition. Learn more about healthy eating and nutrition. If you need help paying for food, the WIC may be able to help. Get more information about the WIC program.
Exercise and stay active.
It’s more important than ever to keep yourself active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. It will boost your energy level and will help you prepare for labor. Get workout ideas.
Sleep well with help.
Pregnancy can disrupt your sleep patterns. Find out how to catch more Z’s.
Take care of your teeth and gums while you’re pregnant.
If you have gum disease during pregnancy, the germs in your mouth can spread to your entire body, which could cause you to deliver a premature baby. Download a brochure (PDF) about oral health and pregnancy. Find a dentist near you.
Check with your health care provider before you take any medications.
Some medications are considered safe to take during pregnancy and some are not. You should always check with your health care provider before you take anything. Find a health care provider.
Nine months goes by pretty fast. There are a few things you should do before you welcome your baby into the world. Here are some helpful tips:
Plan to go all the way — give your baby all 40 weeks to grow and develop.
Babies born earlier than 39 weeks are more likely to have health problems at birth and later on in life. Avoid planning your delivery before 39 weeks. Your baby needs those last weeks to develop. His or her brain, vital organs and senses (hearing and seeing) grow quickly during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Your baby is counting on you for the best possible care — make sure to give him or her at least 39 weeks to grow!
Plan to breastfeed your baby.
Breast milk is the best food for babies. The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons, including: joyful bonding with your baby, the perfect nutrition only you can provide, cost savings, and health benefits for you and your baby. You are special because you can make the food that is uniquely perfect for your baby. Find Delaware resources to support you in breastfeeding.
Give your baby a safe space.
While you’re arranging your baby’s space, remember that babies are safest when they sleep in their own crib and on their back. All the cute extras — blankets, teddy bears and toys — are nice for tummy time play, just not safe for the crib.
Tummy time is the time babies spend on their tummies when they are awake and supervised. It helps to strengthen baby’s neck and back to prepare for rolling over, sitting and crawling. Tummy time tips.
Prevent fetal alcohol syndrome.
To prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, avoid all alcohol if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant.
Find out how your baby is growing, week by week.
Count your baby’s kicks.
Beginning on your 24th week of pregnancy, start counting and tracking the kicks you feel your baby make every day. It’s a good way to monitor your baby’s health and may even reduce the risk of stillbirth.
Get free information on your phone through texts.
Text4baby is a free mobile information service for moms-to-be and new moms. It offers tons of great tips to help you and your baby stay healthy. It’s a simple way to help make sure your baby gets the best possible start in life.
When you sign up by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish), you’ll receive free SMS text messages every week right up to your due date and beyond.
Keep your baby safe.
Make every room safe for your baby before you come home from the hospital. Here’s a room-by-room guide to baby-proofing. The American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org gives great tips to keep children safe. To keep your baby safe while you’re on the go make sure you have the right car seat fitted properly. Three out of four car seats are not fitted properly. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety has locations where your car seat can be checked for safety. More information and locations where you can have your car set checked for safety.