Being pregnant and about to become a parent can be as challenging as it can be wonderful, and can result in a range of emotions from shock and excitement, through to fear and anxiety.
During this time, it is therefore important for you and your family to know how and where to access education, information and support in the community to help you manage any questions or issues you are facing.
Your doctor or midwife should be your primary source of information, but there are a host of other support mechanisms, associations and classes around that can help you on your journey to parenthood.
It is extremely important to pay attention to your mental health and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and early parenthood. Expectant mothers and new parents are often more vulnerable to stress and managing this stress is far easier when you feel happy in your relationships and are generally content.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or frightened, talk to someone. Opening up about your feelings will help to lift the burden and if you feel as though it is becoming too much to handle on your own, organisations such as Beyond Blue are there to offer support.
There are also a host of free help lines that have been set up to enable parents, throughout any stage of pregnancy or parenthood, to speak with trained counsellors, registered nurses or other trained professionals.
13 HEALTH—phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to speak to a registered nurse. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local call.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline—phone 1800 822 436 to speak with a trained counsellor. The service is free (charges may apply from your mobile).
Women’s Health Queensland Wide—phone (07) 3216 0376 (Brisbane residents) or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside of Brisbane) to talk to a nurse or midwife.
Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) —contact PANDA on 1300 726 306 if you or your partner are feeling depressed or anxious during your pregnancy. This confidential service is available from Monday to Friday, 9am–7pm.
MensLine Australia—phone 1300 789 978 if you’re male and have family and relationship concerns. The helpline is available 24 hours a day.
Lifeline—phone 13 11 14 (24 hours a day) if you are experiencing a personal crisis.
Pregnancy Helpline—phone 1800 090 777 (freecall) if you have an unplanned pregnancy and want to discuss your options with a qualified counsellor.
Once your baby has arrived you will no doubt have plenty of burning questions and will be craving a helping hand with things like breastfeeding.
Of course, you can seek support through your doctor and midwife, otherwise the Australian Breastfeeding Association is a great ‘mother-to-mother’ support initiative with more than 250 groups operating throughout Australia. You can chat to mothers who have ‘been there’ and get tried and tested hints and tips, as well as the opportunity to speak to a trained, volunteer breastfeeding counsellor if needed. Find out more about ABA support groups at www.breastfeeding.asn.au.
For answers to other questions, clarification of confusing pregnancy terms and additional information on issues that may arise during pregnancy, the Queensland Government has collated a range of resources relating to pregnancy and family planning on their website: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/children/pregnancy/