Taking care of older children during pregnancy
Learn to look after yourself without neglecting your children!
- As soon as your children know about your pregnancy, tell them that you have to avoid physical effort and lifting heavy weights to protect the baby in your belly.
- Try to limit the time you spend carrying them, especially if you feel a heaviness or tightness in your lower abdomen.
- But you obviously cannot stop carrying your children altogether. You must therefore learn to protect your back when you do carry them. To lift a child from the floor, don’t lean forward – instead, squat down, keeping your back very straight, then take the child in your arms and lift up, centering your weight on one leg and taking care not to arch your back.
- When your belly becomes very prominent, place your child astride your hip, supporting him or her with your forearm.
- You may also want to carry your child on your back using a sling or child carrier. That way, their weight will counterbalance the weight of your belly.
- When reading to your child, sit with your child in a large armchair or on a bed.
- Involve your children in calm activities that are compatible with your physical state: play a board game, work on a puzzle, read a story, make a cake, watch a film, cuddle or even take a nap together. If you continue to offer your children these special activity times on a regular basis, they will more easily accept your need for rest and gentler activities.
- If you feel a sensation of heaviness in your lower abdomen after carrying your child or playing with him or her actively, you must rest. Lie down on your back or side, and explain to your child that you are tired. While you are resting, have your child do a quiet independent activity close to you.
- When you give your children a bath, sit on a low chair or stool next to the bathtub. This way, you won’t have to remain in a standing or squatting position while they play in the water.
- To dress your children or put on their shoes, get on your knees, squat down or sit on the floor, depending on which is more comfortable for you; the important thing is to avoid bending down from the waist.
- Your pregnancy is also a good opportunity to encourage your children to become more independent and help you out: depending on their age, you can ask them to dress themselves or put on their own shoes, remove their plate from the table after a meal, pick up their toys or clean their room. That will mean less work for you!
- Remind your children often that they must be careful not to kick or elbow your belly when they climb on your lap! But don’t worry too much if this happens, as your baby is well protected by the sac of amniotic fluid around it.
- Ask for help from those around you: recruit your children’s dad, grandparents, daycare center staff or the nanny for help to make sure you get the rest you need.