Any mom-to-be will tell you that pregnancy is a contradiction. For the next nine months, you’ll be making a tiny human. The process will be magical and daunting, and also beautiful and frightening. You’ll be:
But pregnancy can be especially challenging if you don’t have a partner to support you, whether it's driving you to prenatal visits or helping you get comfortable at night.
If you find yourself pregnant and alone, here are eight tips to help make the process easier.
1. Build your support system
Reach out to loved ones who you can lean on throughout your pregnancy and beyond. You may need to turn to these friends or relatives for support. Your loved ones can go with you to doctor's appointments, help you with any medical or personal issues, and act as a confidant when you need to vent and release stress.
2. Connect with other single parents
While having a core support system is crucial, you should also consider reaching out to other soon-to-be parents going through pregnancy alone. Find a local group of one-parent families. You can socialize with them and share pregnancy-related stories.
3. Consider a birthing partner
Some soon-to-be moms may want to experience birth without a partner or loved one in the room. But if you are worried about going through labor without that support, consider asking a friend or relative to act as your birthing partner, both for labor and throughout the pregnancy.
You could involve your birthing partner in your prenatal visits and other pregnancy-centered activities, like breathing classes. Review your birthing plan with them so they're aware of your wishes.
4. Develop a plan for pregnancy and parenthood
There’s no one course for pregnancy and parenthood. But if you plan ahead, you may be able to head off any challenges you could come across. Your plan could include how you will manage your pregnancy, from doctor's visits to grocery shopping. This will help you figure out any adjustments you'll have to make.
You could also develop a two-year budget — a year for the pregnancy and one for the first year of your child's life. This can help you stay on top of your finances.
5. Reach out to local nonprofits
Some moms-to-be don’t have people around them to provide the support they need. Consider reaching out to a nonprofit that deals with reproductive health or pregnancy.
Nonprofits may be able to connect you with a social worker that can direct or help you apply to services, like Women Infant Children (WIC) benefits or housing support.
6. Lay your cards out on the table
Be honest with everyone around you about your needs, wants, and issues. Talk to your boss about the accommodations you need. Tell your family when they're being supportive and when they're overbearing. Let your friends know you need extra help.
7. Know the law
It’s no secret that the United States falls behind when it comes to supporting parents and soon-to-be parents. There are a number of cases where an employer has fired a pregnant worker because she sought accommodations protected under federal law.
Research local, state, and federal employment law so that you know what is and isn't legally protected. You’ll need to be informed when you talk with your employer or need accommodations in a public space.
8. Take care of yourself
Always find time for yourself. Soon-to-be parents need to be able to relax and breathe during what will be an emotional nine months.
Find a prenatal yoga class. If walking isn’t painful, take a stroll in the park. Give yourself a pregnancy-safe manicure. Book a spa appointment. Read a book every night. Get lost in your favorite movies. Shop with abandon. Write. Watch sports with your friends. Whatever makes you happy, do it.
Being pregnant and alone doesn't mean you have to handle the next nine months by yourself. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who can help you personally, medically, and emotionally. Reach out to other single moms-to-be for support during both the happy and tough times.
Most importantly, make sure to take care of yourself.
What are child care options after I deliver?
Looking ahead to child care is an important part of planning during pregnancy. Some employers offer options for their employees and offer a discounted fee. Check with your human resources department to find out if there are any workplace benefits for you. A state or federally funded clinic will be able to offer resources to you depending on your location. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can also offer some information.Kimberly Dishman, MSN, WHNP-BC, RNC-OBAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.