Health and Safety
Some stress is normal but too much stress can be unhealthy for you and your baby.
Here are some tips for managing stress:
- talk with a professional or someone you trust
- learn to say ‘no’ to extra responsibilities
- make time for yourself every day
- be physically active every day
- get enough sleep and eat healthy foods
- practice relaxation breathing
- plan ahead
- prepare your other children for the new baby
- plan when to leave work
- arrange for help in your home after the baby is born
- go to prenatal classes to learn about pregnancy, birth, and parenting
What are your top two de‑stressing activities?
How will you fit those two (or more) activities into your life?
If you have a sudden crisis, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or move to a new home, talk with someone you trust. This could be a friend, or someone from your personal support team. For advice about seeking professional help, talk to your health care provider, a public health nurse, or call HealthLink BC at 8‑1‑1.
- Listen to your partner’s concerns.
- You may not have solutions but you can listen and try to understand.
- Ask what you can do to help.
- Talk about your worries and concerns with someone you trust.
- Talk about how you will manage your finances.
- Join a prenatal class to learn about becoming a parent.
- Create your birth wishes together.
- Talk about maternity and paternity leaves.
- Laugh together.
Living with Abuse
Violence, trauma, sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse affect our health and can have long term impacts on physical and mental health. They also have a greater impact on women than men. For example, women are more likely than men to experience violence from people they know, including intimate partners. Some women worry about their children’s and their own safety because home is not a safe place. Violence and trauma can impact physical and mental health in the short and long term.
Intimate partner violence is a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotional violence. It uses power and control. If your partner has used physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse in the past, this may get worse if you become pregnant or after you have a baby. You are not the only one at risk if your partner abuses you. Your baby is also at risk. Do not feel ashamed. It is not your fault.
If you are in a violent or abusive relationship, there are resources that can help you. When violence happens, get help. In case of emergency, call 9‑1‑1 or the operator and ask for police.
VictimLINK is a province wide telephone help line for victims of family and sexual violence and all other crimes. VictimLINK operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides service in 130 languages. It will help you find information on the victim services closest to you.
Phone toll free: 1-800-563-0808.
For deaf and hearing impaired assistance (TTY): 604-875-0885.
A transition house may be available in your area. If you need to escape from intimate partner violence, transition houses provide safe shelter for women, with or without children. The BC Society of Transition Houses provides information on transition houses across BC. Visit the British Columbia Society of Transition Houses website for more information.
You can also talk to your health care provider about your situation. She or he will put you in touch with the right resources. For a list of resources, click here.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or even thinking about having a baby, you may be worried about using medication. Some medicines are safe for use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding; however, others may not be safe.
Safety issues can arise with all types of medication, including:
- those available only by prescription
- those available as over‑the‑counter or non‑prescription products
- natural health products
Check with your health care provider, pharmacist, or health care professional for advice on your medication. They can help make sure all your medications are safe to take. Some medications, such as those for mood or seizure disorders, should not be stopped suddenly. If you are unsure, and it is after office hours, you can call HealthLink BC at 8‑1‑1 to speak with a pharmacist between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured and others cannot.
- Some STIs can cause problems with your pregnancy or harm your baby.
You can protect yourself and your baby by using condoms, especially if you are not in a steady relationship. It is important for both your health and your baby’s health that you talk with your health care provider if you have, or think you may have, an STI. There are treatments available for you and your baby.
For tips on how you can reduce the chance of getting STIs, including HIV, click here.
To see how some STIs could affect your pregnancy, be a risk to your baby, or increase your risk of preterm labour, click here.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to an STI, talk with your health care provider or public health nurse, or call HealthLink BC at 8‑1‑1 right away.
Motherisk is a Canadian organization that provides specific support for pregnant and breastfeeding women. For information and counselling about HIV and HIV treatment, call 1‑888‑246‑5840 or visit the Motherisk website.
- Tell your health care provider about any history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Tell your health care provider if you suspect you have been exposed to an STI, and get tested.
- Talk with your partner about your sexual history.
- Use a condom for six months with a new sexual partner and be tested for STIs.
- Do not share needles or have multiple sexual partners.
- Read the series of HealthLink BC files about Sexually Transmitted Infections at HealthLink BC (use STI as your search term).