Taking Care Of Your Mental Health While Expecting And Caring For A Baby

Stressful and demanding. Two words that may describe pregnancy and caring for a new baby. During stressful times try to remember that you are not alone and there are people and strategies to help you care for yourself. Having a plan may make demands and stresses less difficult. While they may seem like ordinary things, some of the suggestions below may be helpful to consider for both you as the birthing person as well as your partner.


Think about food as fuel for your body and mind. Think about how you will get this fuel every day.

Some questions to reflect on (click to expand) »
  • Am I sitting down to eat my meals?
  • Do I take time to eat?
  • If people offer help do I ask for snack and food deliveries?
  • Am I drinking enough water throughout the day?
  • Do I enjoy the foods I eat?

Some ideas to consider (click to expand) »
  • Try meal planning. Sit with someone who can help with meals. Plan meals for the next couple of days, prepare a shopping list and get somebody to help you with the food items you need.
  • Keep a glass or mug with you as you move around the house. Keep it filled with water.
  • Try snacking every couple of hours if you find it difficult to sit or can’t make the time to sit for a full meal.
  • Bring a bottle of water and snacks if you are on the go. For example, bring foods you enjoy like fruit, whole grain crackers or nuts.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.


Exercise helps lift your mood and bring down your stress. It also helps with getting a good night’s sleep.

Some questions to reflect on (click to expand) »
  • What activities do I like?
  • What activities have I enjoyed in the past?
  • How often could I do this?
  • What things prevent me being more physically active?
  • What things might help me to be more physically active?

Some ideas to consider (click to expand) »
  • If home with a new baby ask a trusted friend or family member to watch the baby so you can have some time to yourself while you exercise.
  • Take the baby with you for a walk outside.
  • Ask a friend and plan for a regular connect to exercise.
  • Consider exercising at home if possible.
  • Consider starting with 10 minutes of physical activity and then move on from there.
  • Be consistent. A 10 minute walk everyday may help with your overall wellbeing

Sleep and rest

Lack of sleep is hard for your mind and body. It affects your decision making, your mood and your physical health.

Some questions to reflect on (click to expand) »
  • How many hours of sleep do I get each night?
  • Do I take some time to rest or nap during the day?
  • Do I ask for help so I can rest or sleep?
  • Do I sleep when the baby sleeps?
  • Do I need some information or support to help my baby sleep?
  • What expectations have a put upon myself?

Some ideas to consider (click to expand) »
  • Join sleep hours together as much as possible. One block of sleep for 4- 5 hours may be more helpful than waking every 2 hours.
  • Create a bedtime routine. Bath and feed the baby, get them to sleep then get yourself ready to sleep.
  • Try going to bed at a reasonable hour each night. It helps your brain and body know when you should be awake and when you should feel drowsy.
  • Expand the workforce. Get your partner involved. There is information that links partner involvement in infant care and better sleep for birth parent and baby.
  • Ask for help with sleep and rest from friends. So you can take a nap and get some uninterrupted sleep.
  • Value your rest. Even if you’re not falling asleep, a chance to lie down and rest is helpful.
  • Give yourself permission to sleep or rest. Remember if you’re getting up a lot in the night, you need to rest during the day.
  • Reflect on the changes that being pregnant and caring for a baby make in your life. Consider changing your ideals for getting household tasks done to reflect these changes.

Time for self

Meeting your needs for self-care allows you to better care for your family. The practical supports of getting food and sleep are one thing, however we all need time to do the things that bring us relaxation and joy.

Some questions to reflect on (click to expand) »
  • What activities do I find relaxing or enjoyable?
  • When did I last do these activities?
  • How much time for myself do I have each day? Each week?
  • Do I take short breaks for downtime throughout my day?
  • How can I make more time for myself right now? For example, getting help from family, adjusting my expectations for household chores.

Some ideas to consider (click to expand) »
  • Doing hobbies, spending time on hobbies, Reading crosswords, gardening, watching a video.
  • Play with your dog, dance in your kitchen. Having fun is motivating
  • Make use of moments when your baby is happy or asleep.
  • Having alone time sitting on your front step for 5 minutes
  • Spend time on relationships; connect via e mail or text, chat over the phone with a friend, go out for a hot drink.
  • Treat yourself.
  • Enjoy nature
  • Reconsider your “to do” list. For example, consider doing some chores less often. Remove what is not essential at the time.


Practical and emotional support can help protect your mental health.

Some questions to reflect on (click to expand) »
  • Is there someone in my life that makes me feel good about myself?
  • Can I chat openly about the struggles of pregnancy and parenting with people in my life?
  • Is there someone I can share my feelings and concerns with?
  • Is there someone I can depend on?
  • Do I know where to go for information and advice when I need it?

Some ideas to consider (click to expand) »
  • Reflect on the support that you have.
  • Reach out to your partner, family or coworkers.
  • Seek out hot lines, warm lines or support groups in your area.
  • Look for community groups, parent groups or e-mental health supports.
  • Connect with your health care provider.

Remember that even the best made plans don’t always work out as hoped. What works for some people may not work for others. Choose what works best for you and your family. There is no perfect baby. There are no perfect parents and there is no perfect situation. It is important to give yourself time to adjust to the changes that pregnancy and parenting bring. Talk to someone if you are feeling depressed or anxious. You are not alone.

Services related to this information:

  • Contact your Public Health Nurse
  • Doorways: rapid ‘one session at a time’ counselling services.
  • Mental health and addictions services
  • Bridge the gapp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the gapp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the gapp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
    • 811 is free and confidential. 811 is available 24/7 and can provide support with mental health and addictions issues and more.
    • Services formerly offered by the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line are now offered by 811. Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who is also a trained crisis intervener.
Share This Page:
Last updated: 2024-05-30