It’s not “being weak” or being “wrong” somehow, to reach out for support. With so many new challenges to deal with, pregnancy and new motherhood can be overwhelming. Your fluctuating hormones can also make you feel hugely emotional and less able to cope. While the responsibility of carrying your baby is your husband and yours, it’s also important to have understanding people around you who can help you manage the challenges of pregnancy and parenting — so that you in turn can be the support that your baby needs!
1) Friends and family
Tap this group as an easy source of support as friends and relatives will be keen to help in any way they can. Use this resource if you need assistance with grocery shopping, advice on which paedi to sign up with, or even someone to mind bubba while you grab 40 winks. You can assemble a timetable that lists exactly what help you need and when — and spread out your requests so you don’t lean on one person.
2) Antenatal groups
Attending an antenatal class won’t just answer your questions about labour, being a new parent and how to care for your baby, such programmes encourage parents-to-be to forge relationships with other group participants as they often become friends and stay in touch as their children grow.
Kate Tan, 33, mum to Ophelia, 2 months, says her friends from antenatal classes have been an invaluable part of her new mum-support network. “Before we’d even finished the classes, we set up a WhatsApp group and after, we'll meet at least twice a month.
“We even messaged each other during labour to cheer each other on! And now that the babies are here, it’s great sharing our parenting experiences.”
Antenatal programmes encourage parents to forge relationships with each other as they often become friends and stay in touch as their children grow.
Most maternity hospitals in Singapore offer antenatal courses, including KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). Its three-part programme, which covers pregnancy, labour and delivery, as well as nurturing your child, starts from week 16 of your pregnancy. Call 6394-1268 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Everyone at some time during pregnancy will feel inadequate or frustrated or just plain blue: Reach out for help and talk to someone, friends, family, your doctor or a helpline. Various factors such as a complicated pregnancy or foetal abnormalities can cause antenatal depression. You could also be at risk if you are a very young mother, have marital difficulties, or face financial and job problems, the loss of a loved one, and lack social support.
If you are struggling with depression, get help from KKH’s Perinatal Depression Support Group. This support group helps women who experience prenatal or postnatal depression and anxiety. Case managers facilitate counselling sessions in English on the first Tuesday of the month. Call 6394-2205 for more information.
Four more vital types of support
4) Health/fitness support
Since staying fit when you’re preggers offers lifelong benefits to you and bubba, check out the pre-and postnatal fitness workouts at Body Temple, a women-only fitness centre. You’ll boost your strength and fitness with the help of certified trainers, who will also help you attain a healthy body weight, so it’s easier for you to spring back in shape, post-baby. At the same time, you’ll get to network with other fitness-minded women. For details, call 9100-8714 or e-mail email@example.com.
If you prefer Pilates, check out the Prenatal Pilates programme at Options Studio. A much more gentle form of exercise than regular Pilates, qualified instructors will help you strengthen your core muscles — abdominal, lower-back and pelvic-floor muscles — to ease your labour experience. Toning these muscles also ensure that you’ll have a speedy recovery after delivery. Call 6333-3137, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
5) Doula/confinement nanny
Some mums-to-be hire a doula — a woman who gives support to another woman during labour — or nanny during late pregnancy, birth and the first days with a new baby. While a doula isn’t medically trained, she can help you draw up a birth plan and negotiate with the medical staff to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
When you’re in labour, she’ll provide whatever you might need, from practical support to massage and help with breathing techniques. If you can’t, or would prefer not to rely upon your spouse or a family member during labour, a doula can be a real help.
Check out ParentLink which not only helps you find a recognised doula, you can also sign up for its Bradley Method of natural childbirth programme. There’s also FourTrimesters, which similarly helps you find a doula, and offers antenatal classes.
6) Other mums on the Net
Facebook, Twitter or Meetup is a great way to connect with other mums(to-be), make friends with like-minded people or get advice from been-there-done-that parents. One such support group is the SG50MayMummies, which brings together all the babies who were born in the month of May. Says entrepreneur Rynette Tan, 26, mum to Jace Raphael, 3 months, and Reece Jevon, 17 months, “When I was pregnant with Jace, this group provided an avenue for me to share all my pregnancy concerns with other mums — we usually keep in touch via WhatsApp. First-time mums can also get lots of support and useful advice from the more experienced mothers. Plus, there are lots of fun get-togethers and celebrations to attend!”
Then there’s the New Mothers’ Support Group. Set up 20 years ago, you’ll get access to a network of expectant mums and new mums for support and friendship. Sign up at for an annual membership fee, $35, and you’ll receive a monthly newsletter, as well as invites to special events, including talks by childcare professionals on topics like pregnancy, postnatal care, feeding and sleeping habits, to name a few.
7) Last but not least, there’s us, SmartParents.sg!