During the nine months when you have a bun in the oven, it is so easy for you and your partner to lose yourselves in the whirlwind of preparing for the arrival of your little bub.
Love and romance, health and money management – these factors often take a backseat, even as your body balloons and the nursery fills with adorable little trinkets for the little one.
It may sound selfish, but it is so important to take a step back, and take good care of your own well-being. After all, you want to be in tip top condition — physically, mentally and emotionally — by the time your little third-wheeler arrives.
Here are the five essential steps to prepare — and pamper — yourselves for parenthood, before it changes your lives forever.
1. Go on a babymoon
Babymoons are all the rage now, for a good reason. They are a couple’s last shot at a romantic getaway before baby armageddon.
My husband and I had ours in Scotland (we had planned the trip before finding out about the pregnancy), and spent weeks there hiking and losing ourselves in nature.
But babymoons do not have to be to far-flung, exotic locales. What matters more is that the two of you get some privacy and the chance to recharge and enjoy each other's company without the distractions of everyday life.
The best time to go is during the second trimester when your pregnancy is more stable, and mummy-to-be has bid the dreaded morning sickness and fatigue of the first three months adieu.
Opt for destinations that are closer to home. The last thing you want is to tire a pregnant woman out with long layovers at the airport or hours spent in in the cramped confines of flying coach.
If you are concerned about safety, find out where the nearest medical facilities are, in case pregnancy complications arise during the trip.
2. Pick up parenting basics
Beyond educating new parents (like me), prenatal classes are a great bonding opportunity for couples. It is also a great place to make friends with other new parents.
Learning more about pregnancy and pre and postnatal care also helps daddies-to-be feel more involved in the process and empathetic about the struggles their baby bearers are undergoing.
Plus, the guys also pick up essential skills like massage techniques — that’s something I’m not complaining about!
There are so many prenatal classes to choose from. Find out from friends which ones they would recommend, or simply attend the parent craft classes at the hospital you will be delivering at as they might offer better rates.
Along with your new doughy physique and growing list of aches and pains, it can be tempting to dissolve into a puddle of hormonal mush and spend the rest of your days lazing on the couch.
Exercise is one of the most underrated must-dos in pregnancy. As a midwife told me, it isn’t a question of whether a pregnant woman should exercise, but rather, how much exercise she should be getting for a healthy pregnancy.
Unless you are tennis goddess (and new proud mama) Serena Williams or a fitness buff, avoid the more strenuous workouts such as HIIT, hot yoga and marathons. Always consult your medical professional before embarking on any workout routine.
Tamer workout options to consider include prenatal yoga, which can help to improve sleep quality, calm you down and boost the strength, flexibility and endurance of your muscles for the impending delivery; and swimming, which strengthens your heart and makes it more efficient at pumping blood (the feeling of buoyancy in water can also be a huge relief for aching muscles).
Or simply go for a walk as a couple in the evenings after dinner when it is cooler. A half an hour walk a day — or the equivalent of 10,000 steps — can help to keep you in better shape and ease delivery when the time comes.
4. Date each other
Don't let marriage and pregnancy turn the both of you into homebodies.
Before a little person enters your life, make the most of what remaining time you have as a couple by getting out and living it up; whether it is at a musical, gourmet festival, or an evening at the museum.
Guys, date nights are a good chance to turn on your charm and shower your lady with attention, flowers and romance. Believe me, she needs all the love and admiration she can get, to take her mind off the discomfort of a growing belly and to make her feel like her pre-pregnancy self again.
5. Keep on dreaming
As the due date draws near, and baby’s kicks and movements grow stronger, it is only natural to start dreaming about how your little one looks like, and the kind of person he or she will grow up into.
Will he or she be more sports or music-inclined? Which schools will junior attend? How will we support his or her dreams and ambitions? When will we finally be able to retire and travel the world together?
It pays to spend some time together researching on how to start saving up for your child’s future.
The POSB Smiley Child Development Account (CDA), for one, is worth considering. It is a special savings account for your newborn with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Government.
It offers a 2 per cent per annum interest with no minimum required, and comes with a POSB Baby Bonus NETS card with deals at over 40 merchants and plenty of other benefits.
It even helps your little one embark on his or her saving journey with a joint POSBkids Account. Account holders earn daily interest, and there is no minimum deposit and fall-below fee until your child turns 21 years old. The coin deposit fee is waived until your child turns 16; and monthly e-statements make it easy for you and junior to track transactions and account balance together.
The POSB CDA savings account is valid until December 31 in the year your child turns 12 years-old. Should there be balances after the term ends, the unused savings will be transferred to your child’s or her Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) in the following year. These funds can then be used to pay for post-secondary education fees in Singapore for your child and his or her siblings.
Deposit Insurance Scheme
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors and monies and deposits denominated in Singapore dollars under the Supplementary Retirement Scheme are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$50,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.