Taking care of yourself during pregnancy

Taking care of yourself will help you cope during treatment and prepare you for when the baby is born.

Being pregnant means you will need more rest. You may also be having cancer treatments that make you feel very tired.

Make sure you get the help you need so you can save your energy for the things you enjoy. You could ask family or friends to help with transport to and from hospital, childcare, shopping, cooking or household chores.

It may feel hard to fit things in but if you can do some of the following it may help your well-being:

  • doing regular, light exercise, such as walking
  • eating healthily
  • getting enough sleep
  • having a bath or doing yoga, to help you to relax.

How taking care of yourself can help

Taking good care of yourself helps you cope during treatment. It will also prepare you for when the baby is born.

You will be experiencing the physical and hormonal effects of pregnancy. These can include mood changes or problems sleeping. Your midwife will give you advice and support on caring for yourself during pregnancy. They will also explain the checks you and the baby will have.

You may also have side effects of cancer treatment to cope with. Some women also have symptoms caused by the cancer. Your cancer doctor and specialist nurse will explain how these can be managed. They can prescribe medicines to help and give you advice on what you can do. We have more information on supportive treatments.


Managing tiredness

When you are pregnant, you need more rest. Having cancer treatment can also make you feel very tired. If you have other children to care for, this can use even more of your energy.

Think about the help you can get from family and friends. If you have a partner, talk about how best you can manage things. Accepting offers of help can make a big difference to how you feel. Remember that people would not offer if they did not want to help. It also means you have more time and energy to do the things you want to do. If you have children, it can mean spending more time with them.

You could ask for help with:

  • transport to and from hospital
  • looking after children
  • taking children to and from school or activities
  • shopping and preparing meals
  • household chores.

Keeping a diary about how you feel during treatment could give you an idea of the help you need. It may also help you to know when you are likely to be the most tired.

We have more information about coping with fatigue, including tips on managing tiredness and information about childcare.


Your well-being

There are things you can do that may help you feel better and reduce stress. You probably know what works well for you. These could include:

  • taking some regular, light exercise, such as walking
  • eating healthily
  • getting enough sleep
  • having a bath or doing yoga, to help you to relax.

Of course, it is hard enough to fit these things in while you are pregnant or have a newborn baby. Having cancer treatment makes it even more difficult. But if you can manage to do some of these things, it is likely to help you cope.

We have more information about what you can do to help your well-being.

Things that make you feel good

During treatment there will be times when you feel well enough to enjoy time with family and friends. Think about what makes you feel good and plan to do these things regularly. You can work this around your treatment. Planning for the baby’s arrival may be something to focus on that makes you feel good.

If you are thinking about trying any complementary therapies, always talk to your cancer doctor, nurse and midwife first to check it is safe. Some therapies, such as yoga or a gentle massage, may help you to relax. But you should avoid massaging your tummy or the area where the cancer is.