Parents expecting a baby may experience a range of positive and negative emotions. It’s important for them to have the opportunity to talk over their feelings.

Encourage parents to talk over their feelings about having a baby. Pick up on their cues and get them to expand on their answers.

  • How has your pregnancy been so far?
  • What have you been thinking about?

Feeling good

  • If mum says she’s happy to be pregnant and feels fine, ask what her days are like and what she enjoys doing.
  • How about dad? What’s on his mind?
  • Acknowledge and reinforce positive responses and coping strategies from both parents.

Feeling not so good

  • If their answers are not so positive, gently encourage them to talk more about what’s happening.
  • It’s natural to be a bit confused, troubled or wondering. Follow their lead – let them tell you how it is.
  • Ask about their hopes, fears, practical challenges and support systems. Try not to jump to conclusions or solutions – it’s important that you have a clear picture about their situation.
  • Be empathic and respectful.

Reflect back

To help parents feel they’re being listened to and heard accurately, summarise and reflect back what they’ve shared. This can also help them to hear their feelings and get some clarity on their situation.

Make use of the booklet Te Kākano. Read through pages 8 and 9 together, including the last paragraph that says, ‘No question is silly’.

Encourage them to talk

You could ask:

  • How did you both feel when you learned that you were pregnant?
  • How do you feel now?
  • Have you started antenatal care?
  • Do you have any questions to ask your midwife or doctor?

Encourage participation

Encourage parents to participate in antenatal care. If their prior experience has been negative, talk about why and offer your support.

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