Prenatal health can be a time of joy and tears. Hormones can leave a woman crying over nothing, or everything. Reducing stress can help her health and the baby's health.
The many changes that occur can leave some women in physical discomfort and may lead to emotional ups and downs. Extra stress can be hard to cope with during the emotional and physically exhausting months of pregnancy. It can help to be supportive in a way that isn't intrusive - ask if you can help in anyway, or offer some help that you would enjoy doing, rather than offering advice or tips that she may have heard dozens of times already.
“Drink more water." "Drink less coffee." or "Why are you having a glass of wine, don't you know how bad that could be for the baby?" "Are you sure you should be caring those heavy groceries?”
It can become overwhelming, even though advice meant with good intentions. Instead try offering to carry the groceries for her, and offer a glass of water if she seems to busy to have noticed the time passing. A moderate amount of coffee is unlikely to be harmful (one-two 8 ounce cups per day might be moderate, six cups of coffee per day or more may have risks for the expected infant) and a minimal amount of alcohol is unlikely to be harmful (one serving or less per week).
Stress for the expectant mother is a risk - be kind, offer help rather than advice!
Offering to watch the older children can be a wonderful way to help. Time to rest, or time to shower in peace and quiet or take a bath is something mothers frequently have little time for in a busy day.
Offering to pick up some groceries or other errands, or to wash dishes or run the vacuum can also be a treat for someone who may be moving slower than normal or having more trouble picking things up off the floor.
Offering to cook a meal or pick up take out or deli foods can help provide healthy nourishment and provide mom-to-be a chance for rest.
Offering to help with yard-work or other seasonal chores can help reduce stress from feeling overwhelmed by too much to do with too little energy. Moms-to-be benefit from moderate exercise but should avoid strenuous or dangerous activities, especially in the third trimester.
The most basic courtesy for mothers-to-be is offering them a seat if there is a crowded lobby or subway car. Baby on board can be a lot to carry, let mom-to-be guide in how you might be able to help.