Do you want to know how to make new friends when you're pregnant? Here are five sure-fire tips to help you secure friendships that will last as your baby grows
Making new friends when you are pregnant is an incredibly valuable thing to do. Pregnancy is a whole world of new experiences and it can be helpful to have friends going through it at the same time. It's great to have someone at hand to chat with and compare twinges and symptoms, or just text random messages to about prams and patterned babygros. Especially at 3am when you are struck down with the dreaded pregnancy insomnia.
Once you've had the baby it is easy to feel isolated as a new mum and having friends at a similar stage can also be a lifeline in the early days of parenting. And their babies will be instant playmates for your newborn.
However, if you are the first of your group of friends to fall pregnant or don't know anyone else in real life who is, it might seem quite daunting to know where to start, especially as your existing friends will be unlikely to relate to your tales of scans and twinges.
For our first post in Friendship February, here are five ways to make new friends when you are pregnant:
NCT antenatal classes: Officially designed to help teach you about labour, breastfeeding and early parenting, NCT classes are the time-old method of making friends when you are expecting a baby. The paid courses consist of a small group of around four - eight couples at the same stage of pregnancy who live in the same area as you. The classes take place either in a local hall or the house of the course leader, usually over a few weeks or condensed into a weekend. Typically, groups stay in touch and meet up in the later stages of pregnancy and the start of parenthood, which is often the main reason couples sign up.
There's no guarantee that you'll get on with the people in your group, but give it time - even if you are completely different, the experience of new motherhood is often the biggest bonding experience of all.
NHS courses: Similar to NCT courses but organised by your local health authority, these courses will take place at your doctor's surgery or hospital and cover similar topics related to labour and newborns. As the group will include mums-to-be at the same stage of pregnancy as you and living in your local area, it should be easy to arrange to meet again. The difference is that these courses are free so available to all.
Mum-to-be messageboards: The big pregnancy and parenting sites like Emma's Diary, Mumsnet and Netmums all have message boards for mums-to-be, arranged by due date. These are a great place to chat and swap stories. Friendships are often forged on these boards, and even if you all live in different parts of the country it can be incredibly helpful to have a group of mums to chat with at all times of the day and night.
Meet mums-to-be online: As well as messageboards there are many other ways to meet mums-to-be online, from Twitter to Instagram. Reach out and strike-up a conversation. We'll be covering the best apps to meet new mum friends in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
Antenatal classes: Another great way to meet local parents-to-be are antenatal classes, which can include everything from pregnancy yoga to hypnobirthing. If you're interested in learning something new or taking part in a pregnancy-specific class, there will be the added bonus of this taking place with a group of mums you can hopefully befriend. Look in your local church hall noticeboard, newspaper or check out local listing sites like Netmums.
How did you make new friends when you were pregnant? Make sure you also catch-up on our pregnancy A-Z series with lots of tips and advice for all of pregnancy