Photo: Ricardo Esquivel via Pexels

Dogs and babies—what’s not to like about that combo? Moms-to-be have a lot to think about during pregnancy, especially the health of their baby. While eating a balanced and nutritious diet (and giving in to those cravings from time to time!), getting enough exercise, and staying away from harmful habits are key components in a healthy pregnancy, there are other ways to help ensure your baby’s well-being that you may not have considered.

One of those things? Getting a dog ASAP.

Scientific research suggests that dog ownership has many benefits for new moms and babies. If you don’t already share your home with a beloved pup, then you might want to consider adopting one before your baby arrives. Studies on the topic show both physical and emotional improvements for you and your baby that can help you live a happier, healthier life as a new mom.

Pregnancy and Pet Ownership

The birth of a child is a joyful and life-changing occasion, but it’s also physically and emotionally draining. Having a pet at your side through the ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood can reduce stress and make the experience of being a new mom feel less overwhelming. Many pregnant women are anxious and stressed out about their upcoming birth. Having a pet around can help moms-to-be manage these emotions.

Aside from the emotional benefits of having a pet throughout your pregnancy, you’ll also probably be more active in the months leading up to your delivery. Taking the dog for a walk will ensure that you’re getting some exercise, which is beneficial for both you and your baby.

The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

While it might not come as a surprise that owning a pet has a positive impact on your emotional and mental health, you might be surprised to learn that pets can also have a positive influence on babies’ physical health. Research from the University of Alberta indicates that having a dog in the house during the first few months of a child’s life makes them healthier in the long term.

The study indicated that being raised in a home with one or more dogs allows babies to develop microbes that make them more resistant to allergies and obesity as they grow. Even babies in homes that only acquired a dog during the mother’s pregnancy saw these key benefits. Since babies born via C-section miss out on several key microbes from the birth canal, a dog in the home is even more important in these cases.

Apparently, dogs aren’t just man’s best friend—they also help set us up for a healthy, happy life from day one!

Puppies Will Make You and Baby Happy

There’s nothing cuter than the love between a baby and a dog. Getting a puppy or kid-friendly adult dog during your pregnancy will allow your child to grow up with a beloved friend and provide some emotional support for you as you navigate the world of new parenthood.

The emotional benefits of pet ownership are well-documented. In the United States, emotional support animals are becoming commonplace. They help people manage mental health conditions like anxiety and depression and bring their families much-needed stress relief.

New moms often struggle with mental health challenges like postpartum depression that pets can help to manage. In relatively new research, Canadian scientists have revealed that dogs have been part of human families for thousands of years and have played a key role in our relationships, emotions, and overall happiness.

Dogs and Babies: Meant to Be

The fact that dogs can contribute to both a baby’s physical health and a mother’s mental health is telling about their role in the family structure. Children who grow up with dogs are often healthier and happier, learning from an early age to respect and love animals and building strong bonds with their furry friends.

Dogs and babies together—it’s something that’s just meant to be. It’s woven into the history of our two species and shows how important we are to one another. If you’re pregnant and you don’t have a dog in the house because you think you won’t have time when the baby arrives, then it might be time to think about changing that mindset. A dog could be just what you and your family needs during this exciting, challenging time!