After months of taking vaginal health probiotics and tracking your fertility cycle, you and your partner have just found out you are expecting your first baby! Congratulations, this is going to be one of the most exciting roller coasters of your life! You and your partner have so many things to look forward to but there is also a lot to consider. Keep reading for a few things you need to know as you embark on this magical journey.
· Care Options
One of the first things that you will do when you become pregnant is decide on which pregnancy care options are right for you. You will need to decide if you are going to have a midwife, where you are going to receive care for the duration of your pregnancy and if you need to consult with any specialists. There is also the matter of education and support options which can help further prepare you for childbirth outside of your normal doctor’s appointments.
Marinating good nutrition is one of the most important things you’ll need to do during your pregnancy. Your baby’s development will be largely impacted by what you are putting in your body, so it is key to follow some general rules. You will need to increase your calories by around 300 a day, however, talk to your doctor for a recommendation for your specific needs. It is important to avoid overly processed foods and artificial sweeteners as well as foods with high levels of mercury (like certain types of fish). You should have no more then two cups of coffee a day and make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids each day. If you are struggling to eat due to morning sickness (or all-day sickness for some) here’s a few tricks you can use to help yourself eat enough. Try to eat before you feel hungry and try to eat what you can, when you can. Try using a nausea relief band and avoid stuffy rooms in favor of fresh air. You should also make a concerted effort to avoid foods or smells that make you feel nauseous.
Any exercise during pregnancy should be done under the guidance of your doctor. However, with that being said it is important to engage in low impact physical activity during your pregnancy. Most women can keep up their exercise routine with light modifications. If you are not someone who exercises, pregnancy is a great time to incorporate walking, biking, yoga, or another light activity into your routine. Activities to avoid completely during pregnancy are anything at a high altitude, anything that could cause you to fall, scuba diving and contact sports.
· Mental Health
Mood swings are generally considered normal during pregnancy, but it is important to recognize when things progress past the point of standard mood swings. Some women will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, make sure to talk to your doctor or counselor as soon as possible. Talk therapy can be a great way to learn how to manage stress and deal with feelings of depression during pregnancy.
Another thing that you’ll need to address around your second trimester is maternity clothing. This is about the time when you will start to realize that your pre-pregnancy clothes are no longer fitting. Having a couple staple pieces can help get you through. We recommend a good pair of maternity jeans, a couple flowy sundresses and any professional wear you may need for work. Then supplement these items with any oversized pieces you already have or ask any friends that have been pregnant if they have maternity clothes they are willing to part with.
Getting Ready for the Birth
You need to start preparing for the birth well in advance. It is helpful to learn about the process and think about what type of birth you would like to have. Most women have a hospital birth assisted by their doctor and nurses. Some women choose to have a home birth with a midwife. It is important to talk about your options with medical professionals and your partner to determine your birth plan.
If you are having a home birth, your focus should be on preparing your home for the occasion. If you have pets or other children, have a plan in place for when you go into labor. During your home birth you will be able to move around freely and are able to give birth in whichever position you feel comfortable. Water births are very popular for home births and can be done in large bathtubs or even kiddie pools.
If you are having a hospital birth, you will need to focus on packing for your stay at the hospital. Here’s some of the things you will need to pack for the hospital:
· Health Card
· Cell Phone and Charger
· Headphones or a Portable Speaker
· Nursing Bra
· Pajamas and Clothes to Wear Home
· Sanitary Pads
· Diapers and Wipes
· Clothes for Baby
· Approved Car Seat
Some other things you should purchase before your baby arrives are bottles, diapers, blankets, a sleeper option (our favorite is the SNOO bassinet) and nursing clothes and a breast pump if you are breastfeeding. You will also need to give your baby their first bath at some point so it is a good idea to have some bedtime body wash on hand.
Congratulations you have made it to the most exciting part of the entire journey, getting to meet your new baby! Before you know it you’ll start the process of bonding with your newborn through skin-to-skin time and learning how to breastfeed. If you gave birth in the hospital, use the time you have to gain as much knowledge on caring for your newborn as possible. If you have a midwife at home, she will help guide you in your breastfeeding journey. And of course, don’t forget to take as many pictures of your newborn as possible. They really do grow up in the blink of any eye! The most important thing is to stay relaxed and remember that your body will know what to do and that you’ve got this!