Having a baby is a life-changing experience, transforming from womanhood to motherhood for most women can be a nerve wrecking experience, especially if you are a first-time mother. Apart from the huge rush of emotions inside of your body from all the hormones, your body is going through physical changes, however, as time goes along a mother’s natural maternal instincts starts to kick in. You will need support from your spouse, family, friends and the entire community at large to raise a child. Before we reach there though, pregnancy needs to be broken down my different trimester. When you are pregnant, there is a lot of things to take into consideration as you are not only thinking about yourself but the life that you now carry inside of you.
From confirming your pregnancy to taking belly photos and learning which foods to avoid, what activities to do, I will share with you all that I have learned during my pregnancies.
Make sure you’re actually pregnant
For most women with regular menstruation cycle, who have periods every month, it is almost a given fact that when you miss your period for the month that you are pregnant. Home pregnancy tests can accurately detect pregnancy a week after your period is normally due usually two weeks after ovulation. If the test shows a negative or a faintly positive result, wait another few days or a week and try again if you still haven’t gotten your period. A visit to your doctor can also confirm whether or not you are in fact pregnant.
Take your prenatal vitamins
After confirming that you are pregnant, it is critical to start taking prenatal vitamins. It’s best to start taking folic acid as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. Folic acid greatly reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Iron and zinc are also very important.
Choose a healthcare provider
You are set if you already have a doctor or midwife, if not, talk to friends and relatives, chances are they do know someone. Still, no luck, visit your local clinics and hospitals.
Make a prenatal appointment
Most healthcare providers will require that you should be at least 8 weeks pregnant before scheduling your first visit. In the meantime use a jot down the first day of your last period so your provider can determine your due date and make a list of any questions that arise. Talk to relatives on both sides of your family about their medical histories. Your provider will want to know whether any chronic conditions or genetic abnormalities run in either of your families.
Consult your doctor about medications you’re taking
Many drugs over-the-counter or otherwise are unsafe during pregnancy. If you take any medications even to treat chronic illnesses, call your provider right away after finding out that you are pregnant to go through your medication list and find out what’s safe and what’s not. Mention everything, even vitamins, supplements, and herbs.
Practice eating healthy
Do not panic if you are unable to eat a balanced diet in your first trimester – nausea can make this difficult. Try your best just to eat something that is healthy.
Keep healthy food in your kitchen
Ensure that your pantry, fridge, and freezers contain healthy foods that are ideal for pregnancy such as nuts, fresh and dried fruit, multigrain pasta, and yogurt.
Get relief from morning sickness
Unfortunately, “morning sickness” can last all day – and it affects about three-quarters of pregnant women during the first trimester. If you have a milder case, some relatively simple measures may be enough to help. Try eating small, frequent meals and snacks and sticking to bland, room-temperature foods. Ginger and acupressure bands work for some women. If these things don’t help, talk with your provider about taking vitamin B6 or an anti-nausea medication – these are considered safe and effective during pregnancy.
Go to bed early
In early pregnancy, you may be more exhausted than you ever imagined you could be. Get more rest by sleeping early is important for the baby for the baby’s development.
Consider your options for prenatal testing and screening
Your provider will offer you various pregnancy screening tests that can give you information about your baby’s health. Ultrasounds can be done to determine abnormalities in pregnancy.
Learn the danger signs of pregnancy
With the new surge of aches, pains, and strange feelings arising during pregnancy, it may be difficult to determine what’s normal and what’s not. This is utterly confusing as some symptoms may be more or less problematic depending on your particular situation or health history and on how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Get help and support from the people around you
During pregnancy, you will need the help of your spouse, family members or co-workers especially if you’re having morning sickness or pregnancy complications. If your job is strenuous or potentially dangerous you will need to tell your supervisor that you are pregnant. You will also need help to do simple chores around the house that you wouldn’t normally need help with such as moving a bed.
Track your baby’s development
Sign up for baby newsletters and to get week by week insight on exactly what’s going on with both your pregnancy and your baby. Make sure also not to skip your scheduled doctor visits.
Join a Birth Club or attend Lamaze Classes
Only other expecting mother or previous mother are best able to understand what you are going through in your pregnancy. Connect with mother and pregnant women, especially those due the same month as you are, through a birth club. Attending Lamaze classes will also help you to prepare for childbirth.
Start taking belly photos
Embracing your baby bum is a new fad, especially among celebrities, you can start by taking a picture of you every week, you can ask someone or take your own picture using your reflection in a mirror. It’s a great way to see your progress, and you’ll love having them to put in your baby album.
Tips for a great shot: Wear the same outfit, stand in the same spot, and strike the same pose for each photo that will show your actual progress. This will also be excellent for the album, by writing each week below the pictures.
Start a bonding with your baby
Set aside two five- to ten-minute periods a day to think about your baby. Just after waking up and before going to sleep works well for many expectant moms. During these times, sit quietly and gently rest your hands on your belly. Focus on your breathing and then start thinking about your baby (your hopes and dreams, your intentions as a parent, and so on). It’s a great way to initiate the bonding process and to help you plan for the kind of parent you want to be. Other practices such as reading stories and singing to the baby can be done to increase bonding. Do not be afraid to involve your spouse -why not involve your entire family and close friends, this way the baby will bond with his entire outer environment and will know them even before it is outside of the womb.
Buy new bras, underwear and maternity clothes
If your breasts are sore, get a good supportive cotton bra. Maternity bras can offer extra support. Your breasts might go up one or two more sizes, especially if this is your first pregnancy. As your abdomen expands, maternity briefs, bikinis, and even thongs can make a huge difference in your comfort than you may realize. You will also need to buy new roomy clothes to fit that growing tummy of yours. Out with the old, in with the new – at least for now. Some of your favourite clothes may not fit anymore.
Have sex if you feel up to it
You may feel too tired, moody, or nauseated to make love. But if you’re feeling amorous (and you don’t have any complications that may make sex dangerous), go ahead – you won’t hurt the baby. The amniotic sac and the strong muscles of the uterus protect your baby, and the thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection.
Here are some positions that may make sex more comfortable during pregnacy
Talk to your partner about parenting
To get the conversation going, try creative exercises.
Like this one: Both parents should make two lists, one titled “My mom always…” and one titled “My mom never…” and “My dad always…” and “My dad never…” When you’re finish, talk about what you wrote down together and decide which behaviors are promoting and which ones could be different to foster the development of the child.
Make a baby budget
There will be a lot of new expenses to consider when having a baby. These include but are not limited, hospital fees (doctor visits and delivery), the to the cost of food – if you breastfeed this cost will be probably cut in half, clothing, diapers – cloth diapers will reduce the cost as these are reusable, toys and other miscellaneous such as cribs and walkers. You will need to make sacrifices accommodate your new baby’s needs. Consider making some budget adjustments and start savings for your baby.
Get ready to see or hear your baby
At a prenatal visit around 9 to 12 weeks, you may get to hear your baby’s rapid heartbeat with the help of a Doppler fetal monitor.
Some women have an ultrasound , early ultrasound are done before 14 weeks, most are performed around 16-20 weeks, here the baby is see for the first time.
Start a baby name list
You will have plenty of time to decide on what to name the baby – most women are usually exited to write down down as soon as they find out the are pregnant.
Having a baby is a wonderful process, instead of being worried, women should embrace this opportunity and god-given task of bringing a new human-being into the world irrespective of all the circumstances.
Other things that you are encouraged to do during pregnancy are:
-smile, this help to promote happy feelings.
-Do fun activities as they will help you to stay positive.
-exercise, this also help to boost moods and gives extra energy. It also helps with nausea, improves sleeping and reduces aches and pain.
If you smoke, quit!
Smoking whilst pregnant increases your risk of numerous problems, such as miscarriage, placental problems, and preterm birth. It also slows fetal growth and increases the risk of stillbirth and infant death. Some research has even linked smoking to a greater risk of having a baby with a cleft lip or palate.
It’s never too late to quit or cut back. Every cigarette or spliff you don’t light gives your baby a better chance of being healthy.
Stop drinking alcohol
As little as one drink, a day can raise the odds of low birth weight as well as your child’s risk of developing problems with learning, speech, attention span, language, and hyperactivity.
Cut down on caffeine
Studies have linked high caffeine consumption to miscarriage and other pregnancy problems. That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises expectant moms to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day ( one 11-ounce cup of coffee).
Make sure your activities are pregnancy-safe
Some activities, jobs, and hobbies can be hazardous to you and your developing baby. There are chores and/or practices you should avoid now, and everyday things in your home – such as skin and hair care products, makeup, cleaning products, pesticides, solvents, and lead in drinking water from old pipes.
If you’re routinely exposed to chemicals, heavy metals (like lead or mercury), certain biologic agents, or radiation – as can happen in some research and medical jobs – you’ll need to make changes as soon as possible.
Talk to your doctor or midwife about what your daily routine involves, so you can come up with ways to avoid or eliminate hazards in your home and workplace.
Start avoiding hazardous foods
During pregnancy, it’s especially important to avoid foods that could contain bacteria, parasites, or toxins – including undercooked meat, unpasteurized soft cheeses, anything that contains raw eggs, sushi made with raw fish, raw oysters and other shellfish, fish that’s high in mercury, and raw sprouts. Use caution with deli-style salads (especially those containing protein, like eggs, chicken, ham, and seafood), hot dogs and luncheon meats, and smoked meats and meat spreads.
Other things to avoid during pregnancy include:
-Things that make you depressed
-Activities that could cause abdominal trauma
Are you pregnant? Calculate your due date from your last menstrual period.