It’s time for congratulations, you are going to have a baby! All you have to do now is relax and enjoy the ride. As simple as this sounds, that is the best thing to do during pregnancy. Decreasing stress and adjusting to the emotional and physical changes that come with pregnancy are where your focus should be. There are a few things to do to help with all the adjustments and to stay healthy.
- Take your prenatal vitamins. These are not for the baby; they are actually for you. The fetus will take all the nutrients it needs from you and these vitamins ensure that you have an adequate amount that can sustain both of you. There are many different types, ranging from over the counter to prescription. Discuss with your OB/GYN the option that may be best for you.
- Discuss all your medications, including over the counter medications, supplements, and herbal products. that you are taking with your physician. This is to ensure you are not taking things that can harm the baby or complicate your pregnancy
- Go to your appointments. This is to ensure that all testing you need to have done is being done. That your medical conditions are being managed and to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. At some of the visits, you get to see your baby
- Exercise. This gives you energy and has overall health benefits. If you have never exercised before, you can still start. Some personal trainers work with pregnant clients and can tailor workouts. It is always recommended to discuss with your OB/GYN before starting a new exercise plan
- Eat Healthily. That means a balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables. Yes, some women have cravings and that is fine. The goal is to ensure that you are eating nutrient-rich foods; which are essential for baby’s development. Learn about foods that are safe during pregnancy- your OB/GYN will give you a list of foods to avoid at your initial visit.
- Watch your weight. This is not telling you to diet or restrict your food intake. This is telling you to be mindful and conscious of what you are eating. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy can lead to complications.
- Get your vaccines. This includes flu shots and tetanus/pertussis vaccines. The flu shot can be administered by your primary care physician’s office, pharmacy, or at your OB/GYN office. You will be given the Tetanus/Pertussis vaccine during one of your OB/GYN appointments later in the pregnancy. This is to prevent complications to both you and the baby
- Birth Plan. This plan can include who you want in the room with you, who gets to visit you at the hospital, who you want to notify first, and even down to the specifics of delivery. This is a plan to discuss with your partner and your physician. This is to avoid confusion and decrease any potential drama that can occur after delivery. For the actual labor and delivery part please use this as a guide only; things can change very quickly in pregnancy and during labor. The goal is to ensure both you and your baby are safe. Holding on to a specific plan can delay care that can harm you and/or your baby.
- Get your affairs in order. Write your will, do estate planning, ensure beneficiaries are up to date on insurance plans, if you do not have life insurance now is the time to get it. Have an honest and open discussion with your partner about your goals for protecting your family.
- Ask questions of your medical team. Bring up all your concerns to your physician. Insist upon honest and clear answers. Now is the time to advocate for yourself.
Pregnancy can be different for everyone. As a mother of two, I can say, it was a wonderful experience. Congratulations and enjoy the ride!