Learning you are pregnant can unleash a myriad of emotions. But, once the initial joy and happiness begins to subside, you may find yourself feeling a slight sense of panic as you try to figure out exactly what to do.
Remember that the next nine months is a journey, not a sprint! So, take a deep breath, relax and consider the following suggestions to organize your thoughts and emotions.
- Choose your pre-natal care provider. Whether it be your family physician, an obstetrician, or a midwife, you want to be sure this person is someone you feel comfortable communicating with. Having someone who supports you and your expectations will result in a more satisfying birth experience.
- Prepare a birth plan – ideally with your pre-natal care provider. A birth plan can simply be a defined short summary of what you want and expect during labor and birth. Having a list of your wishes will make it easier for those assisting you to know what you want. During labor and birth, you may be too focused and/or distracted to relay your thoughts.
- Watch your health. While you know it is always a good idea to follow a healthy life style, it becomes even more important during pregnancy. Healthy food choices, adequate sleep and a regular exercise routine support more than your baby’s development. These things also provide you with the stamina and energy to meet the demands of pregnancy.
- Prepare for body changes. As your baby’s incubator, your body responds and changes as needed. You may feel an increased need for sleep and urination. You may experience heartburn and/or constipation. And changing hormones may cause breast tenderness and emotional ups and downs. Understanding why these changes occur can go a long way in helping you adapt to them.
- Learn all you can about your baby’s development. It is important to understand how quickly your baby is growing. Changes from week to week are astounding! You are not simply getting a bigger belly, you are growing a human being!
- Educate yourself on the process of normal pregnancy and birth. This not only helps you understand and appreciate the changes in your body, but also helps you detect if something is out of norm and should be brought to the attention of your pre-natal care provider.
- Make time for the fun things. Designing and preparing your baby’s nursery is not only a way to get a space ready for your baby, it is also a way to make the baby a reality for you. The same goes for preparing your baby’s clothing and care items. Likewise, discussing and selecting your baby’s name is an enjoyable way to form a connection between the baby and your partner and extended family.
As you continue through your pregnancy and approach the time for birth, be sure to focus on more than what you have to do. Focus on the intended outcome which is the most positive experience for you and your new baby!