Every mother wonders about life after her baby arrives. Will the late night feedings be exhausting? Who will this baby look like? How will life change? In order to be as ready as you can be for this wonderful new family addition, it is important to prioritize prenatal care now and prepare for the process of childbirth. Here are a few things you can do to get this preparation process underway:
Get prenatal care. Prenatal care is important for both your health and that of your baby. Regular screenings and prenatal testing can help avoid pregnancy complications and detect problems early.
Eat well and exercise. When eating for two, a healthy diet will directly benefit both you and your child. Avoid foods that are considered unsafe during pregnancy, including:
- Raw eggs, meat, fish and shellfish, including sushi
- Deli meats, unless reheated until steaming
- Fish high in mercury including king mackerel, shark, swordfish, tilefish, or canned chunk light tuna
- Smoked seafood
- Soft cheeses
- Unpasteurized milk or juice
In addition, talk with your doctor about taking a daily prenatal supplement.
Exercise can help you avoid excessive weight gain which may contribute to a higher risk of gestational diabetes and blood pressure dangers. Exercise can also aid in the development of muscle strength and endurance called for during childbirth. Talk with your doctor about participating in safe physical activities such as walking, swimming or prenatal yoga.
Take a class. Childbirth and breastfeeding classes offer an excellent opportunity for both expectant parents to explore, learn, tour the hospital and ask questions. Topics often discussed include recognizing labor, the labor and delivery process, pain management options, relaxation and breathing techniques, healing post delivery, postpartum concerns, caring for an infant at home and more.
Write a birth plan. Read, talk with your doctor and weigh all your possibilities. Then consider writing a birth plan to document your wishes and views in regard to the birth of your baby.