A Simple Guide to Prenatal Care - Mumberry
An easy-to-follow guide to prenatal care.
Step One: Get Healthy
Start with a high-quality prenatal vitamin - Quality matters, as most supplements on shelves contain fillers, dyes, and chemicals. The key is to find a supplement that includes folate, as it is the natural version of folic acid. If the label simply reads ‘folic acid,’ it is a man-made version, which is linked to tongue tie and other problems with babies. A higher-quality vitamin will cost a bit more, but it is worth it to ensure proper nutrients being ingested.
Overhaul your diet - There is no more important time to eat well than while pregnant. It is not an ‘eating for two’ time, but a time when you need to understand that what you eat is passed to your baby, and that good prenatal care includes eating well. Limit or eliminate processed foods, increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, and try to consume local meat. If that is too hard, then work on trying to recognize what you are eating and include more real foods.
Look at your lifestyle choices - Eliminate anything that can be harmful to you or your growing baby.
Include exercise - Continue with your normal exercise routine or begin a new one slowly, but move. A sedentary pregnancy is asking for problems. You can join a gym or a prenatal exercise class to ensure that you stay in shape, or you can follow a routine at home. Physical activity should be continued throughout pregnancy, until it is no longer comfortable, or until baby is born. Working with a prenatal exercise specialist can be an extremely valuable component of your prenatal care plan too.
Step Two: Find the Right Birth Team
There is a right birth team for you - It does not matter who your best friend chose to deliver her baby, or your mother, or your sister. What matters is that you are comfortable and confident in your team. Knowing that your doctor or midwife will fight for you is what you want. There is also no contract signed when entering a birth team, if there is then you should be able to walk away easily. If you are not feeling right about your selection, you can always change your mind. There is no guilt or hard feelings. Your best birth will happen in an environment in which you are surrounded by people you trust.
Step Three: Educate Yourself
Pregnancy, labor, birth, and parenthood are typically a ‘learn-as-you-go’ situations, but they don’t need to be. So much of what parents stress about in the moment can be confidently handled if the parents are prepared. Understanding labor terminology for complications, and what truly constitutes medical intervention can change the course of labor for a mother. Studying safe sleep environments prior to bringing baby home will lessen the bedtime worry. Take the time to learn about prolonged cord clamping, breastfeeding positions, umbilical cord care, delaying the first bath, baby led weaning, delaying solid foods, even diaper choices. All of these decisions play a role into your child’s life.
Step Four: Prepare for Labor
Sign up for a birth class - Look for one that is more than just what the hospital offers, if possible. Even if you do not plan to birth without intervention (medication), it can be eye-opening to take a natural childbirth class.
Step Five: Handle the Paperwork
There is so much paperwork that comes with having a baby. You need to notify work, handle maternity leave and maternity pay. There are insurance papers, hospital or birth center forms, not to mention all of the birth forms that follow the baby’s arrival! You won’t be done then either, most mothers are expected to record diaper changes, nursing sessions, and sleep times for the first few weeks postpartum too. You can probably find an app for that though.
Step Six: Celebrate and Shop
Every pregnancy should be celebrated - You can go all out with a party, a gender reveal, a blessing way, or a couples’ shower. You can also go out for a dessert and shop for baby items with a friend. You can hire a photographer for maternity pictures or even take a ‘babymoon.’ It does not matter how grand or small the event is, but taking the time to celebrate is important.
Step Seven: Relax
Stress has been linked to problems in pregnancy. There is nothing that can prevent you from having a hard day, but handling it with stress-relieving measures can help. Walk, enjoy a bath, nap, read a book, or find a stress-relieving hobby.
Step Eight: Take everything with grain of salt.
You are in control of your pregnancy - No one should push you into or out of anything that you want or do not want with your pregnancy or baby. What is right for another may not be right for you. What truly matters is that you are educated, confident, and happy with your decisions. In the end, a healthy mom and healthy baby is all anyone will remember.
About the Author: Elizabeth is a passionate writer at My baby’s Heartbeat Bear, a pregnancy & babyshowers gifts store, focused on educating those open to learning. She is also a pre and postnatal exercise specialist, natural childbirth educator, former teacher and current homeschooler to her 4 young children. Check out Elizabeth's week by week pregnancy tips and parenting insights at her Pregnancy Blog.
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