Congratulations on the pregnancy! As a first time mom you are in for a life-changing journey that will be full of new experiences, interesting surprises and incredible moments. But it’s also going to be a time of stress, anxiety and fear of the unknown.
The best way to handle all of this is to relax. Ask for help, do a little bit of research and reach-out to family, friends and healthcare providers whenever possible.
Here are a few good tips for first time parents to know.
1. Attend a class
Most new moms and dads have many questions about the pregnancy process itself such as what to expect during delivery, how to know when it’s time to go to the hospital and what worrying signs to look out for. Prenatal classes are a popular way for new parents to get all of these questions answered.
Such classes provide a friendly and welcoming environment where knowledgeable instructors can address all of your questions, concerns and help you feel a little more comfortable about the whole process. Think about going to regular antenatal classes, lamaze classes or Newborn & parenting classes.
2 – Make an appointment to see your OBGYN or Family Doctor
After making the decision to become pregnant the next most important step to take is to make an appointment with your doctor.
During a pre-pregnancy appointment your doctor can give you a general health check-up, discuss any concerns about conception or pregnancy and you can undergo some blood tests if necessary. Your practitioner will likely discuss diet, weight and exercise. They might also recommend a multivitamin and make sure that you’re up to date on all your immunizations.
3. Get organized
Now is the time to start thinking about issues like where you would like to have your baby, the type of birthing method you prefer or pain relief options you would like to use. It is never too early to have this discussion with your doctor or to start thinking about your preferences.
In the long term, start thinking about more fundamental topics like childcare, daycare or nursery. The waitlist to get into some facilities can be months long so it’s worth getting ahead of the curve by looking into this sooner rather than later.
4. Special tests to think about
Apart from the standard ultrasound scans and blood tests that you’ll have while pregnant, there are also a number of other special tests that your doctor may recommend. These tests will look for potential problems like genetic abnormalities.
Genetic screening isn’t for everyone but if any disorders run in your family or you’re from an ethnic group with a high risk of genetic diseases like Ashkenazi Jewish (Tay–Sachs disease) or African American (sickle cell disease), then be sure to speak to your doctor about it.
5. Prenatal supplements
It is strongly recommended that pregnant women take vitamin supplements to make sure that they’re getting key vitamins over the course of their pregnancy especially those like Folate, Iron, Vitamin D and Calcium. It’s a good idea to ask your OBGYN about this because women with certain medical conditions require extra supplements. For example, women with diabetes need a greater amount of folate than usual or those that consistently suffer from anemia may need supplements with a higher amount of Iron. Your doctor can discuss your specific needs with you in detail.
6. The fun stuff
Although your appointment with the OBGYN is a great chance to discuss important topics don’t forget to ask some of the fun stuff:
- When can I have an ultrasound to see a picture of my new baby?
- Who can I bring to the birth with me?
- What is a 4d ultrasound?
- Is it safe to travel?
Meeting with your OBGYN can be a bit overwhelming as you’re given a lot of information in a short period of time. The trick is to write down a list of questions before you visit so that you won’t forget them.
Last but not least, enjoy your pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially as a first time parent. You’ll be learning as you go along so be sure to contact your health care providers when you’re unsure about an issue or have an questions or concerns.