It’s an exciting period for you as you cope with the changes in your body and also, a little precious life growing inside you. While enjoying this period, there are a whole lot of things you need to prepare before the arrival of your baby. We got it all sort out for you~
1. Schedule a prenatal checkup with your obstetrician as soon as you know you are pregnant (for most, that’s when the at home test shows positive). Prepare a list of questions. Here’s a sample:
– When is my due date?
– I’m feeling _____. Is this normal?
– How do I differentiate between normal spotting and risky vaginal bleeding? How do I differentiate between normal early pregnancy cramps and sharp abdominal cramps that require medical attention? In short, when it comes to pregnancy aches and pains, how do I decide between what’s normal and what isn’t?
– What would be considered an emergency? And what would be the best way to reach you if I think something’s wrong?
– How much weight should I gain?
– What types of prenatal testing will be performed, and at what point will they be done? Which tests do you recommend?
– Which supplements and medications should I stop taking?
– Are there any modifications I need to make regarding sex, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle?
– What foods are off-limits?
Feel free to ask your doctor about his or her opinions on labor and delivery options, such as his or her thoughts on natural childbirth and Caesarians, labor inductions, and epidurals. Raise any issue you’re concerned about, and keep a list of questions that pop up in your mind between visits.
2. Eat prenatal vitamins and nutrient-dense foods. Many women don’t get enough folic acid and iron from diet alone. Iron can help lower your risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. Folic acid is critical because it reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida, along with cleft lip and certain heart defects.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth or a penchant for junk food, now is the time to change your diet for the better. Eating a well-balanced diet ensures that both you and your baby are getting enough nutrients. Buy organic foods whenever you can swing it, and load up on fruits and vegetables. Jot down healthy grocery lists and keep a list of healthy meal and snack ideas on the fridge. Studies show that what you eat during pregnancy impacts your child’s health many years down the road.
3. Limit caffeine. Can’t start the day without coffee? Or do you drink green tea like it’s water? As much as you might love your afternoon shot of caffeine, keep in mind that more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day increases the chance of miscarriage. Cut back or just abstain from caffeine altogether.
4. Avoid alcohol. Do you typically like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner? Do you look forward to drinking socially with friends and colleagues? You probably feel bummed about missing out on all that – for 9 months, anyway. But it’s for your sweet baby’s health. Drinking endangers your baby in a number of ways. When you consume alcohol, it travels through your bloodstream and goes past the placenta to your growing baby, who breaks down alcohol at a slower rate and therefore ends up with higher levels of blood alcohol than you.
Drinking during pregnancy may result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which causes poor growth, abnormal facial features, small heads and brains, a damaged central nervous system, and a host of other defects. FAS is a preventable condition: All you have to do is steer clear of alcohol entirely.
5. If you smoke, quit immediately. 4,000 chemicals. That’s how many harmful toxins get into your bloodstream; nicotine and cyanide are especially dangerous for your baby, who gets his or her oxygen and nutrients from – you guessed it – your bloodstream. Still not convinced of the severity of smoking during pregnancy? Just think, smoking can result in stillbirth, preterm delivery, and low birth weight, along with miscarriage and placenta issues. Get help to quit smoking if you’re unable to do it on your own.
6. Investigate health insurance. Do you have health insurance? And if you do, are you absolutely familiar with what your health insurance plan covers when it comes to prenatal visits and the delivery? Now’s the time to do some in-depth research. Contact your health provider or talk to the benefits department at your company to find out about baby-related coverage.
7. Start saving up. Raising a kid is expensive these days. All those diapers, clothes, toys, and furniture add up. Prepare a baby budget and cut down on certain spendings now to save up for baby expenses. It could be as easy as putting away a portion of your monthly paycheck or saying goodbye to your expensive shoe-shopping habit. These cutbacks will make a difference. It’s all for a good cause and the most priceless gift of all: your very own precious baby.
8. Make a baby name list. Even if you don’t know your baby’s gender yet, you can jot down some girls’ and boys’ names that you like. Ask your hubby to contribute his favourites, too. Do you want a special name? Or do you prefer something more traditional? Perhaps you’d like to name your baby after one of your family members. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it, and if you need some inspiration, Baby Name Finders can come in handy.
9. Plan how to announce the news of your pregnancy. As mentioned above, some people wait till they’re past the first trimester before they tell the public that they’re expecting. Others share their news right away. Talk to your spouse and come to a
decision together based on what you’re both comfortable with.
Once it’s time to announce, you can have fun and get creative. Many people go for an announcement on social media, like a Facebook photo of the ultrasound accompanied by a celebratory caption. You could also take a picture of you and your hubby holding up baby socks or a newborn romper. Another option is to post a snapshot of you and your hubby holding a cute sign.
When it comes to breaking the news to your close family and friends, opt for a more intimate way. Telling them in person is more personable (and you’ll get to enjoy plenty of loving hugs).
By Jenny Tai
Don’t forget things like baby blankets and wraps