If you are expecting your first baby, you are likely filled with both excitement and fear. Your nine-month journey will be filled with unknowns: Will the baby come on time? Will it be a boy or a girl? What is the birth experience like? How on earth will I know how to be a parent?
Relax. Take a deep breath and continue reading. I have compiled some tips to get you through the journey.
Tip #1: Get comfortable with not knowing.
This may have been the most difficult struggle for me. Some questions were answered along the way (like if we were have a boy or a girl) but to me the most stressful was the due date. As it turns out, babies come when they are ready, be it weeks early or days late. Sometimes they do this on their own, and sometimes they need a little help making their exit. Focusing on what was in my control was a much better strategy.
Tip# 2: Assess your lifestyle.
Your diet. Talk to your doctor about diet and vitamins recommended for you. Try to track your food and liquid intake each day for about a week. This will provide you with some great talking points for you and your doctor.
Your exercise habits. Many women are able to continue their usual activity regimen throughout their pregnancy, however, not all types of activity are appropriate or safe for the duration. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your current activities or what you plan to do.
Your stress levels. Learning healthy stress coping techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or even yoga can help manage and lower those stress levels.
Your sleep. It’s important to practice healthy sleep habits, such as getting enough sleep, ensuring you are getting restful sleep, and creating a healthy sleep environment .
Tip #3: Make sure you are well informed
Research and decide how you envision your prenatal care and birth. You can visit this post to learn more about the options and route I chose during my pregnancy. Once you decide, make the most out of your prenatal visits. You may also wish to enroll in prenatal classes. Topics include prenatal, birth, breastfeeding, and new parent classes
Tip #4: Elicit advice carefully
I made every effort to surround myself with those who were supportive of what my husband and I felt was best for myself and our baby. I also sought out blogs, resources, and videos sharing uplifting stories to keep me on a positive note. Be sure to find those who support you among your friends, family, and beyond and keep them close.
Tip #5: Plan ahead
Talk to your Human Resources department about your maternity benefits. Find out your options for leave from work and if that will be paid, unpaid, or partially paid. You can also find out more about what is covered, such as your visits, ultrasounds, and even a breast pump.
Childcare is another thing to consider ahead of time. Whether you plan to return to work full time or just need a date-night sitter, you can begin your search ahead of time.
Create a plan for support during the birth and right after your return home. Decide what would help you most, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Also don’t be afraid to say no to things that wouldn’t be helpful or overwhelming visitors.
Choose a pediatrician. Be sure to consider the distance, insurance coverage, ill visit policies, and hours open when you are searching
Tip #6 Trust yourself
Women have been giving birth for a very long time. Trust your instincts. If you feel something is not right, contact your doctor.
Tip #7 Enjoy every minute
Over the next nine months, you will develop a bond unlike any other. Slow down and don’t let time escape you. Take photos to document this special time of your life.