Luckily, there are so many resources out there to help you – including this here little informal, authentic guide post. I really think that once you’re openly or visibly pregnant, that’s when it starts – the unsolicited advice, the unasked for stomach touching, the people who say “Just you wait” in the grocery store. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t give advice when you haven’t been asked to give advice. I’m also a firm believer that your story is unique. Your pregnancy is unique. Your baby will be unique. And, you will be a unique parent – there will never be another parent who loves/is loved just like you!
The first time I got pregnant, it was the biggest shock in the world – to ME. It didn’t matter that I was ten days “late”, I suddenly hated and hid from smells I had loved the previous day, and I had started sleeping 14 hour nights. I attributed it all to stress. A trip to Target and an 8 dollar pregnancy test revealed the truth at the end of that long week. PREGNANT – in big digital letters. I sank to the bathroom floor and I started to weep in my husband’s arms. I was SO scared. And, I wasn’t ready.
I didn’t have any pregnant friends or sisters. I was the first of my friends and my family to give birth. Also, I was moving cross-country, unemployed, far from family, and scared out of my mind. It was also November at the time I found out – not my favorite month to begin with, and this one had an ice storm that knocked the power out for four nights! Displaced, physically, and displaced, emotionally = not for the weak. If I could do it, you can do it! Here’s my unsolicited advice/guide for you.
1 – Call your healthcare provider, or consider a new one. This doesn’t mean you don’t like your doctor. It means that there are more options in this case – you can choose from ob-gyns, midwives, family doctors, doulas, and practices that have all or most of the above! You and your partner need to decide what kind of provider is right for you. This will depend on your health, your concerns, your wishes for pregnancy care, labor, and birth. I was new to my town so I took the first doctor’s name I got – from my mother-in-law. It worked out for two births! This is an important choice, and not one that can wait long.
2 – Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Vitamins? Diet? Exercise? I needed my new ob to give advice about prenatal vitamins, diet, exercise, etc. because I hadn’t a clue otherwise. Also, I’m awful at swallowing pills and needed to know my options! In case you’re wondering, they gave me a prescription for chewable prenatal vitamins and it wasn’t covered by insurance. My appointment was scheduled for ten weeks into my pregnancy, so they sent over paperwork about foods to eat, foods to avoid, exercises to do, exercises to avoid, etc. I knew the obvious ones – like no cigarettes and alcohol, but some surprised me.
3 – Prepare for your first appointment. My paperwork told me what I could expect and it still didn’t cover everything. For example, you will most likely have an ultrasound and the wand won’t go on your stomach like it does in movies. It will for later ultrasounds but the first one might be a transvaginal ultrasound. There is also a lot of testing right away. I don’t have a needle phobia so it was ok, but there were a LOT of vials of blood. You will also be asked to uncover/relay information about your medical history, as well as the history of your parents and grandparents, and your partner’s relatives too.
4 – Get internet and book resources. Get a book on pregnancy – even if you intend to throw it at the wall like I did – or subscribe to emails based on the week of your pregnancy. They will tell you what you might be experiencing, what your baby might be experiencing, and even how big the baby might be. Some of them compare your baby’s size to fruits and vegetables. I also joined BabyCenter and found my birth month groups, as well as some groups on photography, health, etc. Sometimes it can get.. dramatic in forums like that, but they’re also hotbeds of information.
5 – Go to the dentist. Seriously, don’t be like me and wait two long years. Dental health and pregnancy are actually quite related. And brush and floss as wonderfully as you always do. Right? Of course you do.
6 – Examine your emotions. For my first baby, I was in incredible fear and chaos at first, but it smoothed out. For my second pregnancy, I actually saw a therapist who specializes in prenatal therapy. MANY women experiences feelings of anxiety and depression. For some, the passing of time and a good support network help. For others, it takes more. It’s a time that should hopefully have some relaxation and enjoyment – as hard as that can be to find. You have to try, right?
7 – Talk to your doctor about vaccinations. Your doctor may recommend flu shots, as well as the TDAP vaccine. You may have had those in the past, and maybe you haven’t. It’s time to make choices you may never have had to make.
8 – Check in with your HR department. If you have one! It’s important to know what your company will grant. You will also spend a lot of time thinking about if your current job will still work for you after baby – depending on what it is.
9 – When to spill the beans? With my first, I waited the full 12-14 weeks. With my son, I waited maybe eight weeks, tops. I’ll never forget the midwife saying that the chances of a loss after the heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound are much lower, but there are no guarantees about anything in life. It’s something to think about and/or discuss with your partner.
10 – Go shopping. When it’s time, it’s time. All of the ins and outs are up to you. I waited until after that first ultrasound to buy something. Anything. Then I waited until the second ultrasound because I found out what we were having by 20 weeks. It got more comfortable as time went on. There are things you will NEED and things you will WANT, and excitement and preparation can go hand in hand. One resource I have found – not through my own children, sadly – is PeuroBaby. It wasn’t around several years ago, but in shopping for my two new(ish) nephews, I discovered a perfect website for peace of mind.
*Special note: There are no affiliate links in this post, and this post isn’t sponsored. I received no products at all for this post, although if I get pregnant again, you can bet I’ll try! I just love this company and their values! Wheeeee!
PeuroBaby curates the European market for the highest quality, multi-functional items manufactured in fair trade environments. There is no sacrificing of quality or design. They also do the legwork for researching and testing products – their healthy, non-toxic baby products are essentials for a new mom. Here are five of my favorites:
a – Safe Co-sleeping Bassinet. Many parents end up co-sleeping, as it is recommended by the AAP as a way to prevent SIDS for the first year. Also, it feels good! You don’t want to worry about safety, though, and this is the ONLY co-sleeper (and bassinet) totally free of harmful materials. It can convert to a rollaway crib or bench too.
b – Nuna Curv. My babies loved bouncers, rockers, swings, etc. I would too! Does this come in my size? This Nuna Curv is soundless, and doesn’t take up space.
c – Nuna Pipa infant carseat. A car seat is essential. The choices are overwhelming. There are pros and cons to all of them. This one? Light, cute, easily-installed, without terrible chemicals..
e – Glass Bottle With Sleeve. Whether you exclusively breastfeed, formula feed, or use both, these bottles are critical to have.