Experience may be a good teacher but pregnancy is no time to be learning only by experience. There are a multitude of things pregnant women need to know; they need to know about how to keep themselves healthy and how to optimize the health of their unborn child. Being pregnant is a great responsibility; it may be a natural part of life but it is critical to both mother and child that extra special care is taken every step of the way for a safe, healthy pregnancy and delivery. Knowledge is the best tool a mother-to-be can employ. Here are 10 things pregnant women should know before giving birth.
1. Every Month is Critical
Often we hear that the most critical period of pregnancy is the first three months. While it is true that the first three months are important to the development of the unborn child, it cannot be stressed enough that every month is critical to the health and normal development of the fetus.
2. Pregnancy Causes Changes
A pregnant woman should learn about the changes pregnancy will bring about in her body. Pregnancy is truly a wondrous time in any woman’s life. As pregnancy progresses the most obvious change is in a woman’s weight and dimensions. It is important that she expect changes in her body as her unborn baby grows and progresses towards birth.
3. You Need Prenatal Care
Make and keep appointments with a good obstetrician. Be prepared with the date of your last menstrual cycle so that a delivery/due date can be ascertained. The doctor will prescribe pregnancy vitamins and schedule routine prenatal visits to monitor the unborn child’s progress.
4. Be Prepared for Lots of Tests
Throughout pregnancy expect to undergo many tests and procedures including complete blood counts, blood typing, Rh factor, antibody screening, repeated urine tests, Hepatitis B testing, ultrasound imaging and fetal monitoring. All of these tests are important to maintaining good health in both mother and child.
5. There Are 3 Stages of Pregnancy
There are three stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters called the first, second and third trimesters. Each stage has its own distinct changes and characteristics.
6. Nutrition is Important
Malnutrition during pregnancy can cause birth complications and abnormalities in the baby. Pregnant women must adhere to a well-balanced, nutritious diet and take vitamins as prescribed by their physician.
7. Exercise in Moderation
Moderate exercise is highly recommended for pregnant women. Walking is one of the best types of exercise since it helps to build endurance in advance of labor.
8. Expect Some Discomfort
Every stage of pregnancy has some discomfort. For instance, the first trimester is often accompanied by nausea; the last trimester often features little sleep for mom as baby becomes more active and much larger. Expect to be uncomfortable at least part of the time during pregnancy.
9. Be Aware of Potential Problems
Every pregnant woman should become familiar with the symptoms of potential problems. Symptoms such as lack of fetal movement, abdominal or pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding and swelling of the feet and hands can lead to eclampsia, miscarriage or stillbirth.
10. Know Your Birthing Options
Modern women have many options for delivering under normal conditions. Look into options such as home birth, hot tub type delivery, birthing rooms at hospitals or standard labor and delivery at a hospital.
Pregnancy is challenging but most women look back at those nine months as a wonderful time in their life. With these 10 things pregnant women should know, you can be prepared to embrace this time as you wait for your baby to arrive. What was your favorite part of being pregnant?
Top Photo Credit: buteijn