Every pregnancy is different. Even when the same mother experiences multiple pregnancies, they are often completely different from one another. There are some pregnancy facts, however, that women can count on experiencing in every pregnancy. Every mom-to-be seems to worry about her unborn child, whether or not she is doing the right things, and whether or not her pregnancy is “normal” These pregnancy facts will help ease your mind about your pregnancy and allow you to have a worry-free (okay, so maybe at least a “worry-a-little-less”) pregnancy.
Pregnancy Facts: Fact #1, You WILL feel your baby moving, in time.
Okay, so maybe this pregnancy fact seems a little obvious, but when I was pregnant I didn’t feel my baby’s first movement until I was just past 20 weeks along in my pregnancy. I had women everywhere telling me that they felt their babies move at 12 weeks, 14 weeks, and so on. I had almost convinced myself that something was wrong with my baby and with my pregnancy. Feeling your baby move is a fact of pregnancy. It will happen, in due time! Just be patient and look forward to the wonderful pregnancy fact of baby movement later in your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Facts: Fact #2, There will be discomfort, but you can handle it.
If you manage to get through one of the most common ill-effects of pregnancy (like morning sickness for instance), don’t count on feeling wonderful your entire pregnancy. There will be discomfort, whether it be in the form of nausea, back pain, swollen ankles, heartburn, or middle-of-the-night leg cramps. The good news about this pregnancy fact is that you can handle it. With my pregnancy I experienced morning sickness for about 7 weeks, extreme back pain, and massive swelling. I was anxious before my pregnancy about being able to handle the discomforts. But I survived, millions of women have survived, and you will too.
Pregnancy Fact #3, Watching what you eat and drink does matter.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding what women are supposed to eat and drink during pregnancy. The bottom line is, what you eat and drink during pregnancy does have an effect on you, the baby, or both. While some women really are able to “eat for two” and consume extra calories during pregnancy without gaining weight, others simply are not. I gained 47 pounds with my pregnancy; something I regret and will absolutely make sure does not happen if there is a next time. Obviously for me, eating too many calories was not a good idea. Listen to your body and pay attention to what you eat and drink during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Fact #4, Staying active during pregnancy = easier recovery after pregnancy.
While particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy you may not feel like doing anything physical, it is a pregnancy fact that staying active during your pregnancy will help you to bounce back after your baby is born. Even with gaining 47 pounds, I did exercise regularly throughout my pregnancy. This physical activity helped me to recover from my c-section quickly and allowed me to lose the 47 pounds within a reasonable amount of time. If at all possible stay active during your pregnancy and your body will thank you for it.
Pregnancy Fact #5, You will receive unwanted and unwarranted advice and comments.
It is a pregnancy fact that all mothers know well; you will receive plenty of advice and comments about your pregnancy. This advice may be unwarranted and will likely be unwanted. You will get pregnancy advice, child rearing advice, breastfeeding advice, and plenty of advice about what you are doing currently (Are you really going to eat that? Should you be lifting that?, etc). Remarkably everyone somehow becomes an expert on your pregnancy and your baby the moment your announce you are pregnant. You will hear, “You better enjoy your sleep now!” at least 3593 times before your baby is born. Hundreds of women will tell you what gender your baby will be based on how you are carrying.
When you tell people your intended name choices, or your plan for breast or bottle feeding, you will get disapproving looks and words of advice either way. It is a pregnancy fact that you will have to deal with this. While it is difficult with hormones and anxiety raging, do try to let the advice and comments roll off your belly, er, your back. During my pregnancy if one more person said, “Wow, you’re really not due until July?!,” or “You will get an epidural, trust me,” I think I may have snapped. If I have any more pregnancies, however, I will try and realize this pregnancy fact and just let these comments go.
A major pregnancy fact is that pregnancy is a wonderful, scary, exciting, anxious, emotional, incredible time in your life! And that fact of pregnancy is what makes it so special.
What Happens at the Doctor’s Office
You are standing there staring at two pink lines. You may find yourself excited, nervous, and a little unsure about what happens next. The first thing you will want to do is call a doctor who you would like to provide care for you for the next nine months. Call and schedule an appointment to confirm the test results. The doctors will at that time give you a due date, a prescription for prenatal vitamins, and your next appointment date.
Your next appointment will be more like an intake appointment. You will be given a lot of papers to fill out. You will also be asked about your family’s medical history as well. This was very time consuming for me to do when I was pregnant with my daughter. I left that day with just an appointment card.
Your appointments will be for every 4 weeks to see the doctor. They will always ask for a urine sample at each appointment. They will also check your weight and blood pressure too and measure your stomach to see how much the baby is growing.
At your first appointment you will have blood drawn followed by a Pap smear and breast examination. After that, you will be able to talk with the doctor and ask any questions that you may have. You may want to write down your questions prior to your appointment so you do not forget anything you wanted to know.
Around sixteen to twenty weeks you may have a glucose test done. This will be done at this stage if you are showing signs of gestational diabetes, if you are overweight, or if there is a history of diabetes.
Eighteen to 20 weeks you should have an ultrasound. They will measure the baby to see how he or she is growing. Ultrasounds can be done at any stage along the way, but this is when you can see if the boy will be a boy or a girl. They will also do an iron check at this visit.
About week 28 your appointments change from 4 weeks to 2 weeks. When you reach 36 weeks you will go once a week. If you have any complications along the way, you may go weekly sooner and twice a week around 36 weeks.
Thirty-two weeks a glucose test will be performed. This test will be done regardless if you had the test at 16 weeks or not. They will also do another iron test.
When you reach 35-36 weeks, you should have a Group B strep test done.
I would like to also note, that you can see your doctor at any point in time during your pregnancy. The doctor is always just a phone call away, and is always more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Preparation for a Lifetime
Every pregnancy is different. It is important to begin talking about having children before actually becoming pregnant. Many things need settling before bringing a child into this world, even before bringing a child into the uterus. It includes decisions made on both the behalf of the mother and the father.
Questions about discipline, type of religion/lack of religion, disciplinary actions, daycare or stay-at-home-mom or stay-at-home-dad, will both parents want to take family leave to spend the first couple of months with the child before returning to work, and the decision to breastfed or formula feed are only but a few of the multitude of answers required to make the transition go as smoothly as possible. Splitting housework and baby care require splitting among the parents so it does not fall strictly on one parent leaving that parent feeling used and eventually resentful.
It is important for the child’s father to be at every doctor’s appointment versus slipping out leaving the entire pregnancy with the woman. This is a new century. Men no longer sit outside puffing on cigars while the wife takes over all the duties of child labor. It is important for the father to play an active role in the labor and delivery portion of the childbirth. It is even more important that the father realize that all sexual relations will stop until the mother heals from childbirth whether enduring natural vaginal birth or cesarean section. Parenting today is nothing like the parenting of a generation or two ago. Women have lives beyond child rearing. It is time for the fathers to step up to the plate.
As far as the pregnancy goes, every mother should know that nausea and the constant need to urinate are natural parts of the first trimester. It does ease off a bit in the second trimester but often returns in the latter stages of the third trimester.
Regular maternity checkups with blood tests, prenatal vitamins, folic acid tablets, and the occasional iron supplements to combat anemia are often a part of the daily routine throughout the pregnancy. It is important to decide early if Lamaze classes will be part of the child birth procedure, if so, the father needs to participate in each class in order to provide the wife with the best possible coaching to bring the child into the world.
Additionally, it is important to explain to the obstetrician the entire family history so he or she is not caught off guard should a family child defect appear. Early diagnosis and preventative care can help alleviate any problems to that affect. Conditions such as spinal bifida are repairable in vitro if caught soon enough without endangering the baby or the mother’s life. It is also important to start a healthy lifestyle long before considering becoming pregnant. A healthy lifestyle increases the chances of having a healthy baby. Until then, it is important to use birth control and a backup method of contraception such as a condom.
If possible and/or available, it will help first-time parents if they take parenting classes offered together so that both parents can adequately care for their child. If parents decide to take the route of nursing versus formula feeding, it is important to contact someone in the area such as the La Leche League in order to obtain assistance in nursing your baby. It is even more important to watch one’s diet since many foods and even medications cross over into the breast milk.
Toward the end of the third trimester, the baby will begin to settle into the birth canal. This means the baby will begin to turn head down and feel as if it is sitting on one’s bladder, once again causing the early stages of the constant need to urinate to return in full force.
First-time mothers generally have a longer delivery time but it is still important to go to the hospital or birthing center as soon as contractions are at least 5 minutes apart, more if the center is further away from one’s home. If the mother’s water breaks before that time, it is important to go to the birthing center or hospital earlier. Make sure to bring a suitcase with all the necessities. Pack this case approximately one month prior to delivery date in case of an early or premature birth.
Throughout the pregnancy remember to exercise and take special care of your body, which includes no heavy lifting and any other instructions by one’s doctor and/or midwife.
Upon arrival at home with your new bundle of joy, take time to enjoy being parents. The dishes can wait as can most anything else. Love your new baby, talk to him/her, rock the baby frequently, and get to know each other as a family. This baby will be with you for a long time to come. Babies do not remain babies for long so enjoy the time when they are small as much as possible because one day you will turn around and that infant newborn will be a teenager and then before you realize it the child will be heading off to college.
If possible, toss all your change into a jar then take it to your local bank to begin your child’s college fund. Nickel, dimes, pennies, and quarters do not seem like much but over the course of 18 to 19 years, it adds up. If your child receives money for holidays, add at least one-third to two-thirds of their birthday or holiday money into their college account fund. College is expensive today and the cost will continue to rise as each year passes.