Pregnancy is not a thing people are generally taught, even in sex education at school. It happens the first or even second time and most people don’t know what to do except they are told.
As an expecting couple or mother, the first pregnancy or not, you don’t have to go through it with blindfolds on. This article will guide you through the things you should do when you are expecting a baby.
Here are 18 Things To Do When You Are Expecting a Baby
1. Be Fully Committed
Not all pregnancies are planned. Some just happen. Many causes might land you on a path you were not prepared for.
The first thing to do when you are expecting a baby is to commit to the pregnancy. This involves wanting or at least accepting it, as not doing so will have a significant effect on your journey which could lead to hatred for the baby. So if you are pregnant, ask yourself this most important question.
Am I ready to commit?
If yes, then you are good to go, and if no, then you will need to do so if you are going to keep it.
So if you have just found out you are pregnant and you can’t shake off that feeling that you don’t want it or it’s just coming at a bad time for you, seek guidance or help from your loved ones or professionals before you proceed to the next step.
2. Stop Taking Toxic Substances Now!
Abstain completely from smoking cigarettes, taking alcohol, doing drugs, or any other form of toxic intake the minute you find out you are pregnant. These habits can lead to a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy. They can also harm your unborn baby’s physical and mental health and development. You can read more about the effect of drugs on pregnant women here.
3. Start Saving Money
You can never go wrong with saving while pregnant. The nurturing and birth of a baby is a capital-intensive process so much that financial challenges have been known to cause depression for expecting mothers which could in turn harm the health of both mother and baby. The earlier you start saving up for the baby, the better for your sanity.
Those hospital bills, new maternity diet and clothing, babies’ clothing, diapers, and others are needs that are simply not going to go away. Also, consider saving up to buy a ram for the baby’s naming ceremony as early as possible.
4. Sign Up Early For Antenatal Care
Booking for your antenatal appointments as early as eleven weeks into your pregnancy is one of the most important things to do when you are expecting a baby.
This is very important as it is a preventive health care measure that will help you and your baby stay healthy even if you feel you are fine.
Antenatal care involves a series of tests and scans. You will undergo blood tests to verify blood type and rule out certain diseases like H.I.V, hepatitis, and so on.
Other tests and check-ups to provide a good history and information for your pregnancy will be recommended as most doctors at birth will use a woman’s antenatal information to assess her during birth.
5. Eat Good Food and Rest Well
The first trimester of pregnancy is usually the most delicate stage where chances of a miscarriage are higher. It begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. It is the stage where most mothers feel exhausted all the time. This is because the changes happening in your body lower your normal energy levels making you feel exhausted all the time.
So you will be needing lots of sleep and rest to keep up with your body’s natural needs. Make sure you eat well-balanced meals containing lots of vitamins and folic acid. This will improve your health and reduce the chances of a birth defect. Eat less sugar and processed foods. Make sure you include fruits and leafy greens in your diet.
6. Take your Prenatal Supplements as Recommended by a Doctor
When you are pregnant, you may need to take additional supplements to avoid deficiency. Both you and the baby will be needing them.
Folic acid supplements are essential to pregnant women especially in their first trimester as it helps with preventing brain and spine defects of the baby. You can also eat foods rich in folate including beans, peas, spinach, and dark leafy green vegetables. This will help you balance the 400mcg of folic acid you need daily.
Other supplements like calcium and iron too might be needed as recommended by a doctor.
7. Check Pharmaceutical Drugs Well Before Taking Them
Know that whatever pharmaceutical drug you ingest during pregnancy affects both you and also the baby by passing through the placenta. Your baby especially in the first trimester might not be able to handle it because it is at a stage when its organs are only starting to form.
Pregnant women are mostly given drugs only when the risk of the illness is more severe than the risk of not taking the drug to the mother and baby. Minimize the intake of drugs when pregnant. Make it a habit of thoroughly checking instructions on pharmaceutical drugs before ingesting, as many of them are not advisable for pregnant women or may need special interventions.
8. Manage your Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is typical during the first trimester of pregnancy starting from nine weeks. This can be triggered by certain odors, spicy foods, or sometimes nothing at all.
Although some people don’t undergo morning sickness, the ones who experience it find it to be very challenging and discomforting. It causes mood swings and interferes with daily activities as they are nauseous most times which could lead to persistent vomiting and more fatigue for them.
There are ways you can manage your morning sickness until the end of your first trimester which is when it usually subsides.
Take care of your oral health by brushing after vomiting, snack often, chew gum to prevent saliva build up in the mouth, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, choose your foods carefully, and take ginger which is proven to alleviate morning sickness. You can find out more about morning sickness here.
9. Read and Be Informed
One of the top things to do when you are expecting a baby is to stay informed. You don’t have to sit waiting for someone to tell you what to do when you are pregnant. Research and update yourself on pregnancy trends, apps, sign up for updates, subscribe to blogs, and knock yourself out on pre-birth and post-birth ideas and information.
10. Document Your Pregnancy
It’s not only just fun to keep tabs on your pregnancy experiences, but it can assist you in your other pregnancies by serving as a birth history in subsequent deliveries. Some women follow a regular pattern in mostly all their childbirths while some may alternate in their experiences. Either way, documenting your pregnancy will help you keep track of your cravings, emotions, food preferences, and set milestones.
11. Inform Your Loved Ones
Are you pregnant? If yes, then you need all the love you can get. I hope you get the opportunity to share with your close family and friends especially after passing the first trimester, which is where the chances of miscarriage are high.
After that, inform close people that will help you celebrate and lend you all the love and support you may need, which is especially good for your mental health. This will also help you clear your fears and delete pessimistic thoughts.
12. Seek Additional Support
Are you feeling excessively depressed or apprehensive? You may need more than just the help of your doctor or loved ones.
Seek the help of a professional if you have any psychological, physical, or emotional challenges. Most women are likely to start experiencing symptoms of post-natal depression even before they give birth. You can read all about it here. Seek the help of a professional when you start experiencing these symptoms or join open group discussions with other pregnant women to share in your experiences and find solace and solutions.
13. Brace Yourself for Body Changes
That perfect waist and tummy will have to go on vacation very soon. Hormonal and lifestyle changes will cause changes in your body. Not to talk of that big baby bump in front of you.
As your skin stretches to accommodate the growth of the baby inside you, you may start seeing stretch marks, an increase in body weight, an increase in breast size, and widening of the hips and swelling in some places especially the legs. Do not worry though, it is perfectly normal and with the right diet and exercises, you can get your body back in shape after birth.
14. Engage in Exercises
You may want to be exercising during pregnancy to keep your body fit and going. Pregnant women who exercise experience less back pain, more energy, and better body image. Keep the exercises simple though especially during the first trimester so as not to overstress your body.
Exercises like walking or yoga will help you stay in shape and keep you and the baby healthy.
15. Go Shopping for Maternity Clothes
Shopping is a fun thing to do when you are expecting a baby. Take time off, go to stores, and get yourself some nice, comfortable, and loose or stretchy outfits to accommodate your body changes. Drop the tight-fitting clothes and get yourself some free gowns like the traditional boubou.
Keep looking amazing and rock that bump like a queen.
16. Buy Some Baby Stuff
No need to wait for the baby before you start buying a thing or two. Grab some baby clothes, oils, diapers, and whatever the baby may need upon arrival. Make sure to also get your delivery basket ready at least two weeks before the baby is due.
Things to include in the delivery basket might include baby clothes, baby diapers, baby wipes, baby oil, baby powder, a shawl, and a wrapper,
17. Check on Your Baby’s Health Regularly
Babies will normally start moving or kicking at 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy which will intensify around 24 weeks.
Be conscious of whether your baby is kicking or moving in your womb. Go to the doctor immediately if at any point you are not feeling your baby’s movement in your body.
Also, make sure your baby is in a good state and a good position for delivery by staying consistent in your antenatal appointments. Watch out for your EDD and look for labor signs.
18. Choose a Birth Method and Stay Positive
Pregnant women tend to panic a lot about how their delivery will turn out to be. They tend to get the feeling like their experiences might be like other women’s, not remembering that every delivery is unique.
So do not panic, there are many delivery options available and you need only choose the one that will best fit you. Make sure not to panic and be optimistic about your delivery.
These are the 18 things you can do when expecting a baby. Keep these in mind for your first or next pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, apply them and stay safe. I wish all pregnant women out there a safe delivery.