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Why pregnancy Awareness is so Important
Pregnancy awareness is vital when it comes to the health of both you and your unborn baby. Receiving high-quality and timely pregnancy education can help you to make the very best lifestyle choices to promote a healthy pregnancy, birthing experience and most importantly a healthy baby.
Furthermore, proper pregnancy awareness will help you to recognize the warning signs of potentially dangerous pregnancy complications and empower you to know how to seek help and support. Many conditions during pregnancy can be resolved with quick intervention by an obstetrics team, so knowing what to do if something doesn’t feel quite right is extremely important. Pregnancy awareness also helps women to understand the need to seek antenatal care from early pregnancy.
Finally, pregnancy awareness helps women to understand what their rights are when it comes to antenatal care, giving birth and post-natal support. Many women are unclear on what types of support and treatment they are entitled to during pregnancy, birth and following delivery of their baby. Understanding your rights allows you to insist on the best care and treatment possible for you and your little one.
Importance of Physical Awareness in Pregnant Women
Perhaps one of the most confusing parts of pregnancy is knowing what is best in terms of health, fitness and diet. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know what is sound medical advice and what is just an old-wives-tale. Ever noticed how when you’re pregnant, suddenly everyone is an expert? While all of this advice is often kindly meant, it’s enough to put a mom-to-be’s head in a spin, especially if this is your first pregnancy.
That’s why Pregnancy Awareness Month is such a great educational resource for expectant mothers and their partners, as it helps to sort fact from fiction when it comes to maintaining your physical wellbeing during pregnancy. So, you can be sure that the advice you’re receiving is the very best thing for both you and baby.
It’s also important to develop a sense of body awareness during your pregnancy. Knowing what is normal in a healthy pregnancy is important to spot any potential medical problems early so they can be treated promptly. It can also help to prepare you for the inevitable changes that will happen to your body and alleviate any fears, especially if this is your first baby. However, there are a wide range of sensations and symptoms that are considered ‘normal’, and what one woman experiences during pregnancy is completely unique, just like her. So, it’s important to be well-educated on what to expect when you’ve got a bun in the oven, and what signs and symptoms should have you calling a doctor.
Why Should You Participate Pregnancy Awareness Month?
Every expectant mom should know how to keep herself and her baby safe and healthy during this important time. Also, if you’re a first time mom, pregnancy can feel like a daunting and confusing prospect. It’s likely that you’re asking yourself all kind of questions right now. What should you be eating to help your baby develop and grow? Is it safe to continue your exercise routine in pregnancy? These are just some of the concerns you may be having as you embark on your journey to parenthood.
Pregnancy Awareness Month is all about empowering and educating women on optimum health, fitness and nutrition during pregnancy. So, by participating, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
First Time Pregnancy Questions to Ask Your Doctor
One of the most important steps in achieving a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby is to find a doctor that you are comfortable with to oversee your pregnancy, birth and post-natal care. Women have different preferences when it comes to obstetricians, but it’s a good idea to look at reviews and recommendations to find a practitioner who has a great track record in caring for expectant moms. Do not wait until later in the pregnancy to arrange ante-natal care- in fact, ante-natal care and advice as early as possible in your pregnancy is important for both your safety and that of your baby.
Many women feel uncomfortable asking too many questions of their doctors, but you should feel free and able to ask anything that is confusing, worrying or concerning you. After all, this is your pregnancy and your baby. Here are some questions that all pregnant women should be asking at their ante-natal appointments, along with our expert advice.
Am I at risk for genetic diseases?
Around 3% of babies born in the USA are born with some kind of genetic defect. For the vast majority of couples, genetic diseases or birth defects are of little risk. However, for some moms-to-be and their partners, there may be an identified risk factor. A maternal age of 35+, already having had a child with an inheritable genetic condition or family history are some of the factors that may put you and your baby at higher risk. In this case, you may be offered genetic counselling and possibly further tests to check that your baby is healthy and give you the information you need to make informed decisions. This is one of the reasons that seeking prompt ante-natal care when you learn you are pregnant is important, as your doctor will be able to advise you on your individual risk.
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Every woman will need to gain some weight during pregnancy, and it’s important to remember that the weight of the baby and placenta are sure to make you heavier. However, while you’re eating for two, it’s important to remember that one of you is really, really tiny, especially in early pregnancy! Women with a healthy BMI (18.5-24.9) should aim to gain around 25-35 lbs, while underweight women should aim to gain between 28-40 lbs. If you are already overweight or obese, you will need to aim to gain less than this. Your doctor will be able to give you an ideal weight gain target for your body weight, and will help you to monitor your gain to make sure it stays within healthy limits. If you are a overweight and feel pain in the back then make sure you have a best supportive mattress to avoid back pain during pregnancy.
Am I gaining weight too fast?
Many pregnant women worry that they are gaining weight too fast. On the other hand, you may be struggling to gain enough, especially if you’ve been struggling with morning sickness. If you are worried about the rate at which you are gaining weight, your doctor should be your first port of call.
How should I alter my diet (especially if I am a vegetarian or a vegan)?
What you eat, your baby eats. To give your baby the best possible start in life, it is important that they get all the nutrition they need. Also, your body will need a highly nutritious diet to help it cope with the demands of pregnancy and birth. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and proteins is important. While it is possible to have a healthy pregnancy and baby if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you should discuss your diet with your doctor to make sure you are getting everything you need.
What tests should I have and when should I schedule them?
There are various tests that you will need to have throughout your pregnancy to monitor both yours and baby’s health. You may also have the option of having other tests for conditions such as Downs Syndrome, and it is your choice whether to have these tests or not. Your doctor will advise you on which tests will be necessary in your situation.
Am I a high-risk patient?
While most pregnancies are low-risk, there may be factors that mean you have a higher-than average risk of developing complications in your pregnancy or during childbirth. Your doctor will assess your health status carefully at your first ante-natal appointment and advise you on whether you are deemed high-risk, and what can be done to ensure the safety of your pregnancy.
What is my risk for cesarean birth?
Luckily, most women are able to have a normal vaginal delivery. However, there are some situations where a cesarean section is advisable for safety reasons, for example if the baby is in the breach position. Ask your doctor to explain the likelihood of you requiring a cesarean section.
What exercises are safe?
Whilst it used to be believed that abstinence from exercise was best, it’s now known that keeping fit and active during pregnancy can lead to fewer complications and even easier births. However, there are some forms of exercise that are unsafe during pregnancy and you may need to adapt your existing fitness routine now you’re pregnant. This should be discussed with your obstetrician, including if you intend to start a new fitness regime in pregnancy.
What vaccinations should I receive during pregnancy?
There are several vaccinations that you can receive during pregnancy to keep you and baby healthy, although it is up to you whether you choose to vaccinate. You will need to discuss which vaccines you have already had with your doctor before forming a vaccination plan.
What medications may I take?
Unfortunately, many of the medications you are used to taking routinely such as cold and flu remedies and painkilling medications have been proven to be unsafe during pregnancy. Various others, while not proven unsafe, have no medical evidence to reassure pregnant women that they are completely harmless. Therefore, most moms-to-be choose to avoid these medicines as well. Always consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, and make sure any practitioner is aware of your pregnancy before prescribing any medication.
May we develop a birth plan?
You have the right to make various choices about the birth of your baby, including who is present when you give birth. Be sure to discuss your options regarding important decisions such as where to give birth, pain relief medications and other factors so you can make informed decisions.
Should I hire a doula?
Unlike midwives and obstetricians who are responsible for the medical wellbeing of you and your baby, a doula provides emotional and practical support to women during childbirth. Although they are not common, many women benefit from this type of support, especially if they are nervous or fearful about birthing or they will not have a birth partner present.
Will I be allowed to have keepsake ultrasound pictures?
Many practices will print you out pictures from your scans, and these can become important keepsakes and a reminder of the new life inside you. Some offices even have the facility to provide 3D images of your unborn baby. Check with your doctor whether these will be available and whether any extra charges will be applicable.
Newborn checklist: Everything you need before your baby arrives
When you find out you’re expecting, it can be tempting to run out and go wild in the aisles buying all the latest equipment and clothing for your new arrival. However, in reality you don’t need to buy an awful lot for a newborn. While there are loads of cute products on the market, many of these come with a hefty price tag and are not really necessary, although if you can afford them, go for it! Knowing what you really need to buy for a newborn can be hard, especially for first time parents. So, what are the new-born must-haves? Here’s our list:
Crib or Moses basket
The most important item your baby will need in terms of bedding is a safe place to sleep. Both cribs and Moses baskets are suitable for infants- just bear in mind that baby will outgrow a basket very quickly. Ensure it is in good condition, especially if you are buying second-hand.
You will also need to buy the best crib mattress which is designed especially for newborns. Make sure the mattress is the perfect size to fit snugly against the sides of the crib as babies can get caught in the gaps. If you want your crib mattress to last your baby through toddler-hood, you can buy a dual-sided design with a side for newborns and a side for toddlers.
At least 4 cotton sheets
As a rule, it’s a good idea to cover your baby’s mattress with a fitted sheet. Cotton is best as it’s cool and breathable.
At least 3 light blankets ideally made of cotton
Alternatively, you may choose to buy a few baby sleeping bags. Many parents feel these are a better option as they will stay firmly in position throughout the night.
Please note that your baby will not need any kind of pillow as a newborn.
At least 8 all-in-one bodysuits
While some of the outfits available for newborns are super-cute, they really don’t need anything other than all-in-one bodysuits for the first few months of life. These are soft and comfortable for your baby and much easier to dress them in than more fiddly outfits. If it’s summer you can opt for short sleeves and legs, while you can get longer options for colder months. Built-in feet are a good idea too- as anyone who’s ever tried to get socks to go on (and stay on) newborn feet will tell you.
When you have a newborn, it’s important to keep their head warm and out of direct sunlight. If your baby is born in Summer, then a light fabric such as jersey will work fine. Opt for warmer material in colder weather.
At least 8 pairs of socks
Socks may be necessary in colder times of the year, or if your all-in-one suits don’t have feet. Bear in mind, however, that it can be tricky getting socks onto such a small baby and they tend to lose them! Bootees can make a nice alternative, especially if it’s chilly. There’s really no need to buy baby shoes at this age, although they look cute.
2 warm garments such as cardigans
These are especially useful if the weather is cold, so if it’s the height of summer you can probably do away with these altogether. An all-in-one quilted snowsuit is another option if temperatures are likely to be very low.
Gentle laundry powder or liquid
Young babies have very delicate skin that can be easily irritated by many laundry detergents. So, it’s a good idea to buy detergent that’s unscented and hypoallergenic.