If this is the moment that you have decided to get pregnant, or you are well underway to begin showing that baby bump, then it is best that you begin preparing for your pregnancy. Pregnancy is a nine-month long event that brings about many changes to your body, and is the process of developing your baby deep inside your womb. If this is your first pregnancy, then try doing the checklist below to see if you are well and truly prepared:
Have you visited your doctor?
- Visiting your doctor is an important part of your pregnancy as he will be guiding you step by step on the months ahead, as well as gives valuable advice on what to do and not to do. Your doctor will be giving you a full check-up that includes taking your height and weight; doing essential laboratory exams such as a complete blood test and urinalysis; an ultrasonography and some other procedures. Your obstetrician will give you a booklet where important instructions are written and for you to chart the baby’s development and your progress. Additionally, he will provide you with the necessary shots to prevent complications for you and your baby and prescribe necessary multivitamin and mineral supplements. The doctor will be advising you on the danger signs to look out for in pregnancy and preventing conditions like German measles that may alter the development of your baby. If you have pre-existing diseases such as high blood sugar or heart disease, he will refer you to other specialists. Most importantly, he will counsel you on nutrition, hygiene and exercise.
- You obstetrician will see to it that your pregnancy and delivery go uneventfully. So it is very important to make an appointment with him the very first time you missed your period.
Have you stopped drinking alcohol, smoking, and taking drugs?
- Studies show that alcohol consumption especially in the first trimester of pregnancy can have deleterious effects on the development of the fetus. Certain irreversible damage can happen since alcohol consumption can impede the fetal circulation. Smoking, on the other hand, can alter the formation of certain cells in your body as well as your baby’s. In addition, taking over-the-counter medications or certain drugs can not only do harm to your baby, but to you as well. So, seek the counsel of your doctor first before popping any pills into your mouth.
Are you eating a balanced diet and exercising?
- Diet is everything in pregnancy. Aside from refraining from caffeine, too much salt and sugar, consumption of green leafy vegetables, lean meat and protein sources, and fruits aid in the healthy development of your baby. Another thing to note is taking supplemental folic acid or folate, especially in the first trimester, to prevent tube defects of the brain and spinal cord of your baby. Exercise is another key tool in pregnancy. Walking everyday especially when you’re nearing your date of delivery helps strengthen your pelvic muscles that will aid in pushing later on and promote circulation in the legs.
Have you started on your birthing plan?
- These days, there are myriads of birthing options to choose from. It may be a good idea to start on your birthing options early on the pregnancy to ensure that you get the best coverage. Also, this will address issues on the line of birthing plan to follow (whether natural or pain-free), which hospital you choose to give birth in, and the use of doulas and the like. There are other options such as attending birthing classes, which may help you prepare by connecting with other expectant mothers as well.
Do you have the support of your family and friends?
- Pregnancy may seem like a scary ordeal to go through, especially with all the changes it makes to your body, so it is key that you have the support of your family and friends. This can help tremendously as your body undergoes changes, and you can share with them the joys of the differences in your baby, such as its first kick.
On the other hand, try to chart the daily progress of your pregnancy, so that you can see the changes as the months go by. To learn more about what you can do, visit your obstetrician for full medical advice.