4 Things To-Do Before Your First Trimester Ends
So you've seen those two little pink lines (or whatever color they are) on the pregnancy test!!! Yay! Besides figuring out how to adult while you are sick and tired every day, there are a few other things you'll want to think about before your first trimester is over (if you can muster the strength...). If you can, try and nail these four things down:
1. Decide on your birthing method.Some options are doing a traditional birth in a hospital with an OBGYN, using a midwife in a hospital, doing an unmedicated birth, doing a water-birth, using a midwife in a birthing center, doing a home birth with a midwife or doula, or a planned C-section. There are a lot of options. Things that play in to this decision will be your overall health, prior birth experiences, and your goals. This will determine what kind of practitioner you will see. Any way you choose, receiving prenatal care is imperative to having a healthy pregnancy. It's not just for you but for your unborn baby. Stanford University says this about the importance of prenatal care:
Prenatal care is extremely important because it reduces the risk of pregnancy-related complications such as anemia, preterm birth, preeclampsia, complications of diabetes, or poor growth of the baby in utero. Babies born to mothers who received no prenatal care are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight.
When receiving prenatal care, pregnant mothers can get advice and information on nutrition and exercise for a healthy pregnancy, control pre-existing conditions or pregnancy-related conditions that can complicate pregnancy, and make sure that the baby is growing and developing appropriately. Pregnant women/couples should feel that they can ask their healthcare provider any questions during these visits. Parents-to-be, especially first-timers, should know that no question or concern is stupid or unreasonable.
Do some research and ask around. Friends in your area are a great resource for information about which practitioners are good. There are also a lot of message boards and resources on Facebook for people trying to figure out the same thing. Do a search in your area for a Facebook group that you can join which will help you answer questions that you have and point you in the right direction.
I might just add, if you are planning on doing an unmedicated birth, now is the time to decide which method you will use (like hypno-birthing or using the Bradley Method) and start to practice! Practice is the key to success on this front.
2. Choose the facility.
This goes directly hand in hand with choosing a practitioner. Some people choose the facility first for insurance purposes, or because it suits their needs, and then find a practitioner who works with that facility. Other people choose the practitioner and then go where that person has privileges.
One thing you will want to keep in mind is that most people's insurance will determine the facilities that will be covered. If you are planning for a non-traditional birth, be prepared for possibly paying out of pocket and calling your insurance to see what facilities or services might be covered.
Another thing you want to keep in mind is that if you are planning for a natural birth in a birthing center, make sure that if you do need hospital services in an emergency, that you know which hospitals your insurance will cover.
3. If you work, find out what your maternity policy is.
You will want to have this information and be comfortable with it so that you can plan for when you can take off of work and for how long. Planning this kind of thing well in advance will have it's advantages so that you can make up hours if needed, train someone to take your spot while you are on leave, and give your boss a good heads up.
Also, you will want to find out what your husband's paternity policy is. A lot of employers do offer some sort of paternity leave. It is great when that is the case! If not, you will want to figure out vacation days that your partner can take while you are in labor, after the baby is born, and while you get settled at home with your new bundle.
Planning family visits and for other help will also be great if you can plan it around your husband's schedule to get maximum benefit from those wanting to come help.
4. Start a walking routine.
Most low-impact exercises are safe during pregnancy, but if you are not feeling well or haven't been active before your pregnancy, working out can be a daunting task. However, studies show that exercise is very beneficial for you and your baby. It can help with nausea, blood pressure, and even back pain. Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic that explains more.
Make sure you get your health care provider's okay before beginning an exercise program, but generally speaking, up to 30 minutes a day of walking is a great habit to start. Make sure you drink a lot of water while you are exercising to avoid becoming dehydrated. If walking seems like a stretch due to fatigue or not feeling well, try and do some stretching. There are some awesome stretches for pregnancy and even prenatal yoga positions that you might try. You can find a bunch on Youtube for free. Even stretching can make a difference in how you feel and how your body adapts to the changes beginning to take place. When you can muster the energy, here are some great examples of pregnancy friendly exercises to start!
The first trimester is full of a lot of different emotions. You will feel happy, nervous, excited, scared, clueless, tired, anxious, nauseated, joyful, etc, etc, etc. Being a mother is a wonderful roller coaster and you are just getting started! Buckle up and enjoy the ride!!
**Stay tuned for next week's 4 To Do's for the Second Trimester!
Written by Callie Lippard