I will never forget all the fears and uncertainty I had when I found out I was pregnant for the first time almost 13 years ago. I felt so lost in this unknown journey I was about to walk through. I have read and heard about the usual expectations of some pregnancies such as body aches, morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, cravings, constipation, and the list goes on, but I didn’t seem quite prepared for the other part of the journey. There are much more than the symptoms of pregnancy I wish I had known about, such as:
Interview more than 1, 2 or even 3 care providers:
Pregnancy and birth is one of the most important things that will happen in yours and your baby’s life. So you want to be sure you are surrounded by those who are going to respect your pregnancy and birth wishes, as well as help you to feel safe and comfortable during the birth. Your choice of care provider will have a big impact on your birth experience and outcome. So it is highly important to research providers and interview a few.
When I was pregnant with my first child I was always told I needed to rest, sit and relax. But hey this view of pregnancy is even portrayed in the movie. So I started to look at pregnancy as a medical condition and not has a natural process of life. As a result, I felt weaker during my pregnancy and low confidence in my ability to carry my son and eventually give birth. The truth is, if there are no medical issues for you to keep from physical activities it is recommended that women stay active during pregnancy. Do you remember those pregnancy discomforts I mentioned above? Well turns out staying active during pregnancy could help diminish some of these pregnancy discomfort. It may also help reduce any risk of complications during pregnancy. Some activities may include, walking, swimming and biking.
Rest when you can:
Increase bathroom visits, body aches and nausea may bring upon some sleep challenges. If you are finding that you are having trouble sleeping it is recommended to take cat naps during the day whenever you can. At least two 30min cat naps a day. Also, if you are exercising during pregnancy it is best to do it early in the day to help you sleep much better. Working out later in the day may cause insomnia. Avoid drinking liquids after 6pm to keep from the constant trips to the bathroom.
Braxton Hicks are totally normal:
I remember the first time I felt these tightening sensations in my belly I immediately freaked out as I thought for sure I was in labor or something was wrong. While these contractions do not dilate the cervix, it does serve a purpose and that is to exercise the uterus in preparation for the big day.
The uterus is a strong muscle
As scary and unreal as it might seem that a baby can grow in your uterus and let alone how the Uterus can withstand contractions, it really can! The uterus happens to be one of the strongest muscle in a woman’s body by weight. At the time of birth, it is estimated to weight about 1.1 Kg. Amazing isn’t it?!
Learn all you can about the natural process of pregnancy and birth.
Many of the events that will happen between pregnancy and birth can feel a bit scary during first pregnancy. Especially not being sure of what is normal and what is not normal. Learning what is normal can help eliminate some of those fears. It also helps to have the proper information for you to make informed decisions regarding pregnancy and birth. Some recommended resources can be found here.
When I had my first child I didn’t take classes and with the uncertainties and fears I wish I had taken classes. Childbirth classes help to work through those fears and build confidence. It’s a great way to help you learn more about the natural process of birth, which is a great way to review what you have read. Classes will help you to get a broader picture of your birth options as well as help you gather local and national resources. This is also a great opportunity to meet other parents and to get your partner involved.
There was so much I didn’t know during my first pregnancy and the importance of a Doula was one of them. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a Doula was. I didn’t quite understand it until after my 4th. Doulas provide continuous reassurance and comfort measures during labor and birth, such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning. Studies have shown that women who have Doulas during labor and birth are statistically more likely to have better outcomes as well as a better outcome for baby. Having a Doula increases the chances of having a spontaneous vaginal birth and decreases the chances of unwanted interventions.
How about you? Is this your first pregnancy? Or are there things you wish you have known before your first pregnancy?
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