The Road to Parenthood - What to expect when having a baby
Becoming a parent is one of the most incredible times in a person’s life. From anticipating when you will give birth and get to hold your little one, to picking a name, going on baby shopping registry spree, putting together the nursery, and so much more, the excitement is palpable. However, it can be a bit overwhelming. You are carrying a new life into this world, and there’s a lot you need to know. Parenting can be demanding, and it’s different for every parent. However, there are several things that are common in most pregnancies.
The most sure-fire sign that you are pregnant is a positive pregnancy test. However, by the time you are taking one, you could already be a few weeks pregnant. Common signs and symptoms of pregnancy include a missed period, tender and swollen breasts caused by hormonal changes taking effect in your body. You could also get morning sickness, with or without vomiting, and it can strike any time. This may ease after a few weeks, or not. Other symptoms include breast changes, acne, back pain, cramps, constipation, and fatigue as your hormone levels increase.
After discovering you are pregnant, the first few months of your pregnancy are a crucial time as your body is still changing to accommodate the tiny baby you are growing inside you. Receiving prenatal care early means you are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. A pregnancy is divided into three phases, and each phase has its own developmental milestones that you must note to ensure your child is growing well.
The first three months of pregnancy are referred to as the first trimester and last for about 12 weeks, to be exact. These first few weeks are considered crucial in a baby’s development. During this time, your baby will grow rapidly with the fetus developing their brain, spinal cord, and the heart. Due to all these amazing things happening in your body, one should consider a healthy lifestyle with with casual exercise and nutritious foods.
Common symptoms include mild to severe morning sickness, weight gain, spotting, cramping, and back pain. As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience heartburn, food aversions, cravings, mood swings, headaches, and metallic tastes in your mouth. However, as you move on to the second trimester, they are likely to ease.
For many mothers, the second phase is the easiest three months of pregnancy. Many of the pregnancy symptoms that troubled you during the first trimester, such as morning sickness or fatigue, are fading, leaving you feeling more energetic. Now that you are feeling a lot better, its time to adequately plan for your baby’s arrival. You can get an ultrasound during this time to see whether the baby is developing correctly and check for any defects or abnormalities. You may feel your little one move and kick around during this time. You might still have a few symptoms, such as weight gain, headaches, and varicose veins.
The last few months of your pregnancy are considered as the home stretch. During this time, your baby’s organs and body systems are fully formed and will continue to mature as the due date nears. The baby’s kicks are stronger and more regular; this can make it quite uncomfortable as your belly is still growing. This, coupled with the overall weight gain, can cause severe back pain and discomfort. You may experience mild contractions known as Braxton-Hicks contractions as your body prepares for labor. They will grow in intensity as your due date nears, and your baby prepares for birth. You may feel a bit anxious towards the end of your pregnancy, and it’s quite normal.
- Start prenatal care early and take your prenatal vitamins such as folic acid to help your baby grow well.
- Learn everything you can about the delivery process. Birthing can be a daunting task, and you may be tempted not to think about everything until the last minute. However, by familiarizing yourself with the birthing process, you know what to expect, and plan your birthing plan with more kmowledge.
- Make a birth plan detailing where you want to deliver your baby and who should be at the birth. Remember to carry important documents such as your hospital file, insurance papers, and ID to make it easier to get processed on arrival at the hospital.
- Eat a healthy diet to help keep your body strong as you support and grow your baby. Eat a diet high in fruits, low-fat proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. Your gums might start bleeding, so keeping your teeth and gums healthy as poor dental hygiene can lead to premature labor.
- Prepare your baby shopping list and ensure you include all the must-haves such as nursery furniture, clothes, educational toys, bathing essentials, and so on. You can use a baby registry to ensure that you get all the baby products you need.
- Avoid strenuous work as this can harm you and result in a miscarriage. Also, avoid taking alcohol, smoking, eating raw seafood, and illegal drugs as they can harm your baby.
- Please keep away from toxic things such as cat litter as it carries a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis.
- Prepare a hospital bag that includes all the items you will need for the delivery, such as baby clothes, a dress gown, after both items, and soothing products. Also, carry a few things for your partner, such as spare clothes, water, and entertainment as labor can be a long, nerve-wracking process for them too.
Every pregnancy is a unique journey, and there are many changes your body will go through as your baby grows. These changes are meant to prepare you to take care of this wonderful gift you have been given. This is a new phase in your life so savory every moment; it flies by fast.
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