Many first-time mothers describe their pregnancy as a mixture of joyful excitement and overwhelmingly terrifying. Why is that? Pregnancy is a beautiful and wonderful experience in a woman's life, but it also brings about changes in her body, hormones, and emotions, as well as the need to calm fears and reduce stress.
Sometimes it can be too much to handle the novelty of being pregnant, the pressures of doing or not doing things right, the growing belly, and the dwindling line of patience. On the other hand, if you haven't experienced it yourself, no one can comprehend what it's like to carry your first child, share all those "first" moments, and learn how to nurture the growing bond between you and your unborn child.
Here are seven practical and relevant first-time pregnancy recommendations to assist new mothers in overcoming their anxiety and fear of childbirth.
1. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Sometimes you might feel the urge to down a glass of wine or light up a cigarette to calm the growing anxieties of your social life. However, during pregnancy, this practice can jeopardize the health of your unborn child. Therefore, the most highly endorsed and embraced prenatal rule is to give up smoking and drinking.
During pregnancy, women who smoke expose their unborn children to numerous harmful chemicals. The nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict, preventing the fetus from receiving as much oxygen and nutrition through the placenta. Alcohol can harm your baby's developing brain and other organs by interfering with the normal growth of the fetus. All these detrimental outcomes can lead to lifelong severe congenital disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, a group of disorders that affects the coordination and movement of the body regulated by the motor cortex of the brain. Even though treatment for cerebral palsy can improve a child's condition, it's better to be careful and implement good habits to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
2. Cover Nutritional Gaps by taking Prenatal Vitamins
As soon as you find out you're pregnant, it is wise to start taking prenatal vitamins. When trying to conceive, several experts advise taking them before getting pregnant. It is advised because a baby's neural tube that grows into the spinal cord and brain, starts developing during the first weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, it is crucial to immediately get essential nutrients like folate, calcium, and iron.
Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies or on a prescription from your physician. To reduce depression symptoms during pregnancy, you must consider taking an omega-3 supplement free of mercury.
3. Create the Birth Plan You Want
For expectant mothers, having a birthing plan is essential. It helps you get ready for the arrival of your little bundle of joy and inspires your team to follow instructions to ensure the best and most personalized birth possible.
Adamant about hiring a doula? Do you plan to use the epidural? Make a list of your wishes and give copies to all the concerned individuals. Consider the following when creating your birth plan:
- Who do you want to be there
- The procedures you want to avoid
- What positions in labor and delivery do you prefer
- Anything special you'd like to wear
- If you like music or a particular focal point
- Whether you wish for painkillers and what kind
- What to do if complications occur
4. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity during pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, helps maintain fitness, and assists in weight management. Several ways to increase energy production include walking, running, biking, using a rowing machine, an elliptical machine, or swimming. Prenatal yoga is another terrific way to stay active, focusing on poses that enhance strength and flexibility during pregnancy. Additionally, it provides relaxation and breathing exercises help during labor.
Pregnant women are advised to engage in at least 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity. However, you should always consult with your healthcare provider and get approval for exercise.
5. Drink More Water
Your blood volume grows by up to 50% during pregnancy to accommodate all the additional activity, which includes transporting waste and carbon dioxide away from your body and giving oxygen and vital nutrients to your unborn child through the placenta. To support that gain, you must drink more water.
Moreover, drinking water can help you avoid exhaustion, headaches, edema, hemorrhoids, UTIs, and other unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, and if the taste doesn't appeal to you, try adding a squeeze of lime or other fruit juice.
6. Rest As Much As You Can
It is exhausting to be in charge of every aspect of your baby's mental and physical development. When a woman is pregnant with a growing belly and extra weight, the physical demands of carrying another human being inside her can become a significant burden. Pregnant women must get enough sleep, which can and should include naps throughout the day.
Sleep can often be scarce after childbirth. It takes time to develop a healthy routine for you and your baby. Get as much rest as possible to ensure a healthy pregnancy and ease into motherhood.
7. Join a Support Group
For first-time mothers, joining a support group is a great way to strengthen bonds with their family and friends and socialize with other mothers. In a safe environment, you can learn tools from other mothers and discuss issues, feelings, and concerns in support groups. You will not only have the opportunity to learn more about childbirth and infant care, but you will also be able to ask specific questions and express your concerns. In addition, the mothers-to-be create a strong community of long-lasting relationships and establishes new relationships with others going through the same experiences.
As a soon-to-be mother, you are a superhero for bringing a new life into the world. However, keep in mind that even superheroes need a break. A happy and healthy pregnancy requires occasional safe indulgence. Put simply, look after yourself. Planning, being aware of what to anticipate, speaking with your doctors, and building a solid support group prepared for the kind of delivery you desire is only the tip of the information iceberg when it comes to becoming a parent.
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