When you realise you’re pregnant for the first time, you most likely have a huge learning curve ahead of you. There are heaps of important things you’ll have to figure out. If you’re pregnant, or thinking of getting pregnant soon, here’s a jump start on learning 5 of the most important things you’ll need to know:
Sleep on Your Left Side
When you’re pregnant, sleeping becomes more challenging than it ever used to be. You might have a harder time getting comfortable, and it’s also likely that you’ll have to get up to use the toilet more frequently. On top of that, you’ll want to make an effort to sleep on your side – specifically, on your left side. This might not be your favoured sleeping position, but you’ll want to consider getting comfortable with it for the duration of your pregnancy.
Why should it make any difference which sleeping position you assume when you’re pregnant?
Don’t be fooled by the fact that your body looks more or less symmetrical from the outside. Your internal systems are not all perfectly symmetrical. One side is not the same as the other.
You have a sizable vein, known as the inferior vena cava, that’s situated on the right side of your spine. This crucial vein is the conduit your body uses to return blood from your lower half to your heart. If you were to sleep on your back, or on your right side, the baby’s weight could potentially impede the blood flow through this vein. A possible result could be plummeting blood pressure plus a corresponding drop in your blood-oxygen levels, and your baby’s. This would especially be of concern if you suffer from sleep apnoea or asthma.
Multiple studies have revealed a correlation between sleeping on one’s back during pregnancy and an increased risk for stillbirth. One of these studies indicates that sleeping on your right side also correlates with this risk to a lesser degree.
That said, don’t stress out if you can’t always manage to sleep the entire night on your left side. Your body needs adequate rest. Sleeping in any position is better than sleeplessness at this critical time in your life.
Someone Else Should Take Care of the Cat
If you’re the caretaker of one or more cats, be aware that it’s best to avoid handling soiled cat litter during your pregnancy. This is because Toxoplasma gondii parasites that might sometimes be found in cat faeces pose a risk of infection, which could result in a number of adverse health effects for both you and your baby. For your baby, these risks include skin rashes, damage to the nervous system and other possible birth defects.
Your Employer Is Obligated to Support You in Multiple Ways
As an Australian citizen, you have numerous rights regarding your work and pregnancy. If you are currently employed, it could be helpful for you to get educated about our commonwealth’s standards for fair treatment of pregnant women.
Specifically, it’s important to be aware that your employer cannot lawfully discriminate against you in any way because of your pregnancy. This means your employer cannot fire you, make you redundant, force you to work fewer hours than usual or overlook you for a deserved promotion as a result of your pregnancy.
Your Diet Matters
When you’re pregnant, it’s critical to make safe and healthy food choices. A pregnant woman’s dietary requirements are slightly more demanding than what you might have previously been accustomed to before getting pregnant. To ensure that you and your baby are both well nourished, it’s wise to obtain nutrition advice from your GP or a registered dietitian early on in your pregnancy.
In particular, it is essential for a pregnant woman to consume sufficient amounts of folate as early as possible in the pregnancy. This can help to protect your growing baby’s brain, spinal cord and surrounding bones, known as the neural tube.
According to the experts at Victoria’s Better Health Channel, pregnant women require at least 600 mcg of folate every day. Viable sources of folate include spinach, asparagus, oranges and chickpeas.
It’s Easy to Help Boost Your Newborn’s Neural Connections
Your newborn baby won’t immediately be able to understand your speech – so it might seem like a waste of time for you to bother with talking to the baby. However, talking to your newborn may be one of the best things you can do to help with boosting your baby’s brain development. Based on extensive research, scientists have come to understand that talking directly to babies has long-lasting positive benefits that are likely to still be evident even in later years when the child is in school.
The main takeaway: Consider talking directly to your baby starting from the moment he or she is born. Be aware that Bub doesn’t need to understand what you’re saying for your speech to be beneficial. The more you speak to your baby, the more rapidly the baby’s language processing skills will develop and improve.
These aren’t, of course, the only important things you’ll need to know to prepare for childbirth; see the archives of articles about pregnancy to get updated on many more of the crucial things you’ll need to know.