As soon as you see those two lines in your pregnancy kit, you may need to start accepting warm congratulations from everyone soon! Being pregnant can be the most wonderful feeling, especially if it’s your first time. But after the good news sinks in, first-time moms-to-be can start to feel anxious and lost. After all, you still have zero experience in childbearing!
If you find yourself feeling clueless and you don’t know what to do first, know that you’re not alone. But as long as you are guided with these prenatal basics throughout your pregnancy, you and your baby will be just fine!
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The First Doctor’s Visit
Once your pregnancy test shows positive, the first thing to do is to make sure you are really pregnant. Choose a health-care provider you can trust, whether a family physician, a midwife, or an obstetrician, and have your first consultation. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, it is important that you visit your doctor regularly for monthly prenatal checkups.
As you go along your pregnancy, the visits will go from monthly to biweekly to weekly. Try not to skip one as every checkup is necessary in monitoring both your and your baby’s health. It also raises your chances to curb any developmental disorders your child may have early on.
The Dreaded Symptoms
Every pregnancy is different from woman to woman, but most probably, you will experience some of the common symptoms of pregnancy. There’s the morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness, food cravings and aversions, constipation, and skin breakouts, among many others.
You may or may not experience these symptoms, but nevertheless, it’s best to keep yourself relaxed and stress-free while you’re pregnant. When the symptoms, lifestyle changes, and chaotic hormones start to drive you nuts, remember to pause, and know that worrying won’t do any good for you and your baby.
Vaccinations and Vitamins
During your regular consultations, your doctor will inform you of vaccinations and vitamins you will have to take to keep your pregnancy healthy. Remember that some illnesses in pregnant mothers can impair their baby’s physical and mental health inside the womb, so it’s best to take your doctor’s suggestions to heart.
Some vaccinations you will have to take are hepatitis B vaccine; inactivated influenza vaccine; and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or Tdap. Meanwhile, important prenatal vitamins include folic acid, calcium, and iron, which help in keeping you and your baby in optimal health.
Prenatal Screening Tests
Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will require you to undergo several prenatal screening tests that will check your baby’s well-being. The most common one is the ultrasound, which can be used to confirm your pregnancy, determine the size and position of the fetus, confirm its gestational age, and find out if there are any anomalies in your baby’s developing bones and organs.
You will also go through several blood tests, a glucose screening, and a group B strep screening, among others, to confirm that you are in good health for your baby and to figure out what medical interventions need to be done. If these screening tests yield a positive result, you may then be required to undergo prenatal diagnostic tests to confirm the present of any anomaly.
The Labor Pains
As you get nearer to your due date, labor pain may ensue. It is important to identify the signs of labor so you will be able to handle it without difficulty. Frequent contractions are quick signs of labor, which can increase in duration and intensity over time.
In some cases, especially if labor has come in earlier than expected, doctors advise expectant mothers to undergo a contraction stress test, which monitors the baby’s heart rate in response to contractions through ultrasound and external toco transducers. This test will only check if your baby is getting enough oxygen during labor starts, so relax and don’t get too nervous!
Keeping your chill during labor can greatly help in making you comfortable during early labor.
During pregnancy, it’s best to relax but still keep a clear head for yourself and your baby. There may be a lot of things to attend to now that you’re pregnant, but that’s nothing compared to the many wonderful moments to look forward to when your baby finally arrives.