The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 8th baby is still a magical thing, and the whole process is amazing and tiring and emotional. The first baby might be more so, purely because the whole situation is brand new. But you’ll find that no two pregnancies are that same. Whether baby is a surprise, planned, fought for or adopted, there are things you need to be doing to prepare for the new member of your family.
When you find out you’re pregnant, you need to get registered with a hospital. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds -just call up your doctor’s and book in to see the midwife. She’ll come and check you over, make sure you are healthy and start to put together a plan for you. Have your questions ready, even though you’re probably overwhelmed with everything already!
Now if you have current exercise regimens, the general advice from midwives is to continue as normal, but not to take on anything new. That means that you can follow Serena Williams’ example and keep doing what you love.
It might also be a time to look at what you are eating – your craving will kick in at any moment, and they probably won’t be the most healthy thing. Cut out (or down) the caffeine and amp up the healthy eating. Just make sure you’re getting the right vitamins for both you and baby. There is evidence that alcohol can harm the baby and it is strongly advised that you stop drinking alcohol from the moment you find out you are pregnant. The same goes for cigarettes – try and quit as soon as possible.
Depending on your job, you may need to be risk assessed – this is mostly in jobs with machinery and heavy lifting, but your line manager will know about all of that. You will also need to start thinking about maternity and paternity leave. You are also entitled to leave if you are adopting, check out this maternity guide for more details. After the twelve week scan, or when the paperwork is all a-go for your adoption, get the information for any leave you are entitled to and start planning.
You may be a seasoned mom and have everything under control, or a first-time mom who is new to it all – either way, it doesn’t hurt to do some reading. If it’s not your first child, use this as a refresher and to learn about any new developments in birthing. For new moms, read everything. You can never know too much. But remember that every baby is different, and you will learn over the coming months what is usual for your baby. And once your little one is born – it will be a steep learning curve regardless.
Now it’s time for the fun stuff; you can get your house ready for baby! Putting together the nursery is a very important part of pregnancy, mom will automatically get the urge to start ‘nesting’ and preparing the home for baby’s arrival. It’s in her biology, but partners can get
just as involved as the mom. Plus, when you come closer to the end, your lifting days are over – so you’ll just have to rely on your partner, family and friends to do things right for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t sit in the corner and criticise! Make sure you have everything you need. Luckily, you will get many presents and have some stockpiles of socks, baby grows and hats. You will never have enough muslin squares. And your little one will grow quickly, so encourage your present buyers to pick up varying sizes of clothing. Do the research and see which ‘must-need’ products aren’t needed at all. The Bump has a what to, and what not to buy guide for new parents. If you have other children, it’s a very good idea for you to help them get used to baby coming by including them when choosing things, painting and deciding on things. Most younger children can feel left out when a new baby arrives because a lot of attention is needed to be diverted to the new arrival. So include them in everything. Including after baby is born – let them help with feeding and bathing baby.
Parenting classes aren’t just in American TV shows; there are plenty of opportunities for you
and your birth partner to learn about the intricacies of birth, and learn how to do all that breathing. There are also classes for calm and gentle exercise, including pregnant water-aerobics and maternity Yoga. Before taking these on, get advice from your midwife on whether you should or not. If you are already an avid yogi, then switching to Maternity Yoga will be a breeze. Classes are also a great way to meet other prospective parents.
You need to make sure you are comfortable too, so get shopping and get those attractive elasticated-band trousers. Some miracle women can wear heels to the last week, but most women will want to give those up ASAP. You probably won’t need maternity clothing until the end of your second trimester, but budget-wise, it might be a good idea to start shopping early and spread the cost.
It’s time to think about the future a little. You might want to look at finances, maybe even start a savings account for baby. You want to transition to be as stress-free as possible – and you have a nine-month head start to get saving.
Of things you need, thing’s you’ve got, and most importantly – baby names! You will back and forward on names constantly, and sometimes the one you settle on just doesn’t match the little person when they’re born.
And Lastly, Enjoy it Each little kick, squirm, and wiggle is special. Treasure every day – even the ones where you spend it with your head in the toilet. Each day that passes is another day closer to meeting your little one. But also enjoy the time you have while it’s still just the two of you (or three, or four) things will be amazing once baby is born, but they will be different.So take this chance to just spend time with the little family you have.