As soon as you discover you are pregnant, a whole new world opens up to you! It can be such an exciting time – but also very stressful.
All the anticipation and joy of having a new baby also can cause anxiety as you are flooded with information related to pregnancy, hospitals, doctors, midwives, baby registries, birth, caring for your new baby, breastfeeding, daycare, and more. There is so much to learn! Many new moms wonder, “How will my body change during pregnancy? What can I do to help myself have a healthy pregnancy and baby? What will my labor and birth be like? Will I be a good mom?” Partners wonder, “How can I help her during the pregnancy and birth? How will our lives change after the baby is born? Am I ready to have a baby in my life?”
Rest assured, most new parents share many of these same concerns. It is important to remember that all of this new information does not have to be learned overnight. There is plenty of time to prepare. The average first-time pregnancy is 39.5 to 41 weeks long, giving parents-to-be many months to learn and begin to adjust. Take it one day at a time.
First, focus on having a healthy pregnancy. Follow the guidelines from your health care provider. Be sure to “check-in” every day with your baby. Sit in a comfortable place, put your hands on the lower abdomen over the baby, close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Think about your baby and speak to your baby! (Baby’s ears start to develop at 5 weeks in utero and baby can hear your voice by 16 weeks.) This daily “check-in” with your baby will not only help you control your anxiety, but it will also keep you focused on what is important: the health and well-being of the baby.
By your 28th week of pregnancy, be sure to sign up for prenatal classes such as New Arrival Educators’ Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, Newborn Care and Infant CPR and Safety Classes. These classes will help you feel more empowered and confident for your birth and your baby. You will learn tips and strategies to help you move through this transitional time more smoothly. Know what to expect and empower yourself to be an active participant in your birth and the care of your baby.
The first days and weeks after the baby is born continue to be a very transitional time. You will need help. Plan for it! Who is in your support village? Make a contact list of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, health care providers, “In-Home” Lactation Consultant (New Arrival Educators), therapist, fitness club, and more. Look to connect with other new moms to learn from each other, feel supported and understood, and to have fun and make new friends! Join a new mom and baby group like Over The Moon Group and Baby and Me Group. It is one of the best things you do for yourself and your baby!
Congratulations and we hope to see your little family in class!