By: Sara Babcock, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Center for Perinatal Care
During your first visit, your provider will ask you many questions to help guide pregnancy management. You will discuss the time of your last menstrual period and ultrasounds for the pregnancy. It is important to have accurate dating for the pregnancy, so an early ultrasound can help determine your due date; however, a baby’s due date is only an estimate. In fact, women don’t usually deliver exactly on their due dates. Most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks after the first day of a woman’s last period. Your provider will also discuss many important things for you to consider during your pregnancy. These may include:
1. Take a prenatal vitamin. They can be prescribed by your practitioner or you can buy them over the counter, and you should ensure it contains 0.4 mg of folic acid.
2. Avoid chemicals that could possibly harm your baby. This would include avoiding fumes often associated with paint and wall paper.
3. See your dentist before you get pregnant and brush your teeth daily.
4. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking and using street drugs. Smoking, drinking alcohol and using street drugs can cause many problems during pregnancy for a woman and her baby, such as premature birth, birth defects and infant death
5. Get help for violence. Violence can lead to injury and death among women at any stage of life, including during pregnancy. The number of violent deaths experienced by women tells only part of the story. Many more survive violence and are left with lifelong physical and emotional scars.
6. Stop changing cat litter.
7. Rest when you can—nap!
8. Weight gain recommendations.
9. Review the signs of premature labor and warnings signs for when to call.
10. Take a childbirth class. Sign up early to ensure you get the class and dates that you want.
11. Take a breastfeeding class to help prepare you for breastfeeding.
12. Write a birth plan. Develop a plant to help you clarify what you want or need for your birth experience. Share this with your practitioners and those you have invited to your birth.
13. Have film and cameras ready!
14. Practice relaxation whenever you can. Try for at least once a day.
15. Do pelvic tilts to help with late pregnancy back pain. It will help relieve your pain and even encourage the baby to assume a good birth position.
Taking Medicine during Pregnancy
There may come a time during your pregnancy when you’re feeling under the weather and aren’t sure if you can take your regular over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Some medications are safe to take during pregnancy, but other medications are not or effects on your baby may not be known.
When you meet with your provider, ask what medications you can take and what medications to find alternatives. Generally, you should not take any OTC medication while pregnant unless it is necessary.