First of all, congratulations. You're entering into a whole new world. Poop will become a part of your daily vocabulary very soon. So will the color and consistency of poop. Sleep will become a thing of the past. Remember those nights of spontaneous romance? Those can still happen, you just start to become creative.
The whole PROCESS of parenthood is creativity. Individuality. Because there is no recipe for pregnancy or parenting, we each have our own experiences. There are a few things that are important to start with, so lets begin with those.
1. Go see a physician or midwife, or both if you prefer. As of today, there are some family doctors who will deliver babies. But the reality is that you will most likely have a baby in the hospital with an obstetrician/gynecologist present as well as several other wonderful individuals. Start with selecting a doctor, and he/she will do a few things right away:
- start a pre-natal record, which will include your health history, family health history, partner health history, your obsetrical history, etc.
- tests, tests, tests. Urine or blood to confirm pregnancy, blood to test for HIV, Hepatitis, Rubella titre. Pap smear. Also the doctor will do an internal exam and palpate the heck out of your uterus. He/she may book ultrasounds to figure out the lil' bean's due date or just routine (in a healthy mom this may not take place until 18 weeks or later). Expect more blood work and to pee in a cup every visit.
- appointments will be booked once a month until the last trimester. This all depends on your clinic, your physician, and your health.
- weight. Blood pressure. Blood sugar. Variable depending on physician, when I worked in a clinic with first nations moms I tested blood sugar every visit.
- fundal height. Doc will measure from your pubic bone to the top of the uterus. This will go from a smaller number to a larger number as your pregnancy progresses, and is different for every women in every stage.
So you'll start with the visit to the doc. Then you'll be super excited to start shopping for baby things, maternity clothes, and all of those trendy gadgets that moms are talking about.
My suggestion and my husband's suggestion is to start reading. Read books about everything baby and pregnancy related. The public library is a great place to start, as is the wonderful internet. I will add links to good and reputable internet sites to the side bar as this blog moves ahead. There is an endless amount of information out there!
Also, look into your benefits and finances. This is easier said than done, but what you NEED TO KNOW is that maternity leave is based on 60% of what you make before the baby, and not all employers will top you out OR guarantee your job. Maybe you're not planning on taking maternity leave, maybe your husband wants to take some of it too. Start talking about it, looking into it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you're an adult, you're more than likely concerned about money.
Great, now we can start discussing doula care and your needs!
You may also want to read: Key Questions for Your Care Provider During Pregnancy & Birth
Read more of Rhonda's work on her blog: http://birthingutopia.blogspot.com