If you're pregnant, you may feel completely overwhelmed by all the things you must do before the baby arrives. You may not know where to start. The best place to start is with yours and the baby's health. Here are five health-related things to do while pregnant:
1. Choose a pediatric doctor.
It's never too early to pick a pediatrician for your baby. While your obstetrician can take care of your newborn's medical needs, it's best to get your baby to a children's doctor as soon as possible. A pediatric doctor will visit your newborn the day you give birth. Also, many pediatricians will allow you to make an appointment a month before your due date so you can ask questions and schedule your baby's first checkup.
2. Take a childbirth class
Labor and delivery is a stressful time. Childbirth classes don't just teach you how to breathe. A childbirth class will teach you relaxation techniques and ways to cope with the stress of being in the hospital. These classes will also let you know what to expect throughout the process of labor and delivery, both physically and medically, so there are no surprises.
3. Make a delivery plan
Now is the best time to make a plan for your delivery. How do you want your baby's special day to go? Your hospital will let you take a tour of the maternity ward, get preregistered, and give you an opportunity to ask questions. Here is a short list of delivery aspects to think about:
- Who will be present while you give birth? Think about family members, friends, and doctors.
- What will you pack?
- Do you want an epidural?
- Do you want special music, lighting, or decorations?
- Will you hold the baby immediately after birth?
- Will the father cut the cord?
4. Get your boosters
It's very important to get your vaccinations up-to-date, especially if you're planning on breastfeeding. Immunity to disease is passed from mother to child during pregnancy and through breast milk. This immunity protects your baby until he or she gets their own vaccinations. Here is a list of specific vaccinations you should consider:
- Hepatitis B
5. Decide whether you will breastfeed
The decision to breastfeed is a very personal one. While breastfeeding has benefits, especially for the baby, you may be unable to breastfeed. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor, and have a backup plan in case you are unable to breastfeed. If you plan on breastfeeding, here are some tips:
- Go to a breastfeeding class.
- Get a nursing bra and pump.
- Inform the hospital you wish to breastfeed. Many hospitals give you the opportunity to breastfeed immediately after birth.
These are five things to check off your list before you give birth. If you have any questions, contact your obstetrician or a pediatrician like Pediatric And Young Adult Medicine today.