Let’s break out the bubbly – rather, sparkling grape juice (remember, you’re pregnant so no alcoholic beverages for the soon-to-be mum), you’re having a baby! A gazillion things must be going through your head and just don’t know where to start! Whew, take a minute to step back, breathe deeply and organize your thoughts. Yes, your life will change but that doesn’t happen when the baby is born – it starts NOW!
Now that you know you’re having a baby, you have to start preparing for your baby’s arrival. No, preparing for the baby does not mean redecorating your spare room to create a nursery that can rival that of Beyonce’s Blue Ivy. There will be lots of time for that later – the first thing you have to do is to look after yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
Your body will be the baby’s home for the next 7 or 8 months (depending of course, on when you found out that you’re expecting), as such, you have to make sure that your body is in tiptop condition. You will have to make sacrifices because everything you consume will somehow, one way or another, affect the little one growing inside you. If you’re fond of having a glass of wine with every meal – you’ll have to forego that and opt for orange juice. If you regularly work 60 hours a week – you’ll have to cut that down to a more manageable (and less stressful) 37.5 or 40 hours (discuss your situation with your superior and perhaps suggest alternative working arrangements). It goes without saying that your diet will most likely also need to change but before you start stocking up on kale, spinach and all sorts of green leafy vegetables, you have to make sure you consult your doctor first.
Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Regular medical appointments is essential when you’re pregnant. During these checks, the doctor not only looks at the baby’s progress in your tummy, he/she also monitors the state of your health. The doctor will check that your blood pressure and sugar levels remain at normal levels during the duration of your pregnancy. If these fluctuate, the doctor can address any issues before matters get worse. If you have any worries about your health or that of your baby, discuss your concerns with the doctor. Your doctor is in a much better position to give you advice than the mommy-threads that you will hit if you do a random Google search.
Attend Pre-Natal Classes
Please note that pre-natal classes are different from pre-natal care. Pre-natal care revolves around medical visits and checks (see above) whereas pre–natal classes focus more on what you and your partner will experience before, during and after childbirth. First time mums are encouraged to attend pre-natal classes as it will give you a bit more insight on the new life that you will lead. Women who already have children do not need to attend pre-natal classes – however, it wouldn’t hurt to go. Child-rearing practices change over the years. What could have been acceptable a decade ago may no longer apply today. Your doctor should be able to tell you where to go for pre-natal classes.
You should start on a financial plan the minute you find out that you are expecting. Some expectant parents take the financial implications of pregnancy for granted. They spend everything on cribs, prams, baby bottles, clothes, and other things that they forget to have a contingency amount, for those “just in case” cases. Sure, your insurance company, employer, health-care provider may say they will shoulder the (full or partial) costs of childbirth. But what happens if, your insurance will only cover natural deliveries and not emergency C-sections? What if you (or your partner) get fired or made redundant before your baby is born? What if your health care provider will only pay your medical bills if you give birth at one of their accredited hospitals (which you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot barge pole). If you find yourself facing one or more of these situations, you’ll be glad you had some money set aside for this purpose. If your pregnancy and delivery goes according to plan – and you didn’t have to dip into your emergency fund – then well and good. You’ll have the funds to buy cribs and the like.
Stock Up on Essentials
Finally, you should start stocking up on baby essentials such as diapers and baby wipes. On average, a newborn baby uses at least 10 -14 diapers a day – so you will need a lot. Don’t buy a whole truckload though, remember that your baby will grow and the diapers for infants will not be ideal for a baby that’s 3-4 months old. Buy enough for a month or two, and see how you go from there.
Having a baby is a massive, lifetime responsibility. You will now have to take care of another human being for the rest of your life. But it’s not all that scary and generally, it’s not that bad. Mums the world over will attest to the fact that having a baby is the single, most exhausting but most rewarding experience any person can ever have.
Good luck on your new adventure!