Q: How do I know if I’m expecting?
The sure way to know if you’re pregnant is by seeing a doctor. Before scheduling an appointment, take several home pregnancy tests. You may experience symptoms such as nausea, vaginal discharge, exhaustion, headaches, etc.
Q: How will I know the due date?
You can calculate your due date by adding 40 weeks to the last day of your last menstrual cycle. However, it is best to ask a doctor for a more specific and accurate answer.
Q: What changes will happen to my body during pregnancy?
Most women tend to notice changes to their breasts during pregnancy. These changes will keep occurring throughout the pregnancy. In the first trimester, you may recognize your veins have become more visible. This is because your body needs extra blood to pump for your pregnancy. You may also experience changes in the quality of your skin, belly size, and emotional stability.
Q: Is having sex during pregnancy safe?
Having sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe. Consult with your doctor in case of exceptions, or as you get closer to your due date.
Q: How do I prevent stretch marks?
Stretch marks during pregnancy affect approximately 90% of women, but there are preventative measures you can take to minimize stretch marks. First and foremost, make sure you stay hydrated, and eat a diet full of nutrients. Additionally, make sure you are consuming lots of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. You can also try lotions or creams to lessen the stretch marks.
Q: What are some exercises pregnant women can do?
It’s important that pregnant women still participate in physical activity in the months leading up to the birth. Some easy exercises include: going on walks, squats, and simple weight lifting. Exercises that are low-impact and stress-free are the way to go.
Q: What are some baby essentials I need for pregnancy?
Some baby must-haves for pregnancy include prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes, body pillow, comfortable shoes, skincare products, and a belly wrap. These essentials will make your pregnancy just a little bit easier, and deals are easy to find all over the Internet!
Q: Should I consider having a birth doula?
A birth doula is specifically trained to help mothers through the labor and after the birth. She is familiar with the typical signs of labor, comfort techniques, hospital policies etc. and can be a great support to the whole family. Since the doula is often not a family member, it may feel like you are inviting a stranger to the birth, but the fact is that doulas are valuable members of the birth team who help, support, and comfort the mother and family during this time when emotions are likely to be high. Doulas are primarily there for the mother – if mom has a great childbirth experience, then everyone benefits. You cannot go wrong with a doula.
Q: Who should be with me at the birth?
It is up to you to choose who should be with you during the labor and delivery. It is a good idea to check with the birthing center or the hospital for their guidelines. With the reassuring presence a birth assistant or doula, and family members of your choosing, you can have a pleasant birth experience. During the birth, it can be a great relief to have someone comforting you, sponging your forehead, or supporting your shoulders and legs.
Q: How will I know when to push?
Trust us, you will know when to push. You will feel the urge to push when the cervix is dilated to about 10 cm. It feels better to push than to not, so you will naturally do it. If you have received pain medication and do not feel the urge to push, you will be encouraged by your birth team to push and you simply have to follow their lead.
Q: What should I do to prevent passing stool during the birth?
Relax, passing stool during birth is nothing to be embarrassed about. This is something that happens pretty much during every natural childbirth, and it’s not something that you should even be worrying about. The nurse will quickly clean it up, and during the birth the worry about passing stool would be the last thing on your mind.
Q: What happens if the baby does not come out?
In some cases, the baby may need some extra help to come out. If the baby is positioned awkwardly, he or she may need to be rotated to a better position to be pushed out of the birth canal. Forceps and vacuum extractors may be used only after a good two to three hours of pushing, and if the baby is visible but not coming out. Don’t worry, the doctor is not going to pull the baby out. The baby will only be gently guided and assisted as you continue to push.
Q: Will I need an episiotomy?
An episiotomy is a small cut that is usually made at the base of the vagina to make the birth canal wider, to assist easy delivery. First time childbirth usually results in a natural tear, and an episiotomy can control the direction of the tear. Nowadays episiotomies are done only in cases where the baby is in distress and needs to come out fast, or if the tissues are naturally beginning to tear towards sensitive areas like the clitoris or urethra.
Q: How should I prepare for the birth?
Eat a well-balanced diet, and fill your mind with happy and positive thoughts. Periodic stretching of the vaginal area about four weeks before the due date may help lower the chances of an episiotomy. Keep yourself physically active – go for daily walks or do prenatal yoga. Positive affirmations can help relax your body and mind and prepare for the birth. Try to think of the birth as a natural process than as something painful that you have to go through. It is just a sign that your precious baby is about to come into this world. The mental preparation is as important as preparing your body.
Q: Can I eat or drink during the labor?
Listen to your body. If you feel like snacking during labor, by all means you must do that. Remember, this is a time when your body is working really hard and it needs all the energy it can muster. There is no right or wrong answer here – if you don’t have an appetite, you don’t have to force yourself to eat. On the other hand, if you do feel hungry snack on light foods. Your body will let you know what to do.
Q: When can I nurse the baby?
You can nurse shortly after birth if the baby is in a stable condition. The breast-feeding may be delayed if the baby is breathing too fast, which may cause them to choke on the milk. During the skin-to-skin bonding time for the first hour, both you and the baby will usually calm down. The baby may also start breast-feeding at this time.
Q: When can I go home after the birth?
It mainly depends on whether you had a vaginal child-birth or a c-section, and if there were any complications. For most uncomplicated vaginal deliveries, you will be able to leave the hospital within the next two days. Your healthcare provider may want to monitor you and the baby for the first 24 to 48 hours. If you would prefer an early discharge, you may want to talk to your birth team before going into labor.