Being pregnant for the first time is one of the most eye-opening experiences a woman will go through. No matter how much people explain to you or how many books you read, nothing seems to prepare you for it.
Although every pregnancy follows a predictable pattern, every pregnancy is unique. The most important thing to remember is to not panic and to try to keep an open mind. It’s completely OK if your experience is different to what you’ve heard or read.
Your body will go through a number of miraculous changes over the nine months of your pregnancy, and being informed can help you to feel more in control.
Here is a helpful list of the five key milestones coming up in your first pregnancy.
1. Choosing a pregnancy healthcare professional
As a first time mom, everything about pregnancy is going to feel new. You may get confused, over excited or simply overwhelmed. That’s why choosing the right healthcare professional to support you and your partner during this time is so important.
Just because you might have been going to the same doctor for 10 years doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you and your new baby. Explore your options, find someone you are comfortable with and don’t feel guilty about your choices
2. First prenatal visit
At around eight weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your chosen healthcare professional. This is your first prenatal visit.
At this appointment you’ll have to answer a bunch of family medical history and general health questions. More excitingly, your chosen healthcare professional will:
Confirm your pregnancy
Give you an estimated due date
Give you extra helpful information about your pregnancy
Set up routine prenatal appointments with you
Test your blood type
Offer to test you for any possible genetic conditions
3. Your first pregnancy exam
A few weeks later it will be time for your first pregnancy exam. During this appointment your chosen healthcare professional will:
Check your blood pressure
Check the iron levels in your urine
Perform a pap smear to check for any cervical problems
Perform a deeper internal exam to check the size of your uterus and pelvis
Listen to your baby’s heartbeat – an exciting moment for all parents
4. The need for maternity clothes
Shopping for maternity clothes can seem like a big task. Trying to make a big beach ball look flattering is an art.
Regardless, you’re going to need at least a few key items to keep up your comfort levels. Try to save your money until your second trimester when your belly will really start to expand.
When the day comes where even your favourite track suit pants are getting a little too snug, enter maternity pants. You may be able to borrow a nice pair from a mother-friend and if not just get a simple black pair. You might consider getting a good maternity bra and a few figure hugging dresses to show off your new bump.
5. Deciding on a birthing plan
It’s a good idea to decide what type of birth experience you want to have. Natural? Drug free? C-section? Water? Try to learn everything you can about what your chosen birth plan involves, if you are eligible, and which is best for you.
If you have no idea what type of birth you want, consider enrolling in a local child birthing class. It’s a great place to meet other expecting moms and to learn about your options and rights at the time of birth. The more you know, the more in control and comfortable you will be on the big day.