So you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant! Congratulations and don’t worry it’s normal to panic. There’s a lot you need to do, things to buy, appointments to go to and those nine months will fly by. In fact you’re probably already into your pregnancy as we speak.
Not to worry though, everything pre-birth from appointments to baby preparation has been provided below. Follow this list to the letter and you’ll have nothing to worry about, well apart from what color you want to paint the nursery.
1. Contact your doctor as soon as possible. They’ll do an official pregnancy test. Don’t put it off!
2. Choose whether you want to go private or not. Both will follow a similar structure only going private is more efficient and personal. Choosing private will also carry a very expensive price tag (as opposed to being completely free). Think hard whether it’s worth the cost.
3. Your papers will be sent off to a midwife. Shortly after you’ll receive a call and your first appointment will be organised. Here is a list of all the appointments you’ll need to go to. Most of them are set up for you but some will have to be booked yourself (these are noted):
- 6 weeks + 0 days to 10 weeks + 0 days, with your doctor – A pregnancy track chart will be drawn up. Urine samples are taken to check for infection/Chlamydia. Blood samples are taken to check your hemoglobin levels and also to find out if you’ve had all the childhood diseases (i.e chicken pocks). The doctor will calculate the due date using the last day of your period. Now’s the time to ask about booking the double test which looks for chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome.
- 8 weeks + 0 days to 13 weeks + 6 days, with a nurse – The double test is carried out. It’s also best to ask about booking the ultra sound check now. This measures the back fold of the baby’s neck for more chromosomal abnormalities.
- 11 weeks + 0 days to 13 weeks + 6 days, with a nurse – The ultra sound check. As well as this you’ll get to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and find out the baby’s size. An updated due date will be given. Ask about booking the triple test now. It’s another test for chromosomal abnormalities. Write down any questions you might have about the pregnancy, you’ll need them for the next appointment.
- 13 weeks + 0 days to 15 weeks + 0 days, first midwife appointment – This is when you talk about how you’re feeling with the pregnancy. They’ll make sure you’re well informed and hand out a lot of leaflets. There’ll be another urine test (for infection), your blood pressure will be taken and your weight is measured. Get used to this routine, it’s going to happen a lot.
- 15 weeks + 0 days to 22 weeks + 0 days, with a nurse – The triple test. Also ask about booking the full ultra-scan. The ultra-scan is the really exciting one where you get to see your baby and possibly find out the gender.
- 18 weeks + 0 days to 20 weeks + 0 days, with a special scan midwife – The full ultra-scan! See your baby moving around and get pictures of the scan to take home. Although at this point the gender isn’t always known there’s a high chance that you’ll find out (of-course only if you want to). The baby’s size and weight is calculated and you’ll get a paper stating the size of the baby’s different parts (arms, legs, body). The probability of malformation is also revealed. Finally a revised due date is given based on the baby’s size.
- Week 21, with your midwife – You’ll be asked if you have any questions. More information and leaflets are given. Once again your urine sample, blood pressure and weight are taken. You can listen to the baby’s heartbeat a second time.
- Week 25, with your doctor – Urine sample, blood pressure, weight and heartbeat. Now the doctor measures your baby’s laying space (uterus cavity).
- Week 29, with your midwife – Urine sample, blood pressure and weight. The midwife measures your baby to estimate how heavy it is. This result varies but usually the weight will have tripled from the first measurement.
- Week 32, with your doctor – Urine sample, blood pressure and weight. Finding out if the uterus cavity is a normal size. This is the time to ask any questions about post birth, for example birth control. A lot of unwanted pregnancies happen shortly after giving birth due to your guard being down.
- Week 35, with your midwife – Urine sample, blood pressure and weight. Find out how much the baby weighs now. Ask any more questions you have. The midwife will see which way the baby’s lying. Is the head facing the right way for birth?
- Week 37, with your midwife – The same as above.
- Week 39, with your midwife – The same as above.
- Week 41, with your midwife – If you haven’t given birth yet then it’ll be the same as above. The midwife will also talk to you about starting the birth.
4. Change your lifestyle. This is one of the hardest parts of pregnancy as most of us don’t lead the healthiest lives. Is it important? Yes, extremely. For your babies sake and also for your own benefit! These need to change:
- Give up smoking/alcohol.
- Change your diet. Eat less fatty foods with more vegetables and fish.
- Stay away from caffeine drinks (red bull, coke) and limit yourself to an absolute maximum of three cups of coffee a day.
- Start taking special pregnancy vitamins and iron tablets (from 10 weeks). Ask your doctor.
- Exercise but not excessively.
5. Buy buy buy! A baby isn’t cheap and there’s no way around the fact that you’re going to break the bank having a kid. It’s essential to stock up everything in advance. You’re going to need these baby basics:
- 6 body stockings (a shirt that’s clips under the bum)
- 6 leg stockings
- 6 all in one fabric suits, preferably with built in feet
- 6 pairs of socks
- 2-3 sweatshirts
- 2 t-shirts with long sleeves
- 1 cold weather suit
- 2 sheets and linen for the crib
- 1 Sleeping teddy
- 1 Baby blanket
- 1 Hat (you can buy these with little ears attached, very cute)
- 1 pack of newborn diapers
- 1 Baby bed-cover
- 1 Pram
- 1 Crib
- 1 Changing table and foam top
- 1 Baby bath
- 1 Disposable wet naps
- 1 Washing bowl
- 1 Bottle Baby oil (for skin)
- 1 Baby monitor
- 1 Baby nail clippers
- 1 Baby comb for dandruff
- 1 tub of baby powder
- 1 Baby thermometer (preferably anal)
- 1 Box Safety cue tips (for ears)
- 1 Changing bag
- 1 Breast feeding/nursing pillow (not essential but helps with back pains)
- 1 Breast feeding/nursing bra
- 1 Baby seat for car
- 1 Baby sleeping bag for the pram
- 20 multipurpose fabric towels (for spitting up and putting under the baby’s head when they’re sleeping)
Note: All toys and clothes need to be washed before being given to the baby. Babies have very sensitive skin and could have an allergic reaction.
Tip: To take some of the strains off your credit card try acquiring as many hand me downs as possible. Ask friends and family for anything that might be useful (cribs, push chairs, clothes). Try making it a habit to visit second hand stores as often as possible. A lot of great deals can be picked up on used products.
Finally Giving Birth
7. This is something that people give surprisingly little thought. When you’re about to finally give birth what do you bring to the hospital? The following are essential for you and your baby:
- A robe (unless you’re happy wearing a hospital issued plastic sheet)
- Personal Music (this will be invaluable, don’t attempt to give birth without it)
- Baby clothes (body stocking, leg stocking, hat, socks, cold weather suit)
- Pram or baby seat for car.
- Several pairs of clean underwear
- Box of Sanitary towels (something the hospital doesn’t provide)
8. As a final thought, have you decided whether you’re going to use a pain reliever or not? Some people are completely against this and others couldn’t image giving birth without one. Luckily there are many different types, so if you don’t want to use drugs then you have the alternatives:
- Lying in a hospital bath with hot water
- An epidural. In plain English a needle in the spine
- Nitrous oxide. This doesn’t actually take away the pain, it just makes you care less.
- Injections of sterile water around the lumbar (lower back). It reliefs pain for about 90 minutes.
- Before the birth (more than 4 hours) you can take paracetamol and sometimes morphine.
- Full narcoses (being put to sleep). If only it was that easy. Unfortunately this is just for a caesarean section.
Well that about sums it all up! This list should make things a little easier and hopefully covers everything that you’ll need. Try not to get weighed down with all the different aspects of pregnancy and focus on the fun parts (there’s lots of them). Good luck bringing up your little one, that’s when things get really interesting! Enjoy.