Now that you're pregnant, it's time for some new born preparation! There's a lot to do, from finding health care, to designing the nursery, to shopping for chic maternity clothes. It can be overwhelming, so here's a list of the essential tasks that will help keep you and your unborn child happy and healthy.
- Start with health care: Providing your child with the best care means planning early. First, check with your health insurance provider to ensure that you're covered for prenatal care and delivery costs. Once you get the details settled, you should figure out whether your current caregiver is the one you want to have as your primary medical resource throughout your pregnancy. This depends on whether he or she is certified for prenatal care. If not, you'll want to find a caregiver who's got plenty of experience with pregnant women and loves babies. Rather than search the Internet and read pages of reviews, talk to neighbors or friends who live in the same area for word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Schedule an appointment: Once you've decided on a caregiver, get on his or her calendar as soon as possible. Chances are, he or she won't schedule a prenatal appointment until you're at least eight weeks pregnant, but spots fill up quickly, so schedule a visit early on. Make the appointment easier for both parties by preparing the necessary information, including the first day of your last period, your family medical history and a list of medications you're currently taking. Your caregiver will have plenty of advice on morning sickness and other tips for first time mothers.
- Stop smoking: Additionally, you should drop any unhealthy habits that will affect your baby's health. If you've tried to stop smoking previously but haven't been successful, here's the perfect reason and motivation to quit smoking altogether. Smoking while pregnant can slow fetal growth and has the potential to cause many health problems for your baby. Don't think about it as something you're giving up – view it as a gift for your unborn child.
- Avoid alcohol: You should also abstain from drinking to ensure that your baby is as healthy as possible when he or she is born. There are plenty of mocktails you can make in the meantime, if you're in the mood for some tasty and colorful drinks.
- Curb caffeine: If you're a big coffee drinker, it's time to curb your intake. High levels of caffeine are unhealthy for your unborn baby, so you'll want to consider natural pregnancy tips for other ways to be awake in the morning, such as going to bed earlier. If it's the taste of coffee you crave, simply order decaf and enjoy the same great flavors without the caffeine risks!
- Get vitamins: Getting ready for baby means taking care of your own body. Remember to take your prenatal vitamin every day to ensure that your unborn child gets enough vitamins and minerals.
- Exercise: Carrying the extra weight of a baby doesn't mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, studies have shown that working out while pregnant may even make your baby's brain bigger! Make sure your activities aren't overly taxing or hazardous to you or your baby, though. Stick with low- to moderate-impact routines that will get your heart pumping without posing any risks to your baby.
- Eat smart: Eating well is a no-brainer, but adhering to the practice may be difficult if you're big on snacking. Stock the house with nutritious foods so you can avoid temptation. If morning sickness is getting the best of you, eat what healthy foods you can and ask your caregiver for advice on how to decrease the symptoms.
- Plan the room: One of the most exciting parts of newborn preparation is designing the nursery. At this point, you won't know your baby's gender, so you can look at neutral hues or decide whether you'd like to go with traditional pastels when you do learn your baby's sex. If you prefer waiting on the room color but want to work on the nursery, look into furnishings and decor. Get some exercise in and drop into stores to browse baby products. There are many themes, so scoping out your options and noting your favorites in your first trimester will give you plenty of time to choose.
- Research essentials: Look into equipment such as cribs and strollers. Speak to other young mothers about any equipment they may own and what they like and dislike. You want to shop for quality and convenience. Scoping out products ahead of time will ensure that you're well-informed and will make the best purchases when the time comes.
- Find baby clothes: Baby clothes are plentiful, and it'll be difficult to refrain from buying one of everything, but remember that your baby will grow quickly. Before you embark on a shopping trip, speak to family members and friends who may have newborn clothing and borrow items. From there, gauge how many more outfits your child will still need, then shop. This way, you'll save money and still be able to choose plenty of outfits for your baby.
- Choose your clothing: As with the baby clothes, maternity clothes are a necessity, but ones that you won't be wearing for long. Speak to the same family members and friends who are loaning you baby clothes and take a peek at their maternity outfits and ask for advice on the best maternity clothes. After all, you want a look that flatters your new shape and is comfortable. Don't be afraid to borrow cute maternity dresses or blouses, as long as they fit well and look good. From there, look for more outfits for a range of activities – from exercising to an elegant night out.
Getting ready for baby is an exciting and busy time, especially for first time mothers. But with proper preparation, all of these things can be done in a timely manner and enjoyed, as they should be. You can be sure that you make the right decisions when you plan ahead.