WHEN you consider the physical exertion of labor and birth you realize that it’s never too early for the expectant mother to start training for the big event. Additionally, the more time you have to learn about pregnancy, labor, birth, and breastfeeding, the better prepared you will be, insha’Allah. All of this equates a healthier pregnancy and baby, better birth experience, and the best possible start in life for your new baby.
Although the latecomers are far better off than the parents who never discover the value of childbirth education and preparedness, they are at a disadvantage when compared to those that come earlier. Truly blessed are the ones who start their preparation and educational journey before they have even conceived!
These preconception mothers have time on their side. They are the ones who really have the opportunity to ensure that their bodies are physically fit and well nourished in preparation for their pregnancy. This extra preparation makes the transition to pregnancy and motherhood all the smoother, insha’Allah.
Many considerations are critically important even before conception. In fact, the day that there is even a remote possibility of starting a family is the day your preparations should begin. This is especially true when you consider that a woman typically doesn’t know she is expecting until several weeks into the pregnancy.
Below are my top ten recommendations for before the pregnancy is conceived.
1 Improve your nutrition
Eat Right Now by evaluating your dietary habits and set goals to improve. Include a good variety of foods for a well balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you maximize the safety nets Allah has built into birth by considering the links between Blood Pregnancy and Nutrition. Additionally, it’s important to realize that During Pregnancy Protein is Keyto growing a healthy baby.
2 Both parents should stop smoking
It’s important to realize that Every Puff Harms and that includes second-hand smoke the mother is exposed to, even before she knows she is pregnant. Not to mention the effects smoking has on the viability of the father’s sperm.
3 Avoid taking any unnecessary medications
Especially when pregnant, everything that enters the blood stream should be weighed out in terms of benefit verses risk. Be aware that no drug has ever been proven to be totally safe for the unborn child.
4 Avoid toxins in your living environment
This includes cleaning chemicals, insect sprays, and any other toxic fumes.
5 Consider taking folic acid supplements
Folate (the natural form of folic acid) is one of the few vitamins that the body assimilates better in supplement form than in food form. (In fact, for the most part, all of your vitamin, mineral, and nutrient intake should come from food sources, except this one.) Taking folic acid reduces incidences of neural tube defects and spina bifida in the newborn. The critical time for this nutrient is during the first six to eight weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the mother usually is not aware she is pregnant until this time has passed. This vitamin is also water soluble, which means that the body cannot store it; daily intake is therefore imperative. All women of childbearing age should consider starting on folic acid before they become pregnant.
6 Start your childbirth and parenting research
There are many different birthing and parenting philosophies. With the Internet at your fingertips you can discover the pros and cons of each. Figure out what’s important to you and determine how hard you are willing to work and prepare for your pregnancy, birth, and baby. As you learn more you will sort out your options and set your priorities. These priorities will then form your birth and early parenting plans.
7 Consider attending childbirth classes
Reading and researching are wonderful ways to understand and demystify birth. However, taking the opportunity to attend childbirth classes will really help you get physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared. There are many classes to choose from. Find out what is offered in your area and even consider traveling to the nearest class or getting a group together and bringing an instructor to your area (for classes to prepare both husband and wife, consider a twelve week series of Bradley Method® classes). The ideal time to start classes and really get focused is between 16 to 24 weeks. However, some expectant mothers come so late in their pregnancy that a rushed, one-day session is all they have time for. Although they come away far better prepared than had they not attended, it truly is a lot of information to try to digest in one sitting and leaves them in scurry to get ready before labor starts.
8 Start interviewing birth attendants
No one will have greater influence on your actual labor and birth experience than your birth attendant. Regardless if you choose an obstetrician or midwife to assist you, it is important to find someone you trust with such an intimate event at the most vulnerable time of your life. But you must come to terms with the Realities of Becoming a Birth Consumer. It is highly unlikely that you will get everything just the way you want it. So the key is flexibility and diligence to find a caregiver you can feel comfortable with and who will honestly support the things that are most important to you. Don’t wait until it’s time to push to figure out that the person entrusted is not willing to work in a way that will best support your plan.
9 Find out about breastfeeding
If you truly want to nurse, don’t wait until the baby is born to learn about how to handle possible complications that discourage some mothers from completing their intended Term of Breastfeeding. Join local or online support groups and don’t fall prey to “The Just One Bottle Myth.” It’s also important to explore the Husbands Role in Breastfeeding to ensure that you get all the support you need to establish a solid nursing relationship with your baby.
10 Take responsibility for your own health and care
It’s important to realize that the doctor and hospital are not responsible for you and your baby. They will do the best they can to ensure that both of you come through your labor and birth alive, but they can only work with whatever you present to them. If you don’t eat right, continue to subject yourself to smoke fumes, and don’t maintain a sufficient level of physical activity, there is only so much they can do. The reality is that only you will bear the consequences of your experience (be they joyful or traumatic) and you truly are your own Pregnancy Primary Care Provider.
When you consider the rapid development during the early weeks of pregnancy you realize the importance of preconception preparedness. The foundation for the baby’s development and growth are laid before there is even a hint of pregnancy. Don’t wait until this important and precious time has passed to evaluate your behaviors in relationship to producing a healthy baby. Even if you aren’t planning to conceive yet, simply being in a marital relationship provides the possibility for conception and paying attention to the first five items on this will surely provide you with better over all health, pregnant or not, insha’Allah.