When you’re pregnant, information overload starts about 5 minutes after the test stick reads positive. There are books, websites, magazines, television shows, and suddenly everyone has something to tell you about pregnancy, labor and delivery.
How do you cut through all the noise and find the information that really matters? Here, from someone who has been there and back, ten pregnancy tips or things about your pregnancy you will want to remember.
1. It’s your pregnancy. A great many people have ideas about pregnancy and want to share them with you. Incessantly. There is a powerful word called “No.” Use it often, with friends, family, nurses and doctors. You will become very familiar with “No” by the time the child is walking, so start early. You will be glad you did.
2. Figure out what you want. Make a list of all the things that you want from your birth experience. And I mean everything, from exam procedures (do you want to labor on a birthing ball?) to the music that will be playing (do you need new age relaxation or energizing rock and roll?). List it all. You may have to compromise, but you’ll be better prepared if you give some serious thought about what you think will work for you.
3. Be educated. A two day class in a hospital is less about getting a good outcome for your pregnancy than about how the hospital wants you to behave while you are in the hospital. Read and find out as much as you can.
4. Know as much as you can. If you haven’t already, check out the doctor, his partners, and be strict. At the end of the day, they all go home and you live with the consequences of their judgments. Learn the doctor’s procedures and the hospitals procedures long before you go to delivery.
5. Visit the hospital with questions in hand. Ask about infection rates. Do all babies, even healthy ones, have to go to the nursery? How flexible are their policies? Do the neonate intensive care nurses have training in infant CPR? Don’t assume anything. Ask.
6. Be ready to fire people. In the final analysis, all the doctors, all the partners and the hospitals are working for you. If they dismiss your concerns and put you off, walk out. They are your employees in one of the most important things in your life. Treat them as such.
7. Talk to others. Find out what kind of birth experience others had. Did they like the hospital? Did they like the doctor?
8. Talk to your family, especially if it is a first baby. Chances a woman’s labor and delivery will be similar to the labors and deliveries of her mom and sisters.
9. Know what constitutes an real problem. Learn the difference between what is a real crisis (a placental abruption, for example) and what is a problem or inconvenience for the labor and delivery nurses (telemetry monitoring so you can walk around). Be ready to put your foot down.
10. Nutrition. Forget the standard recommendations and read up on Dr. Tom Brewer, whose nutritional plans have seen many moms and babies through high risk pregnancies with ease.