Preparing for a baby can be an exciting time — from decorating the nursery, to choosing adorable outfits and welcoming a new member to the clan. But aside from all the anticipation, pregnancy can also feel quite daunting — particularly for first-time mums.
We spoke to Zoe Newton, a registered midwife and Clinical Lead at Medibank, to get her advice on how to plan for pregnancy.
Listen to her full interview here:
What to do before pregnancy
- GP appointment: See your GP for a preconception check-up. Make sure your pap smear and immunisations are up-to-date, including rubella, chicken pox, whooping cough, and the flu vaccination.
- Medication needs: Consider any pre-existing health conditions. Discuss your health history with your GP to ensure you’re managing the necessary medications safely.
- Oral health check-in: Visit your dentist so any required work can be done before pregnancy.
- Vitamin intake: It’s recommended to start taking folate at least a month before pregnancy. Folate helps to prevent birth defects in your baby’s brain and spinal cord, like spina bifida. Talk to your doctor about other supplements you may need.
- Exercise: You may need to adjust your fitness regime to suit your new circumstances, as certain exercises like jumping, gymnastics and contact sports are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Nutrition: This can increase your chances of conceiving — make healthy food choices and cut back on alcohol.
- Smoking: If you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit.
- Evaluate your finances: Prepare for the financial impacts a baby will bring — not just in terms of cots and highchairs, but also how much time you and/or your partner can take off work. Check what parental leave is available and for how long.
- Childcare options: Consider what childcare options might be needed.
- Health insurance: Think about whether you want public or private healthcare. Read more on choosing the right cover here.
- Support network: You’re about to go through a lot of changes. Take time to lean on friends and family — they can help guide you through, particularly those who’ve been through it all before.
- Seek expert advice: It’s important you talk to your obstetrician about pregnancy and childbirth so you know what to expect at each stage of the process.
What to expect during pregnancy
What to expect each trimester
- First trimester: This is when fatigue and nausea are at their worst. There aren’t too many physical changes, but more hormonal symptoms like emotional mood swings and food aversions or cravings.
- Second trimester: Physical changes begin — your tummy grows bigger, you might feel more pressure on your back, and your legs may begin to ache. Generally fatigue and nausea have stopped or reduced by now.
- Third trimester: Most of the physical changes occur in this trimester. Everything is more difficult and you may feel short of breath. It might also be difficult to feel comfortable, with swollen hands and feet.
To read more articles about parenthood and keeping kids healthy, visit Better Families.