Pregnant? Top 3 Overlooked Things You Absolutely Need To Do
Discovering you’re pregnant is a big deal. It can feel like you are on the cusp of a great adventure or the most terrifying undertaking of your life, or both! Either way, you are going to have to start somewhere. Check out the top three suggestions from this seasoned parent, nurse, and virtual doula for where to start when you find out you are pregnant. You may be surprised to discover, the first three things have a lot less to do with big action and more to do with understanding your options, finding your groove, and keeping your bowels moving. I leave the floor to Emily.
Three Things You Need To Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant
First, let’s call the midwife.
Hold on, you don’t know about midwives yet?
The first thing you need to do when you discover you are pregnant (or are in the planning stages of pregnancy) is to decide on the care model you want to use for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care.
Most pregnant Canadians follow the flow of care below:
But did you know there are other options beyond being cared for by an OBGYN?
The Midwifery Care Model focuses on the core pillars of: continuity of care, informed choice, and choice of birth place. (Association of Ontario Midwives)
This may sound very attractive to some of you. You may also be wondering what happens if you don’t want to give birth at home or in a birth centre?
Luckily – midwives attend births in the hospital environment as well.
There are benefits and limitations to each care model. It’s important that you research the options in your geographical area and what you could travel to if you desired. In some areas there is a long waitlist to receive midwifery care, so it’s important to express your interest early in your pregnancy to be able to be considered as a client. You can continue to receive care through your primary care provider (such as a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner) and transfer into midwife care at any point.
It’s important to understand early on that you are unlikely to have the OBGYN who has followed your pregnancy attend your birth. Hospitals typically use an on-call coverage meaning they rotate covering as the physician attending births outside of office hours (and if your care provider cannot make it during the day). And lots of babies are born out of regular office hours.
If you are wanting a care provider to follow you through prenatal care to postpartum care, explore your access to midwifery care. Otherwise, options for continuity of care are limited. Continuity of care provider contributes to better birth outcomes and a more satisfying birth experience.
Next, set the tone with a pregnancy playlist
We don’t need to dive into the science behind the power of music to know it is real. From childhood memories to first loves, music shapes our memories and certainly influences our mood.
Curate a playlist that reflects the feelings you want to experience during your pregnancy. Sit and reflect on the feelings that come to mind for you.
Some ideas are:
It is often overlooked and you rush last minute to create a birth playlist that just isn’t you. Getting started during pregnancy means you can listen to it whenever you practice your relaxation techniques for birth or move through the Spinning Babies exercises or the stretches from your Pelvic Floor Physio. Adding a soundtrack that serves to build you up also reaches your baby! Playing it outloud gives you a chance to connect with the growing fetus inside of you who can hear music too.
Want to get your own Pregnancy Playlist to build upon for your own journey? You can find it inside The Pregnancy Atlas (scroll down to find the free download).
And most overlooked…
What to do to avoid getting constipated while pregnant
This is no joke. Even if you think you have an adequate fibre intake going into pregnancy increase it. There are multiple changes happening within your body that make the likelihood for constipation increase. Between the myth of avoiding coffee to slower digestion (thanks hormones!) let’s just say, the potential to get backed up is pretty high. Throw in prenatal vitamins with iron and you will be on the fast track to the Strain Station.
My helpful tip is to lovingly add fibre into your day wherever you can to help avoid constipation altogether. Some of the changes happening inside of your body are beyond your control, so focusing on what you can control helps you avoid wasting time wishing you weren’t constipated. These tips can help get things moving too. As always, talk to your care provider about constipation if you are having painful and/or irregular bowel movements. While experiencing constipation in pregnancy is quite common, you don’t need to suffer.
Easy ways to add fibre into your day:
- Throw some chia seeds or flax seeds into your breakfast
- Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness (mix with some sparkling water if you’re feeling fancy).
- Eating a bowl or two of my Gramma’s Quinoa salad (seriously! ask Emily for the recipe)
Whether you are pregnant for the first time or you’ve been pregnant before, it’s never too early or too late to tackle these 3 game-changing pregnancy suggestions that are often overlooked. You can download a collection of maps to help you navigate your pregnancy. The Pregnancy Atlas was created to help you know what step to take at each stage of your pregnancy journey.
And of course, you will want to document your pregnancy and new baby, so don’t forget to book your photographer early on to take advantage of all of the early-bird perks and flexible availability.
About The Author:
Emily Edwards is on a mission to lead the revolt in reproductive healthcare. Emily Edwards RN BScN is the visionary behind The Good Birth Co.; an online space that provides full-spectrum, inclusive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support. She will help you navigate planning the birth experience you want or process the one that you didn’t. She loves New York rappers [she’s married to one] and can school you in any hip-hop conspiracy theory. She is figuring out how to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis. All that, plus a mom to 3 brilliant kids. You can learn more at www.thegoodbirthco.com