You’re Pregnant! Now What?
Now that you are pregnant you need to start making decisions about your health and the health of your baby. You don’t realise how many choices you need to make until you get that positive pregnancy test. Then suddenly they are all there to make, and you are on a bit of a deadline!
If you intend on continuing with your pregnancy, you need to do a few things now to make sure you get (or remain) healthy, and have the best possible care throughout your pregnancy and birth experience.
- Your health – If you planned this pregnancy and prepared for it well, you are off to the best start you can give yourself and your baby. If this is a bit of a surprise, it’s not too late. You can still make lifestyle adjustments and get on track for your healthiest possible pregnancy.
- Alcohol consumption is harmful to your baby. There is no known safe level of alcohol during pregnancy at any gestation. It’s a good idea to stop now.
- Smoking is also harmful, so the sooner you start giving up the better.
- Folate is vital for the prevention of neural tube defects. You should start taking folic acid supplements as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Pregnant women need an additional 400mcg per day, an amount which cannot be met by diet alone.
- Your model of care – you need to decide is which model of maternity care with which you want to engage. The models are available to you will depend on your local service, so please do some homework. When you have decided this, you will have a better idea of where to start looking for a maternity care provider.
Your maternity care provider will be able to assist you in making ongoing decisions about your health or the health of your baby. Health care providers can guide you, however, it is up to you to investigate the available options. The concept of informed decision-making and consent relies on you ensuring you have all your questions asked and answered before deciding on any course of action.
Dr Janelle McAlpine (PhD), Clinical Midwife
Photo by Zyn Chakrapong, used under license from Shutterstock.com