Your first pregnancy — or planning a pregnancy — can be an exciting time in your life. Pregnancy may also feel overwhelming, and you may wonder where to even begin. We’re here to help you prepare for a safe and healthy pregnancy. Here are our top pregnancy tips for first-time moms.
Plan for Pregnancy
Take steps to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Whether you’re just beginning to think about growing your family or you’re actively trying to get pregnant, there are things you can do to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
- Plan and work toward your goals. You may want to achieve a healthy weight; meet certain financial, work, or school ambitions; or better manage your stress. Developing a checklist may be helpful for achieving these goals.
- Speak to your health care provider about any concerns you have about getting pregnant. Your provider may want to learn more about your family history; any previous pregnancies or complications; current medical conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases; medications you’re taking, including contraception; and if you’re up to date on vaccinations.
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. For women who are dependent on these substances, don’t worry – you’re not alone, and help is available. Some programs even offer incentives for pregnant women, like the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program.
Stay Informed During Pregnancy
Having questions during your pregnancy is normal. Talk to your health care provider about any questions you have and share your concerns. Your prenatal visits are a great time to have these conversations. You may want to consider asking your provider:
- Which foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
- Can I have caffeine, including coffee?
- Should I continue exercising or begin a new exercise program?
- When should I worry about the baby’s movement?
- What are safe sleeping positions?
- Is it normal to feel short of breath?
- Are mood swings common? What should I do if I begin to feel anxious or depressed?
- Which medications are safe to take?
- What are possible health conditions that might develop during pregnancy?
- What can I do to treat carpal tunnel if it develops?
Make a Third Trimester Checklist
Checklists can help you stay organized, especially if you begin to struggle with maintaining focus or remembering tasks. Creating a checklist for your third trimester can help you feel ready for your baby. You may want to include these tasks in your list:
- Attend a birth class
- Create a birth plan
- Make a maternity hospital bag checklist — then pack your bag
- Select a pediatrician
- Take a tour of the hospital and pre-register
- Decide if you want to breastfeed your baby or use formula, or a combination of both
- Install your baby’s car seat
- Prepare the space where your baby will sleep
- Make meals to freeze so you don’t have to think about cooking right after the baby is born
Take Care After Pregnancy
Postpartum care is essential after having a baby. Be sure to attend your postpartum appointments with your health care provider in addition to your baby’s pediatric appointments. Postpartum depression is a common and serious illness that requires medical care. Remember: it’s always okay to ask for help. Getting the care you need as a new mom will only help you better care for your new baby.