25 June, 2009


Preparing For Baby

GIRLSo, you are going to have a baby. This can be tremendously exciting, and tremendously scary. The looming responsibility of parenthood can be enough to give you palpitations. People may be commenting that you are glowing with health, where you may feel that you're inflating like a balloon. However you are feeling, this is a very special time, and you will need to ensure you look after yourself and your baby.

This can also be an anxious time for partners. It's difficult to stand by and watch whilst your loved one is in discomfort and pain. The urge to make things better is strong and the lack of control, or ability to make her feel better, can be maddening. Don't panic…there are things both of you can do, and a wealth of advice available for you.

teddy bear

Looking After Yourself And The Baby
A woman's body is designed to produce babies. For most, all the necessary ingredients exist to undertake a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. This doesn't mean the pregnancy will be all joy. Being pregnant is tiring, confusing, and sometimes frightening. This is especially true if your partner is serving away, and your family is miles away.

You may experience tiredness as your body undergoes the changes required to accommodate the baby inside you. This is perfectly natural and you should not worry. However there are some ways you can overcome the tiredness.

  1. Give you and your baby some quiet time each day. This can help you develop a relaxed and positive attitude towards the pregnancy, and as time goes by become valuable time for the both of you.

  2. Try to get to bed early. Many find a warm bath helps them sleep better, but make sure the water is not too hot, as this can affect the baby's nerve development.

  3. Remember, nutrition is now doubly important, as your health and your baby's development are strongly linked to what you eat and drink. The Food Standards Agency recommend pregnant women avoid drinking more than four cups of coffee a day, as some research indicates caffeine can be linked with miscarriage. Additionally, you may wish to consider what fizzy drinks you have, as these can also contain caffeine.

  4. Alcohol - The occasional glass of wine is not considered dangerous to you or your baby. However sustained, heavy drinking may lead to the baby suffering from developmental damage or brain damage.

    no smoking
  5. Smoking - There is no doubt that smoking harms you and your baby. This is a fact that no amount of debate will change; therefore quitting is the only way to protect you and your baby from the effects of smoking. Continuing to smoke through pregnancy increases the carbon monoxide in your blood, and therefore reduces the amount of oxygen in the baby's blood. This affects growth, leaves the baby at a higher risk of infections, and increases the risk of stillbirth and, after the birth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  6. Gentle exercise throughout the pregnancy will keep you fit and active. By stimulating your heart and lungs, you will be physically more prepared to cope with the physical strains of the delivery. This doesn't mean you have to run a marathon, but equally, don't vegetate unless you are physically unable to exercise. Even if your mobility is limited, there are ways of doing limited exercise, such as stretching.

  7. If you work, discuss your condition with your boss at work, as you may find you are less able to undertake physical activities as your pregnancy develops. Therefore negotiation of your role may be required. Also, if your journey to work is long or difficult, a more flexible working routine may be beneficial. Where possible, a nap after work is also helpful. Having rested you are more likely to feel fresher and more inclined to eat a meal.

  8. Visit the dentist - it's free! During pregnancy your gums will be softer and more prone to infection. Therefore increased flossing and at least one visit to the dental hygienist are likely to help prevent problems.

info More Information: Legal and Disciplinary Matters - Pregnancy

website Web site: NCT Pregnancy and Baby Care

website Web site: Babies Direct

website Web site: BBCi on Pregnancy

Whatever you choose to do, pregnancy is a good time to review the way you look after yourself, for example, your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle choices. However close discussion with your GP or Midwife is always recommended regarding all aspects of pregnancy.

planning birth

Planning For The Birth
Planning for the birth and the following days can be very helpful for your whole family. If it is your first, ensure your partner feels involved and not just a bystander. If it's your tenth, you will feel calmer knowing the emergency childcare is already organised, especially if your husband or partner is serving abroad. You may wish to plan ahead if your partner is due to be away for the due date. The Navy provides its personnel with the opportunity to have Confinement Leave to enable them to be present at the birth of their children. This is subject to the Service's needs, but early planning is likely to improve the chances of this being possible.

info More Information: Leave & Travel

Planning for the baby's arrival is more than just arranging childcare. What type of delivery would you prefer? Have you discussed options with your midwife? What about pain control? These are just a few points to consider before the event.

Making Birth Plans
Classes - ante-natal and post-natal groups - contact your GP or Midwife and discuss what types of classes are available to you. These can be a good source of information, and an enormous source of support, especially for those experiencing pregnancy alone.

Types of Delivery - There are numerous ways in which your baby can be born. You may wish to deliver the baby at home, or at hospital, a water birth or caesarean section.

Pain Control - Epidural, tens, massage, gas and air. There are numerous ways in which you can reduce the level of pain you experience. Discuss the options with your GP or Midwife.

info More Information: Legal and Disciplinary Matters - Pregnancy

website Web site: NCT Pregnancy and Baby Care

website Web site: Babies Direct

website Web site: BBCi on Pregnancy

Whatever you choose, it is important that you are clear with everyone regarding what you want. Things can move very fast when the baby begins to come and trying to explain your pain control preferences may be difficult when the pain is actually there.

stork sign

And Action Plans
As the birth approaches, you are likely to want to write some lists.

The first list, or plan, you may wish to consider is an action plan. Your partner is on the other side of the world. Your parents are hundreds of miles away and this is your second or third child, what do you do with the other children? Here's a checklist to consider:

  1. Who is going to have the children? Are they able to have the children at 3 am (babies do not always fit in with our busy schedules)?

  2. How are you going to get to hospital? Lift, taxi, and ambulance, it's highly unlikely that you will be safe to drive.

  3. Who is going to be with you during the birth - your partner is away and your family may not be able to get there in time. Therefore having an alternative birthing partner may provide you with much needed support as the birth approaches. This person needs to be someone who is close to you emotionally, and geographically, and is able to drop everything when the time comes, so select carefully.

  4. Do you have your Birth Plan? Explaining that you would prefer a water birth whilst panting through your contractions is somewhat difficult. If you have your preferences written down you can hand them to the medical staff on arrival. However you must note that not all preferences are possible at all times and the circumstances of the birth may dictate what happens.

  5. Contact list. Who do you want to inform of the birth? Having your mum's number programmed into your mobile will not be particularly useful when you are in hospital, as most hospitals do not allow mobile phones to be switched on inside the building. Therefore an old fashioned list of contacts with phone numbers may be more useful. Also, you will have just given birth therefore keep the list brief, or share it with a loved one, who can make the calls for you. You are likely to want to include your partner if he or she is away at sea, therefore Service Emergency numbers may also be helpful.

And afterwards
Who will look after the children whilst you're in hospital, can they get them to school etc?

How are you going to get home? This may be more complicated than booking a taxi. Thinking ahead can reduce the stress of the moment.

What now? Have you considered support networks for after the baby's born? Having a friend take the children to school in those early weeks may be a Godsend. Ensuring you have adult contact and emotional support is essential in the early weeks and months. Remember those you met at the Anti-Natal Classes. You may be an ideal source of support for one another; at least you are likely to understand each other's experiences!

Phone Icon Phone: 0870 444 8707 - Practical Breastfeeding Support

info More Information: Parenting Babies

info More Information: Dealing with the Stress of Parenthood

website Web site: BBCi - Having a Baby

website Web site: The Site - Pregnancy Advice

website Web site: Pregnancy and Giving Up Smoking

website Web site: Ask Baby - Parenting Website

website Web site: National Family & Parenting Institute

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