Although it has been a tumultuous two years, bringing new babies into the world remains an exciting aspect of care provided at Lutheran Medical Center. Nine months or 40 weeks may seem like a long time to prepare for the arrival of a new addition to your family, but there are several things to consider before you make a list of baby names.
Pregnancy can be both a joyful and stressful time in the life of parents-to-be. The experience can be more positive if you follow the motto, “Be prepared.” Having the appropriate prenatal care from healthcare providers (and reading up on what to expect) enhances this journey and provides you with knowledge along the way. My favorite resource is “The Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy.” Whether you choose the care of a midwife or obstetrician, medical care before, during, and after pregnancy often reduces risks to both mom and baby.
Prior to pregnancy, or as early as possible during the pregnancy, it is important to optimize your health. You probably know many of the basics: stop smoking, stop using alcohol and marijuana, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects, also known as spina bifida.
As you get further into your pregnancy, sign up for prenatal classes for you and your partner to learn about the delivery process and how to care for your new bundle of joy. Consider breastfeeding, which offers convenience, cost savings, and great health benefits for both mom and baby. A lactation consultant is an important resource to support success in breastfeeding.
There are also choices regarding your birth experience, including natural childbirth, epidural anesthesia or, in certain cases, a planned Cesarean birth. Take the opportunity to discuss a birth plan with your obstetric care team, including your support person(s), doctor or midwife, and labor and delivery nurse. Understand that birth is an exciting experience, but it is often dynamic and unpredictable, so sometimes the baby makes the birth plan for you!
While the nesting instinct is prompting you to prepare the nursery, don’t forget to choose a pediatrician to care for your new bundle of joy. Register for your preferred daycare or preschool, as many have waitlists. Consider adding your baby to the Broncos season ticket wait list while you are at it!
Dr. Lindsay Eun is an OB/Gyn physician at Lutheran Medical Center.