See that person to the left… That was me three years ago. Pregnant with my first child, green to the whole being pregnant thing myself, and doing what most women do… blindly listening to all the people in my life I trust when it came to pregnancy and childbirth.
I think we all look back and say… many I really wish I knew this, or that when I was pregnant with my first child… and I decided to put my most important, and regrettable things into a list… if it can help one woman, I really think I have done my job.
1. Interviewing providers, and hand picking a hospital, or birth facility that would be best for your is most important. You cannot blindly pick a hospital, or where ever your insurance gives you the green light to birth at. For most women there are more options, and interviewing providers will really eliminate any kind of conflicts you may have in late pregnancy, or even during delivery. It isn’t going to guarantee you a perfect birth, but knowing you put more thought than just asking your sister, or best girlfriend who she goes to will be a huge help.
2. Watch The Business of Being Born. I wish I had seen it before I had my first child, and not in the months afterward. I think that is what helped me to know that what happened during my son’s birth didn’t need to, and it helped me to help other woman avoid everything that I went through.
3. Take a childbirth education class! We see so many women, and couples in general skipping these classes, or opting for condensed one day speed courses, and then by the time the baby comes, most is forgotten, and all they learned goes out the window. Then they say well I wish I knew this, or that… but if they had really taken the time to become educated, and take a class that wasn’t going to interfere with the golf course, or girls night out, they may be in a better place… Heck, if my pediatrician who is expecting her first child can swing a full childbirth education course almost 12 weeks long, anyone can!
4. Read! – Skip the books that are going to scare you or try and make fun of pregnancy. What to expect while expecting scared the crap out of me, and if I had a penny for every woman who said the same thing to me, I would be a millionaire.
5. Breastfeeding is not a walk in the park, and your pediatrician may be absolutely no help. In fact many know very little about breastfeeding in general, and give out horrid breastfeeding advice. I went through that with my oldest son because they were constantly concerned about his weight gain. Never once was I told that the weight gain charts are actually based off of formula fed babies, which clearly makes a huge difference.
6. Your children will not be perfect no matter how hard you try as a parent. In those newborn days, there will be times you sit up at 3am frustrated, crying, and wondering what else you can do, and contemplating ways to escape. Don’t worry about it, and don’t think you are a bad parent… it happens to all of us. Although most of us aren’t as willing to share our negative thoughts, or experiences. And sometimes it only gets worse with age!
7. No matter how much you spend on cream to prevent stretch marks… if you are genetically going to get them, there is nothing that $75 oil made from the pee of a tiger is going to do. And there is no magic cream that will get rid of them after your child is born either. I was lucky enough not to get one stretch mark with my oldest, and by 20 weeks with my second, I was covered. Eh… they are just battle wounds that come with parenting, because they are only going to continue as your children get older. They can go along with the unpainted finger nails and bags under your eyes.
8. Make Dad be involved… In pregnancy, childbirth, diapers, you name it… he should be there right along side of you doing it too. No excuses!
9. Over 40% of labor inductions end in c-sections… Yes, that is a huge number… It happened to me with my first, and had I known the odds of a c-section, and that they were really THAT high… I would have never gone in for the induction.
10. Never take advice from internet due date forums. This is something new I have been watching, especially after my childbirth education training over the summer. So many women give out horridly bad, and outdated advice and first time mothers take it as some kind of gospel.