Fri. Feb 28th, 2020

Parenting Tips

From Parenting Coach Dr. Clarity

So You’re Pregnant! The Top Ten Tips for Preparing for Motherhood

14 min read
pregnant woman forming heart with her hand

So, You’re Pregnant – The Top Ten Tips for Preparing for Motherhood

You just found out you are pregnant, now what do you do? Whether you were planning on getting pregnant or it was a surprise, pregnancy is a fascinating stage in your life. Your body will be going through many different changes such as your belly getting bigger while your baby grows, your hormones are out of whack, and your heart to prepare the new baby inside of you. Usually, future mothers are preparing for their baby’s arrival by getting a nursery ready, but what should you do to prepare yourself for motherhood?

pregnant woman holding baby sneakers

Emotionally Preparing for Motherhood

Future mothers not only need to prepare physically for motherhood, but emotionally too as it is just as important. One of the biggest life occurrences is having a baby. Being emotionally prepared for motherhood will help you handle any stress that comes with having a new baby. While you are pregnant you will notice that your priorities will change, and this is very normal. You will go through many different emotions and with the tips below, it can prepare you emotionally on how to deal with them.

Emotionally Preparing for Baby

  1. Prepare a Plan – Having a plan before your baby arrives will lessen some of the stress.
    * Talk with your employer to make plans for your maternity leave.
    * Try to stock up on groceries and diapers.
    * Try to make a schedule for when the baby comes home.
  2. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself – All parents make mistakes.
    Perfect parents just doesn’t exist, so don’t be hard on yourself as you will make mistakes.
  3. While Pregnant Take Care of You – Take naps, get massages, and meditate. You want your body to be prepared for labor.
  4. Control Stress with Relationship – Pregnancy can cause stress with your partner. You need to be patient, talk about your fears, and try to control the stress with your relationship.
  5. Rely on Family and Friends – Rely and depend on your family and friends before and after the arrival of your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother.

While you are adjusting to being pregnant, you should take advantage of this time to take care of yourself before the baby arrives. Pregnancy and labor are emotionally draining for any woman. Anytime you feel overwhelmed, reach out to family and friends for support.

Birth and Motherhood Preparations

As soon as you find out you are pregnant, you should start preparing. You will want to find a gynecologist, a hospital, and a childbirth class. Learning as much information that you can will give you confidence.

  • Prioritize Yourself

There is no better time to prioritize yourself than when you are pregnant. This is the time when you should start eating healthier, exercising, and getting rest. The nine months will prepare you and your body for childbirth.

  • Childbirth Classes

Childbirth classes are recommended for all parents, especially new parents. Parents will learn how to have a healthy pregnancy and birth with the childbirth classes. You can check the hospital where you plan on delivering your baby to see if they are offering childbirth classes. Most hospitals offer childbirth classes along with teaching parents what they should expect at the hospital. They also give tours of the maternity floor, the nursery, and the birthing rooms.

  • Create a Birthing Plan

Future mothers should create a birthing plan. The birthing plan can be what you want to happen when you are in labor along with the type of birthing experience you are wanting to have. Your birthing plan can include:

  • Pain Management
  • Religion
  • Labor Participants (Spouse/Partner, Friends, Sibling)
  • After Labor Care
  • Preference for Baby Feeding
  • Avoid a Cesarean Delivery

Having a vaginal birth is safer than a cesarean delivery. Cesarean deliveries come with health issues and risks, which include:

  • Longer recovery
  • Infections
  • Dangerous bleeding
  • Surgery complications
  • Additional pain
  • Breastfeeding difficulties
  • Future cesareans deliveries
  • Health issues later
  • Anticipating the Arrival of Baby

Only five percent of babies are actually born on their due date, so don’t get worried if your baby doesn’t arrive on the due date. You will be tired of being pregnant during the last few weeks of your pregnancy, but you don’t want to have the doctor inducing you unless it is a medical emergency.

The Challenging Transition to Motherhood
Once your baby is born and you come home is not as easy as you may think. It can be very difficult for many women. Motherhood transitioning has to be done slowly.

Here are a few motherhood transitioning tips:

  • Make sure you have someone or a couple of people (Spouse/Partner, parent, and/or friend) to help you when you come home from the hospital. You will need help.
  • If you have pets, then you will need someone to help you care for your pets.
  • Accept meals that is offered from family and friends.
  • Sleep when you can. When your baby is sleeping, you need to sleep.
  • Be patient when you are trying to breastfeed. Some babies have a hard time breastfeeding.

What is a Cesarean Birth?

A cesarean birth or section is a surgery that is performed that will deliver your baby through your stomach. In 2017, there were 1,232,400 cesarean deliveries in the Untied States, and 2,621,020 vaginal deliveries. Cesarean births are increasing each year. In 2017, over 32% of births were cesareans. A vaginal birth is safer than a cesarean birth for the baby and the mother.

Why is a Cesarean Birth Performed?

Usually, a cesarean birth is performed because there are health risks for the baby and the mother. The most popular reason that a cesarean birth is performed is the labor isn’t progressing like it should. Here are a couple reasons why a cesarean birth is performed:

  1. The cervix isn’t dilating
  2. Baby isn’t moving downward in the birth canal
  3. The contractions aren’t strong
  4. The baby’s heart rate is dropping
  5. The mother or the baby is in danger

If your doctor wants to perform a cesarean birth because your labor isn’t moving fast, then you should ask your doctor what options do you have and do you have to have the cesarean birth. If there is no medical emergency, then you should ask to wait and have a vaginal birth.

Is a Cesarean Birth Dangerous?

A cesarean birth comes with more risks and health issues than a vaginal birth does. Some of the health issues and risks include:

  1. Infections
  2. Serious bleeding
  3. Added pain
  4. Recovery is longer
  5. Breastfeeding is harder
  6. Unable to hold your baby an hour or so after cesarean birth
  7. Problems for the baby
  8. Health issues later in life
  9. All births later may have to have a cesarean birth

A cesarean birth is a serious surgery, and you should only have a cesarean birth if you or your baby health is in danger.

Preventing a Cesarean Birth During Pregnancy

There are things that you can to prevent a cesarean birth during your pregnancy, which include:

  1. Try to find a gynecologist that has a lower rate in cesarean births. Midwives have the lowest cesarean birth rates.
  2. Choose a hospital that has a lower rate in cesarean births.
  3. Prior to your labor, talk with your doctor about how important it is for you to have a vaginal birth delivery. If your doctor provides you with answers that you are not comfortable with, then you can find a new doctor.
  4. You should never have your labor induced unless there is an emergency. If your labor is induced it can increase a cesarean birth chance. A cesarean birth with the first baby is usually twice as high if the mother is induced.

Preventing a Cesarean Birth During Labor

There are things a mother can do to prevent a cesarean birth during labor, which include:

  1. Never go to the hospital when you first start having contractions. You should wait until the contractions are strong and regular. You will be more comfortable at your home during this phase of labor, and if you go to the hospital too early, then you may be asked to go home and wait until the labor is stronger.
  2. Make sure you have your Lamaze coaches with you. They can assist you with breathing exercises along with providing comfort to you while you are in labor.
  3. Try to refrain from getting an epidural. Epidurals can cause you to have a cesarean birth. There are other ways that you can do to help ease the labor pain. You can relax in a warm tub or shower, and there are other medications that you can take besides having an epidural. Before you go into labor you need to learn all the techniques.
  4. A fetal monitoring could cause you to have a cesarean birth. Fetal monitoring measures the baby’s heart rate. If you are not having any issues, then you could request that there is no fetal monitoring. Most women prefer to have the fetal monitoring, because they like to make sure their baby’s heart rate is normal.

If Your Doctor Recommends a Cesarean Birth, What Should You Do?

What should you do if your doctor recommends a cesarean birth, and there isn’t a health emergency? You should ask your doctor these questions:

  1. Why are you recommending a cesarean birth?
  2. What are the risks for my baby and I with a cesarean birth?
  3. Besides a cesarean birth, what are my other options?
  4. Do I have to decide right now? Do I have time to think about it?

When you are in labor, you know it isn’t going to be easy. You should make sure you talk to your spouse, friends, and parents so they know that you want to prevent a cesarean birth.

Prepping for the Most Important Job in Your Life

You will never forget the day that you have your baby. Now, you have that little bundle of joy that you have anticipated for many weeks home. You are trying to adjust to the demands of your baby. Most mothers spend forty weeks trying to decide the color of the nursery and buying the perfect crib, but did you give any thought about you prepping for the most important job in your life? Your life is changing. We have provided very important tips to make the mommy role transition easier, which include:

  • Look for Depression Signs

If an immediate family member has suffered with postpartum depression (PPD), mental illness, and anxiety, then you are more likely to get PPD. Any mother is vulnerable for PPD, especially after you have delivered your baby. Your hormones are out of whack, you are still healing from the delivery, and you are operating on very little sleep. You can prevent PPD by eating fish at least a couple times a week while you are pregnant.

  • Asking for Assistance

Don’t feel like a failure if you need help when you bring your baby home. Ask your family and friends to help you. They can bring meals or come watch the baby while you take a nap or shower. Your friends and family members will love helping you.

  • Set Aside Time for Yourself

Every new mom needs to set aside time for themselves. Even if it is only for thirty minutes. You can go to a café and drink a cup of coffee or walk around the mall.

  • Connect with Other New Moms

Connecting with other new moms is a great way to let off steam or just ask questions. You can meet other new moms at yoga classes, church, or a mommy and me group.

  • Make Time with Your Partner

You and your partner will be very busy when your baby comes home. You should make time with your partner because you don’t want your relationship to suffer. You can watch a movie or just talk to one another every night for ten minutes. This will allow your partner and you to talk about frustrations, etc.

Stages of Labor

There isn’t any way that you can predict how your delivery will happen, but if you know the stages of labor it may make your delivery go much smoother.

The First Labor Stage

  • Early Labor Phase – This is the beginning of labor and it continues until the dilation of the cervix is a 3 centimeter.You don’t want to head to the hospital yet. Try to rest. Keep a time log of your contractions.
  • Very Active Labor Phase – Picks up at the dilation of the cervix is a 3 centimeter through the dilatation of the cervix is a 7 centimeter. You need to head to the hospital during this phase. Make sure you are doing your Lamaze breathing. The contractions are strong and can last up to a minute.
  • Transitioning Phase – Picks up at the dilation of the cervix is a 7 centimeter until a full dilation of a 10 centimeter. During the transitioning phase is when you will need to depend upon your support person. If you feel like you need to push, then let the doctor or nurses know. The contractions are very intense and strong. They can last up to two minutes, then you will get a thirty second up to a minute rest until the next contraction happens.

What You Should Do When Your Water Breaks

Your baby is in the amniotic sac and is surrounded by the amniotic fluid during your pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is an important factor as it will keep your baby protected, assist in your baby’s development, and keep the temperature stable. The amniotic sac can rupture before, beginning, or during labor. This is commonly known as ‘water breaking’.

What does it feel like when your water breaks? It could be a quick water gush or it may even be a slower leak. The leakage will continue until the birth of your baby. There is no smell, and the color is a light-yellow color. Some mothers don’t know if their water broke, because there was only a small trickle.

What to Expect After the Water Breaks?

You should document the time that your water broke. If you are having contractions at the same time, then you should document them too. Usually, labor will start once the water breaks. For most moms, the water will usually break after labor has started. When the water breaks before the mother goes into labor it is referred to as “Premature Rupture of Membranes” or (PROM). PROM only happens in 10% of women.

When Do You Go to the Hospital?

First, stay calm if your water breaks. You can call your doctor and ask when you should go to the hospital. If your water broke, but you aren’t having any contractions, you should contact your doctor immediately, or if your water breaks before you are thirty-seven weeks pregnant, then you should contact your doctor immediately.

Water Hasn’t Broke but Having Contractions

Your doctor will have you head to the hospital if your water hasn’t broken, but you are having contractions. Your doctor can rupture the amniotic sac when your doctor is giving you a vaginal exam to check how many centimeters you are dilated. This isn’t a painful thing. You will only feels a slight pull, then you will feel the water coming out.

What are Contractions?

Contractions will happen with the muscles of the uterine tightens and expands. The muscle contractions will help you push your baby down the birthing canal. Many mothers to be don’t know that there are different types of contractions.

Six Types of Contractions

  1. The Braxton Hicks Contractions: The Braxton Hicks contraction is a ‘warming up’ contraction. The English doctor Braxton Hicks is who this contraction was named after. You will feel a tightening with your uterus, and most women will feel this contraction in their stomach. Being tired or dehydrated can cause these contractions.
  2. First Sign of Labor Contractions: These contractions feel similar to menstrual cramps. They are usually 7-10 minutes apart. You should time these contractions. You don’t need to head to the hospital yet.
  3. Active Labor Contractions: Your contractions are coming faster and usually around 4-5 minutes apart. The contractions will last thirty seconds to a minute long. You should be heading to the hospital when you are in active labor. The active labor contractions are very painful and can be happening in the lower back and in the stomach.
  4. Transitioning Contractions: Transitioning contractions is when the cervix has dilated to an eight through ten. This is a very painful time during labor. The contractions are lasting approximately two minutes, and they are very painful. There will be a short time in between the contractions.
  5. Pushing Stage Contractions: The pushing stage contractions is when your contractions are intense and there is very little break between the contractions. When you are pushing it will wear you out. You need to stay calm, and before you know it, your baby will arrive.
  6. After Birth Contractions: The after-birth contractions occur after the baby has been born. The uterus will still be contracting. The after-birth contractions can continue a couple of days after the birth.

Bringing Baby Home

Bringing you baby home comes with new questions and fears for new mommies. What can a new mommy expect? A new mommy and daddy will face different challenges with their baby such as:

  • Introducing Baby to Pets: Pets will instantly sense that something different is happening when you bring your baby home. At first, you should not allow your dog or cat in the nursery. Doing this will establish boundaries, which allows your pet to get used to a baby living in the home. Parent’s should slowly let their pet sniff the baby. Parent’s need to stay calm. This will let your pet know to respect the baby. Don’t rush things. Give it time for your pet to get used to the new baby.
  • Babies Only Sleep Several Hours at a Time: Newborns only sleep a few hours at a time, and when your baby is sleeping, you should sleep too. You need to be fully rested for when your baby wakes up.
  • Developing Bond with Baby: It is very important for both parents to develop a bond with the baby. Parent’s can develop a bond with their baby by having skin-to-skin contact, always looking into the baby’s eyes, and responding to the baby’s cries and needs.
  • Create a Baby Schedule: It is important to create a baby schedule. You can schedule baths, nursing, and bedtime. If you stick to the schedule it will make life easier for you and your partner.
  • Have a Bedtime Routine: As soon as you bring your baby home you need to have a bedtime routine, so your baby will learn that nighttime is for sleeping. Of course, newborns will wake up several times throughout the night, but after feeding, the baby should go back to sleep. Parent’s should turn the lights down low and keep the television off.
  • Set Aside Thirty Minutes for Yourself: It is important that mommy’s set aside thirty minutes each day for themselves. You can take a bubble bath, talk to a friend, or any other favorite thing you enjoy doing.
  • Enjoy your Baby: Don’t let the stress get to you. There is no perfect parent. It is a learning experience that you will learn as you go. Don’t stress out. Enjoy your baby.

Future Mother’s Preparing Themselves for Motherhood
Many changes are coming and future mom’s need to prepare themselves for them, they include:

  • Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercising during your pregnancy will keep your weight gain under control. It will also lower back pain that is expected during pregnancy. Exercising during pregnancy will also boost your energy and enhance your moods. Exercising will also improve bone density. Pregnancy will draw calcium from your body, then take send it to the growing baby, which will cause your bones to become brittle. Just doing squats or lunges can keep your bones active along with keeping your bone density maintained.

  • Take Prenatal Vitamins

Your Obstetrician may recommend that you take prenatal vitamins is recommended to prepare your body for pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are designed to give your body the vitamins that your body needs while you are pregnant.

  • Eat Healthier

Eating healthier is essential. Mother’s to be should avoid any foods that are processed. You should eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Quit Smoking

If you are a smoker you should try to quit. You can ask your gynecologist ways to help you quit.


Every eight seconds in the United States a new baby is born. A new baby brings joy, happiness, fear, and many responsibilities. You have had nine months to prepare you for motherhood. This is a learning experience that you will enjoy every minute of every day.

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