We're pregnant; what do we do now?
October 6, 2009 8:57 PM   Subscribe

Simple (hahaha) question; We just found out that we're pregnant this morning, what do we need to do now?

Just this morning, we found out that we're pregnant (!), what do we need to do now? Prenatal vitamins, doctors appointments... what else? What did you do? I've read several lists that I've found on Google of what to buy and whatnot, but nothing about order to do things and what's MOST important.

I'm not talking about things to buy, specifically (although that's fine to include in your answer), but things to DO. Thank you so much, and wish me luck with my first!
posted by drleary to Health & Fitness (54 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Get What To Expect When You're Expecting. There's a reason that book is endlessly rec'd.

Have you guys been planning this for a while? If this was as adlibbed as it sounds, figure out your childcare options now, and it's never too soon to start looking if both of you plan to go back to work soon after the baby is born. Read up on breast milk vs. formula and don't let La Leche zombies guilt you into pumping every hour at the office because of breast milk's alleged IQ-boosting properties.

Get a subscription to a parenting magazine, though someone else on here is probably more knowledgeable about which ones are better than others. You don't need 80% of the shit touted in those magazines, though. Get either a bouncy chair or swing, not both.

Buddy up with friends and relatives who have kids a little older than yours who are willing to give hand-me-downs. Babies grow exponentially and all the cute newborn clothes you'll get at the baby shower will be too small by the second month. Also ask friends in your area for good pediatricians. Join a local parenting message board, ignore the crazy germophobes and helicopter parents, and scout out ads for free/discounted toys.

Don't tell random acquaintances the names you're considering (tell Metafilter instead!) because everyone knows a Claire they hated or an Uncle Matthew who was a drunk. Keep abreast of the most popular baby names in case you're worried about giving the kid a name that everyone else on the playground already has.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:10 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Plan, and then take, that amazing trip you've always dreamed of—three weeks in Tuscany? Kenyan safari? Motorcycles across the Outback? Because you're not going to get another chance for a looooonnng time.
posted by stargell at 9:10 PM on October 6, 2009 [8 favorites]

You might analyze your diet and make some changes. You'll likely want to cut out alcohol and cut down on coffee, junk food, etc. A good diet is one of the best investments you can make for your children, from conception right through their teenage years.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:13 PM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Well, congratulations! As redundant as it seems in an answer here, I would suggest you seek out the advice of any real-life friends who are also parents. You'll also be given a ton of advice by the doctor, and may be referred to a specialist or birth planner, who will of course have a ton of advice and literature for you.

Something I don't think too many people think of off the bat is checking your home for any chemicals which may be implicated in pregnancy problems. Have your water checked, perhaps the paint and pipes if it's an old house. Also take a good hard look at your diet and customary food choices; they'll be changing a lot, and some things may strike you as being not worth the health risk now, that were mere harmless indulgences yesterday.

I'd check with your employers to see what their policies are on leave, insurance, and that sort of thing; the earlier they know, the better you and they can plan for your sporadic absence over the next few months (and total absence for a bit after that).

Also, you may want to consult your parents to see if there are any complications or vulnerabilities which run in the family. These will probably be in the doctor's records anyway, but your parents may know things going another generation back (and you may want to ask their advice anyway).

Check in with local day cares/preschools - some of them (like the one I worked at) are so backed up for spots that people pre-register even before they're pregnant. You'll want to do some planning for when your child starts day care (infancy, toddlerhood, etc). The costs will also be something you'll want to plan.

That's all I can think of now, I'm sure others will chime in, and of course your doctor and specialist will be an excellent resource. Take your time, though, stress isn't good for baby! Congratulations (it's going to be great).
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:13 PM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I found What to Expect rather irritating, but that just might have been me. You can get all the info you need for now on line--just make sure you don't rely too heavily on any one source. Lots to choose from.

Prenatals, and don't forget the fish oil! Good for growing baby brains.

Relax and enjoy. Sleep. Go out for lots of dinners. Don't bother shopping until you're 5 or 6 months in. And yes, think about child care.

posted by Go Banana at 9:17 PM on October 6, 2009

If you didn't get this issue straightened out, now's as good a time as ever.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:22 PM on October 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

At the most basic level:

Buy any book except What To Expect When You're Expecting, which is a cesspool of needless fear, anxiety, and "OMG THAT CARROT WILL KILL YOUR FETUS!" Do not go there. I would suggest Penny Simkin's Pregnancy, Birth and the Newborn as a good all-rounder alternative at the early stages.

Call your PCP and let them know you have a positive pee stick. There is nothing they can test, scan or see you for right now except a blood test to confirm pregnancy if you want one, but they can advise you on when to book in for your first check-up at about 8 weeks.

Be aware that sadly there is a non-zero chance of miscarriage. I know, it's awful to say and sucks to hear, but people are generally cautious in the first trimester for this reason. Therefore, you may want to tread gently WRT telling people, planning baby showers, and buying magazines that will arrive monthly for some duration.

Basically, get a book, let your doctor know, relax as much as possible in the first tri, take prenatals, and start thinking now about healthcare providers for pregnancy. If you're in OK, you're in the heartland of midwifery care and will have many excellent options for pregnancy and birth care, including a standard OB if that's your preference.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:24 PM on October 6, 2009 [10 favorites]

okay, preface... i am not a parent not am i pregnant. just an over-preparer.

i loved what to expect...

BUT, i've read everywhere that when you read it you really need to take it with a train of salt.

it has tons of great info but prepares you for worst case scenario and will tell you like a thousand things that could possibly, somehow to some person somewhere in the world, go wrong. so - you know. if you are easy going - read it. if either of you are worry-worms... pick up a dif book!
posted by mittenbex at 9:28 PM on October 6, 2009

We live in Canada.

We went to our family doctor, who gave us a referral to a different GP in town who was licensed to deliver children (our doctor doesn't do that any more).

My wife went to this GP pretty regularly (once a week, I think, or once every two weeks).

The GP tracked my wife's weight, and did some blood work. She (the GP) also made sure my wife was not suffering from depression.

Tracking my wife's weight gain was the most important thing that happened.

Gestational diabetes is a not-insignificant issue. Basically, if the pregnant mother gains too much weight she can develop temporary, gestational diabetes, but this can have implications for the development of the baby - the baby is born too fat, and this can cause issues later in life.

The doctor tracked and monitored weight gain and made sure there were no problems.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:35 PM on October 6, 2009

Some women are *always* super-nauseous, especially at first. If so, be happy that the hormones are kicking in, but still, it's good to ask around about personal and idiosyncratic anti-nausea tricks. Here are some that worked for me:
1. ginger snaps by the truckload
2. The smell of mint. I carried a bar of mint-scented soap in my coat pocket all winter and took a whiff at necessary moments.
3. Tight bands on your wrists -- you can buy special ones, but I just used rubber bands.
posted by keener_sounds at 9:36 PM on October 6, 2009

What DarlingBri said + get on some daycare waitlists.
posted by k8t at 9:44 PM on October 6, 2009

DarlingBri has it all right. Call your doc, get a book or two (What to Expect is horrible; I also liked Simkins), relax, take some vitamins, avoid alcohol, eat sensibly. You don't say how far along you are but yeah, miscarriages can happen so if I were you I wouldn't buy the crib just yet, but I'm superstitious like that.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:48 PM on October 6, 2009

In America, you'll have monthly visits for awhile, then biweekly, then weekly. Your OB will guide you through. Ask friends for OB recs.
posted by k8t at 9:48 PM on October 6, 2009

And cripes, worrying about gestational diabetes NOW? Really, don't worry about that. Your doc will test you when the time comes and it's usually not til close to the 3rd tri.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:49 PM on October 6, 2009

This book is awesome. Looks lame but has some real good stuff inside if the hubby's a nerd.

Also, watch out for wack stuff with mum's body during the first trimester. If you're lucky, you'll sail through. If you're in the 95% of the rest, your sense of smell will turn into some sort of bizarre x-men power where you'll be able to predict how many days, hours and minutes any given jug of milk will take before it starts turning rotten, and you won't be able to enter public restrooms if they've been cleaned with lysol or other smelly disinfectant within the last 48 hours. I literally couldn't bring meat in to cook a steak while the wife was in her early months. And she's not a vegetarian - not by a long shot. Also, watch out with the pregnancy pills because they're fairly strong and the mother might have gut cramps. We found other pills, stuffed if I can remember the name of them but we got them from GNC, with lower iron - had to take 4 a day of those but they were a lot easier on the stomach. Definitely worthwhile.

We got "Healthy Sleep Habits - Happy Baby", very useful for learning how to establish sleep routines and environments conducive to sleep. And listen to the pediatrician, not people who cut corners by bulking up the baby's milk with rice cereal in order to stick to their ribs and make them sleep longer. Bullshit. Consider the baby's health during its early years first, your own comfort second. Run your baby duties as a tag team. Make the hubby participate. I took almost two months off piggy-backing on the wife's maternity leave to give HER a chance to reintegrate with society.

Finally, get a lot of bottles and a coupla Diaper Genie IIs - we still use ours and our kid's 2 1/2. The bottles we used are Playtex Ventaire - the Drop-Ins are shite (IMO), but Ventaire are great and lasted for ever.

The first time round, play everything by the book. Next time round, if it happens, will be easier and by then you'll have learned your own tricks on how to do stuff based on your own lifestyles and learning your own limits. Congrats and welcome to the next level! (lights flash, bells ding and score counts upward into the millions)
posted by tra at 9:54 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

FWIW, women have been having babies forever. It isn't as nerve wracking to be pregnant as you'd think.
posted by k8t at 9:55 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

And try not to freak out about doing something wrong! I remember a preg friend calling me in a panic after reading the ingredients in a box of cereal and realized she'd eaten food additives. (This is why "What to Expect" is a pain.) I think it was Adam Gopnik who wrote about his wife's pregnancy when they were in France, where pregnant women were expected to have a few sips of wine with dinner but never to have a bite of salad. The point is that a lot of the most rigid rules (when you follow them too anxiously) are really culture-specific ways of trying to control the part of life that makes you feel the *most* out of control. So relax (but oh God, don't use oven cleaner! LOL, but really.)
Good: start swimming.
posted by keener_sounds at 9:57 PM on October 6, 2009

Welp, I guess I'm the only who votes for What to Expect. Is this like how in high school you love books like Catcher in the Rye and then you get to college and everyone is like "oh god that book is lame."

Also, and I say this as a nanny who sees first-time parents a whole lot, you will laugh at how overly cautious you were with your first kid, especially if you two wind up having more kids down the road. With the first baby, parents boil pacifiers that touched the floor and only buy organic fruit to make homemade baby food. They think any time the baby touches his ear it's an ear infection (maybe an ear worm!) and their diaper bags weigh more than the baby because it has a first aid kit. It's fine to be anxious parents, certainly better than remiss ones, but call your own mom and dad if you suspect you're overthinking something, and then compromise between your conclusions and theirs. Those guys came from the "eh, let 'em chew on boxes and climb out of the crib" school of parenting and they think you're nuts for not feeding the baby tabasco sauce and almonds fresh out of the womb.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:00 PM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

re tra. I (and all my parent friends) have no Diaper Genie. My fam only needs 4 bottles.

and this is why all gear/stuff recs are to be taken with a grain of salt. Everything baby-related is YMMV. You have 8 months. Sign up for craigslist kid/baby RSS feed and learn the going rate for stuff. Buy it all used (except carseat) and if junior doesn't dig it, resell for what you bought it for.
posted by k8t at 10:01 PM on October 6, 2009

Follow no one book/site/advisor religiously -- take what works for you from multiple sources. "What to Expect" is a pretty good all-round resource, imho, but "treat yourself to a sweet treat once a month?" I don't think so.

Don't tell anyone except those you absolutely MUST tell (ma&pa, etc.) about it until the end of the first trimester. Miscarriage is not common, but definitely needs to be considered. Having experienced both early miscarriage and late-term stillbirth, it's a helluva lot easier to deal with if you don't have to explain to folks that the baby they're asking about didn't survive.

Stay healthy -- good eating, lots of rest, exercise, cut back on the bad things (caffeine, etc.). Ms Liquado cut out peanuts because there were allergic tendencies towards them in her family. Prenatal vitamins, folic acid, and fish oil are all good things.

Take pictures. You'll love to be able to see progress in the growth of your child in utero, and the changes in your partner's shape.

Talk about names. I'm partial to the "unique but not weird" approach for names, and, generally speaking, many of my friends (and I included) suggest avoiding the temptation to use alternative spellings for common names.

Start thinking about wills and life insurance that reflect being able to care for your child in the future. There's no rush, but it's good to have on the radar.

And enjoy it. We went through four pregnancies total, and though there were times of heavy hearts, we still remember so many of the stupid/funny/annoying/awkward parts of being pregnant, and find joy in them. Have fun!
posted by liquado at 10:06 PM on October 6, 2009

First off, congratulations! Don't expect a doctor to even want to talk to you until 6-8 weeks. Until then, try not to share your news with everyone, because it's really too soon to know what is up with the pregnancy. It's generally a good idea to wait until the 3rd trimester (13 weeks) before you make your announcement. In the meantime, get lots of sleep (you're going to be very tired). I wish you the best.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:12 PM on October 6, 2009

...Actually, I guess 13 weeks is the second trimester - but still - try and wait that long before telling everyone...then you're pretty much out of the woods.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:14 PM on October 6, 2009

eat well, take your vitamins, get some sleep, wait till the end of the first trimester to tell people.
We didn't buy anything baby related till the last month, there was no need.

We got a book that I read to our baby when she was still in her mom's belly. It was a nice ritual at our bed time. (Pat the bunny / sleepy bunny)

Check out your insurance.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:17 PM on October 6, 2009

Start a journal. You certainly won't have any trouble finding things to write about as you go through a life changing experience the likes of which you've never experienced before! And wow is that putting it mildly. Imagine what it would be like, years from now (or maybe even decades from now) to go back and read such a journal. Imagine what it would be like to share the journal with your child.

P.S. Congrats!
posted by 2oh1 at 10:33 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Firstly, congratulations. Secondly, relax.

You'll get lots of gratuitous advice, take it for what it's worth. Just remember to wear sunscreen.

The only thing you need to do is speak to your doctor.

If you (your missues) wants, take one of those off the shelf pregnancy and breastfeeding multivitamins (though if you have a healthy diet they're largely superfluous).

Beyond that, relax, it's a nine month haul.

Talking about shared standards for difficult decisions before they have to be made is something I would advise, but you two know better than any random internet person can tell you. But even so, I wouldn't go mentioning the pregnancy too widely until the end of the first trimester, the overwhelming majority of spontaneous abortions happen before then, and the first untrasound all-clear is often important.

We weren't too offended by "What to expect when you're expecting", found it useful actually, but it clearly rubs some people up the wrong way.
posted by wilful at 10:47 PM on October 6, 2009

I would recommend "The Expectant Father." That helped me understand a lot of the body and mood changes my wife went through the first time we got pregnant.

And as someone else suggested above, do some stuff that you have been wanting to do but putting away, be it travel, home improvement, or whatever. You won't get another chance for a while.
posted by hariya at 11:06 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another person that hated "What to Expect...", it's pretty polarising. I agree with previous suggestions of - relax, call your doctor to schedule an appointment at the 6-8 week mark, don't tell everyone yet. I disagree with some previous suggestions and instead say - don't start making plans, buying stuff or subscribing to magazines (magazines?! the internet is far better anyway). Concentrate on yourselves for now. Read up on pregnancy, enjoy this time and focus on each other. There is plenty of time still to prepare for the baby. I guess the only exception would be childcare, if you both plan to work. Depressingly long wait times, so just start researching your options online a bit to see the lay of the land in your area.
posted by Joh at 11:27 PM on October 6, 2009

zoomorphic: Welp, I guess I'm the only who votes for What to Expect. Is this like how in high school you love books like Catcher in the Rye and then you get to college and everyone is like "oh god that book is lame.".

No. This is about any number of people:

a) Hating its approach of "a bible for every worst-case scenario imaginable" which I think is an entirely accurate description of it.

b) Being suspicious of a book that is less of a book and more of a megacorp, with What to Expect Eating Well, What to Expect Pregnancy Planner, What to Expect Before You're Expecting, What to Expect in the First Year, What to Expect Toddlers, What to Expect for Fathers... the list goes on and on and on. It's the Wal*Mart of pregnancy books.

There's no denying it's very popular, but there really are better books out there.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:35 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

You (well, the pregnant one of you) are approximately two to four weeks away from having morning sickness (which can include debilitating fatigue) rear its ugly head. So if there's something you want to get done before six weeks of gut-churning puke-and-snooze kicks in, like a short trip or something, now would be a good time.

Also, the thing about your sense of smell suddenly getting ridiculously stronger is no joke. About two months from now you will be Wolverine. And thanks to the hormone changes, you'll even get his body hair too, in a few more months.

Congrats! :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 12:24 AM on October 7, 2009


I'd strongly suggest you keep quiet until 12 weeks, and try to keep excitement, plans and expectations to an absolute minimum until then. I don't want to rain on your parade, but something like 25% of pregnancies don't go past the first six weeks; it's just nature's way of helping to ensure that you get a good one. Mrs. M and I have lost 3 embryos (our second child is due in a couple of months now), and although it's not a nice experience, taking a common-sense approach and not becoming too emotionally invested early on was the best thing we could have done. By twelve weeks, rates of miscarriage plummet and it's relatively safe to start planning your life as a family.

This is a good time for romantic meals out, holidays and sleeping in.

Health-wise, pregnancy vitamins are about the only thing worth adding. But the best advice of all is to relax, eat well, and ignore all but the most straightforward advice.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:40 AM on October 7, 2009

I'm going to take the minority opinion and say, sit around, don't do anything differently unless mom's a crackhead. If she is, she should stop doing that. Take prenatal vitamins. Don't get drunk. Try to avoid plutonium. Avoid pregnancy websites, and What to Expect.

That's about it.

That's just me, though.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:44 AM on October 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Except litter box changing! Pregnant ladies don't have to change kitty litter! Yay for pregnant ladies!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:45 AM on October 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Sleep as much as you want. It might be most of the time.
posted by debbie_ann at 3:49 AM on October 7, 2009

This is also fascinating if you want to know exactly what's going on inside.

nthing the "hold off on telling everyone."
posted by stargell at 5:05 AM on October 7, 2009

nthing holding off telling everyone.

And relax. You all have quite a few months to go. Get prenatal vitamins and take them. Easy up on the coffee (1 cup a day should be plenty). Eat healthy foods that are vitamin rich. Stock up on some ginger candy and ginger tea for when the nausea hits.

I remember feeling pretty proud of myself during these first few months for how well I was doing--eating right, taking care of myself--until someone reminded me that being a good mother at this point was as easy as 1) take a prenatal vitamin, and 2) don't smoke crack.

posted by jeanmari at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2009

DAY CARE. Start thinking about it now.

We live in Canada. We signed up our daughter for day care about three months into the pregnancy. The day care centers in Quebec have up to two year waiting lists, so we signed up for a lot of day care centers. That really paid off when she was old enough to go to one.

In a lot of places, there aren't enough day care centers to go around.

Even if you think you want to take care of your kid at home, it's worth the effort to plan ahead.
posted by musofire at 5:38 AM on October 7, 2009

Take pictures of your belly growing
posted by jasondigitized at 5:40 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by lester at 5:43 AM on October 7, 2009

I really don't know what everyone's big gripe about What to Expect... is.

I'm pregnant right now, and I have enjoyed the book, finding it quite useful. It's pretty comprehensive, and serves to replace most desires I might have to look things up on the internet--which is probably for the best. Pregnancy is a bit of a mystery your first time, after all.

People say the book fear-mongers, but I would rather have all that info in one digestible package than not at all. Some people worry too much when they read some of the possible complications and whatnot, but I like to feel prepared for whatever life might throw me. In that sense, it's been quite helpful.

I would check it out if I were you. I was a bit hesitant with all the bad press it gets around askme, but a friend offered me her old copy, so I decided to take it. If you don't know how to read anything with a grain of salt, including this book, you probably shouldn't read anything at all.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:44 AM on October 7, 2009

Oh, and if you want a midwife, I would suggest calling them now. They are in high-demand these days!
posted by sunshinesky at 5:44 AM on October 7, 2009

One biggie that I don't see mentioned here: read up on different styles of pregnancy management/delivery-and-birth, and interview at least a few different GPs/OBs/midwives before you finally choose a care provider.

I didn't do this (went with the doc whose office was closest) and ended up having to switch docs 2/3 of the way through, the incompatibilities were so bad. Turns out they're not all the same; there are HUGE differences from practice to practice. I still really regret the way those first few months were managed.

If you're already going to a GP or gyno, don't assume you have to use him/her for the pregnancy, too. It's worth going to a little effort to make sure you're looked after by someone who's on the same page.
posted by Bardolph at 6:01 AM on October 7, 2009

Question everything. Being pregnant and receiving unscientific advice go hand in hand.

What to Expect is research-free garbage (better); it may seem 'comprehensive' but of what value is neatly organized information that is not accurate?

You do not need bottles or Diaper Genies and there are a number of useful Ask threads on that sort of thing. "Parenting magazines" are mostly just advertising. You can drink lightly.

DO consider a midwife and a home birth or at least a midwife, and look for a midwife straightaway as already suggested. Really, today is not too soon.
posted by kmennie at 6:05 AM on October 7, 2009

Yeah, don't do anything but eat lots of nice foods and have sex if you feel like it, and chill out. At least for a week or so.

Yeah, avoid plutonium.

If you are the dad, don't eat stuff the mom can't eat around her! And encourage her to rest by taking over some of her chores.
posted by kathrineg at 6:11 AM on October 7, 2009

Basically, if the pregnant mother gains too much weight she can develop temporary, gestational diabetes, but this can have implications for the development of the baby - the baby is born too fat, and this can cause issues later in life.

I must have had gestational diabetes in a bizarro universe, because I didn't get it from gaining too much weight during my pregnancy, my baby wasn't born "too fat", and so far neither of us has experienced any issues that can be attributed to it.

OP: Eat healthily, exercise, and understand that if you decide to splice parenting with the Internet, you're going to read a lot of conflicting opinion.
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:27 AM on October 7, 2009

This is a fun week-by-week account of a then-pregnant woman, Amy Storch. No nonsense.
posted by n'muakolo at 6:30 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Congratulations! You probably don't have any idea what you've just signed up for. But, don't worry, it only seems hard at first.

I don't want to be a buzzkill, but please please please please go get genetic testing for the most common genetic issues. The one most doctors will test for is Cystic Fibrosis. If both you and your wife are carriers of the CF gene (1 on 30 are carriers), you have a 25% chance of having a child with CF.

If you are a Ashkenazi Jew, then you should also get tested for Tay-Sachs disease, Canavan disease, Fanconi anemia, Neimann-Pick disease, and Gaucher disease.

Start sleeping in more. You will not be able to sleep in for many, many years.
posted by camworld at 6:38 AM on October 7, 2009

Don't listen to anyone that says "this is the only way to do it" or "this is unmitigated crap" or any other pronouncements that are so final. There are very few things during pregnancy and childcare that are unequivocally wrong, and those will be obvious to you.

for every book/product/way of delivering the child etc. there will be extremely vocal and persuasive arguments coming from all directions. Consider most and think about what fits into your life the best. Keep an open mind.

Realise that a lot of stuff will be completely over your head *and that's OK*. You will muddle through and the baby will be fine. (example: our kiddo was 100% breast fed until 7mo - and weaned herself at 12mo -, and I still don't know what "feeding on demand" is. She never demanded, she never seemed interested until I suggested it. And she put on weight steadily etc.)

Finally, congratulations!
posted by gaspode at 6:43 AM on October 7, 2009

2nd the Guardian article!

Fish Oil??? Please. There are plenty of studies that show a benefit of eating oily fish. There are no peer reviewed double blind studies that show fish oil PILLS have any benefit.
posted by lamby at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2009

If I could do it again, I would STAY.OUT.OF.THE.HOSPITAL. I'd have found me a Certified Professional Midwife and would have had the homebirth I wanted.

It would be a very good thing for you to visit the ICAN webpage during your pregnancy. Learn how to prevent a c-section now. Learn how c-sections affect women, affect babies, and affect nursing. ICAN is trying to make an effort to reach women before they are cut. Unfortunately, most of us end up there afterward. And then we have to fight, fight, fight, fight, and fight for the right to a normal birth after. Believe me, you do not want to be in this position. I'd take a fourth degree tear over the c-section any day because at least with the tear, during a second pregnancy, no one would be signing me up for a c-section at my first prenatal visit. Please, please, please go there.

Also read up on Optimum Fetal Positioning here and at Spinning Babies --- mostly useful in the second and later trimesters.

And just to reiterate, provided your pregnancy is normal and healthy, I really recommend STAYING OUT OF THE HOSPITAL for your birth.
posted by zizzle at 6:58 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Exhausted yet?

Now run away from the internet! Run! Fast as you can!

And congratulations!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:09 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

As the husband of a pregnant woman, I'll share what I have learned as best I can.

First thing I learned, and you probably know by know, is that by the time you find out you're pregnant, you're actually 2 or 3 weeks into it. Apparently 40 weeks is a count from your last period, not from conception. You all know this, but I did not!

My wife and I enjoy What to Expect, but we don't read it like a bible. I just like the parts that say what's going on with the baby at each week. I know I can find it anywhere, but I like it there. I guess years of looking at things on the internet have taught me to not treat any word as truth without researching first. Anyway, it's fun how they compare the size of the fetus/embryo to food. I enjoy that. Weekly emails from babycenter.com are nice reminders and seem to echo the information I like to read out of what to expect. Maybe they're from the same conglomerate?

Here's something else I learned. When you tell your parents, even though it's your dad's birthday and even though the idea of giving him an "I love my grandpa" frame with the ultrasound in it sounds good, do not do this or your mother will get upset and obsess over the lack of grandma love represented in the frame.

Check out daycare, but also be ready to consider that it might cost less to have one of you not work.
posted by bDiddy at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2009

I can not say this enough: get a doula. It doesn't matter if you birth in a hospital, or at home or out in the woods. A doula is there to support *both* parents and to act as a liaison to any medical/midwifery staff. A good doula will make your entire labor a better experience, and you need to start interviewing fairly early.

Screw What To Expect. I mean sure, after people give you 10thousand copies, flip through it. But be prepared to be terrified and appalled at what they perceive to be "normal" for pregnancy.

Think about what kind of chilbirth classes you'll want to do, and speak to the instructors. I did hypnobirthing and took a birthing from within class. If you are all for the planned c-section, then I suppose you don't need to bother.

I think it's a great idea to take that vacation you won't be able to take later, but I suggest waiting until mid-second trimester. I felt like hell (nauseated/bloated/peeing ALL DAY) during my first and third trimesters. Most of my friends say they felt best in the second trimester.

Women are made to do this, and really you don't need to do much or get much. This is all so natural. I find it a bit freakish that everyone is so big on hospitals and doctors, and it seems that (in America, at least), the doctor is The Birthing God and you do whatever they say. Listen to your doctor/midwife, but you have the last say. You don't actually have to do any internal exams, you don't need the tests (assuming you were previously healthy), the c-section is rarely an emergency, and you know yourselves better than anyone. This is up to you, and the doctor works for you.

It'll be fantastic, and (I reluctantly admit) pregnancy sex is awesome.
posted by Lullen at 6:22 PM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wish I could edit posts! I want to say that I agree 100% with zizzle. I didn't birth in a hospital (could you tell) and the only way you could get me into a hospital was to drag me by the hair. I've been at hospital births and I've had and witnessed home and FSBC births. The difference is drastic and sad. Don't let anyone push you guys into anything, especially medically speaking.
posted by Lullen at 6:24 PM on October 7, 2009

Congratulations! I don't know anything about babies, but here's something my mom did that I know I sure will do if I have children:

Buy everything second hand or get hand-me-downs.

Even though we probably could have afforded new stuff, everything I wore/played with as a child was second hand and can say from experience kids have no idea/don't care. Getting a plastic bag of 20 random toys from a garage sale was way cooler than a brand new Barbie. My mom watches my cousin's son now, and we've gotten tons of cool stuff from strollers to feeding chairs to clothes from Goodwill.

Kids are expensive. Save where you can.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 6:43 PM on October 7, 2009

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