Whether you’re a first-time mom or pregnant with your third baby, your doctor probably has talked to you about what to eat and what to avoid, why exercise is important and what tests you’ll need.
But let’s face it, doctor’s visits are short, so there might be some things she’s overlooked.
Here are 10 things you should know to make sure you’ll have a healthy pregnancy and be prepared once your labor starts.
1. Your doctor works for you.
When you choose a doctor, you’re selecting that person to provide information and services much like you would hire a home contractor or a personal trainer. Of course the information is evidence-based, the services are premium and the cost is high, but it’s important to remember that ultimately you’re in charge of your pregnancy, labor and delivery and you have choices.
“It’s your job during pregnancy to become informed and your physician is there to be your guide,” said Jeanne Faulkner, a registered nurse in Portland, Ore., author of “Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby” and host of the Common Sense Pregnancy & Parenting podcast.
2. Don’t rely on a missed period.
Instead of rushing to make an appointment the minute you realize you missed your period, take a drug-store pregnancy test first. Then see your doctor to confirm the results and find out how far along you are. If your periods are usually irregular, you could actually be further along in your pregnancy than you think.
3. Pregnancy is normal.
“[Pregnancy] is probably the first time in your life that you’re going to your doctor for something that’s completely routine and normal,” said Dr. Brian Levine, a board-certified OB-GYN and fertility specialist, and the New York practice director for the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York City.
Although pregnancy in the U.S. is often viewed as a medical event or a condition that is difficult to manage and needs intervention, remember that your body is uniquely suited for it.
4. If you drank when you conceived, don’t stress.
Had one too many drinks the night you conceived? You’re not alone. Fifty percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended and chances are, many are a result of alcohol.