- Schedule a prenatal appointment. This should occur around week eight and will involve confirming the pregnancy and running preliminary tests. Healthy Women describes the steps to take in this article, “8 Weeks Pregnant: Preparing for Your First Prenatal Visit.”
- Check your health insurance’s pregnancy and family coverage. Expectant parents should consider the type of health plan that best fits their situation. Options include copay, coinsurance, and policies with deductibles. Parents should also factor in any potential out-of-pocket expenses. Learn more about health insurance policies for expectant mothers on PolicyGenius.
- Examine and change your diet. Expecting mothers need to be aware of what they are eating and drinking. Parents magazine provides a food safety guide for pregnant women that lets them know which foods they should and should not eat.
- Quit bad habits. Smoking, most drugs, and alcohol may cause severe, lasting damage to the fetus. Unfortunately, about one out of five mothers who consumed alcohol before becoming pregnant continues to do so after becoming pregnant, according to Parents magazine. Keeping up unhealthy habits is not worth the risk to the unborn child.
- Exercise regularly. Expectant mothers should look for local prenatal exercise classes and enjoy moderate exercise to benefit them and their babies. Speak to your healthcare provider to understand your physical limitations. Medical News Today offers “Exercise Tips for Pregnancy.”
- Learn about your employer’s maternity leave policy. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), parents can get up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child. Contact your employer to learn about its maternity leave policy and family benefits. Learn more at Parents magazine’s “Know Your FMLA Maternity Leave Rights.”
- Create a budget. Deciding to have a baby is an investment of time and money. Expecting parents should plan ahead for the expenses they will incur in the first year and beyond. NerdWallet’s “Budgeting for New Parents: From Day Care to College” is a great place to start your baby-budgeting research.
- Decide on birth details. Expecting parents should decide whether they would like an obstetrician-gynecologist or a midwife to deliver their child. Parents should also decide if they prefer delivering at home or in a hospital setting. Parents magazine’s “Should You Choose an Ob-Gyn or a Midwife?” presents the pros and cons of each option.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep. Expectant mothers are, in a sense, “sleeping for two.” That’s why they should get at least seven hours of sleep every night. One study found that cesarean sections were 4.5 times more likely to occur if first-time mothers got less than 6 hours of sleep per night. More information about the importance of sleep during pregnancy is in Live Science’s “Sleeping for Two: Sleep Changes During Pregnancy.”
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