I’M PREGNANT. NOW WHAT?

The best gift you can give your unborn baby is a healthy start in life. If you feel well and stay healthy, chances are your baby will too. Take good care of yourself by choosing the right caregiver, learning to work with your health care team and signing up for prenatal education, either online or through in-person classes.

 

When will my baby be born?

Pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks, but each woman and each pregnancy are unique. Click on this link to calculate your “due date,” but remember that this is only an estimate!

Pregnancy calendar

 

Some things to consider

Choosing a caregiver

One of the best ways to give your baby a healthy start in life is to get early, and ongoing, prenatal care. Family doctors, midwives and obstetricians all offer prenatal care (caring during pregnancy) and delivery of your baby.If you haven’t chosen a caregiver, here are some tips to help you find one:

  • Ask your friends.
  • Ask your family doctor if you are looking for a specialist.
  • Call your Health Region for a list of doctors taking new patients or visit www.abmidwives.ca to register for midwifery care.

To find a caregiver who matches your needs, you may want to meet before your first examination. Ensure you find a caregiver that listens to you, helps you explore your options, and supports your beliefs. Some questions you may want to ask:

  • Where will my baby be born (which hospital, midwife-run birth centre or your home)?
  • What are the basic routines and procedures that I can expect during my pregnancy?
  • Will you be attending the birth of my baby? (If not, who will?)
  • What are my choices during pregnancy and labour? Some tests and procedures are optional and will depend on the situation and your caregiver. You may want to discuss topics such as positions in labour and birth, labour support, medications, induction of labour and episiotomy.
  • What support will I have for breastfeeding?
  • Are there extra charges for your service that Alberta Health Care does not cover?

You may have other questions as well. You need to be able to talk to and trust your caregiver throughout your pregnancy. If you feel uncomfortable or hurried during your appointment or if you have questions or concerns say so.

Working with your health care team

Now that you are pregnant, you might be feeling excitement, anticipation and maybe even a little anxiety over all of the changes that pregnancy and your new baby will bring to your life. The new routine of prenatal care visits to your physician, ensuring that you eat well and get lots of rest, as well as the pressure of picking out baby names may at times feel overwhelming!

If you have a physical or mental illness, or a history of either, make sure your healthcare provider knows about your condition. Talk about how best to manage your illness throughout your pregnancy, including use of medications and other treatments.

Prenatal education

Classes: Sign up for in-person or online prenatal classes through www.birthandbabies.com

Resources: Go to Healthy Parents Healthy Children for comprehensive guides for pregnancy, birth and the early years. You can use the site directly on your phone, tablet or PC. In addition to the website, there are two books, Pregnancy & Birth and Early Years available from your healthcare provider, public health clinic or for download as PDF’s.

Cord blood donation

 

After the birth of your baby small amounts of blood remain in the umbilical cord . Medical research has discovered that this small amount of cord blood contains stem cells. Stem cells are immature building blocks of blood cells and can be important in treating disease such as certain types of cancers and immune disorders. The use of your child’s banked cord blood for their own use may be limited, your child’s stem cells may have the potential to progress to the disease being treated so cannot be used.  Although the future use of a child’s own banked cord in some chronic diseases is promising, further research is needed.Everyday more and more uses are being discovered for these stem cells.

You can store your baby’s umbilical cord blood with a private facility. This is kept for your use only. There is usually a registration fee, processing fee, and then yearly storage fees. The blood is typically stored for 18 years. Some areas offer options for public donation.

You generally need to register early, usually by your 34th week. You also need to talk to the health care provider who will be attending your birth as he/ she will carry out the collection procedure.