Dear newly pregnant mama,
The time between that stick turning blue and your first appointment with me can feel like absolute ages, so I wanted to share a few thoughts until I see you.
I am so excited for you
I promise the rest of this letter is about YOU, but I just want you to know that I am so excited for you. Midwifery isn’t my job—it’s my life. I have been in love with all things pregnancy and birth since I was a little girl. Seriously, instead of tea parties, I used to “deliver” my dolls’ babies. I am honored to guide you through your pregnancy and birth, and promise to take good care of you and your sweet baby.
It’s okay if you’re not overjoyed
TV shows and movies would have you believe that you must feel nothing but bliss at the thought of being pregnant right now. But it’s simply not true. If you’re feeling blissful that’s great, but it’s also okay if you’re not. Maybe you weren’t planning to become pregnant (almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, FYI, so you’re not alone.) Or maybe you’ve been trying for a while, and now that you’re pregnant, you’re suddenly having cold feet. Or maybe you’re simply overwhelmed by it all.
That is all okay, and normal. It doesn’t make you any less of a mom. You are a woman who is experiencing a tremendous change, that effects every aspect of your life. It only makes sense to be at least a little nervous. Be gentle with yourself. Take care of your body. The peace will come.
It’s also okay if you are beside yourself with joy right now
Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle, darling. Revel in the excitement of being pregnant. We moms gets so consumed with worry and planning that sometimes we forget to be excited and just in it. So if you’re feeling it, go ahead and glow. Rub your belly even though it’s still small. Talk to your baby. Daydream about their nursery. And above all, marvel at your amazingness—I do every day. 😊
Let’s talk prenatal timeline
The timeline will vary depending on your particular story and who you are getting care from. Generally speaking though, most women have their first prenatal visit around eight weeks—you can probably get in the schedule now if you want to make an appointment!
If everything is healthy, I’ll see you once every four weeks for a while, and then more frequently as you get closer to your due date. At that first visit I’ll help you figure out your due date, do a physical exam and probably some lab work to make sure you’re healthy. Check out some tips for giving your baby a great start.
Eight weeks is too early to hear the heartbeat with the doppler (the little machine we use to hear that oh-so-sweet-beat.) But starting in your second trimester, we’ll listen for the heartbeat each visit.
As your baby grows, I’ll use my hands to gently feel the baby’s position and size in your belly. There will be other tests throughout your pregnancy, but I’ll prep you for those as we go.
And because I know your curious—let’s talk about that first ultrasound 😀. The ultrasound schedule actually depends a lot on your story. We may recommend doing one at that first visit, or you may not get one until 12 or even 20 weeks (which is when we can tell the sex, by the way.)
Oh, those 1st trimester symptoms
They can be a total beast. Nausea, fatigue and breast pain are pretty common. The best things to do are rest and eat frequently—keep a container of saltines in the bathroom. Every time you go in there, eat a few. Snacking will help keep the nausea at bay. Most women feel a lot better around 14 weeks though, so hang in there. And if you have severe symptoms, like not being able to eat or drink for 24 hours, please come see me or go to the emergency room.
To the extent that your comfortable, learn about pregnancy and birth. Knowledge will allow you to give birth in awareness, make decisions along with your healthcare team, and (I believe) enable you to enjoy the whole process more. I highly suggest that you take a birth class—and I’d LOVE for you to take Motherly’s FREE Birth Class, taught by yours truly!
This is your pregnancy + birth
People are going to be so happy for you and very eager to share their thoughts and ideas. It’s well-intentioned, but can be overwhelming—very overwhelming. Please remember that this is your pregnancy and birth. Only you know what’s best for you and your baby. This is the start of parenting where you will make decisions every day about how to best take care of your baby (and yourself.)
Home birth or hospital birth, epidural or unmedicated, the list goes on and on. As much as you can, try to tune out the “noise” around you. Ground yourself in what you know to be true about your body and your baby, and go from there—your intuition won’t steer you wrong.
The word midwife means “with woman”—and I am so with you, mama. I can’t wait to meet you and hold your hand on this journey to meeting your baby. You’ve got this.
This post first appeared on Mother.ly