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Examiner
  • Prepping for the biggest day of your life

  • Arguably the two biggest days of one’s life tend to be wedding days and the birth of a child-particularly the first child. Typically, couples spend quite a bit more time getting ready for the former than the latter. An entire industry has evolved around wedding planning, while less attention is given to births.

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  • Arguably the two biggest days of one’s life tend to be wedding days and the birth of a child-particularly the first child. Typically, couples spend quite a bit more time getting ready for the former than the latter. An entire industry has evolved around wedding planning, while less attention is given to births.
    Perhaps this perception is due to the more intimate nature of the birth experience, primarily involving the mother, her partner and doctor, but it is certainly one experience that lasts long past “the big day.”
    While marriages are life-changing, as a mother of two, I can tell you without hesitation the introduction of a baby into your life takes that notion to another level.
    For those of you who are expecting, or know someone close to you who is, I’d like to make my pitch for the importance of preparing bodies and minds for that big day.
    First off, make plans to attend prenatal classes. These will go a long way in alleviating anxieties expectant couples have about pregnancy. Women who learn about birth ahead of time often have a better understanding about what’s going on with their bodies throughout their pregnancies and have more control over the type of birthing experience they’d prefer. The Birthing Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center offers a variety of prenatal classes to help expecting parents prepare for the arrival of their little ones.
    During prenatal classes, couples are taught about the stages of labor, options for pain management, breathing techniques and medical equipment that may be used during delivery. It’s recommended expecting parents sign up for these classes at about 20 weeks into pregnancy to get the most benefit.
    Nutrition and exercise play a big part in getting one’s body ready to deliver a baby. In fact, nutrition and exercise should be priorities even earlier, when trying to conceive. Begin taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins as your doctor recommends.
    Maintain a healthy weight. This doesn’t mean going on a “diet.” What’s healthy in terms of weight during pregnancy varies from woman to woman. Your doctor will be able to let you know if you’re going in the right direction.
    Try to get more lean protein into your diet, especially first-time moms. Eat more leafy greens and bright colored vegetables. Foods with vitamins A, C and K will help boost your blood circulation. Get some “good” fats, such as those from flaxseed oil and avocados. Drink more water and less liquids containing caffeine. Caffeine can dehydrate you and dehydration is one cause of pre-term labor.
    Regular exercise is beneficial but pregnancy is no time to start an aggressive program. Still, like an athlete, you are training nine months for this event. Walking and other low-impact exercises to strengthen the muscles you’ll be using is advised-unless you are tired or are having heart palpitations. Yoga is a growing favorite with the moms-to-be crowd. Movement allows your joints and muscles to maintain their range of motion and function, which could save you some pain during labor.
    Page 2 of 2 - Try to make a point to change position every hour or so as your pregnancy progresses. A recent study suggests nearly three-fourths of all pregnancies come with back pain. Use pillows or a yoga ball and try to avoid remaining flat on your back as this can decrease blood supply. Hot and cold therapy can be good for pain areas as well as massage and other relaxation techniques, such as warm baths before bed.
    Finally, rest. Resist the urge to go nonstop when you’re expecting. Take naps; get plenty of sleep; there won’t be many chances for catching some shut eye after the baby arrives.
    Anna Rosetti is a Labor and Delivery Nurse and Childbirth Educator in the Birthing Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center. She can be reached at 816-655-5574.
     
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