How to have a healthy pregnancy from the early stages to birth.
Congratulations on your baby-to-be! After those early days of excitement upon pregnancy confirmation, you’re starting to navigate the road ahead — from the first trimester to labor and delivery. Unsure about what to do in early pregnancy, what red flags to watch for or how to make a birth plan? We’ve rounded up the best My Southern Health advice on having a healthy pregnancy to help guide you through this exciting time.
For parents-to-be, early pregnancy can be both a time for celebration and also a bit of confusion as you navigate the care you and your growing baby require. Ease any early pregnancy jitters by focusing on the things you can control. Here’s how to tackle that first trimester:
- Schedule those important first trimester tests. And get your flu shot if you haven’t already.
- Adhere to these do’s and don’ts to keep your baby safe from foodborne illness and other dangers, like fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Keep yourself comfortable if you’re pregnant in the heat of a mid-South summer, and talk with your health care provider regarding clearance and prep for planned international travel during your pregnancy.
- Get noninvasive prenatal genetic testing if you’re concerned about common genetic conditions.
The hope is for every pregnancy to go smoothly, but sometimes issues and concerns crop up. Learn how to watch for red flags and take action or seek resources for a healthy pregnancy when necessary.
- Seek relief for extreme morning sickness, Hyperemesis gravidarum. Your health care provider can offer solutions for balancing electrolytes and keeping you hydrated.
- Get assessed for hypertension, and learn your risk factors for developing preeclampsia so you can take preventive steps.
- Know your risk for developing gestational diabetes, and follow your health care provider’s recommendations regarding diet and exercise.
- Get the support you need if you’ve had a miscarriage by finding answers to common questions and accessing grief and counseling resources.
Birth plans and other prep
Pregnancy offers a time to plan and prep for labor and delivery. Whether you want a low-intervention birth or are expecting a C-section, these tips can help you prepare for the big event.
- Make a birth plan that includes your preferences for pain management, who will be on your labor support team and any special equipment or requests. Plus, consider contingency choices for when things don’t go as predicted. Follow our My Southern Health list to include everything you need.
- Learn about midwifery, and decide if you’d like to enlist the help of a midwife who can support you through pregnancy, labor and delivery. Here are the benefits.
- Reduce your chances of having a C-section, if you want to avoid one, by considering these five facts. If you are having a C-section, learn about family-centered options. And find out what having a C-section now means for future births.
- Prepare for the differences in having multiples if you’re expecting more than one little one to join your family.
Labor and delivery
Eventually, it will be time for your baby to enter the world. The labor and delivery process can seem daunting, especially since there are often a lot of unknowns. Plus, things don’t always go according to plan. But these tips can help you prepare and be ready for any surprises.
- Know the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and those that signal you’re in labor.
- Prepare for those early hours of labor with our guide to staying comfortable at home before you enter active labor.
- Find out how a breech baby may affect your birth plan and what to expect with an external cephalic version to get your baby to turn.
At Vanderbilt, we know childbirth is a special experience. We take exceptionally good care of your baby’s health and yours, no matter what kind of birth you experience, so you can focus on the joy of your new arrival. To talk with our labor and delivery experts, call Vanderbilt Women’s Health at 615-343-5700.