10 Things To Do During Your Pregnancy and LaborPor Consumer Reports -
Talk to your doctor about these 10 things to do during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. They’ll help you – and your baby – get off to a healthy start.
1. Learn your due date
If you aren't sure when you conceived your baby or had your last period, get an ultrasound early in your pregnancy. This will tell you when your baby is due.
2. Stay Healthy
Take prenatal vitamins. Avoid risky habits like drinking and smoking. Take control of chronic diseases. Use caution with medicines. Stay away from toxins like lead and mercury.
3. Make a birth plan
Write down your birth plan, and share it with your health care providers and hospital staff. And – have a backup plan in mind in case things don’t go as planned.
4. Consider using a midwife and doula
If your pregnancy is low-risk, consider using a certified midwife for prenatal appointments, delivery, and care after your baby is born. A trained birthing assistant, or doula, can also help you during labor.
5. Reduce the risks of an early delivery
If you delivered another baby early or are at high risk for doing so, learn the signs of preterm labor and ask about medicine to prevent an early delivery.
6. Skip ultrasounds after 24 weeks
Unless there is a medical reason, it will not provide new information. And, it may lead to an unnecessary C-section.
7. Ask to turn a breech baby
To avoid having a C-section for a breech baby – one whose feet are facing down – ask about turning your baby.
8. Stay home during early labor
Staying home will be more comfortable and will help your labor move along. You usually don't need to go to the hospital until your contractions are strong and regular and you are 3-4 centimeters dilated.
9. Be patient with your labor
Let nature take its course. Your labor may take longer than expected. But, if you and your baby are not at risk, it is healthiest and safest for both you and your baby not to rush labor. Have someone you trust advocating for what you want during labor.
10. Push when you’re ready
Plan 5 or 6 strategies for coping during labor, like walking or showering. When it’s time to push, trust your instincts. Push when you’re ready – not when someone else is.
This information is for you to use when talking with your health-care provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this information at your own risk. ©2014 Consumer Reports.