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You're Pregnant – Do These 5 Things

Anna Rodney is the owner and founder of Chicago Family Doulas and Birth and Baby University. She is a leader in the perinatal field and a trusted resource for expecting families and perinatal professionals.

 
Executive Contributor Anna Rodney

Pregnant, exhausted, overwhelmed, oh my! You are not alone. If this is your first pregnancy, you are entering an entirely new world! Overwhelmed does not even scratch the surface of what you are feeling. There is so much to figure out, so much to do and there is no road map to know where to begin. Not to mention the added stress of the constant conflicted and unsolicited advice. After supporting families on this journey for well over a decade, I have come up with my top 5 tips to ensure success in this journey.

 

Man kissing woman forehead while holding ultra sound photo

Take ownership of this journey


Start this journey by taking ownership of it. Enroll in childbirth and newborn care classes, read books, listen to podcasts, join social media groups run by perinatal professionals and subscribe to YouTube channels that share positive and accurate information. Taking ownership of your learning and your journey will set you up for a positive pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience.

 

Enlist support


Feeling supported throughout this journey will make everything more manageable. Being pregnant, going through labor and birth, and becoming a parent is all intense and hard. However, if you have a strong support system it will feel manageable. Your support system includes your partner, doula, OBGYN or midwife. This also includes other perinatal professionals such as a pelvic floor physical therapist, counselor or mental health professional, a lactation consultant, and friends and family. This is your community and your support system. Choose people wisely. Make sure they believe in you and want to be there for you in the capacity that you need them.

 

Communicate with your partner


Communicating with your partner throughout your pregnancy will ensure a more positive birth and postpartum experience. Taking ownership of this journey applies to the both of you. If your partner takes learning seriously, then you will have far less to teach them. Let the learning that you are doing together guide the communication and expectations. Knowing what to expect and dividing future tasks appropriately will help the two of you have positive communication. It will also help reduce stress for the both of you. It is far better to over-communicate than to wrongly assume.


Set realistic expectations for yourself and your partner


Setting up realistic expectations for both you and your partner will keep the both of you feeling less overwhelmed. This is a huge undertaking! There is a very sleep deprived learning curve, so please give yourselves grace. Take moments to plan, reflect, connect and restructure. Systems that worked well one day may not work well the next. A part of setting realistic expectations involves being observant and flexible. Looking inward, celebrating where you are, and planning for where you need to be is a great practice to implement.

 

Follow your intuition


This is your baby and you will not agree with every professional. You will have your own intuition about your pregnancy, birth and newborn. The way you feel is valid and should be taken into account by you, your partner, and your entire support system. Your intuition will develop as you get to know your baby, and that mother's instinct often is correct. You should feel supported if you choose to follow it. For example, in pregnancy, women have reported knowing that something is off, but they are told they don't need to go to the hospital by their doctor, partner, friend, etc. BUT they listened to their internal voice and went in and their voice was correct. Trusting yourself now and after your little one arrives is valid.

 

There is no one guide to follow, but if you follow these tips you will find that pregnancy, birth and adjusting with your newborn can be manageable and enjoyable.


Read more from Anna Rodney

 

Anna Rodney, Doula and Childbirth Educator

Anna Rodney is the owner and founder of Chicago Family Doulas and Birth and Baby University. She has been a leader in the perinatal field for over a decade, and continues to grow her offerings in order to support more families and to help her colleagues grow. She supports thousands of expecting and new families each year through both of her businesses. She is a passionate leader and a force of change and inspiration for families and birth and postpartum professionals.

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