Pregnant? What You Can Expect
By Alicia Chalk, LLBSW, Care Coordinator, Great Start Collaborative/Help Me Grow
Congratulations! You are officially awaiting the birth of your new baby. How exciting! If this is your 1st, 2nd or 5th child, no worries. One thing you can expect is that every experience is different from the last which is why we want to join you on this journey. You might know what to do, you might not know what to do, but knowledge is power and even if we can connect you with those that know what to do then we’ve done our part. Below you’ll find some common things every pregnant mom can come to expect and how to stay connected with those in the field sent to help you.
If you’re in your first trimester and a little tired while reading this don’t worry. That’s to be expected. In your first trimester, you may experience some fatigue and decreased energy, along with nausea, tenderness in your breasts, slight bleeding or spotting (masquerading as a period) and some overheating. You may even come down with the common cold and more uncommonly start tasting metal. Your body is beginning to adjust to the many changes that are happening and that will occur over the next 8-9 months (depending on how far along you are right now). Your body is growing a new organ to sustain your baby’s life inside you, preparing milk for the baby to eat upon arrival (side note: you don’t have to decide to use it yet or not, just know that it comes with the territory) and setting up an eviction plan for later all at the same time. Go mom! You are amazing! If you haven’t seen your doctor, or scheduled a visit yet, this may be a great time to schedule one. They’ll confirm your pregnancy, get you started on prenatal vitamins, discuss good nutrition and examine behaviors that might be important to avoid during this time. If you don’t have an Obstetrician (OB), feel free to contact us at the Help Me Grow phone line either by clicking on the live chat button on the Great Start webpage or by connecting via phone call or text at 844-456-5437. A care coordinator will be happy to provide you with the names of obstetricians in your area. And while you’re chatting, you may also want to find out if you’re eligible to have a home visitor. Ask your Help Me Grow care coordinator to connect you with a home visiting program that is right for you. Home visitors are amazing support persons that provide great wraparound services outside of your medical prenatal appointments and will be a great asset to your prenatal and postpartum care. You won’t regret adding them to your support team!
You’ve entered your second trimester and your body is switching gears again. Your energy level is increasing, your belly is growing and you’re craving different foods. If you have cravings that are not food related, such as eating chalk, please contact your doctor or a nutritionist. Nutritionists can be found at WIC and you can also contact the HMG phone line to connect you. Look to start experiencing skin changes, acne, heartburn, Braxton Hicks contractions (“false” contractions and labor pains) and pressure in your uterus and pain in your back. Physical activity or exercise may help with your pain a little by strengthening your core and back, but talk with your doctor about any activity or exercise before starting to ensure you and your baby’s best success.
Your third and final trimester is definitely bringing some excitement and maybe a little anxiety as you prepare for the coming of your little one. It’s almost go time. Questions are filling your head, wondering if you have everything you need, if you are prepared, how much longer it will be and so much more. Regardless of how you feel, live in the moment. If you need someone to talk to, outside of your doctor, consider a mental health specialist and again a home visitor. Your body will still be going through many changes so any additional support is good. Know that during this time you may be running to the bathroom more frequently as your baby sits on your bladder; you may feel more discomfort in your whole body (did you ever get those extra pillows for your body?) and your breasts are continuing to grow. If there is any spotting or bleeding now in the third trimester, please contact your doctor. We know you’re nearing the end and may even be exhausted. You have done an amazing job and are almost there. Keep up the great work.
In these last few weeks you’ll be busy preparing your home, making sure you’re packed for the hospital, and making some final decisions on your birth plan. Talk to your doctor or midwife, your doula, your home visitor and your support persons. Everyone should be on the same page and all speaking for you, mom. And again, if you don’t have your A-team set up, give us an opportunity to connect you with these great resources. If you need additional support, reach out to Help Me Grow. A Care Coordinator is just a call, text or live chat away. We want to help you stay connected and bring any other possible resources right at your fingertips. Text 844-456-5437 and you can sign up for our monthly text messages. We look forward to a chance to support you during this time.