These are mostly things which I saved off the net - if it is mine, it
will say so unless I happened to be one parent answering a question...
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
I will keep pulling what seem to be thorough articles off the net, and I will also take submissions on any general pregnancy topic if people will send them! Send me all that great stuff you saved because you thought it would make a good FAQ! -Sabrina (ps. Those who took the time to compile answers to a question or type in info from a book will get credit unless they ask for their personal onfo to be deleted; answers to posted questions will have their personal info deleted unless they ask for it to be included... This is for brevity!) -------------------------- Index -------------------------- Humor: Are You Ready To Be A Parent? My Observations as a Childbirth Educator Early Symptoms of Pregnancy When Should I Start... Pre-Conception Planning Feeling The First Movements When Is a Blood Test Accurate? How to Calculate Your Due Date ---------------------------- Are You Ready? ---------------------------- From: "Paul Adams" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Humor>Parent Test Preparation for Parenthood Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father. 1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans. Men: to prepare for paternity, go the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper and read it for the last time. 2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior. Enjoy it - it'll be the last time in your life that you will have all of the answers. 3. To discover how the nights feel, walk around, the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 lbs. at 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep, get up a 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45 am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful. 4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look? 5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning. 6. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a can of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas tree. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Puffs and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations, you have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee. 7. Forget the Miata and buy a Mini Van. And don't think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. -There!, Perfect! 8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had as much as you can stand, until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back in the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk. 9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times. 10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children. 11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Froot Loops and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half of the Froot Loops are gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month old baby. 12. Learn the names of every character from Barney and Friends, Sesame Street and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When you find yourself singing "I love you, you love me" at work, now!, you finally qualify as a parent. ------------------------------------------------------------------ My Observations As a Childbirth Educator/Long-Time Reader of M.K.P ------------------------------------------------------------------ (from Sabrina Cuddy <email@example.com>) Things that seem to be very common in pregnancy, many postings ask about these, and many women respond that it happened to them: Craving Red Meat - even vegetarian moms occasionally will want red meat, particularly beef. This may be due to the iron in it, the extra calories, the protein... Who knows? I sure know that I craved beef in both of my pregnancies - I didn't even know I was pregnant the second time, and I couldn't believe how badly I wanted to eat hamburgers, steak, etc! Spotting early in pregnancy - it seems that some women will continue to have what looks like light periods through the whole pregnancy. This makes dating the pregnancy harder! Many women have spotting either around the time of implantation, or when their first period after conception would have come. These women go on to have normal babies! For others, spotting could be a sign of impending miscarriage, and unfortunately you can't tell which it is. In early pregnancy, if you are going to miscarry there really isn't anything that can be done, although many practitioners make women feel better by putting them on bed rest so they feel they have tried something. If you are worried about spot bleeding, call your doctor or midwife! [Note: I am not talking about large amounts of bright red blood! If you see that, please call your practitioner immediately!] Along with morning (read: all-day) sickness, most pregnant women experience fatigue in early pregnancy which may be extreme. This is normal as your body adjusts to being pregnant! If you can barely get up in the morning, and never get any housework done during your first trimester, fret not! This should lessen in the second trimester as your body adjusts - just in time for... Dizzyness in the Second Trimester! This is normal too! Many women experience a drop in blood pressure as the body tries to adjust to an increase in blood volume. The typical pattern is lower than normal blood pressure in the second trimester followed by a slow rise in the third trimester which we hope doesn't go up much above your non-pregnant blood pressure! If you are feeling dizzy from low blood pressure, try to stay cool (I always got dizzy in the shower!), lie down, and drink some water. You may also be dizzy from low blood sugar because the baby goes through several growth spurts in the second trimester which can really make mom hungry! If you think this is why you are dizzy, drink juice or something which will give you quick sugar, then eat some protein to keep your blood sugar level up long-term. If you are dizzy a lot, have other symptoms (such as blurry vision or headache), or faint, please call your practitioner! Many women leak colostrum (the first milk) at some time during pregnancy. It can be just a drop, or enough that you need breast pads to keep from soaking your clothes. For some women, this starts quite early, and for others it doesn't start until just before labor... Some women never experience leaking breasts, and this has absolutely no effect on later ability to nurse. If one breast leaks more than the other, that breast may produce a bit more milk, but generally both breasts will produce enough. (assuming you haven't had surgery and the breasts are not radically different sizes...) ---------------------------- Early Symptoms of Pregnancy ---------------------------- : Are there any noticeable symptoms during the first couple of weeks : of pregnancy? Thanks in advance! I had two: pee in the middle of the night (I never do that otherwise) and my left breast was a bit sore (of course it got much worse later) ------------------ >I am wondering if any of you have experienced any noticeable symptoms >during the first two weeks of your pregancy? I could always insist that >my doc perform a blood test, but he doesn't want to talk about an appointment >until I've missed my period, which is understandable. This question comes up alot, and the answers I've seen posted here definitely indicate that it is a YMMV situation -- some people have symptoms, some don't. I'm in the same boat as you at this point, and after just 2 months of driving myself crazy at every cramp, twinge, etc. prior to my period, I've resolved not to even think it might be a possibility until after I've missed my period. (Note, that's what I've resolved to do -- whether or not I'll be successful next month is still TBD : ))) >From what I can tell, most of the early pregnancy symptoms can also be pre-period symptoms: cramping, light spotting, sore breasts, etc.. That makes it doubly hard to tell what's going on.... ---------------- The first symptoms that I had were breast tenderness, fatigue, and light nausea. I found out I was pregnant before I had missed my period and I remember having these symptoms at that time. Each person is different though, so don't worry if you do not feel these symptoms right away, or even at all. ----------------- Both times I've been pregnant I had absolutely no idea until after I'd missed my period. My morning sickness, etc. didn't kick in until another week or so after my missed period. As a matter of fact, this time, I was wearing a pad waiting to start because I had such cramping. Turned out to be gas :). ----------------- My first physical sign, in what I believe was my third week of pregnancy, was spotting. This began about two weeks before my period was to come (I had irregular cycles), so I was a little suspicious to begin with. The spotting also began as bright red, which my periods never do. I was still spotting a week later, but a lighter shade of brown. I had some dizziness early one morning and it didn't go away for and hour or so. I also remember that my appetite had increased similar to PMS. So, I took the test and it was positive! I called the doctor's office the next day and they made my appointment for when I would be 7 weeks pregnant. Waiting to see the doctor was hard; I was anxious for them to confirm my pregnancy! --------------------- >I'm just curious, what's the soonest (is that a word?) anyone had >their nipples get sore (and end up being pregnant)? Like the day >after ovulation? Week? Not till period due? I had sore nipples about 2 days before my period was due. my breasts were sore off and on since a couple of days after conception. my breast felt fuller exactly one week after conception. at 6week LMP, my breasts are still the only indication i am pregnant, other than being slightly more tired than usual. i have had the "sore" breast symptom since i have been trying to get pregnant. the sore nipples was new to the one that actually implanted and took! --------------------- : Are there any noticeable symptoms during the first couple of weeks : of pregnancy? Thanks in advance! Yes, you feel like you're going to get your period, but then you never do. I had cramps, diahrea, sore breasts, everything. But that was all. A month and a half later, I learned I was 10 weeks pregnant. ---------------------- Hi! I am 3 wks into my 2nd pregnancy. A couple of things I have noticed. I'm more tired t the end of a full day. I have a trigger temper. MY BOOBS ARE BIGGER!!!!!!!!!!!! ---------------------- > i had sore nipples about 2 days before my period was due. my > breasts were sore off and on since a couple of days after conception. For me, the clincher that I might be pregnant was about a few days before my period was due and my nipples were tingling a lot, and they were hard as a rock, even though I wasn't cold. It was definitely my first symptom. ---------------------- >>Did anyone feel any VERY early symptoms? My period is not due until >>Tuesday (if it comes :-)), but I have been feeling "sensations" in my >>uterus. I don't know quite how to describe them. It doesn't exactly >>hurt, but it kind of "twinges". Not like menstrual cramps, though. I felt exactly what you are describing, i.e., wierd twinges in my uterus that do not feel like menstrual cramps (which also led me to suspect I was pregnant b/c I never get cramps before my period, just on the first day). The twinges started one day before my period was due, and I still feel them today. Yesterday, I had morning sickness in the morning, but drank ginger tea (homemade) and they went away within minutes. Today, I'm feeling fine. Also, my breasts have been sore and were sore a few days before my period was due. Although this is slightly unusual for me, I do sometimes get that soreness before my period so this wasn't as bid a tipoff as the uterus twinges. ------------------------------------- When Should I Start... ------------------------------------- From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Dec 7 12:12:47 PST 1994 WHEN TO DO WHAT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING - SUMMARY I had a list of things that need to be done when you're having a baby, but I couldn't find a source that told WHEN to do WHAT, so I asked the net for help. I got some emails and some postings. I removed all names from email replies, in case people didn't want their names posted. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ORIGINAL QUESTION: Of all the pregnancy books I have, I can't find anything that gives you a list of things to do and WHEN to do them. You know how they have those for weddings - 6-12 months ahead - rent the hall 1 month ahead - send out invitations the day of - leave yourself 2 hours to get dressed etc etc Maybe you folks on the net can help me out. Currently I'm 14 wks along. Things I have done already include: - selected and began seeing an OB - told people - read up on pregnancy - decided if we wanted to know the sex ahead of time - found out company maternity leave and health benefits policies - began taking folic acid (did this when we started trying) & other vitamins I figured out that the next things I need to do are: - buy maternity clothes - begin looking at daycare centers - decide whether to have the AFP test After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following: - move furniture to create a nursery - buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) - buy baby clothes and minor items - take birthing class - develop a birth plan - select a hospital - see financial planner about investments and insurance - rewrite will and designate guardian - look at home care and nannies - make final decision on daycare - choose names - read up on baby care - pack hospital bag - select pediatrician - ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN ADD THAT I LEFT OUT I don't want to leave anything till the last second. But some things shouldn't be done too early, either. Please help me find the optimal time. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ EMAIL REPLIES: Well, one thing you should do is research childbirth methods so that you know what you are looking for in a class... Do this early, because many classes fill up way in advance, and Bradley classes last 8-12 weeks depending on the instructor! Typical Lamaze classes are 6 weeks. Some other classes you may want to take are: First Aid/CPR for infants, Breastfeeding, parenting. I guess one of my pet peeves is that the typical american (most of the net doesn't fit this category!) spends less time comparing childbirth classes than they do buying a car! Which means you have an experience and child to last a lifetime that you perhaps devoted less research to than a piece of metal you probably won't have more than 10 years... Not a personal comment, just rambling! :-) ------------- I'd add a category for pre-baby and would include: o Get your immunities to common child-hood diseases (mumps and measles) tested. If you received the shots during certain years and lot #s they might not have worked. This is to avoid birth defects. Wait a while (at least 3 months) after getting the shot, before you get pregnant. o Take that great romantic vacation with hubby.:) o Take a multi-vitamin with folic acid (cuts down the chance of neural tube defects). o Research and decide on what, if any, prenatal testing you want. Its a fairly complex topic and for those of us over 35, or even over 30, its a big consideration. By the time you find out you're pregnant, you might not have enough time to decide what to do. o I would select the ob ahead of time too. I mean, you have to see one anyway for the annual pap-test. Really press for stats on their c-section rate and episiotomy rate, and be aware that many bullshit or fluff off these questions. Not fun switching at 25 weeks because you finally find out the truth, and meet the doctor's partner. If your doctor practices with others, what are your chances of getting one of them? And what are their stats? o Investigate health insurance options. Many plans have enrollment periods only at certain times of the year. Find the plan that gives you the best coverage and choice of doctors, at the best price. Pay attention to pediatric care too. >- buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) >- buy baby clothes and minor items If you see good stuff on sale, sure, pick it up. But keep it unopened in the box and tape the receipt onto it. You might get the same thing at a shower, or someone might give it to you as a gift. You might find things via the newspaper or used babythings store. Don't buy a lot of baby clothes. You'll receive a lot as gifts. Also, you just don't know what size the baby will be and might end up with things you can't use. Get a few things, and wash them ahead of time. But keep in mind that hubby can run down to kmart and pick up some onesies and nighties, and one-piece sleep/playsuits once you know the size of the baby. Also, they grow so fast there is no point in buying a lot (unless your baby spits up all the time). You definitely want one of those infant carseat/carrier things. We had purchased 2 carseats that said on the box they were for infancy to toddlerhood (30 pds?). Forget it. They didn't tilt back enough for a newborn. >- select a hospital The choice of hospital has a lot to do with which doctor you choose. My doctor was credentialed to deliver at a couple local hospitals so I had a choice. I suggest touring a couple different ones so you can compare them. ----------- I don't have any specific recommendations - your list looked good. I like to be prepared ahead of time and I found it tough to wait until the last minute but my family planned a baby shower for two weeks before my due date and I didn't want to go shopping before the shower... Also, you could be a month or even two earlier than you think. And the last month I _really_ didn't feel like any major stuff, especially if it involved standing or being away from a washroom :-( -------------- The one thing I can tell you is that you don't select the hospital; the hospital of the OB you selected is the one you go to. Find out which hospital your OB is affiliated with. If it is not the one you want, change OBs now. (You should really have selected the hospital first.) Quite a list there! Don't buy too much stuff for yourself until AFTER your shower, assuming someone will surprise you with one. It's real frustrating for the shoppers if you've left them nothing to buy! Your work friends will buy you something too. Ask your OB when you should take the classes. Or, call the place where you are going to take classes and ask them. You cannot update your will until after the baby is born, because you need to explicitly name the child in the will. The rest of your list of "when's" are mostly personal preference. You could probably pack your hospital bag when you're in labor, but you'll probably tend to do it a couple of days before your due date. You can set the nursery up today, or your family can do it after the baby is born. Some people are superstitious and don't want to do that until the baby is born. Birthing plans aren't necessary but of course you will be researching all along to figure out what you want. YOu might also want one pediatrician for in the hospital and another to be your regular one if the ped you pick doesn't practice at the hospital at which you are delivering. My OB gave me the name of a ped to use at the hospital because my regular one didn't practice there. But you could start looking for pediatricians any time now. I think once you know what's important to you. For example, if you are not planning to nurse, you want to be sure to go to a non-judgemental pediatrician. Or if you are, that your pediatrician is very supportive in this regard. If you select a daycare center, you're going to want to get a space ASAP. They can book up a year in advance, especially if they are good. I think home day care probably would not be that hard to find, even very late in the pregancy. I don't know about nannies. You might want a separate post on How to find a nanny to get some more specific advice if you go that way. ----------------- I think these things are very personal and depend a lot on your personal situation, but... >- move furniture to create a nursery I'd say as soon as is comfortable. The larger you get, the harder it is to move things around (even the lightweight things-- you just get tired of carrying them from room to room). Now, at 6 1/2 months pregnant I'm really not in the mood to move the bookcases that need moving! >- buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) Carseat you need as soon as baby's born, so as soon as is comfortable is probably ok there. Crib you don't need right away, so conceivably you could wait until after birth (we are since we have a family cradle to use the first few months). Stroller depends on your alternatives and how much you think you'll stroll the baby early. If you think you'll be carrier types (carry baby in arms or front carrier or whatever), you might want to wait to buy a stroller until you think you need it. Others like having a plush stroller that reclines so that they can haul a tiny baby around in it and always have a comfy place for baby to nap. >- buy baby clothes and minor items I'd lay in a basic supply of newborn clothes (like onesies and sleepers and such) of the no-frills variety. That way, you'll be covered if no one gets you anything. Then, after showers and such, you can buy whatever else you need. AGain, I don't think it matters so much *when* you buy them, as long as it's before the baby arrives (and before any major pre-baby deadline crunches you might find yourself in). >- take birthing class Schedule that ASAP. Lots of them book early, and since they run several weeks usually, their time slot doesn't always correspond with your ideal time to take them. For instance, our baby's due in February and the class we're taking is 6-7 weeks long. There's no class over the holidays (which wouldn't have been convenient for us anyway), and most likely the class after the holidays is starting too late for comfort in our case. So, our class starts tomorrow and we booked it a few months ago (when it was already close to booked full). >- select a hospital I'd do this ASAP, just in case you run into trouble finding a hospital that meets your needs. >- read up on baby care Start now--when the time comes, there'll be no time ;-) I like Penelope Leach's books, myself. >- select pediatrician I'd start chatting with friends to get recommendations now, and start interviewing as it becomes convenient. Part of it depends on how picky you are. With the homebirth, it's hard for us to find supportive pediatricians, so we started early. Lots of people I know didn't start until the last month or two of their pregnancy. -------------------- I can suggest a few things, but I'm not a parent yet :) so these are just my suggestions. Congratulations on your future arrival! >I figured out that the next things I need to do are: >- buy maternity clothes My sister did this as needed (ie when she started gaining weight she went out and bought a few things. When her uterus expanded by leaps and bounds when she was 16 weeks along, she had some clothes to wear while picking out season- ally appropriate clothes for the size she was. >After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following: >- move furniture to create a nursery Everyone has a different opinion here :) :) JJ set up the "nursery" (read a portacrib in a large closet that had a window and put a table top changing table on to the dresser in the living room) about two weeks before her due date. A couple of friends varied between setting things up two to three months before, and leaving it for their significant others to do while they were still in the hospital with the baby >- buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) Car seat is definately needed before you come home from the hospital, I know some people drove around with them in the car for a few weeks (with a stuffed animal strapped in) before the baby was due to get used to putting someone/thingin to the seat each time they got in and getting the item/baby out each time they got out. Everyone I know highly recommends umbrella strollers, but I haven't seen anyone using them before the baby is about 3 or 4 months old. Before that they seem to prefer carrying the baby to putting him/her in a stroller. Cribs are variable, some misc.kidders feel a mattress on the floor is ok, othersprefer a crib. >- rewrite will and designate guardian This is, I can't emphasize it enough, very important! You should, from my point of view, do this before the birth. I had a friend in elementary school whose parents were killed in an auto accident when she was three weeks old. No relatives were found, and there was no one designated as a gaurdian if something happened to Laura. The result was she became a ward of the state and was then put up for adoption. There are probably relatives out there, the county or the State of California just couldn't find them to tell them. Additionally, my grandparents both died before my mother was 12. No one was designated as a gaurdian, and she was placed in a foster home for 5 years. One year (age 12-13) was spent being shuttled between various half-brothers and sisters who were either unable to care for her at the time or didn't wish to because she was from their father's second marriage. >- read up on baby care An anecdote to give you an idea of what some new parents are like :) Bootsie and Mark come from fairly large families (7 kids, 4 kids respectively) and did not help out with younger brothers or sisters due to age or disinterest. When they were expecting Daniel, they wouldn't listen to anyone's suggestions, they both said "We come from big families, we know all about babies". Soooo, their parents and friends just stepped back and kept their suggestions to themselves. Daniel arrived, and three days later they took him home from the hospital. After about 5 hours, Mark called his mom in desperation - Daniel wouldn't stop crying, would she come over and see if she could help. Betty arrived, and found one very, very upset baby. He'd been in the same diaper for 6 hours and had been nursing almost non-stop. She showed them how to change a diaper and suggested at least one diaper check per hour :) JJ was worse :) She wouldn't let anyone hold the baby for weeks because she was sure no one else in the world knew how to hold one (Uh, JJ, you're supposed to support Robby's head, his neck isn't strong enough to :) ... >- pack hospital bag JJ did this a month before her due date, as did Bootsie. The bag was packed and in the car, so all they had to do was hop in and go! >- ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN ADD THAT I LEFT OUT I'd suggest you prepare meals that can be taken out the freezer and thrown in the microwave or oven so that you don't need to cook for the first few days/weeks, depending on freezer size. Stock up on a variety of foods you like so you can limit the grocery store panic runs :) Check in to getting someone (friend, relative, whatever) to help with doing laundry/dusting/tidying up so you can rest/nap/enjoy your new baby or to give you just some general relief and adult company during the first few weeks. Depending upon whether you've chosen cloth or disposable diapers, get more than you think the baby will need. The estimate I heard was that newborns go through 24 diapers per day for the first 8 weeks. Do not, repeat, do not follow my airhead sister JJ's example and think you can economize by using extra absorbent diapers and leave them for 3 hours. It just don't work, and baby gets wet and upset. You don't need to spend money on wipes, either. I know several families who have a large pile/basket of washcloths that are dipped in warm water, wrung out, and used to clean up the baby. The cloths are then thrown in the laundry after a rinse. ------------- I'm not a parent, but these are my suggestions based on what family and friends have done. >After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following: >- move furniture to create a nursery This was done anywhere from a week to three months before the due date, and in one case while the mother was recovering in the hospital from the birth. The last one was because they had only recently moved their toddler out of the crib and in to his "big boy" bed and they didn't want him to think he was going to be put back in the crib. - buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) Before the baby arrives you might want to spend a few weeks with the carseat in the car so that you can adjust to its presence, and maybe practice for the baby by putting in/taking out a stuffed animal each time you use the car. Umbrella strollers seem very popular with people, but I have rarely seen them used with babies under 3 months, either because the parents like carrying the baby, or the're unsure of the stroller's ability to support the baby. Maybe someone else can offer some advice on this. --------------------- Hi Elisa: Sounds like you have a really good handle on what should be accomplished before the little one is born. I'm not so sure it's all that vitally important to have a specific time-table so long as you have everything done at least 6 weeks before your due date (on the chance your baby might be born early). I had a feeling early on that we needed to get things done for my daughter Emma. My due date was Nov. 4 but by August we had everything done except selecting a pediatrician and my husband was building Em a cradle and thought he had "plenty of time" to finish it. Wrong! She was born on Sept. 16 (7 weeks early) so I was _very_ grateful that we had planned ahead. I ended up picking her pediatrician the day she was born :) (I knew who I wanted to use but hadn't ever gotten around to talking to her ahead of time, oops! It all worked out just fine though) My husband never did get the cradle done. We had set up her crib already so she just went right into that when she got to come home. I would avoid buying too much in the way of baby clothes ahead of time unless you happen to have an amniocentisis and _know_ that you're having a boy or girl. Ultrasound technicians only make a guess based on what they see and they aren't always right :) They couldn't see anything at my ultrasound but I was convinced I was having a boy. I didn't buy too much ahead of time, thankfully and anyway Emma did look stunning in blue :) Another reason not to buy too much for clothing is that you don't know how big your baby will be. If you have a 10 1/2 pounder like my husband's sister did none of the newborn stuff will fit and if you have a 4 pounder like we did, it may be a different season of the year before the baby is big enough to wear it. ------------------- I'm about 32 weeks along now. Sounds like all the stuff you've *already* done are good. But I guess the next two things I'd suggest to do now are: (1) pick a hospital or delivery site now (you may not have a choice if your OB is associated with only one particular hospital), and (2) select a childbirth class and sign up ASAP. I mention the childbirth class because I kind of wish I'd shopped around more for one - I'm not that enthusiastic about the one we're in, but I figured they'd all be about the same (not true, from what I now know!), and the classes fill up fast so you need to sign up soon! Next I would decide on if you want to paint or wallpaper the nursery. Selecting the paint/wallpaper takes a loooong time if both you and your husband are anything like us! And it may take awhile to order certain paper. Then just getting it painted or papered takes awhile of course. It's much easier to get this done earlier in the pregnancy. Now, this is a little iffy, but if you think a baby shower will be held, you should definitely hold off on buying some things, including some larger items, in case you have very generous family or friends. But if you have definite preferences for certain brands/models of carseat, stroller, etc, you may want to either let relatives know this in advance, or maybe register at a baby store in your area. I'm just now visiting the daycare centers that I'm considering, and I think my timing is just about right (but my baby is due in January and I don't need the daycare until June 1995). I'm also meeting with pediatricians now to choose one, and that's worked out fine. We bought our crib, have been loaned lots and lots of baby clothes, as well as a swing and two infant car seats. I was surprised with a baby shower last week, and we received a stroller, lots more clothes, crib sheets, blankets, and lots of misc stuff. I had purchased a few cute outfits that I found on sale, as well as a few essentials before hand, so now we're all set. We bought an almost-new, second-hand crib in about the 5th month, but we'd been looking at cribs for about 1 month before we found one we liked. New cribs sometimes take quite awhile on order. Things I still have left to do in the next couple of weeks: - Make final decision on which daycare center and submit application. - Write up birth plan (I already have my ideas all set, just not written up) and discuss with doctor. - Still decide on a name! (We've been working on this since about week 12!) - Pack a bag for the hospital. - Buy a couple of wall decorations for the baby's room with money we received from the baby shower. I'm very comfortable with everything EXCEPT I really wish we could decide on a name (we've known it's a girl since the amino around week 12). And I'm really glad we got the baby's room done nice and early, since we've been putting all the baby things in it as we acquired them. ---------------- >- buy baby clothes and minor items Don't buy much until you know the size (and sex) of the child! Some are tiny and will need the smallest size, others start out wearing the 6 month size! >- take birthing class Are there waiting lists for the popular ones in your area? >- rewrite will and designate guardian Designating a guardian can take time if there isn't one obvious choice. You also need to make sure the guardian is willing! >- ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN ADD THAT I LEFT OUT Allow for the possibility of an early birth! My daughter was born at 36 weeks (5lb 6oz), and I hadn't finished my birthing classes, didn't have anyplace for her to sleep, etc., etc. ---------- I can't tell you when to buy furniture since my nursery's been done for three years now. We lost our first child at 8 months, so I had already gotten all the furniture. I would suggest if you see a good bargain to go for it though, all my furniture is second hand, I'm not picky as long as it is in good shape and poses no safety hazards. I would leave most of the minor things to the last month or so or at least until all your baby showers have been thrown, It's amazing how much little stuff you get. I've opted not to take birthing classes, It's also 50/50 on my having another c-section and I'd hate to waste the money, so I've just checked out a couple of books and video's from our local library and video store. It's also up in the air about the birthing plan. The DR knows I prefer to go natural if possible though. I'll probably stay home for the first couple months after birth so I haven't thought about day-care plus my mother only lives 15 minutes away:-). We already picked a name, I'd start this as soon as possible, just pick one boy and one girl name. My sister-in-law and her husband never decided until she was ready to leave the hospital and they regret not spending more time on it. I constantly read up on baby care, I figure the more I know the better off I'll be. I suggest that once you pick your hospital that in your 8th month (give or take) you take a tour, most hospitals hold maternity tours and its worth the time for you and your other to take. It gives you a feel for the place and keeps you from getting that lost feeling. I haven't even begin to think about the financial side yet. I also don't know when to pack for the hospital either or pick a pediatrician, I have though made note of the pediatricians located near our home. If you don't already have it, I would suggest the "What to expect When your expecting" book. My DR provided me with a copy and I think it's great but opinions will differ, browse through it at the store if you like. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have one, but it's hysterically outdated. It suggests that at week X you should stock up the freezer so your husband will have something to eat while you're at the hospital! 8-) Seriously, there isn't any "right" time to do things - except that things tend to have their natural deadlines. If you are wondering whether to have a certain test done, for instance, you have to make up your mind before the time when the test is to be done. (Or by the deadline for signing up - some hospitals and clinics like you to sign up so-and-so many weeks ahead of time.) When the baby comes home, you will need to have clothes and diapers. And so on. I don't know about the daycare situation where you are, of course, but if there are long waiting lists then you definitely should start looking. >After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following: >- move furniture to create a nursery This depends. Are you just going to set up the furniture? If so, you can do it as soon as you buy the furniture, or someone can do it for you the day before the baby comes home. It really doesn't make a difference. But if you want to put up new wallpaper, lay down new flooring, etc., then you'll want to get started a few months before your due date - so you don't have to rush, and you'll know it will be done in time. >- buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) >- buy baby clothes and minor items There's absolutely no rush. If you see something you want at a good price, pick it up. If i were you i would wait until after the Christmas madness is over to shop, especially for the big items like the car seat. You'll want to compare several brands, ask about the features, and compare prices, all of which are easier to do when the stores are relatively quiet and the clerks have some time to talk to you. >- choose names The record among people i know is when the baby is four months old 8-). Seriously, this depends on where you live. In some places you need to register the name a few days after the birth, in others you can get a birth certificate without a name and name the child months or even years later. >- pack hospital bag A few weeks before your due date, unless you're at risk for premature labor or a worry-wart by nature ;-) About the other things: you will have lots of little bits of time available through your pregnancy, and you'll soon find that the hormones are reminding you of everything that needs to be done! When you get the urge to do something baby-related,listen to your body. If you feel energetic, do something active; if you're tired, read a baby care book or look for possible names. I'm at home with the little guy, so childcare wasn't a priority for us; neither was finding a pediatrician since we have a family GP (who handled pre-natal care, too). So i can't help you with those things. Nor with the legal stuff, since we still haven't officially appointed a guardian (what do you do when you have two good alternatives?). ----------------------------------------------------- >You definitely want one of those infant carseat/carrier things. We >had purchased 2 carseats that said on the box they were for infancy >to toddlerhood (30 pds?). Forget it. They didn't tilt back enough >for a newborn. There is a new convertible seat out that does tilt back far enough for a newborn. It is the Century Smartmove. It also comes with a head supporter to keep a newborn's head from flopping around. You will need to make sure that it fits in your car when fully reclined in the newborn position, though. When we were deciding on a carseat for our daughter, we were considering getting the Century infant seat that snaps into a base in the car and serves as a carrier, but since we had a front carrier for the baby already, we decided to go with the Smartmove. For an infant, I strongly recommend the 5-point harness instead of the 3-point with shield. As far as trying to get everything done, I didn't have a special plan for most stuff. I just tried to do a little every week. I bought some baby stuff in the second trimester, only because I wanted to get stuff cheap at garage sales if I could. The non-garage sale stuff I waited to buy until around my 8th month. I wouldn't suggest buying stuff until your third trimester. Stuff goes on sale all the time. If you get it all done too soon, then you may want to buy more just because you are getting anxious for your baby or you will see more cute stuff that you just have to have. :) Since I got so much at garage sales, I felt this way. ---------------------------------------- There is a book you might be interested in entitled 'The New Baby Checklist' (or something very close to that. It provides a rather complete, detailed checklist of anything that might be applicable to anyone!! Your lists of things done, and what's next seem pretty on target. A lot of the timing on getting things done really depends on your own individual situation and pregnancy. A low energy level or a high risk pregnancy might mean that you need to get things done earlier than other parents-to-be. ---------------------------------------- At 14 weeks - start asking questions about when to do what.... :-). > Things I have done already include: > - began taking folic acid (did this when we started trying) & other vitamins All good. BTW: For the last one - I'd suggest having a look at some of the 'diets' the books suggest, such as WTEWYE "Best Odds" diet. There is a point at which you should start being careful about vitamin supplements - some are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Anyway, your OB should be able to fill you in. It should be possible to get everything you need through diet, barring those weird and wonderful (not!) shortages that your body invents during pregnancy - Magnesium/Potassium and Calcium leap to mind for a few people I know - when you do need extras. > - buy maternity clothes or borrow ? My wife, Julie, got a fair proportion from friends. As you see stuff, and as your current clothes get uncomfortable. Julie used an elastic band to extend the reach of her jeans etc. for a few weeks (during winter, with longish jumpers :-) ). > - begin looking at daycare centers A.S.A.P. Get onto lists early (we submitted as soon as we had a confirmed pregnancy - 6+ weeks ?). It varies by country/state/city but if you're on the list early it removes a stress. Funny thing - I was skulking around centres, checking them out, before we even announced we were trying (let alone successful :-)) and we were worried about getting caught by somebody we knew :-). Both of you check out a set and make a shortlist. Revisit the shortlisted ones together. See which both of you like. > After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following: > - move furniture to create a nursery When you have the urge/energy to. In our case we did it over the last 3 months, and with two weeks to go still have a bit to do. > - buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.) Is this your first baby ? Consider if the newly pending grandparents are likely to spring for big ticket items. Again, also see if somebody will lend you one - e.g. our cot has been used by 15 babies so far :-). The only big thing we bought was a pram/stroller (at 13 weeks :-) ), as they were on sale. If space is at a premium you'll have to slowly adapt your household, we did!... > - buy baby clothes and minor items Again, take it easy before buying stuff. You may get many gifts along the way. Certainly don't buy toys and such - they're an obvious gift. We've bought the bare minimum for the hospital and the first few days at home (clothes, that is), the rest we've received via gifts. Not knowing the gender stops some people, so we request green things :-). There is time, even after birth, to fill in some gaps in our stocks.... > - take birthing class Absolutely. We had a debate a while back - is it better to have it early or later ? With Julie tiredness became a bit of a problem (classes went past her bedtime :-)). Also, we learnt some physio techniques that would have been useful earlier. OTOH, some aspects of labour we didn't want to know about at all :) - so too early would just have given us more time to get stressed.... We had ours from week 33-37, and coped just fine. > - develop a birth plan as above. Probably after/during the birthing classes, once you are really well informed. Those books can't cover everything you ever wanted to ask ! > - select a hospital That came first with us, then the OBs from the (only slightly) restricted sample. A good OBs is valuable, a good hospital invaluable > - see financial planner about investments and insurance > - rewrite will and designate guardian Something that can be done at almost any stage - if you're in the mood, go for it ! > - look at home care and nannies You probably already have a gut feeling if you're going to need one, or even want one. Now, it may be a difficult birth, or your baby may be stressful to take care of, in which case a 'possibly not' becomes 'heck yes!'. You want to know who to call on ommediately. I'd suggest checking your options early. Recommendation: "What to expect the first year" has a section on just this topic, including how the father gets involved. Check it out. > - make final decision on daycare Not sure if I understand that right. It may be decided for you, depending on waiting lists... > - choose names Half our shortlist was chosen before we got pregnant :-). The other half was chosen, then dropped, then picked up again only a few weeks back. Some friends have noted that when the baby arrived they didn't think their chosen name(s) fitted, and changed it on the spot ! Have them ready and comfortable before the day, but be flexible :-). > - read up on baby care when not reading about mother-care-during-pregnancy ! Be informed. Before the birth don't worry about anything beyond the first 6 weeks of baby's life - by that stage you'll develop your own routine. Knowing about all the funny things the pregnant body does is very helpful - you and your partner should know the index of your favourite pregnancy book ! :-). > - pack hospital bag To be honest - Julie chose not to pack nearly anything until it's very close - she's worried that the earlier she packs the later rugrat will arrive ! Know what you need to take (hospital/OB will tell you), and perhaps stockpile it. You can add to it over the last 3 months, perhaps leave stuff out... > - select pediatrician If you want to - we'll go with the hospital's choice for a while, as we trust and like the hospital staff. We can always choose a different one later. Perhaps ask friends for suggestions (pro/con) and have the list ready if you need it. > - ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN ADD THAT I LEFT OUT Cuppla things: Take a look around the hospital, if your classes don't give you a tour. Visit the nursery and the delivery rooms. Find out what they provide for your comfort (TV ? showers ? Spa ?, beanbags ? pillows ? heatpacks, coldpacks ? A bed that folds into any comfortable angle you might like to be at during labour (including squatting, or over on your hands and knees ?). Do the staff support you in your choices as to what to do ? Are they strict on visiting hours ? (preferably fascist ! :-) ). What can you do in/out of hours - who can you ring/talk to, where's the doorbell when they lock the door overnight, can you come in for reassurance and not feel guilty.... Do they support rooming-in (the baby) or give you a choice to chop-and-change as needed ? The W.H.O. has a set of guidelines for 'baby-friendly' hospitals - see if your choice is one. You may wish to do this very early, so that you're comfortable with the hospital well before the big day arrives. If you don't like it very much - choose another (if you can). Another thing - book a *really* *relaxing* holiday for about week 24-26 (not much later than week 26 I'd suggest). We went on a houseboat, self drive, room for 8 but only the two of us and Julie's grandmother (who we get on with really well), took a bit over a week off. Julie's batteries were draining rapidly by then - the holiday saved her. She could then cope with working till week 37 (although she could have left at week 34). > I don't want to leave anything till the last second. But some things > shouldn't be done too early, either. Please help me find the optimal time. There t'aint no such beast - every pregnancy, every baby is different. Take it very easy as you go, eat well, relax a lot, read, be happy, talk with your partner, and do things as you feel comfortable with them. Unlike a wedding, a pregancy knows no timetable and involves a third party who has *never* read any of the books !!! Seriously - there's no comparing the two. -------------------------------------------- Pre-Conception Planning --------------------------------------------- Dana L. Wettergreen <email@example.com> >Is there anything I should be doing regarding general nutrition *before* >pregnancy? Starting to take vitamins, quit my coffee habit, etc? I know >I need to lose weight, so I'm working on that now... What follows is advice my sister, an OB/GYN, gave me (carefully shortened to save space--tho it's still long): -Keep track of your periods. This will help your care provider give you the most accurate due date. -Quit smoking. Women who smoke have more infertility, tubal pregnancies, miscarriages, abnormal bleeding during pregnancy, premature labor, stillbirths and fetal distress in labor. Their babies are more likely to have stunted growth in the womb, pneumonia, asthma, and to die of crib death (SIDS). It is never too late to quit and improve the health of yourself and your child. Call the American Cancer Society for practical hints for success in quitting. -Avoid Alcohol (and Drugs). There is no known *safe* amount of drinking in pregnancy. If you find it difficult to avoid alcohol or drugs, you may need help quitting. Alcoholics Anonymous can help. (Side note: I also heard/read that the father's alcohol use can impact baby's health, so your husband should also consider giving up alcohol when you're trying to get pregnant). -Take a folate supplement. Folate has been shown to lessen the risk of spina bifida and other birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Folate (also known as folic acid) should be added to your diet *prior to conception* and into pregnancy. You can get the 0.4-1.0 milligrams you need from a multivitamin or prenatal supplement or by eating more dark green leafy vegetables, liver, fruit, green beans and whole grains. -Eat healthy foods. Eating a wide variety of foods as close to their natural state as possible will provide you with good nutrition, and help your baby develop and you feel your best. While you need to gain 25-35 pounds over the 9 months, pregnancy isn't an excuse to eat anything and everything! On the flip side, pregnancy is not the time to diet. -Chemicals. Some chemicals used on the job or for hobbies can cause birth defects. Check with Poison Control (1-800-362-0101) about specific chemicals you use. -Rubella (or German measles). Getting rubella early in pregnancy can cause birth defects. A simple blood test can tell if you have immunity. If you are not immune, a vaccine given at least 3 months before getting pregnant will protect you from getting rubella in the future. (**Side note: I heard that the vaccine we were given in school in the 8th grade (about 1978) has not been as effective as they thought. So many doctors are testing and re-vaccinating.) -Diabetes. If you are diabetic, see an obstetrician before trying to conceive. -Women with HIV or AIDS should avoid pregnancy. -Talk with your doctor about genetic counseling for conditions that run in families, such as hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs, or mental retardation. -When you do get pregnant, talk with your doctor about toxoplasmosis and get someone else to change the cat's litterbox. -If you are on any regular medication, including those for high blood pressure and epilepsy, talk with your doctor before you get pregnant about safer medications. I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me and I'll "go to the source" and get answers. ----------------------------------------- Feeling The First Movements ----------------------------------------- From: "Corrine R. Johnson" <JohnsonC@calvertgroup.com> WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOVEMENT From 13 1/2 to 26 weeks Your Pregnancy Companion by Janis Graham Quickening: To Reach the Stage of Gestation At Which Fetal Motion is Felt As you wait for the time when you'll start to feel your baby move, it's not uncommon to become a little anxious, to worry, "Why haven't I felt anything yet?" It helps to keep the following two things in mind. First, while some women feel fetal movements as early as fourteen weeks, most mothers-to-be (especially first-time mothers) only discern movements after eighteen or twenty-one weeks (or even as late as twenty-six weeks). Second, it's not always easy to recognize first fetal movements, since early movements are not usually experienced as distinct jabs or kicks but indistinct, vague "flutterings" or sinking sensations that are easy to mistake for digestive rumblings. In other words, feeling your baby's first movements may not be a clearly demarcated "event" for you but a series of suspicions ("I think that was the baby moving") that finally add up to certainty. Once you're sure you're feeling the baby (and that may take weeks after the first suspicion), chances are you'll be excited and reassured. The baby is likely to some how seem more real to you from then on. Most women also find that their feelings toward their unborn baby greately intensify once movements are felt, and that the movements are, overall, a source of joy and comfort during the later part of the pregnancy. There may be still times however, when the subject of the baby's movements cause you concern. These facts should provide perspective: o Every baby has his or her own unique pattern of movement: some kick like clockwork the same time everyday, others jab you irregularly; some pack powerful punches, others just nudge you gently. That means if a friend describes fetal kicks so strong that they wake her up in the middle of the night, you shouldn't be worried if you only feel gentle puches. You simply can't compare your baby's style of "getting around" with any other baby's. The range of what's normal, usual, and healthy is tremendously wide. o When you are active, you'll tend to notice your baby's movements less and your baby will tend to move less (as he or she is lulled by the rhythm of your movements). Also, there will be days when your baby is more wakeful and active than others. o In a normal, low risk pregnancy there's generally no need to count fetal movements every day (in some high-risk pregnancies, doctors will instruct a woman to count fetal movements three times a day in thirty-minute sessions). *Only after the 28-30th week* After the thirtieth week though, you should contact your doctor if you feel no fetal activity or feel markedly diminished activity in any twenty-four hour period. *Even if you feel no movement or a slowing, it doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong; if you're near term, for instance, a lessening in activity is often a signal that labor is about to begin. ----------------------------------------- When is a Blood Test Accurate? ----------------------------------------- > I have a question on the blood test you can get at the doctor's. How > soon after conception can it detect a pregnancy? I was totally impatient too--My doctor said that a blood test would show positive 10 days after conception, and I was dying to know so I went in 10 days after my blue line. The test was negative, I cried and cried, wanted to die for awhile, accepted it, and looked forward to the next month. Then two weeks went by-- no period. I was frustrated, figured I'd have to take provera to bring it on or something. I did a home pregnancy test for the hell of it, and lo and behold it was positive! So I jumped the gun. I would recommend that you not take a blood test until you are pretty sure it's 10 days after ovulation. What happened to me was an emotional roller coaster! ------------------------------- How To Calculate Your Due Date ------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chicar) This is how to calculate your due day. The due month is: your LMP month + 9. The due date is: your LMP date plus 7. For Example, if your LMP was 3/10/95: 3 + 9 = 12 (Dec), 10 + 7 = 17 (17th day). If the added month exceeds 12, then you subtract 12. For example, if you LMP was 6/20/95, the month will be (6 + 9) - 12 = 3 (March), and the date will be 20 + 7 = 27, so your due date will be 3/27/96. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Traditionally, this is calculated by Naegele's rule, which says you take the first day of your last menstrual period, count back 3 months, then add 7 days. The following reference questions that approach (which is several hundred years old... Nutrition has improved significantly since then!) The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation Mittendorf, R. et al Obstetrics & Gynecology, V.75, N.6, June 1990 pp. 929-932. (From the Dept. of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Harvard School of Dental Medicine; St. Margaret's Hospital for Women; and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA) Abstract By retrospective exclusion of gestations with known obstetric complications, maternal diseases, or unreliable menstrual histories, we found that uncomplicated, spontaneous labor pregnancy in private-care white mothers is longer than Naegele's rule predicts. For primiparas, the median duration of gestation from assumed ovulation to delivery was 274 days (P=.0003). For multiparas, the median duration of pregnancy was 269 days, also significantly longer than the prediction (P=.019). Moreover, the median length of pregnancy in primiparas proved to be significantly longer than that for multiparas (P=.0032). Thus, this study suggests that when estimating a due date for private-care white patients, one should count back 3 months from the first day of the last menses, then add 15 days for primiparas or 10 days for multiparas, instead of using the common algorithm for Naegele's rule.