Finding out that you’re pregnant usually brings a rollercoaster of emotions, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. Your entire life is changing, and while that has the potential to be daunting, it’s also the most exciting feeling.
There’s so much to do and learn once you find out that you’re pregnant, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything that you have to do. You want to do your best to prepare for giving birth and taking care of a child. Because of this, it’s easy to lose yourself along the way.
Having an empowered pregnancy is crucial for your mental wellbeing and can help you feel both prepared and fully capable for this next chapter in your life. These steps to empowerment are simple, yet very helpful.
1) Stay Informed
You’re going to be learning so many new things and taking in so much new information that keeping on top of your education is very important. Being educated allows you to prepare and figure out what is best for you and your unborn child.
One of the most commonly researched aspects of pregnancy is the birth itself:
- What are the implications of being medicated while giving birth?
- What treatments do you want your baby to receive right after birth?
- Would a home birth suit you better than a hospital birth?
Being properly educated will allow you to have clear answers to these questions that you can answer with confidence.
Tiny Tribes is a great site for pregnancy info that provides information on every stage of your pregnancy. In addition to online resources, there are numerous classes available for expecting mothers and parents. These not only provide great opportunities for education, but they also provide a safe space to ask for help when needed.
2) Be Aware of Your Rights
It’s a good rule to follow no matter the situation, but always make sure to fully read any documents you are asked to sign when you visit the doctor’s office. By doing this, you’ll familiarize yourself with your rights as a patient.
Although not common, make sure you know what the process is for filing a complaint with your doctor’s office or your insurance. If you find yourself needing to do so, knowing the proper procedure will speed things along and ensure that you won’t drop the issue if you’re discouraged.
3) Contact Your Insurance Provider
This one might seem tedious, but being fully aware of what your insurance offers is very important. You’ll be scheduling appointments that you haven’t had to make before, and finding out things like what will be covered by insurance and how frequently you’ll need to make appointments is important information.
By getting in touch with your insurance right away, this allows you to have more time to both think about your choices and make requests. If you have a preference regarding the gender of your doctor or the location in which you give birth, you have the right to request these things.
Likewise, if you don’t have insurance, this will allow you time to choose the plan that would be most beneficial to you.
4) Ask for Explanations
Now that you’ve chosen a doctor and have scheduled all of your appointments, it’s important to be fully aware of what each of these will entail. It’s helpful to ask for a full explanation of any procedure or examination before it happens, but there are also other questions you should feel free to ask:
- Inquire for a nurse line if you have questions
- Know what constitutes an emergency
- Ask your doctor to recommend getting any testing done
5) Create a Birth Plan
While labor and birth are always unpredictable to a degree, creating a birth plan will help you feel more at ease before the big day. Even if the event doesn’t go to plan, creating your list will help you learn more about the process and think about it in new ways.
Here are some things you may want to consider when making your birth plan:
- Where you will have your baby (at home/at hospital)
- Whether you want a water birth
- Who your birth partners will be and how they can support you
- The birthing environment – music, aromatherapy, anything else that will make you feel safe and comfortable
- What kind of pain relief you want (or if you want it)
- Whether you would prefer forceps or a ventouse delivery
- Whether you would like a Caesarean section
Some women create very detailed birth plans while others prefer to let their labor take its own course – do whatever makes you feel more comfortable. By following some of these steps, you can feel in control and informed during your pregnancy.