So you are finally pregnant and wondering what are the next steps? We go around with you, take notes!
Make an appointment with a doctor
Start your search quickly to find an obstetrician who will monitor your pregnancy and deliver your baby. You will be given an appointment around your 12th week of pregnancy, but it is better to plan as soon as possible to make sure you have a place. You can also opt for the experience of a midwife in a hospital setting or in a birthing centre. Know that midwives are now authorized to practice their profession in hospitals.
If you wish, you can retain the services of a birth companion: she will not give birth to you, she is not a midwife, but she can advise you, reassure you, accompany you in this beautiful adventure that is pregnancy.
Look at your options for prenatal testing
During pregnancy, your doctor will ask you to have ultrasound scans to ensure that the baby is developing well. The hospital where you are going to give birth offers this service, but some womenprefer to go to a private prenatal clinic to make the experience a little more magical.
Go to the dentist
The physiological changes of pregnancy can affect the dental he alth of the expectant mother. Make an appointment also with your dentist to whom you will tell that you are pregnant! You don't want to submit to unnecessary x-rays now that you're pregnant! Depending on the result of the examination, your dentist may recommend special care and a second appointment, later in the pregnancy, to see how your dental he alth is changing. The gums of future mothers are more sensitive to inflammation: consult your dentist if repeated bleeding occurs.
Take folic acid
Ideally, you should start taking a folic acid supplement 12 weeks before becoming pregnant. If you haven't, it's not too late to start: your pharmacist will guide you to the right supplements. Research has shown that consuming multivitamins containing folic acid helps pregnant women reduce their baby's risk of spina bifida, resulting from neural tube defects.
By the way, if you take any medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, make sure it's safe for your baby with from your pharmacist or doctor. You can also download the PetitPregnancy and breastfeeding guide which gives valuable information.
Changing certain lifestyle habits
During a pregnancy, we like to “wash whiter than white”, that is to say that all “bad” habits must take the edge! First, women smokers are encouraged to quit. Next, because of the risk of fetal alcoholism, mothers-to-be should stop all alcohol consumption during their pregnancy.
Your sleeping habits may need to be reviewed: your body is building a living being and it needs a lot of rest to get there. You'll probably be more tired than before you were pregnant, so take relaxation breaks throughout the day, take naps and most importantly make sure you get at least 8 sleeps hours each night. It is common to suffer from insomnia during pregnancy: do not feel guilty about taking a nap to recover, your he alth and that of your baby depend on it.
WorkplaceIf your job puts you at risk now that you are pregnant, know that in Quebec you are protected by the CNESST's Une maternity sans danger program. In this program, reassignment to other non-harmful tasks during pregnancy is preferred, but if no reassignment is possible,
you may be en titled to preventive withdrawal . For example, educators and teachers who are in contact with many children and therefore at riskfrom contracting an infection that is dangerous for pregnant women are very often put on preventive withdrawal. It is an assessment made by the CNESST that will determine your eligibility for the program.
Good physical shape is also important throughout pregnancy: if you are not particularly athletic, favor walking, swimming and completely avoid activities at risk of causing you to fall. If you are already an active woman, you should continue your physical activities normally, with again a warning about sports that could lead to a fall and unfortunately a miscarriage.
Certain foods such as sushi, raw milk cheeses and cold cuts should be avoided during pregnancy. Otherwise, it is the variety in fruits and vegetables, in dairy products and in sources of protein and iron that will ensure your good nutrition throughout your pregnancy. You shouldn't eat for two: it is important to respect your appetite, but also not to take pregnancy for permission to eat everything in large quantities! Food cravings are common during pregnancy, but if you opt for “he althy” foods instead of sweets, your weight gain should turn around around 16 kilos at the end of your pregnancy if you are of average build.
Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP)
AuQuebec, pregnant women must wait until after giving birth to register for the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, but you should still find out about the options available to you. Will you opt for a longer leave (50 weeks at 55% of salary) or a shorter one (40 weeks at 75% of salary)? Will you share the 32 or 25 weeks of parental leave with the father or will you keep them all? Will the benefits you receive then be enough to meet your budget? It is therefore an exercise to be done at the start of pregnancy in order, for example, to be able to save a larger part of one's current income to have a reserve during maternity leave or to change lifestyle habits that would make it possible to save enough not to having financial difficulties during maternity leave.
Preparing older children
If you are already the parent of a child, you will have to take the time to explain to the oldest that he will soon have a little brother or a little sister. Rest assured: in the vast majority of cases, this happy news is well received by the child. In some cases, your child may react less well, especially when the baby is born. By meeting your child's emotional and attention needs, he should be reassured enough about your love to return to better feelings for his siblings.
Take care of yourself
Pregnancy is both endless and terribly fast! Depending on your moods and yourgeneral he alth, you will go through emotional periods, peaks of doubts and fears, worries about your unborn baby throughout the next few months. But you will also live unforgettable moments: hearing the baby's heart, seeing it on an ultrasound, feeling it moving inside you and many other occasions where you will feel fulfilled by life to feel life developing inside you.
Yes, pregnancy is fraught with uneasiness and discomfort, but you have a golden opportunity to take care of yourself: everyone is accommodating towards a pregnant woman! She wants to rest, take a bath, take a nap, eat a snack, get a massage? It's yes for sure, or almost!
Enjoy it, it's a great time in your life!
- CHU Ste-Justine - Pregnancy and breastfeeding guide
- CNESST - Protective withdrawal - conditions and payments
- QPIP - Quebec Parental Insurance Plan - Choice of payments
- He alth Canada - Pregnancy and he althy eating - Importance of he althy eating