Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Pregnancy I Learned from the 20 Rules of Advice

1. LIFE STYLE ABUSE AND BABY ABUSE DURING PREGNANCY:

Quit smoking, quit drinking, and quit taking drugs, medications and other harmful substances.

2. EAT HEALTHY:

Whatever you eat is what your baby’s tissues and organs will be made from.
Quality protein (80 grams per day) can build a strong baby and help reduce pregnancy complications.

3. IRON AND FOLIC ACID ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MINERAL/VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS YOU CAN TAKE DURING PREGNANCY.

Almost every pregnant woman is anemic: decreased red blood cells that carry and circulate oxygen to your baby. Just taking one iron pill with Vitamin C per day can avoid this most common condition during pregnancy. Extra folic acid is also very effective in building a better baby: you can purchase folic acid OTC (over the counter) in 0.8 mg tablets and take up to 4 mg per day.

4. SEE YOUR OB PHYSICIAN EARLY IN PREGNANCY AND KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENTS!

Pregnancy complications can be diagnosed earlier and can thereby be addressed to decrease your and your baby’s health risks and assure better outcomes. “Life Happens!” so make an appointment with your OB in the very first few weeks of pregnancy.

5. LABOR AND DELIVERY TAKES ABOUT 12 HOURS ON AVERAGE.

Fortunately an Epidural can eliminate most of these hours of pain. 25% of patients will have a Cesarean delivery for a good reason.

6. PREGNANCY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFECYCLE EVENT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE IN YOUR LIFETIME.

The emotional and physical roller coaster has just begun: from the horrible morning sickness in the beginning to the tears that will be streaming down your face when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time.

7. BREASTFEEDING YOUR BABY HELPS GIVE YOUR BABY THE BEST “HEAD START” (I’M TALKING BRAINS!) IN HIS/HER LIFE.

Breast milk has the proper composition of protein, carbohydrate and fat designed naturally for a human baby. Further, breast milk contains and passes on immune protection antibodies from your breast milk to your baby. Antibodies protect your baby from viruses and bacteria. Your baby may not suffer the same number or severity of colds and diarrhea that other babies may experience. It is your baby’s first “fast food.”

8. PREGNANCY IS NOT “A DISEASE:” YOU CAN AND SHOULD CONTINUE TO GO TO SCHOOL AND WORK.

Continue with school and your education. You are still able to do most physical activities and work as much as your body and mind can bear.

9. TAKING CARE OF A BABY IS THE MOST DIFFICULT (AND THE MOST RESPONSIBLE) JOB YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFETIME.

You will never believe how a little baby can consume all of your time, energy and emotional strength. Mentally you need to prepare for the crying, the poopy diapers and the lack of sleep. You will be rewarded when your baby smiles back at you: it is their way of telling you, “Thank you, Mommy and Daddy. I love you!”

10. PRACTICE SAFE SEX (please!).

It is a different world now and STD’s are more common than they ever were. Keep up your personal hygiene (that means a shower or a bath!) and brush your teeth after meals.

11. AVOID DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES AND SITUATIONS.

Drive carefully and do not text while driving. Stay away from physical activities that increase your risk of body injury or falls. Being protective of yourself, protects your unborn baby.

12. BUY AT LEAST 4 RECEIVING BLANKETS AND 4 BABY BLANKETS FOR YOUR BABY.

Your baby cannot leave home or sleep without them! You and your baby will lose one or two of them along the way. Similarly, buy 4 stuffed animals for your baby.

13. HAVING MORE THAN 8 CONTRACTIONS PER HOUR IS A SIGN OF PRETERM LABOR:

If you are feeling these contractions more than 4 weeks prior to your due date, please contact your OB or go to your hospital.

14. DO DAILY FETAL KICK COUNTS:

It is the only way a pregnant mother can monitor her baby’s health on her own.

15. LEARN WHAT a “CATEGORY 3” FETAL HEART STRIP LOOKS LIKE.

(see Crash Course on Fetal Monitoring)

16. IF POSSIBLE, A PRE-CONCEPTUAL PREGNANCY PLANNING APPOINTMENT MAY BE VERY CRITICAL TO YOUR BABY’S DEVELOPMENT:

a. Control your blood pressure and switch out medications that may be dangerous to your baby.
b. Take control of your diabetes (blood sugar): It can significantly lower the risk of birth defects in the very first few weeks of pregnancy.
c. Take control of any other medical conditions and their treatment: Depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Heart disease, Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis, Psoriasis, Acne, Substance abuse, etc.

17. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE IN LABOR, ESPECIALLY IF YOU THINK YOU ARE IN ADVANCED LABOR AND READY TO DELIVER, CALL (OR HAVE SOMEONE ELSE CALL) THE OB SUITE AND LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE COMING!

The OB nursing staff must prepare for your delivery. If other patients are in labor, they may have to “call in” extra nurses for your delivery. The OB nursing and hospital staff will have to notify your OB and anesthesia staff if you want an epidural, and give them and a Nursery nurse time to travel to the hospital and get ready for your delivery and baby.

18. PREPARE IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR TRIP TO THE HOSPITAL AND MAKE CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR OTHER CHILDREN.

In the last month of pregnancy patients should get together items they will need during their stay at the hospital (see Third Trimester Issues chapter). Patients should also make arrangements for the care of their other children (if other children are present in the home). Not a day goes by that the OB staff sees parents schlepping their other children to the hospital when they think they may be in labor (even at four o’clock in the morning!).

19. Pregnancy is not a comfortable physical condition:

Particularly in the last few months. Most patients will experience abdominal pain, pelvic and pubic pain. You will feel upper abdominal pain from the expanding uterus and rib pain as the pregnancy pushes your liver and spleen into your chest. There will be times when you cannot walk, turn over, get up or pick up your other child. Your may walk or even wobble like an old woman with arthritis.

If your baby is moving and there is no bleeding from your vagina, probably all of your discomfort is related to your enlarging baby, uterus and placenta. The physical weight and location of your pregnant uterus is putting pressure on a bone, a nerve or a muscle. As Coach Lou Holtz told his football players, "It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it." Having a 30 pound uterus and an 8 pound “creature” moving around inside your abdomen is painful.

20. Read the rest of this book!

Thank you, Robert Fulgrum (Author of Everything I ever needed to know I learned in Kindergarten).