Being pregnant is both amazing and scary all at the same time. You don’t know what is going on with your baby, so every little thing sends you to the doctor. You’re constantly worried there’s something wrong. I get it because I was there! Even though I am a labor and delivery nurse, I worried about every little thing that happened.
However, there are some things that you don’t need to worry about. You can also plan ahead and take care of many things at home, before the big day. You don’t have to rush to the doctor or hospital for everything. Because of that, I’d like to share with you 11 things expecting moms can learn from a labor and delivery nurse.
- Bleeding can be normal. I know it seems scary, but a little bit of spotting can be normal. You may have something called a subchorionic hematoma which can cause some bleeding but it is perfectly fine. During pregnancy your cervix is very vascular and something as simple as intercourse can cause some spotting. This is all normal, but if you have more than just spotting and it is bright red blood, you need to go to the hospital.
- Unfortunately, we can’t stop miscarriages. Many women go to the hospital when they are 12 weeks with bleeding and expect us to do something. When we don’t they think we are mean, heartless, and don’t care about their baby. This is simply not true, we take miscarriages just as hard as the family sometimes, but there is simply nothing we can do that early to stop it from happening.
- Do what you have to do to manage your symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms can be horrible. Some people are blessed with every pregnancy symptom in the book, even the ones you never knew about. For me, I threw up every single day of my pregnancy. I was given medicine to help, but it just cut down the number of times I got sick. The only thing that could keep me from getting sick was a sour apple jolly rancher candy. It’s strange, I know, but it worked for me, so find what works for you to manage those horrible symptoms.
- If baby is not moving, drink something cold. You can also eat something with some sugar, try to rest, or put something on your stomach. This happens very often, a mom comes in to the hospital because her baby hasn’t moved all day, we give her some apple juice and put her on the monitor and the baby moves within seconds. When we ask the mom about her day, often she hadn’t eaten that day or had been on her feet all day. If you are not eating and moving all day, your baby is likely sleeping. If a mom comes in to the hospital we have to keep her for at least an hour, even if the baby has already moved.
- Make sure baby is moving every day. On the other hand, there will be the moms who wait until baby hasn’t moved in a couple of days then come in. By then, it is often too late and a very sad situation. If you drink some juice and rest and your baby doesn’t move within half an hour I would head to the hospital just to make sure.
- Contractions may not be contractions. Many people come to the hospital thinking they are in labor and when we give them some fluids the contractions stop. Dehydration can cause you to go into labor because your body is trying to protect the baby. If you are having contractions, drink a glass of water and put your feet up. If they go away within an hour, they are not the real thing. If they don’t go away, then they may be the real thing. Real labor contractions will get stronger and closer together.
- Labor at home as long as you can. This is for many reasons. First off, you will be more comfortable at home. Second, there are some hospitals that don’t have a lot of extra space, and you may be confined to a bed when you arrive. This can stall your labor. If you are in labor you should walk around as much as you can. However, if you live a long distance from the hospital or if you have a history of quick labors you should get to the hospital sooner rather than later.
- You don’t have to bring everything to the hospital. There are some things you need to make sure you take because the hospital won’t have them, but there are also things you should leave at home. You don’t want to ruin good underwear so make sure you have large comfy underwear. Also, you won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes after you deliver so leave them at home. There are a lot of other things you should leave at home because you won’t need them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It doesn’t matter how many times you have been been pregnant, every pregnancy is different. You will come up with questions and feel embarrassed to ask them, but don’t be afraid. We have heard it all before and possibly even worse, so just ask, please don’t Google it! If you must Google something, make sure you are getting your information from a good site or a medical professional site, not Wikipedia.
- Be prepared for anything. Babies are unpredictable and we can’t always see them very well during your pregnancy. If your doctor thinks something is wrong he may decide you need a c-section to keep your baby safe. Be prepared that you may not have the delivery you wished for, but what matters is keeping you and your baby safe.
- If something doesn’t feel right, say so. You know your body better than anyone else so if you just don’t feel right, make sure your doctor knows. You never know what might be going on. I have had several women come in and say that something just doesn’t feel right and end up having an emergency c-section. Their babies were delivered safely because they spoke up and communicated how they were feeling.
These are just a few tips for making your pregnancy go a little smoother, labor is a different story!
Do you have any tips for pregnant moms?