How can I help with her morning sickness?
Nausea and vomiting are very common during pregnancy, and don’t always occur in the morning. Morning sickness may set in by week six and for most women goes away at the second trimester.
The American College of OB/GYN’s recommends the following to help easy morning sickness:
- Take a multivitamin
- Try eating dry toast or crackers in the morning before you get out of bed to avoid moving around on an empty stomach
- Drink fluids often
- Avoid smells that bother you
- Eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals
- Try bland foods, such as the “BRATT” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea)
- Try ginger ale made with real ginger, ginger tea made from fresh grated ginger, ginger capsules and ginger candies
What happens at the first prenatal appointment?
When is the first appointment?
Typically, the first prenatal appointment is scheduled when a woman is seven to eight weeks pregnant, so that the doctor and family can hear the heartbeat.
What happens at the appointment?
At the first prenatal visit, the woman’s health care provider will conduct a physical exam, ask her about her medical history and perform blood tests. These tests will identify her blood type and check for anemia and sexually transmitted diseases.
The doctor will want to know if the woman is immune to rubella (German measles) and mumps, have been exposed to tuberculosis or have had chicken pox, among other potential risks to the baby.
She will be asked for a urine sample to check the levels of sugar and protein. A pelvic exam will tell the size of your uterus, which helps to estimate the due date. A Pap smear may also be done at this time.
What will future appointments include?
Future appointments will require less testing but will include:
- Urine samples to monitor your sugar and protein levels
- Blood pressure tests
- Measurements of your uterine growth
- Tests of your baby's heartbeat and activity level
- Discussions of any questions and concerns
What can she eat?
Can she exercise?
When is it safe to share the news?There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to sharing the news. It’s a choice that’s made between you and your partner. Some people choose to spread the news immediately, some choose a select few to share the news with and some people choose to wait until they pass the first trimester when the chance of miscarriage is highest.
When will I feel the baby kick?Typically, you will begin to feel the baby kick around 20 weeks, but it can happen earlier.
Can we have sex when she is pregnant?According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, unless your partner’s obstetrician has told her otherwise, you can have sex throughout pregnancy. You may need to try new positions as your partner’s belly grows. Also, keep in mind that intercourse may be uncomfortable at times for your partner.
How can I help her self-esteem?
Many women are self-conscious during pregnancy and after, about the shape of their bodies. As a partner, you can do lots to help her, such as:
- Compliment her consistently and randomly. Your encouraging words can go a long way, particularly if they are given in public in front of other people. Try talking to her friends about something your partner did that was nice in front of her.
- Stand up for her. When she criticizes herself, tell her it’s not true. Just because her body isn’t a certain way doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful or loveable.
- Try to make her happy. Ask her what are a few things you could do in the coming days to help her. Zone in on specific things that she seems concerned about and see if you can think of other things you could do to help.
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What does a contraction feel like and how do you tell the different between real contractions and Braxton Hicks? Find out now.
How will I know when she’s really in labor?Early labor — short, mild contractions 20 or more minutes apart — can last quite a while in a first pregnancy.
How can I help her during labor?
Before going to Labor and Delivery, talk with your partner about what type of birth she envisions and what will help make her most comfortable. Additionally, here are some things you can do to help:
- Stay calm but ask questions
- Help her walk the halls or move around
- Help keep her occupied (cards, games, music, her favorite movies, etc.)
- Help her follow the birth plan
- Hold her hand, even if she squeezes hard
- Practice all the breathing exercises
- Offer back rubs or massages
- Help her monitor contractions
- Hold her legs when it’s time to push
- Take pictures, particularly right after the baby is born
- Be supportive and positive
Labor Support Tools
Many of the Texas Health hospitals also have birthing balls, labor bars, rocking chairs and some even have bathtubs or showers – these can all help your partner during labor. Labor support tools may help your partner feel more comfortable and calm, ease the pain and stress of contractions and promote the labor process.
How long will we stay in the hospital?After the baby is born, you most likely can take your new family home after one to two days. If your partner had a cesarean delivery, she and the baby may need to stay in the hospital longer.
How do we handle visitors in the hospital or at home?
Texas Health asked the members of the Texas Health Moms Facebook group for tips on how they handled visitors during the hospital stay and after the baby is born:
- Have a code word – Decide on a word that if your partner says, it’s your signal to help get the visitors out of the room. Excuses like “I think the baby needs to eat” or “It’s time for mom and baby to get some rest”.
- It’s bonding time – Remind visitors this is bonding time and it’s important for you to bond as a family for those couple of days. Let them know they’re welcome to come visit soon.
- Ask your nurse to help – If your guests aren’t taking the hint, ask the nurse to say it’s time for visits to leave for a procedure or feeding. You can also tell your nurse if you would not like any visitors at all.
- Put them to work – If guests come over to your house and offer to help, take them up on it. Areas where they can help include laundry, dishes and holding the baby so you or your partner can rest.
- Text and post updates – Send lots of pictures to your loved ones so they can feel like they’re part of the experience.
- Set up a calendar – There are lots of online care calendars that allow visits to make appointments on when they can come for a visit or to bring food to you.
- Set limits – Feel free to only allow one or two people to visit at a time. Babies can be overstimulated with lots of attention.
Additionally, most of the Texas Health hospitals have a daily Quiet Time to allow families to rest and bond with their babies. During this time the hall lights are dimmed, visitors are discouraged and the nurses try to limit the number of interruptions.
What can I do if I think she has postpartum depression?
Having a baby can be both elating and exhausting. It’s common for new moms to be emotional, show some signs of stress and anxiety, and even come across as rather distant after the birth of their baby. These “baby blues” typically last no longer than a couple of weeks and subside on their own. But what if the changes in disposition don’t go away?
The American Psychological Association reports that up to 1 in 7 women experience a much more serious mood disorder following a child’s birth – postpartum depression. If you are a partner, spouse, family member or friend who may be concerned that a new mom might be dealing with postpartum depression, it’s time to be curious, ask questions of your loved one and listen closely.
Learn more about postpartum depression.
How can we manage all nighters with the new baby?
Couples have different ways of handling all nighters and the baby waking up at all hours. Everyone fears sleep deprivation. Find an arrangement that works for you and your partner:
- Divide and conquer – Maybe you take the baby when you get home to let her nap, then maybe she can cover the late feedings, and you take the early morning so she can sleep until later in the morning. Or your partner covers 10 p.m.- 4 a.m. and you cover the 4 a.m.-10 a.m. shift so everyone is getting at least six hours of continuous sleep.
- Every other night – Some families do on one night, off one night
- Share it all the way – Some partners will get up and get the baby changed while the mom gets settled to feed the baby
- Covered the nights – Some moms may choose to cover the nights entirely while the partners sleeps because they have work, need to take care of other kids, etc.
If the baby is breastfeed, how can the partner help?
If mom is breastfeeding, she will be with the baby a lot, so how can you help? There are lots of things that a partner or family can do:
- Wash dishes, bottles and pump parts
- Make dinner and make sure she eats
- Offer to hold the baby to give her time to eat hot meals
- Do laundry
- Bring her water or a drink while breastfeeding
- Change diapers
- Take care of the pets
- Entertain the older children
- If the baby starts crying, go get the baby and change the diaper so mom has time to set up her breastfeeding area
When can we have sex after the baby is born?According to the American College of OB/GYN’s, “there is no set waiting period” before a woman can have sex again after giving birth. Some health care professionals recommend waiting four to six weeks. The chances of a problem occurring, like bleeding or infection, are small after about two weeks following birth. If your partner has had an episiotomy or a tear during birth, she may be told to not have intercourse until the site has completely healed.
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