Congratulations on your pregnancy. This is the beginning of forever. You are a second God now. You hold someone’s blessing in your hands and more so, you are full of life. The news is exciting, the journey is the most amazing you will ever embark on. Like any other voyage, you will need a few travel essentials (using the word “few” very loosely), to help you and your baby’s safe arrival.
1. Health Insurance
If you do not have this, make sure you start paying as soon as now. In fact, go make your first deposit right now. Insurance will cover every or most of the cost incurred during and after pregnancy. It will also lift the weight of medical bills off of your back and relieve you of stress that is unnecessary and lethal during pregnancy.
2. Antenatal care
Once you have made your deposit, make that visit to the doctor and start your antenatal visits. If you already have insurance, then this is step one. The obstetrician should perform thorough tests from HIV, to urine tests, to your blood pressure. He will also give you Iron and folic tablets. They are provided free at any public health Centre. He might also prescribe Calcium supplements. Take all of these religiously. Your baby needs all these nutrients for growth and development. Iron and folic acid prevents spina bifida, a birth defect associated with lack of Iron and Folic acid. Antenatal care, on the other hand, is paramount as it reduces maternal mortality as any problem is detected early and the measure required to be taken are taken early enough. It is crucial to never miss a visit as you are carrying a baby. With a baby, anything could happen even when you are a veteran mother as my fellow writer and mother of two Njeri wrote recently.
3. A water bottle
You will need to hydrate. Carry water with you everywhere you go. A refillable one liter bottle is best as it is not too heavy to carry with you everywhere you go. You will need to ensure there is a supply of clean water where you are headed so you refill the one liter bottle. If you are not in a desk job where you can constantly be walking to the water dispenser for a refill, leave the house with the bottle filled with water and down all the contents in the course of the day. This will keep you from dehydration and maybe, like me, crankiness. The frequent visits to the bathroom especially for those stuck in office desk jobs also do wonders for your blood circulation to the legs during the 3rd trimester when the feet swelling starts.
4. A good massage
This quickly moves from something that feels nice every other day during your first 2 trimesters to something you need almost every evening during the 3rd trimester when you back starts to feel all the strain from the weight you will be carrying then. If you can afford professional massage services every other day then by all means go for it. However, this is a great time to involve your spouse/partner and let them contribute something to the journey of bringing a new life into both your worlds. Just buy a few nice smelling and soothing essential oils and let him rub your back and legs in the evenings.
5. Natural yoghurt/Cheese
These dairy products have high calcium content and are thus a must add to your daily diet during pregnancy. I for one loved taking yoghurt not only for the strength and bust of energy it gave me, but also because the anti-bacterial properties reduced the chances of getting an intra-uterine infection which is quite common during pregnancy. You can make a smoothie with different fruits like bananas and avocado which are very good for the energy and the natural folic acid found in the avocado.
6. Stretch fabric, Bigger size bras and Maternity pants and Flats that are a size bigger
Your belly will be getting bigger especially during the third trimester. You will find jeans uncomfortable and an urge to find clothes that you can “breathe” in will come over you. So start stacking up the maternity pants with a comfortable stretch waist band. You can wear the dresses you love, maternity clothes do not have to be boring. Just make sure the fabric is soft and it stretches.
Your breasts are also getting fuller. They may start leaking a fluid called colostrum. You will need bigger size bras and breast pads to contain the girls and their spilling.
Your feet may start swelling due to water retention and the extra weight you are carrying. You will find that your shoes are a little tight in the evening and hard to walk in. Sometimes, if you take them off, your feet won’t fit into them again. Hilarious, I know. I used to visit my friend and end up leaving in her brother’s humongous sandals thanks to my big feet. To avoid any such moments, just buy an essential pair of flats say a black pair of ballerina shoes in a bigger size and see how they come in handy. Especially in the last trimester!
Your baby is growing inside of you and so are her organs and parts. This includes hair and nails. Heartburn arises from hair and nail growth as well as your internal organs being pushed further up to create room for the growing baby. This can result in heart burns and can be very uncomfortable. Make sure you pack a few antacids along the way to ease the discomfort. It also helps to eat small portions of food throughout the day which are rich in fiber to avoid the constipation.
8. 3Ps:Patience, Pillows, Poise
The fun part about being in your first and most parts of your second trimester is the sleep. You just cannot help but catch a snooze every time. No insomnia just sleep, sleep sleep. Then, the belly grows and it starts dawning on you that YOU ARE PREGNANT. You can barely get a comfortable position and you have to, 99.9% of the time, lie on your left while sleeping since Tye placenta and your liver are inclined to the right part of your lower abdomen. Bummer! Especially bummer to your left hip. The soreness is unbearable. You back on the other hand, LITERALLY!, is calling for help. You are taking your calcium tablets but still. This is where pillows, specifically pregnancy pillows come in. While you sleep, place one on your back, below your bump and, to Reece swelling, between your feet at the ankles. You will thank me later.
9. Subscription to Afro Mum
You are embarking on your journey to motherhood. You are still you, only this time, with a life to whom you have been placed guardian. You now have to juggle nurturing, with the household maintenance and your career. You need to know that you are not alone, You heed to know how others do it. You need to realize that you are a force and you are celebrated. You also want to read stories about the different kinds of mothers and how they do it. You need to subscribe to afromum.com
10.A personal Pregnancy Journal
This is a beautiful ways to document your pregnancy. Your thoughts, your fears, your wishes, your embarrassing moments, your baby’s first kick, your aversion to onions and obsession with fried chicken. Write down all of it. This is an incredible journey. You will take on multiple personalities. You will laugh, cry, scream or just be quiet. But please, do write about it.
We also recommend
A pregnancy app
If you have a smartphone then having a pregnancy app is a great way of keeping up with all your body changes during your pregnancy as well as get updates on how your baby is progress. Pregnancy apps have a great way of keeping you abreast of the different milestones and assure you especially if you are a first time mother. we recommend you try out the following apps, What to Expect and the Baby center app.
Afromum’s founder Njeri is currently in her 3rd trimester and wrote an article recently on some new and interesting products for nursing and pregnant mothers.