Your first pregnancy: 10 things to do
So, you’re expecting! Congratulations! Feeling excited but slightly overwhelmed? Renee Murphy offers up some steps you can take to feel more prepared.
Find out your due date
If you know when you last menstrual period was, enter your details into the OHbaby! pregnancy calculator and we’ll work it out for you. Sign up to our enews and learn about your pregnancy and your baby’s development week by week. Not sure when you conceived? Have a dating scan done to find out how far along your pregnancy is.
Book an LMC
LMC stands for Lead Maternity Carer. Your LMC will care for you throughout pregnancy, during labour and for the first six weeks after your baby is born. Midwife or obstetrician? The choice is yours. They're an important support person so choose someone you gel with.
Look for midwives in your region here
Take iodine and folic acid
Both you and your developing baby need these nutrients, but even with a balanced diet it’s difficult to get enough from food alone.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health recommends a daily supplement of iodine (150 mcg) during pregnancy to support healthy brain development.
Folic acid (800mcg) is also recommended for the first 12 weeks following conception to reduce the risk of Neural Tube Defects such as Spina Bifida.
Ask your doctor or LMC for a prescription or buy over the counter at your pharmacy.
Sign-up to antenatal classes
At antenatal classes, you’ll learn about pregnancy, labour and caring for a newborn. You’ll also meet other parents-to-be and it’s a great way of getting your partner involved. There are a range of providers in the community and antenatal classes online. Ask your LMC for a list.
Make an exercise & healthy-eating plan
You don’t have to go all military with planning your diet and physical activity, just make a conscious effort to educate yourself and make healthy choices for you and your baby.
Your mental health will benefit too!
Sort out parental leave
Find out what leave you are entitled to at employment.govt.nz. When you have decided what leave you would like to take, let your employer know. Remember you partner is entitled to parental leave too.
Read more about paid parental leave
Create a birth plan
Home birth, birthing centre or hospital? Gas or epidural? Delayed cord clamping? Vitamin K injection?
Making decisions about these things will help you feel empowered during the birthing process and ensure your LMC and support people can provide the best care.
Seek advice from people you trust
Fellow mums, your LMC and family can give you helpful tips. My mother-in-law recommended granny-panties. Best. Thing. Ever.
Lots of people will offer advice, even random strangers. Some will fall into the smile, nod and disregard category. You have been warned…
A smoke-free pregnancy is healthier for you and your developing baby. You’ll be able to relax knowing you’ve given your baby the best start at life.
Call Quitline on 0800 778 778 or talk to your GP or LMC to access nicotine replacement therapy and support.
Take photos to capture the miracle of pregnancy
These are so precious to look back on. Check out these pregnancy photos and announcements.
Renee Murphy is a freelance writer at Human Stories. She has two boys and a love-hate relationship with Lego.