Being pregnant and giving birth both have the potential to be very empowering and awesome experiences for any woman. This can be true whether your pregnancy was planned or if you became pregnant without intending to. This can be true if you will be experiencing your pregnancy alongside your baby’s father or your chosen partner, or if you will be experiencing the pregnancy without a significant other. The key to making your pregnancy as healthy and low-risk as possible is first to embrace the pregnancy and the responsibility for your health and your baby’s by getting regular prenatal care, making healthy lifestyle changes (not smoking or abusing alcohol or drugs, eating healthy foods, taking a prenatal vitamin, getting plenty of rest and exercise, as well as checking on any prescriptions you are taking to see if they are ok for pregnancy). This is true whether you are planning to parent your baby or place your baby through adoption. Know that if adoption is a choice you are considering that you will be providing the baby you give birth to with the best possible start to life by taking a healthy approach to your pregnancy and birth, and an beautiful investment in your own health during your pregnancy and birth as well as your postpartum period, and future reproductive health.
If you are experiencing an unintended pregnancy and you are still looking for resources and considering your options, you may find EKRHP’s Resources pages helpful as well as The Pregnancy Options Workbook.
Once you have made the decision to be pregnant, the next thing you should do is see a maternity care provider. This can be the same care provider you saw for your gynecological visits, or you might need to choose a new care provider. You have many options when deciding who will provide your prenatal care – obstetrician, midwife (nurse midwife, certified professional midwife, or direct entry midwife), and family physician. Depending on what is available where you live, you may have your choice of a few or all of these options. Which care provider is right for you? Take a quiz to find out.
Receiving proper prenatal care is important and can make all the difference in whether or not you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you are concerned that you cannot afford prenatal care, you can visit your county’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to see if you qualify for assistance. Some clinics offer a sliding scale payment system based on your income for the uninsured. If you have private insurance, be sure to check whether or not they cover maternity care and to what extent you will be covered if they do. If transportation and childcare are an issue and you live in Leslie, Knott, Letcher, or Perry county in Kentucky, your local branch of LKLP could be of assistance.
Next, you should do all you can to learn about pregnancy and birth including the changes happening in your body, steps to be healthy and active during your pregnancy, the medical interventions that you might need during birth, and what your options are for giving birth like – induction or going into labor on your own, epidural/IV medication/natural (drug free) birth, will you have freedom of movement once you reach the hospital, does the place where you will give birth allow you to use the shower or tub, etc… This is important because the more informed you are, the more involved you can be in making decisions about the care that you and your baby will receive throughout your pregnancy and during your labor and birth. This will help you to feel like you are an active participant in your pregnancy and birth instead of experiencing it as something that is happening to you that you have no control over. It will also make you more prepared for what you will experience and take away some of the anxiety or apprehension you might feel.
There are many ways you can learn more about pregnancy and birth:
After learning more, you may decide to create birth plan as a way to help you communicate your preferences to your care provider. Another consideration to make is having a doula (professional labor support person) with you throughout your labor and birth. Many doulas will work on sliding scale fee (for those who truly desire a doula and cannot pay full price) or for free if a client is in great need of support (for teen moms and those who may otherwise be alone during their labor and delivery). You may search for doulas in your area online, by getting a referral from others, or through Birth True Childbirth Education.
After the birth of your baby, you may wish to take more classes on breastfeeding and parenting. You may find more information about what is available on our Pregnancy and Parenting resource page. If you would like to learn more about placing the baby for adoption look at our Adoption Counseling and Services resource page.
Remember to keep up with your doctor/midwife visits in your postpartum period. This is extremely important and especially so if you have had a c-section. Also know that some women experience postpartum “blues” or depression. This is normal. Please talk with your care provider about what you are experiencing and visit Postpartum Support International for more information.
Congratulations on your Accomplishment!!!