If you're a first-time mom, the process is very new, despite how many books you've read or the amount of time you spend researching on the internet. Yes, your doctor will tell you some things, but there are many more that you will learn on your own and pick up from other women who went through it before you. Here are a couple of things for first-time moms that are good to know.
Get a flu shot this year
Whether you routinely get the flu shot or have never had the inoculation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting it when you're pregnant. Expectant moms are more likely to have a higher risk for serious complications from influenza, as compared to non-pregnant women. You can receive the vaccination at any time during your pregnancy and researchers have proven that it's completely safe. The CDC also reports that the most common side effect for all individuals who receive the seasonal flu shot is soreness at the injection site. In some cases, people may experience nausea, muscle aches, fever and fatigue.
Start looking for a pediatrician before giving birth
After waiting for nine long months and finally giving birth to your new son or daughter, you may be too tired to even think about finding a pediatrician. There will be celebrations and excitement for weeks as all of your friends and family gather round to see your baby. This is why finding a doctor while you're pregnant, instead of after, is a smart move and will be one last thing you have to do after taking your infant home. Try beginning your search during the third trimester.
Don't actually eat for two
It's a common misconception that pregnant women can eat whatever and how much they want because they're eating for two. The truth behind the matter is that gaining too much weight can be detrimental to both you and your baby. For instance, it can increase your risk of developing preeclampsia, which is caused by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, according to the National Institutes of Health. This condition usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.
When it comes to giving your baby the nutrients he or she needs, you only need to eat an additional 300 calories per day. The rest will just build up and will be that much more weight you have to worry about losing after giving birth. So, yes - it's okay to eat a bit more than you usually do, but make sure that you're still eating well-balanced meals and making healthy snacking choices.
Check to see if your medications are okay to take
If you suffer from depression, you're not the only one. In fact, millions of women in the U.S. do. According to research conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, 40 percent of females with severe depression take a prescribed medication to improve emotional instability. In addition, more than one-third of women with moderate symptoms also take antidepressant medication.
If you want to get off any drugs you may be on, it's crucial that you discuss it with your doctor beforehand. Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft, are okay to keep taking during pregnancy, the Mayo Clinic reports.
What are some things that you wish you had known during pregnancy? Do you have any advice for expectant moms? Leave your answers in the comments section!