9 things your midwife wants you to know
Here are 9 of the most important things midwives would like every pregnant woman to know.
9 things your midwife wants you to know

In those heady days of pregnancy and new motherhood, it is often our midwives that hold our hands and empower us in making the best decisions in our new roles as mothers.

9 things your midwife wants you to know

1. Every woman should have access to a known midwife for their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period

Your midwife will empower you to have the confidence to care for your baby and will be a valuable support in the early days of motherhood. Remember that midwives are doing everything in their power to help you birth your baby safely. It may not always go the way you planned, but a healthy mum and baby is the main goal.

2. Attend all of your appointments with your midwife

Antenatal appointments are a chance to look at information about your health and pregnancy with your doctor or midwife and make decisions about your pregnancy care. This might include decisions about screening tests and where you’ll give birth. Some of these appointments and tests need to happen at certain times in pregnancy.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also do your own research so you can make informed choices

Pregnancy and child rearing pose some pretty serious options. You’re going to hear a lot of information, from a lot of different sources.

Ask questions, read, ask more questions … At the end of the day, nobody will make better decisions for you and your family than you.

4. Eat a variety of healthy foods every day and stay well hydrated

By filling your shopping basket with a wide variety of nutritious foods, you’re looking after yourself and your developing baby the very best way. 

You should include the five food groups:

  • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles (preferably wholegrain or wholemeal)
  • Vegetables and legumes
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Milk, yoghurt and hard cheese (preferably low-fat)
  • Meat, poultry, some fish, cooked eggs and nuts

And water … lots of water!

Some more healthy pregnancy eating tips are:

  • Have a piece of fresh fruit for a mid-morning or afternoon snack, instead of reaching for chocolate or biscuits.
  • By carrying a small bottle of water when you are out ensures you are well hydrated, and not tempted by sugary soft drinks.
  • Each week, prepare a couple of meals using beans, lentils and pulses. Incorporating these low-glycemic index foods into your balanced diet will help blood sugar level control. As an alternative to meat, chicken, fish and eggs, these plant-based foods are rich in important carbohydrates and also protein – much needed to build healthy new muscle tissue and body cells. Search our food section for healthy recipes and meal ideas.
  • Experimenting with different grains, such as barley, couscous or brown rice will add healthy variety to your favourite recipes.
  • Preparing raw vegetables sticks (cucumber, carrot and celery) and storing in containers in the fridge will ensure you always have healthy, fresh food at your fingertips for a smart snack alternative.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products

You’ll find information on some foods to avoid here.

5. Do some gentle exercise every day, but remember to rest and be kind to yourself

Some exercise during pregnancy is a good idea. It can provide great benefits, including better sleep, improved moods, more energy, less back pain and more regular bowels. Mums-to-be who exercise are also more likely to have shorter labours, require fewer interventions during delivery and recover better.

You’ll get the most benefits if you exercise regularly, but you don’t have to overdo it. Just as for people who aren’t pregnant, 30 minutes per day on most days of the week is enough to gain health benefits. Plus, a day on the lounge now and again is totally allowed!

Find more information on exercise during pregnancy here:

6. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs in pregnancy and while breastfeeding

Along with the news that you’re pregnant, comes a responsibility to really understand everything you put into your body – after all, you are now growing another being who is completely dependent on your body to deliver all its needs. Not sure what is safe? You’ll find more information on the concerns, and advice on how to quit in the following articles:

7. Skin-to-skin of mother and newborn, regardless of your mode of birth is encouraged

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact were first noted by Dr. Edgar Rey Sanabria, a Professor of Neonatology in Bogota, Colombia. He initially introduced the method to alleviate the shortage of caregivers and lack of resources in the hospital – believing that a mother’s chest provides the closest approximation to the environment of the womb. Doctors soon came to realise that survival rates were far higher for babies who were held close to their mothers’ chests for extended periods of time.

No matter which way you birth, the importance of that initial skin-to-skin contact can’t be underestimated. A new, gentler method of c-section sees that babies are being placed immediately onto their mums for nursing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for this to happen, no matter your circumstance, too.

8. Breastfeeding exclusively for six months is encouraged

The World Health Organisation recommends that for optimal health, all babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life, and that babies should be breastfed along with developmentally appropriate foods up to two years and beyond.

For some women, breastfeeding comes naturally and easily, for others it takes more work. For some, no matter how hard they try, breastfeeding is just not possible. Please know that whatever works for you in your particular circumstances is fine.

You can find out all about breastfeeding here.

9. Enjoy every moment of this wonderful life event

When you’re pregnant, it seems like it will go on forever. However, speaking from experience, we can tell you it passes very quickly and is soon a memory. Take steps to document the many changes that are occurring in your life right now. Include your partner in all this. Have him or her jot down his or her feelings. Take his or her picture, too! You’ll be able to look back and share the highs and lows together, and, in the years ahead, you and your kids will be glad you did.

Happy doctor with a baby in her arms

 

This article was written by Rebel Wylie for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz

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