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First-time moms: What to expect during the last three months

Dr. Deb Krahl has been a practicing OB/GYN for 16 years. She received her medical degree from University of Minnesota before completing her residency training at the University of California-Irvine. She has been with Aspen Medical Group for the last nine years and is currently the lead OB/GYN physician there. She is excited to be among the OB/GYN’s delivering at The Mother Baby Center.

For most first-time moms-to-be, the last three months of their pregnancy are a mixture of excitement, joy and anticipation, but there are also concerns about labor and becoming a parent in general. Some moms-to-be are energized and relish each and every day of their pregnancy wishing it could last 50 weeks instead of 40 weeks. Other expecting moms are exhausted due to lack of sleep and low back pain, have extremely puffy feet and are counting the days and hours until they can go more than two hours in between bathroom breaks. No matter what experience you’re having as a first-time mom-to-be, here are some practical tips to consider during the last three months of your pregnancy:

Maximize your sleep. Take advantage of sleeping in on weekends and naps when you can. Once the baby is born, you won’t have this luxury!

Keep busy. If you work, keep working your normal schedule as long as possible (assuming you are physically able and there are no restrictions from your doctor). If you exercise, continue your low impact routine to stay in shape for labor and delivery and your overall health.

Spend more time with your partner. Go see a movie, out to dinner, or on walks. Once you become parents, your time alone as a couple is significantly decreased and will be influenced by who you trust to watch the baby if you do want couple time together.

Learn more about the labor and delivery process. The most comprehensive way is to take a Labor and Delivery class offered through the hospital or your doctor’s office. These classes usually cost $100 and include a tour of the hospital. If you don’t want to spend money on these classes, I strongly recommend doing the FREE TOUR of the Labor and Delivery area that all hospitals offer. It would also be helpful to read about the stages of labor and pain relief options available. The more familiar you are with your surroundings and what to expect for each stage in labor, the more relaxed you will be when it happens.

Learn more about newborn care and breastfeeding. First-time moms-to-be are often caught up thinking about Labor and Delivery and forget to learn about basic newborn care and techniques for breastfeeding. There are many books on these two topics, so find ones that appeal to you. If you don’t have time to read up before the birth, don’t worry! Hospitals have great videos to watch after the baby is born in the postpartum rooms, and your pediatrician will be another wonderful source for years to come regarding questions about your baby.

Take your DHA. DHA is proven to help with baby brain development. You need to take DHA in addition to your prenatal vitamins every day after 28 weeks. Check your prenatal vitamins as some already have the DHA in them.

Don’t worry about how your labor will go. It’s normal for expecting moms to be nervous about labor (even OB/GYN doctors don’t know how their labors are going to go when they’re pregnant!), but don’t let it consume your thoughts. Your Labor and Delivery nurses and your doctor will be there to help guide and support you through the process. Be an active participant in your labor and be open to options for pain relief. It doesn’t matter if you get an epidural or if you have a vaginal delivery or Cesarean section; the important part is to have a healthy mom and baby! Your labor team will do everything in their power to accommodate your wishes in labor and make it a wonderful experience as you bring your new child into the world.

For first-time moms-to-be, the last three months of pregnancy are usually a mixture of physical and emotional changes. Hopefully, the above tips will help guide you in your preparation for labor and becoming a parent!