Pregnancy All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Pregnancy All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Pregnancy All-In-One For Dummies

By Consumer Dummies

Moms-to-be and their partners have a lot of questions when they first discover they’re expecting. The first questions of many soon-to-be parents focus on big-picture issues: how the baby develops, how to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy, and what to expect during each trimester. Yet even small comforts can mean a lot when you’re carrying another human being inside of you. This Cheat Sheet addresses a few of those, telling you what to expect when you’re admitted to the hospital, how you can avoid the nuisance of heartburn, and how to find time to work out after your little one is born.

What to Expect When You’re Admitted to the Hospital for Delivery

Whether you’re in labor, being induced, or having a cesarean delivery, you need to be admitted to the hospital’s labor floor. If you preregistered earlier in your pregnancy (ask your practitioner about the process), your records are already on the labor floor when you arrive, and a hospital unit number is assigned to you. When you arrive at the hospital or birthing center, you go through an admission process and are assigned to a room.

You settle into your hospital room, following a fairly standard routine:

  • You change into a gown.

  • A nurse asks you questions about your pregnancy, your general health, your obstetrical history, and when you last ate. If you think water has broken or you’re leaking fluid, let your nurse know.

  • A nurse, midwife, resident, or other practitioner performs an internal exam to see how far along in labor you are.

  • Your contractions and the fetal heart rate are monitored.

  • A nurse may draw your blood and start an IV line in your arm (for delivering fluids and possibly medications).

  • You’re asked to sign a consent form for routine hospital care, delivery, and possibly cesarean section.

    You sign the consent form when you’re admitted in case you need an emergency cesarean during labor and you don’t have time to sign consent forms. Signing a consent form doesn’t mean you’re limiting your care options.

  • You may want to hand over any valuables you have with you to your partner or another family member (or simply leave them at home).

Most hospital rooms include some standard features, so the room you’re placed in probably includes all of the following:

  • A special bed: In a room used for both labor and delivery (also known as a birthing room), the bed is specially designed to come apart and be turned into a delivery table. Some hospitals have rooms where you labor, deliver, and even remain for your postpartum recovery. These rooms are called LDR (an acronym for labor, delivery, and recovery) rooms or LDRP rooms (the p stands for postpartum).

  • Doppler/stethoscope: Your practitioner or nurse uses these portable tools to listen periodically to the fetal heartbeat instead of using the continuous fetal monitor.

  • Fetal monitor: This machine has two attachments, one to monitor the baby’s heart rate and one to monitor your contractions. The fetal monitor generates a fetal heart tracing, which is a paper record of how the baby’s heart rate rises and falls in relation to your contractions.

  • Infant warmer: This device has a heat lamp to keep the newborn’s body temperature from dropping.

  • IV line: This tube is connected to a bag of saline (salt water) containing a glucose mixture to keep you properly hydrated. It also provides access for medications in case you need pain control or have an emergency.

  • Rocking chair or recliner: The extra chair is for your partner, your coach, or another family member.

9 Ways to Avoid Heartburn While Pregnant

Heartburn is common during pregnancy and can happen at any time throughout your 40 weeks, although it often gets worse in the second and third trimesters. Heartburn has two causes, and both are related to the sphincter muscle that connects the esophagus to your stomach. The progesterone your body produces relaxes that sphincter muscle, and your growing uterus presses on it.

The result is that gastric acids, liquids, and food from the stomach travel back up your esophagus, leaving you uncomfortable. Heartburn typically worsens as your belly grows and puts more pressure on your stomach, causing the sphincter muscle to allow acid back into the esophagus.

You can lessen the symptoms of heartburn by trying the following tips:

  • Stop eating two to three hours before lying down for bedtime or a nap. The less you have in your stomach, the less likely you are to experience acid reflux.

  • Sleep propped up to avoid lying flat. When you elevate your upper body, gravity helps keep your stomach acids down. (If you’re past your first trimester, you shouldn’t lie flat, anyway; lying flat can cut off circulation to your baby and your legs. Lie on your left side for optimal circulation.)

  • Practice good posture when sitting. When you slouch, you put more pressure on your esophagus, which can lead to heartburn.

  • Avoid big meals. Eat small portions so that you don’t overfill the stomach and cause extra food to come back up the esophagus.

  • Sip liquids with meals instead of drinking large amounts. Because you want to avoid having large amounts in your stomach at one time, drink small amounts at meals and stay hydrated by spreading your liquids out between meals.

  • Avoid greasy or fatty foods. High-fat foods, specifically fried foods, tend to trigger heartburn because they don’t stimulate digestion but do take longer to digest (they just sit in your stomach).

  • Skip spicy and acidic foods. Acidic foods, like tomatoes, citrus, and peppers, can be problematic for many women. Onions and garlic are also on some women’s problem-foods list.

  • Avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages. These drinks have been known to cause acid reflux. Sorry to say, but chocolate can also irritate the esophagus, so you may want to avoid it, too.

  • Take an antacid when you’re uncomfortable. Talk to your doctor about which one to choose or about a safe prescription medication if over-the-counter antacids don’t work for you.

6 Tips for Finding Time for Fitness after Your Baby’s Born

During pregnancy, your biggest stumbling blocks to regular workouts may have involved getting motivated to work out, finding the energy to exercise, and finding time to work out on long days that included visits to your healthcare provider. After the baby is born, however, your biggest challenges may be what in the world to do with your new baby during your workout and how to find time between all those feedings, changings, and your baby’s other needs — in addition to still being short on sleep and time.

Here are some suggestions that can help you continue the work you began during pregnancy, from carving out time for your workouts to finding a safe place for your little one while you get your body back to your pre-pregnancy shape:

  • Exercise during your baby’s nap time. When your child is very young, you can plan to exercise during one of his normal nap times, using a baby monitor or setting up a crib or playpen right near your workout equipment.

    If you’re planning to leave your baby in his crib and to use his baby monitor to warn you if he awakes or needs you for other reasons, you may want to select a baby monitor that lights up when your baby cries. This way, you don’t have to worry about not hearing the monitor over your workout video or treadmill.

  • Opt for a quieter workout. If you’re using a loud machine, such as a treadmill, rowing machine, or indoor bicycle, he may not sleep very long amidst all that ruckus. Likewise, the music and instructions on an aerobics video may wake a sleeping baby. But quieter workouts do exist — from weightlifting to some elliptical trainers to yoga — and working out with your baby couldn’t be much simpler.

  • Take your baby along. If she’s properly dressed for the weather and not exposed to extreme temperatures, you may be able to take your baby with you on your workout. When she’s very young and still lightweight enough to carry, you can keep her in a hands-free, front-mounted baby sack (also called a baby pouch or baby sling) or in a hands-free, back-mounted baby backpack while you walk or hike. Just be sure that she isn’t getting jostled around, isn’t too hot or cold, and isn’t exposed to a draft.

    When your baby can hold her head up and wear a helmet, you can bring her along in a bike trailer or an easy-to-maneuver running stroller.

  • Join a gym or pool that offers childcare. Make sure that you check the credentials of the sitter(s) the gym or pool has hired and that you understand the childcare’s policies.

  • Start a mothers’ exercise club. Do you know other newish mothers at work or in your neighborhood who want to work out? Consider starting a mothers’ exercise club in your area. Before starting your own club, check to see whether one exists in your area.

  • Get your partner involved. If your partner has been involved in your pregnancy fitness routine and enjoys it, chances are he wants to continue this routine after your baby is born. If you work out together in early morning, after work, or on weekends, you may want to take the baby with you, using the ideas described here. Another way to involve your partner is to alternate workout times.