Your mother always said, “You'll understand when you have kids of your own.” And as much as you may hate to admit it, she's right. Being a mom starts the day you find out you're no longer a solo act; suddenly responsibility means more than remembering when the cat needs shots and getting the oil changed every 3,000 miles. Pregnancy initiates you into an empathic sisterhood of women who can be a source of inspiration, support, and advice throughout pregnancy and beyond.
It's a big club — over 4.1 million American women gave birth in 2004 alone — but it's surprisingly intimate in knowledge of the trials and tribulations of motherhood. Never again will you roll your eyes at a toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store or tap your fingers impatiently at that woman taking forever to load her kids in the car and pull out of
Pregnancy also means preparing for a whole new lifestyle. You and your significant other will no longer pass as “couples-only”; your free time will focus on parks and playgroups rather than on dinner and a show. If you already have children, the challenges and joys of new sibling relationships lie ahead. And your husband or partner will be exploring his new role as a dad and learning the ropes of child care. It's an exciting time, but as with any unfamiliar venture, pregnancy and the prospect of this completely dependant tiny person can inspire anxiety and, yes, even fear. Are you eating the right foods? Is your morning run bad for your baby? Will your child develop your grandfather's diabetes? In true motherly style, you've started worrying about your baby's well-being already.
Of course, your health care provider is the best source of information for specific medical questions about your pregnancy. But even the most dedicated doctor can't be at your disposal 24/7.
Most important, this book encourages an open dialogue with your health care provider. Your doctor or midwife can provide medical care and expert advice, but ultimately you must manage your health care for yourself. That means reading up, asking questions, and making sure you're satisfied with the answers. After all, you wouldn't let your financial planner do whatever he pleases with your money without your providing some input and approval. Yet many women don't feel they have a right to
You'll make many critical decisions throughout your pregnancy, from pursuing diagnostic testing and genetic counseling to choosing your labor and delivery preferences. Educating yourself allows you to make informed choices and to make the most of your time with your doctor or midwife. Most health care providers are more than willing to answer your questions; patients who do their homework demonstrate their commitment to a healthy pregnancy and make their provider's job easier in the long run. But remember, communication is key. Your questions
Enjoy this special time, and consider