Raising a child is a full-time job. Thinking ahead about the challenges you’ll face and the support you’ll need can help you prepare to be the best parent you can be. Here are some pregnancy facts that you need to know.
What support will I need if I have a child?
Whether you’re a single parent or parenting with someone else, a child needs nonstop care and attention. Having a partner and/or family members to share the work of parenting makes the job a lot easier. Most parents need help, especially when it comes to money and time. The kind of support parents often need includes help with running errands, getting clothes and baby supplies (hand-me-downs are really helpful), babysitting, and just having someone to talk with.
Parenting with a partner is usually easier than parenting alone, but it can put some serious stress on even the best relationships. Raising a child on your own has unique benefits and challenges. Either way, being realistic about your day-to-day life and the support you’ll need is important when you’re thinking about raising a child.
How will parenting work with my partner and me?
Parenting with a romantic partner or a co-parent helps both parents feel supported, and many couples enjoy sharing the responsibility of raising a child. Creating a family with someone can be really rewarding, and it may even bring you closer together.
But most people find that having a child tests even the strongest relationship in ways they don’t expect. Sometimes the stress is just too much and the relationship doesn’t last.
Either way, your relationship with your partner will change when you have a baby. Parenting together takes good communication and a commitment to stick through the hard times.
If you’re considering parenting with a partner, here are some questions to think about:
- Is our relationship healthy enough to provide a loving and stable home for a child?
- Do we agree on when to have a baby?
- Will we communicate openly and honestly with each other?
- Will we share the financial responsibility of caring for our child?
- Will we share the day-to-day work of caring for our child?
- Do we agree on how child care and/or daycare is going to work?
- Can we deal with the strains that pregnancy and raising a child puts on relationships?
- If our relationship ends, how would we continue to parent?
Talking about these questions together can help you figure out if the two of you have similar expectations about having a baby. No matter what, parenting with someone else takes teamwork, patience, and compromise. It works best when both people are deeply committed, and agree on what they each expect from the relationship and raising a child together.
How do I parent without a partner?
Many people find themselves parenting on their own, or they choose to become single parents. Being a single parent can be tough, but it’s definitely not impossible. Plenty of people do it, and many single-parent families are healthy and happy. Parenting on your own has unique advantages, too. You won’t have to make compromises with a partner, so you can raise your child exactly the way you want — with your values, principles, and beliefs.
For most people, raising a child on their own is also super challenging. The responsibility for your child is 100% on you, and you may have to make a lot of sacrifices that you don’t expect. For example, it may be harder to find and keep a romantic relationship as a single parent.
If you’re planning to raise a child without a partner, questions about money, career or school, and other types of support can be even more important. Ask yourself:
- What would raising a baby by myself mean for my future goals and plans?
- How much support will I have from my friends, family, and community?
- Can I handle the financial responsibility of caring for a child on my own?
- Can I handle the day-to-day work of caring for a child on my own?
- Who will take care of my child when I’m working or going to school? Can I afford child care?
- Is there someone I trust who is willing to take care of my child at the last minute if I get sick or have to stay late somewhere?
- How will I feel if having a child makes it hard to find a romantic relationship?
If you’re thinking about parenting on your own, talk with your family and friends about the help you’ll need. Be realistic about how much time, energy, and money the people in your life can give to you and your baby. You may also be able to get help from certain government programs, but they usually only cover part of what you need to provide for your child.
I’m ready to have a baby. What should I do now?
Having a healthy pregnancy starts BEFORE you get pregnant. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to have a baby, visit a doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center for preconception care. Your nurse or doctor will talk with you about things like your physical health, your mental health, your diet, and your lifestyle. They’ll also give you any exams or screenings you might need so you can go into your pregnancy as healthy as possible.
Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to make an appointment for preconception care, or for help finding a doctor in your area. Some local health departments or community health clinics may also provide preconception care.
Pregnancy Facts You Need to Know
It’s Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy, Like Swimming
According to pregnancy facts, it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy. In fact, it’s recommended that pregnant women exercise for 30 minutes, four days a week. Common pregnancy exercises include swimming, walking and prenatal yoga. Pregnant women should take care to hydrate and avoid becoming overheated.
Pregnancy Lasts For 10 Lunar Months
It takes about 40 weeks, or 10 lunar months, for a baby to reach full development. These 40 weeks are generally broken up into three trimesters. Women may experience different pregnancy symptoms in each of these trimesters. For example, most morning sickness occurs in the first trimester.
Prenatal Care Aims to Identify and Prevent Problems
The aim of prenatal care is to monitor the health of both the mother and fetus in order to identify and prevent problems. Certain milestones require testing in order to ensure a safe delivery. Pregnant women are tested for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other conditions in order to ensure a safe, healthy delivery.
Folic Acid Is Recommended as Part of a Pregnancy Diet
It is recommended that pregnant women consume 400-800 micrograms of folic acid daily. Found in leafy greens, folic acid is a common nutrient in prenatal vitamins. Pregnancy facts show that getting sufficient iron, calcium and vitamin D is also important for a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should take a prenatal vitamin to ensure they are getting all the nutrients their bodies need.
There Are Restricted Foods When Pregnant
It is recommended that expectant mothers avoid raw fish and shellfish, including sushi and sashimi. Pregnancy facts show that seafood with a high mercury content should also be avoided. Another big no-no is unpasteurized dairy and juice products. All meat and eggs should be fully cooked to avoid potentially harmful bacteria.
Pregnant Women Should Limit Coffee and Wine
It is believed that 200 mg or less of caffeine per day is safe during pregnancy. That means a pregnant woman should be able to drink a 12-ounce cup of coffee a day. Most doctors will caution against any alcohol consumption, as alcohol has been shown to slow growth and lead to birth defects. Too much caffeine can also have negative consequences. Smoking is not only hazardous to everyone’s health, but it is especially detrimental to fetal development. Pregnant women should not smoke or even be around second-hand smoke.
There Is a Recommended Weight Gain for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy facts indicate that weight gain recommendations vary based on a woman’s starting weight. For women of a normal weight before pregnancy, it is recommended they gain 25-30 pounds while pregnant. Underweight women should gain between 28-40 pounds. Overweight women should gain around 15-25 pounds and obese women should gain around 11-20 pounds.
Many Medications Are Unsafe During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are generally excluded from drug trials, so the effects of many medications on pregnant women are unknown. Because of this, and the possibility for unreliable information online, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women discuss any medications with their care providers.
A Pregnancy Test Should Be Taken After a Missed Period
Pregnancy facts tell us that at-home pregnancy tests are generally taken after a woman has missed a period. They can be purchased at most pharmacies and big-box stores over the counter. The pregnancy test will come with instructions on how to use it. In order to ensure the best results, you must follow the directions. Doctors will provide a more comprehensive urine test or an ultrasound to find a heartbeat.
Childbirth Can Be Natural or Medicated
For vaginal childbirth without complications, women have the option of choosing a natural or a medicated birth. For a natural birth, no drugs are administered. Women who choose this option have often read information, or taken classes, about different ways in which to manage the pain without the use of drugs. A medicated birth can include intravenous pain medications or an epidural. Women also have the option of birthing with a doctor or a midwife.
It’s Safe to Have Sex During Pregnancy
Research has shown that it is safe to have sex during pregnancy. A woman’s libido may change throughout her pregnancy, and different factors, such as morning sickness, may contribute to whether or not she feels like having sex.
A Woman’s Center of Gravity Shifts While Pregnant
It is recommended that pregnant women don’t cycle during their second and third trimesters because pregnancy shifts their center of gravity, increasing the possibility that they may lose their balance while riding their bikes.
No Hot Tubs and Saunas During Pregnancy
Hot Tubs and Saunas may be a great way to ease your aching muscles, but they are a pregnancy no-no. If a pregnant woman overheats, it is possible her fetus may develop a birth defect.
The Likelihood of Twins is 1 in 89 Births
Pregnancy facts tells us that twins are born once for every 89 births. Often, twins are not carried to full term and are delivered early. A multiple pregnancy comes with its own health concerns.
Pregnancy Facts – Facts about Pregnancy Summary
A woman generally notices she is pregnant when she misses a period. She may then take an over-the-counter pregnancy test or go to her doctor for a blood test. Pregnant women may experience fatigue, nausea and breast tenderness. Pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks and is generally divided into trimesters. Pregnant women are restricted from eating certain foods and taking medications that may affect the fetus. It is not only safe for pregnant women to exercise, but is recommended by medical professionals. Pregnant women should take a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid, reduce their caffeine intake and stop drinking alcohol.