Becoming a parent presents challenges no matter how old you are. Whether you are beginning motherhood relatively young or further down the road in life, you can benefit from the wisdom of others who have walked this road before you.

Take Good Care of Yourself and Your Baby

Since the two of you are intricately connected, paying good attention to your own health and well-being during pregnancy is the best way you can you help your baby. That means making sure you’re eating well, which includes getting plenty of protein and calcium. It also means cutting out alcohol. Even if you only imbibe socially, it’s a good time to stop, since alcohol crosses the placenta and can reach your baby’s bloodstream quite quickly.

Becoming A Parent: How To Deal With Pregnancy and Child Birth

Find a Healthcare Provider you’re Comfortable With

During your pregnancy, you will be seeing a medical provider regularly. Whether you’re seeing an OB-GYN in a traditional medical practice or a nurse midwife in an alternative practice, it’s important that you keep regular appointments. Many practices have several doctors or nurse-midwives in the practice, and it’s a good idea to get to know as many of the providers as you can during the months leading up to labor and delivery. You often don’t know which provider will be on call when that time arrives, so a good comfort level with more than one will be helpful.

Assessing Your Possible Need for a High-Risk OB-GYN

In general, women who are concerned about possible complications during pregnancies tend to see an OB-GYN for their prenatal care. A pregnancy can sometimes be considered high-risk if there has been a history of prior pregnancy complications, or if the pregnant woman has a family history or a personal one involving birth defects or other concerns (Source: Gilbert Webb USNews). If a pregnant woman is ill or has a chronic health problem, such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or other kinds of conditions, the pregnancy might also be considered high-risk. Though this sounds alarming, all it means is that some special care and precautions might need to be taken as your pregnancy progresses.

Eating well, exercising, getting rest and feeling comfortable with your medical provider are all important parts of caring for yourself and your baby during pregnancy. A healthcare provider can answer concerns, help you choose a prenatal vitamin, and assist you as you progress toward the exciting day of your baby’s birth.