Becoming pregnant was such an special time for us. If you’re also expecting, congratulations! You’ve likely taken the time and considerations in mind and have decided to expand your family. You’re entering an exciting new chapter. Whether this is your first or a third child, you have so much to look forward to and celebrate. Pregnancy (and becoming pregnant) can be difficult for some and easy for others. During pregnancy, one day you might be full of energy and others can be more challenging. Remember that your body is growing and developing a new human! It is a miraculous thing and something to be celebrated. Here is a list of some of the best aspects of pregnancy for many:
Seeing Your Baby for the First Time
In the first weeks of pregnany, you might not feel any different. Your body hasn’t necessarily changed much physically (yet). You may have sailed through some of the earlier pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness and fatigue. Although you know you are pregnant it may not seem real yet. This can be especially true for the Dad (or second parent). So when your OBGYN books you in for the first appointment for an ultrasound, it is nerve-racking but also exciting for many reasons.
Within this appointment, you’ll get the first opportunity to see your baby. Checking your baby’s heart, size, umbilical cord, and placenta’s health are all reassuring when all goes well at this appointment.
Hearing the Heartbeat
After seeing the baby for the first time, or even subsequent times, hearing the heartbeat comes a close second. People describe hearing their babies heartbeat in different ways. It can be a moving moment for some and creates a bond between the parent(s) and the baby.
Finding Out The Sex and Revealing It (If You’d Like)
Not everyone decides to find out. Knowing the sex of the baby is a choice that is important to some parents and not for others. For some, finding out is a way to make the pregnancy feel more “real” and allows them to start preparing for the arrival of their son or daughter. It can help both parents bond more with their unborn child.
If you decide to find out the gender, you may also want to consider an appropriate reveal. This allows you to have a celebration where you and your loved ones find out the gender of the baby together. Some parents choose to do this when they are bringing a younger sibling into the world as a way to include and celebrate this new upcoming addition with their existing children. Some of the more common gender reveals are colored confetti, popping a balloon, opening boxes to revealed gender-colored balloons, or cutting open a cake to show either a pink or blue center to name a few suggestions. Just please don’t cause a forest fire with an elaborate reveal party!
Decorating the Nursery
Although your baby won’t actually sleep in their own room until after 6 months, putting together a nursery or preparing the baby’s stuff is a special experience. The benefit of doing this is that you are of course generating a useful space to store their items, clothes, toys, and books now.
Feeling the Baby Kicking
You cannot even describe the feeling when you start to feel your baby move and kick for the first time. Initially, you may not even realize that is what that sensation is. The first sensations of your baby kicking can feel more like flutters, the feeling of butterflies or tumbling within your stomach. At this time your baby is still quite small so the movements aren’t very strong.
Some expectant mothers can start feeling these movements from as early as 14 weeks; however, it is not uncommon for this not to happen until after 20 weeks, especially if this is your first baby. As your baby gets larger and stronger, you will find the movements change and feel more defined. You’ll also start seeing the impact of these kicks physically as well, as your stomach stretches and distorts to adapt to the somersaults your baby is doing internally.
Buying Baby Items
Your family and friends will most likely be sharing in your excitement and buying items for the baby as well. But, buying baby items and preparing for their arrival will become a natural part of your pregnancy journey, known as nesting. This tends to happen nearer the end of pregnancy, so you may choose to start shopping before then when you are more mobile.
It can be easy and costly to get caught up in all the advertising so it is definitely worth considering what you actually need and buy accordingly.
You may have started throwing name suggestions around as soon as you got your positive pregnancy test. However, as time progresses throughout your pregnancy this is something that will occupy your mind more.
Some parents decide on the name during the pregnancy, while others find a selection of names and decide after birth as to which one to name their baby. There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to naming your child.
There are many tools available to your disposable to help you, if you find thinking of, or even agreeing on names challenging. Search for ideas on the Internet, refer to baby name books, or download apps to help you decide.
Baby showers can be a fun way to celebrate your baby’s upcoming arrival. In recent times the etiquette for attending a baby shower has changed, with it becoming more common for expectant partners and (other) men to be present for these celebrations.
It offers you the opportunity to see those closest to you and play games, eat, and share in gifts for the baby. You might find once the baby arrives it takes a little while to adapt and in some cases, it can the last time seeing some friends for a little while.
Sip and See
While not as popular as baby showers, you may prefer or choose to plan to host a sip and see party. A sip and see provides you the opportunity to host a party or gathering and invite your friends and family round at the same time to meet and greet the baby.
For some parents, this offers a more enjoyable way to allow everyone to meet the baby at one time, especially if they are exhausted, instead of having each visit individually carried out over potentially days or weeks.
A sip and see is generally a less ‘formal’ event and can be hosted by either the parent or an appointed friend or family member.
Signs of Starting Your Labor
You’ve possibly been counting down to this time from the first second you found out you’re pregnant: Seeing the signs that you are in labor.
Not everyone is filled with initial excitement at the concept of labor and birth, and that’s understandable. It can be scary and there are many unknowns. If you are ever unsure, call your doctor.
When you go for your checkups your cervix will be checked for signs of dilation, and you may start experiencing cramping and lower back pain as the baby lowers itself into position and as the contractions began. There are many helpful apps that can help with tracking contractions and the baby’s movement as well.