If you think you may be pregnant, the first step you should take is to get a medical-quality pregnancy test. If you are worried about paying for a doctor, you should consider booking a no-cost pregnancy test at your local pregnancy resource center. One center is Open Arms Real Choices Clinic in Hayden, Idaho, which serves people throughout Kootenai County and offers many no-cost services, including pregnancy testing.
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, you can start making plans about what to do about your health and the health of your baby. “Prenatal care” is the term usually applied to the care that you need to take in preparing yourself to have a baby. Prenatal care mainly focuses on your health and the health of your baby, but it can include getting proper counseling, taking classes on infant care, learning about how to manage your parental responsibilities, and getting yourself set up in practical ways to receive your baby.
All the things that you do before giving birth can have a huge impact on your baby’s life. For example, mothers who drink alcohol, take drugs (even prescription or over-the-counter drugs, in addition to illicit drugs), or who fail to get sufficient nutrients during pregnancy increase the risks to their babies’ health, up to and including causing miscarriage, low birth weight, or other problems. The more you learn about and monitor your pregnancy, the better your chances of a healthy baby and a smooth birth experience.
You’ll need to have an ultrasound several times during your pregnancy. Ultrasounds are safe for both you and your baby, and are instrumental in helping your doctor assess your health and the health of your baby. The first one, which is a limited obstetric ultrasound, can be booked at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic. It will confirm your pregnancy, determine accurately how far along your pregnancy is, and help your doctor assess whether the baby is growing correctly and is in a good position.
If mother and baby are healthy, most women have about seven total appointments. At the outset, your doctor will discuss the steps you should take, such as the need to take prenatal vitamins and what to eat, how to exercise, and what to avoid. At these visits, your doctor will check the baby’s growth and make sure that you are healthy.
Counseling for the Mother
Unexpected pregnancies can be a little scary, particularly if it is your first pregnancy. You may also feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of raising a child. But you should remember that hosts of other women have experienced what you are experiencing, and they have all managed just fine. If you need some support, counseling, or advice, speaking to a lay counselor at the clinic can help you figure out your next steps. If you contact us as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, we will help you schedule all the arrangements you need to make to prepare for being a mother.
Learning About and Preparing for the Baby
Throughout your pregnancy, you can read about the growth of your baby and what is happening inside your body. For example, did you know that babies start to respond to outside stimuli like loud noises at 18 weeks? This is about the same time that mothers begin to sense when the baby moves. Knowing what’s going on can help you connect with your child and understand how to best take care of your body.
You can also start preparing your home by determining where your baby will sleep, where you will change the baby, and where you will nurse. Remove any dangerous items from the house or, if you need them, put them far out of reach. Consider batch cooking or stocking up on prepared meals in the weeks before your child arrives so that you won’t have to worry about making meals for a few days after the birth. Alternatively, friends and family will often pitch in and agree to cook meals for you. But there is no need to panic! You will quickly adapt to your new life with your newborn, and will come to cherish this special time.
Learning About Life Skills
New parents have to overcome many challenges, and a strong foundation of life skills makes parenting much less stressful. At the Open Arms pregnancy center, we regularly offer classes for parents and pregnant couples. For example, healthy-relationship lessons can teach people to approach problems constructively, communicate well, and work as a team.
Accessing Care During a Crisis Pregnancy in Coeur d’Alene
When you find out that you’re pregnant, you might be in shock for a short while, but there are people around who are ready to help. At Open Arms, you can book both medical and counseling appointments at no cost. With your counselor, you can discuss whether to keep the baby, place your baby with an adoptive family, discover what sort of financial assistance is available to you, and learn about the resources that are available in your community.
Call us at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic to book your pregnancy test or counseling appointment.