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The Ultimate Pregnancy Checklist for Every Mom-to-Be

Last updated: November 17, 2021

Having a baby can come with many emotions, from joy to worry. You may be researching trending baby names, preparing a nursery, and sharing the news on your social feed — and rightfully so. Bask in this exciting news.

But before you get too caught up in shopping for onesies and rocking chairs, you may want to learn what to expect from your maternal care journey and why access to comprehensive care is so important. Bringing a baby into this world is a remarkable physical feat. At the same time, every new mother also needs varying levels of support before, during, and after pregnancy.  

Here are some of the services and amenities available to you.

Convenient Care Locations 

Your child’s health is no doubt your first priority. Preparing for the arrival of a healthy baby starts with supporting the mother’s physical and mental well-being. Begin regular prenatal visits with your provider as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.  

“Prenatal visits are essential for keeping tabs on the health of both mother and child,” says Dr. Abigail Puglisi, Family Medicine Physician at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin. “Your doctor will use this time to check your vitals, perform routine blood tests, listen to your baby’s heart rate, and make sure development is progressing as expected. It’s also a great opportunity for you to ask questions.” 

Appointments will be frequent throughout your pregnancy and beyond, so it is best to choose a care location within your local community. Not only is this convenient, it can minimize health risks by addressing and resolving concerns or maternal complications quickly.  

Midwifery Services 

About 90% of women choose to work with an OB-GYN or family practice physician. Women also may choose to work with a midwife. Ask yourself these questions as you weigh your options: 

  • Is your pregnancy considered high risk?
  • Where and how do you want to deliver your baby? 
  • How do you want to manage pain during labor and delivery? 
  • What do you need from your care team? 
  • What coverage does your insurance plan offer? 

“Midwives often are part of a local hospital’s labor and delivery team and are certified to offer a comprehensive array of women’s health services,” Dr. Puglisi says. “They typically provide care for vaginal deliveries versus cesarean sections, as well as deliveries with lower rates of intervention.” 

OB-GYNs and family physicians often have more experience than midwives when it comes to managing high-risk or complicated pregnancies and deliveries, Dr. Puglisi says. These include women with preexisting medical conditions and those expecting multiples.  

High-Risk Pregnancy & Neonatal Care 

It’s normal to speculate about potential risks and wonder about your options if something doesn’t go as expected. You may also be trying to conceive while knowing you have an existing medical condition that could pose challenges to your pregnancy.  

Dr. Puglisi reiterates the importance of knowing which services are available at your local hospital.  

“Most hospitals should be ready with state-of-art-equipment and expertise to manage a high-risk pregnancy or delivery — or partner closely with an institution that specializes in those services,” she says. “For example, ThedaCare partners with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Fox Valley to manage high-risk pregnancies and neonatal care, so you can feel confident you and your baby are receiving the best care possible.”   

Keep in mind, “high-risk” should not be a frightening term. The designation helps your medical team to take the preventive steps necessary to reduce and avoid complications. Many high-risk pregnancies result in happy and healthy moms and babies.  

In-Person & Virtual Classes 

Nervous about the birthing process? Wondering what to expect from motherhood? Looking to connect with fellow new moms?

“Ask your provider about educational opportunities offered through your health system,” Dr. Puglisi says. “Many provide self-paced virtual and in-person classes to help you prepare for this life change. This can also be a great opportunity to connect with other expectant or new moms who are going through the same experiences.” 

Secure your spot by registering for classes early in your pregnancy and/or shortly after giving birth. 

Lactation Counseling & Breastfeeding Support 

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience for a mother and her child, but the process doesn’t always come naturally. Don’t feel discouraged or alone if you experience issues with your baby’s latch, your milk production, or your comfort level with the process. 

“There are numerous benefits to breastfeeding, from stronger immunity for the baby to lower risk of cancer for Mom, but it can require a lot of practice and patience,” Dr. Puglisi says. “If you’re struggling to make it work, lactation consultants can guide you through alternative techniques and tips for boosting your supply.” 

In addition to providing one-on-one with a lactation consultant services, many hospitals offer breastfeeding classes for pregnant people so they can learn some of the basics ahead of time.   

Behavioral Counseling 

The postpartum period can be a challenging time for new moms as they navigate physical recovery, the unknowns of parenting, and sleep deprivation. It’s not uncommon for women to try to suppress their emotions and put their well-being last as they enter new motherhood. That can be an unhealthy choice.  

“Almost all mothers experience some form of the baby blues in the weeks following childbirth. But nearly 15% will develop more severe and longer-lasting depression known as postpartum depression,” Dr. Puglisi says. “If you’re experiencing anxiety and depression that lasts beyond the first two weeks of motherhood, notify your health care provider. Treatment is available to help you cope and manage your symptoms.” 

If you’re experiencing anxiety and depression that lasts beyond the first two weeks of motherhood, notify your health care provider.

Dr. Abigail Puglisi, Family Medicine Physician ThedaCare 

Continuity of Care 

Establishing a relationship with your care team can prove invaluable, especially for people considering — or in the midst of — expanding their family. Comprehensive Women’s Health teams offer birth control options, fertility services, pregnancy and childbirth care, breastfeeding support, and more.

“Working with the same care team throughout your journey provides a level of familiarity that can be comforting for a new mom,” Dr. Puglisi says. “As a family practice provider, it’s an honor to provide lifelong care for mothers beyond their pregnancy and delivery, as well as pediatric care for their children.” 

Continuity of care can lead to greater satisfaction, reduce the number of visits you make to the doctor, and decrease medical costs. 

“We’re here to help you make the journey of motherhood a joyful and memorable one,” Dr. Puglisi says. “Leaning on the resources available to you before, during, and after your pregnancy can help you spend less time worrying and more time enjoying this incredible season of life.” 

No matter where you are in your journey, we’re here for you. 

Tags: breastfeeding child birth classes high-risk pregnancy lactation counseling pregnancy checklist

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