The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide for New Parents

Posted on August 12, 2021

Each month there are hundreds of thousands of babies born in Canada. If you're here, we're assuming you're looking to join the other expectant mothers in their pregnancy journey.

Are you looking for a pregnancy guide that tells you any and everything about pregnancy? From the very beginning when you're planning your pregnancy to the end when you've finally delivered your sweet bundle of joy.

There are tons of things people don't tell you about pregnancy, but we're here to pull the curtains back and tell you everything you need to know. Get ready to plan your maternity leave and download a couple of pregnancy apps because it's about to be a wild ride.

A lady thinking the RRSP contribution deadline

Planning a Pregnancy 

If you're planning to get pregnant, there are several things you need to do beforehand. You must take charge of your health because your baby won't be healthy if you're not healthy.

The first thing you need to do is speak to your doctor. They'll perform a physical exam to ensure that your body will be capable of caring for a child without complications. 

Your physician will continue to monitor you throughout your pregnancy to ensure you and your baby remain safe and healthy. After you undergo your physical exam, your doctor will talk to you about beginning a prenatal vitamin, which provides you with the nutrients you need daily.

One such vitamin you will take is folic acid. Folic acid is a nutrient essential to prevent certain congenital disabilities in your baby, like brain or spinal cord injuries.

Therefore it's recommended that pregnant women take around 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

No Alcohol or Drugs

One huge no-no for women planning to get pregnant or are pregnant is partaking in alcohol or drug use. Using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can have a negative effect on the fetus create life-altering consequences.

If you struggle with substance abuse, you need to speak with your doctor about the resources available to get the help you need.

It's also worth noting that you should avoid coming in contact with other toxic elements or being in toxic environments. For example, if you live with someone that smokes, you might consider different living arrangements as second-hand smoke can be quite harmful to you and your unborn child.

Domestic Violence Help

There are times when a woman becomes pregnant, and her home life isn't the most ideal. If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, get help right away, especially if you or they are pregnant.

Continuing to live in an environment where violence is present isn't healthy for anyone. 

Maintain Your Weight

It's a given you're going to gain weight while pregnant, but your doctor will tell you what healthy weight gain is. If you gain too much weight, it can lead to things like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which can both be life-threatening for you.

Throughout your pregnancy, ensure you're taking time to walk and eat properly. Your doctor should've given you some instructions about the foods that you can and can't eat.

Know Your History

Does your family have a history of gestational diabetes? Is there a history of not carrying babies to full term?

The more you know about your family history, the better. During your initial meeting, your doctor will ask you for extensive information about your history to give them a better picture of things you may struggle with during your pregnancy.

ivf pregnancy

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

16% of couples struggle with infertility issues when they're trying to conceive a child. There are several reasons that couples struggle with infertility, including:

  • Uterus fibroids
  • Low sperm count
  • Endometriosis
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Problematic egg production

Even if a couple is struggling to have a child, there is a way medically that it can become a reality, and that's by using in vitro fertilization. During IVF, you will begin taking medication that helps your eggs to mature at a faster rate.

Your doctor will use ultrasounds and other tests to ensure your eggs are developing the way they should.

Once you've reached the end of the medication cycle, you will undergo a procedure to retrieve the eggs from your uterus. The eggs will be stored, and your partner will provide a semen specimen that will be used to fertilize the eggs.

After the eggs and sperm have been combined, they will be taken and placed back inside the mother. There are chances that more than one child can be the result of IVF.

IVF can be on the pricey side. Depending on how many cycles you've got to undergo and the medication needed for each step in the process. If you've had issues conceiving, speaking to your physician about IVF is an option you may have.

best pregnancy apps

Pregnancy Apps

There are hundreds of pregnancy apps out there for mothers to use for a variety of reasons. If you're looking to connect with other moms to talk about advice or share information about the current stage of pregnancy you're in, you're going to want to download these apps now.

These apps offer a sense of community and give you information about how to create your baby registry. You can also use these apps to keep count of your contractions once you've entered into active labour.

Some apps are geared towards helping mothers get more restful sleep throughout their pregnancy by focusing on mindfulness techniques using white noise. With this help, you get to sleep, and it's also useful when you're in labour to remind you that the pain doesn't last forever.

maternity leave calculator

Maternity Leave Calculator

In Canada, maternity leave is provided generously and is funded based on employee insurance. Maternity leave gives couples a chance to adjusting to life now that they've had a new baby before returning to work.

Employment insurance provides mothers with a maximum of 15 weeks of maternity leave. It's important that before you start your maternity leave, you figure out how long you're able to be on leave.

We recommend you check out this maternity leave calculator to find all the information and answers you need.

Keeping Track of Fetal Development Month by Month

Fetal Development Month by Month

Congratulations, you've found out you're pregnant, and now you can't wait to get more information about how your baby is developing inside your womb.

Month One: Apple Seed Size

The first month, which is week 1-4, doesn't resemble a baby, yet they are still an embryo nestled in the lining of your uterus.

During these first couple of weeks, your placenta is developing, which is how nutrients will be transported from you to your child. During this time, your child's face will begin to form and take shape as well as their heart.

Month Two: Kidney Bean Size

During month two, weeks 5-8, your baby begins to resemble an actual human being instead of looking like an alien. Their neural tube and digestive tract will begin to take form.

During this time, the baby's head will appear much larger than the rest of its body. And this will likely be the first time you're hearing your child's heartbeat.

Month Three: Lime Size

Your child's hands, fingers, and toes are now formed, and on the ultrasound, you might be able to see them moving their hands and feet around. Your baby will try making a fist and begin moving around your womb more often.

Month three lasts from weeks 9-12, meaning you still have a long way to go. Under your baby's gums, they're forming teeth that will begin emerging months after they're born.

Month Four to Seven: Avocado to Eggplant Size

During months 4-7, weeks 13- 21, your baby will continue to develop at a fast pace. During this time, you'll find out the gender of your baby and check to ensure all their organs are fully developed, and there is nothing to be concerned about.

Their eyelids are formed, and their bones have become much denser by this time. Little do you know, your little bundle of joy has become stronger because their muscles have continued to form during this time as well.

Month Eight: Pineapple Size

You're almost to the finish line, but it still might feel as if labour and delivery are so far away. Month eight is weeks 29-32; in these last few weeks, your child will continue to pack on the weight in preparation for their debut into the world.

While your child's internal organs are developed, their lungs still need time to mature fully.

Last Month: Mini Watermelon Size

The waiting game is almost over, and by now, you'll have weekly visits to the doctor's office. Your baby continues to practice their reflexes and coordination by kicking and moving around in your womb.

They are long and can do things like respond to your voice or light. As month nine makes its appearance, your baby can come at any time.

You must have your things prepared to go whenever your baby decides it's go time.

Morning Sickness

Morning Sickness

Some women will experience morning sickness while others don't go through it at all. Morning sickness can happen at any time of day at any point in your pregnancy.

It's recommended that mothers keep water and something small to eat on hand. When possible, take small sips of your water to remain hydrated because throwing up constantly can leave you dehydrated.

If some smells or movements trigger your nausea, do your best to avoid them. But remember that morning sickness is only temporary and is a side effect of all the hormones raging through your body as changes continue to happen.

food craving pregnant mother

Food Cravings During Pregnancy 

We've all heard that during pregnancy, one thing you will experience is food cravings and aversions. Foods that you used to enjoy eating before becoming pregnant might be the foods that trigger your gag reflex.

And at the same time, foods you don't normally eat will be the foods you want the most of. It's okay to give in to cravings from time to time, but ensure that you don't overindulge.

Overindulging in food can cause an increase in weight gain, and too much weight gain can cause gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.

multiple births pregnancy

Multiple Births

If you're having multiple babies, your pregnancy will be treated as high risk. Most times, mothers carrying multiples will see their doctor more than the average to ensure both babies develop and get the nutrition they need.

Typically, if you're carrying multiples, you'll be scheduled for a C-section before your due date to ensure the babies are brought into the world safely. The chances of having multiple children increase if there's a history of twins in your family, and sometimes it happens randomly for couples.

taking care premature baby

Premature Babies

Any baby born before 37 weeks of gestation is considered preterm because their lungs haven't fully developed. If a child is born before 25 weeks of gestation, they will spend quite a bit of time in the NICU to give their organs a chance to continue developing.

If a child is born between 32-34 weeks, they are still considered premature, but their organs will have had more time to develop. Depending on their development, it could mean spending some time in the NICU, but not as much time because they were born later in their gestational period.

Epidural and C-Section Birth image

Epidural and C-Section vs Natural Birth

The battle between the different types of births has raged on for years. Some women choose to go the medicated route and have an epidural, which is when painkiller medication is inserted through a needle into the spinal column.

It numbs the pain of contractions during the labour process. Some women want to experience every part of pregnancy, including the pain of contractions.

This is when the breathing and mindfulness practices come into play because it helps a woman to work through each contraction as it comes. C-sections are another form of delivery that will be scheduled ahead of time.

You can refuse a C-section, but if there are complications during your pregnancy, your doctor will advise you to have a C-section, like if you're having multiple children.

happy baby and mother

Cost of Raising a Child

Raising children can be expensive because you've got to provide them with everything they need to develop and stay healthy. Not to mention children need things like health and dental insurance as well.

If you're looking for more information about the cost of raising a child, there's no need to worry. We've got a link you can follow that will dive deeper into this topic for you.

Use This Awesome Pregnancy Guide

We've created a pregnancy guide that encompasses everything you needed to know about pregnancy from beginning to end. Having trouble conceiving? IVF might be the way to go.

When it comes to raising a child, you will need to look into health insurance for them, and we can help you get started.

Insurdinary is waiting to provide you with the quotes you've been looking for. Contact us now for great insurance rates!

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