10 tips for preparing to have a baby with Horizon Genetic Carrier Screening
With soooo many of our friends (and readers!) in the family way at this moment, we’ve been thinking a lot of pregnancy, about trying to get pregnant, and of course about welcoming a baby into your family. There are so many wonderful options and resources out there right now, which is amazing, but can also feel a teeny bit overwhelming. We thought we’d share some tips with you and we’d love for you to share yours with us in the comments below!
[Photo by Erin Hearts Court]
1. Start taking your prenatals now! Adding folic acid to your daily regime in the year before conception has been shown to decrease your risk for neural tube defects significantly. We like Honest Co.’s convenient bundle concept (DHA is important for development too) but really any vitamin (that you don’t mind taking!) that has at least 400mg of folic acid is great. And if you’ve found yourself expecting unexpectedly, lots of cereals and breads are fortified with folic acid too, so don’t panic.
2. Understand your family history with genetic carrier screening. Did you know that you can have your genetic test before pregnancy? Many people have this done after they become pregnant, but for the planners among us, it can be nice to get that out of the way before hand. Horizon screens for up to 274 autosomal recessive and X-linked genetic conditions, giving you a complete profile of your risk factors so that you know what to expect when baby is on the way.
[Photo by Yuna Leonard]
3. Make a pre-conception appointment with your OB or midwife. They can answer any questions you might have, check your anatomy, look at your fertility history, and generally set you on a path to getting pregnant. You can see a comprehensive list of what you might be asked here.
4. Been trying for a while with no success? You are in such good company! More than you probably know, there are loads of women who wait for a long time to become pregnant. We know many women who have had success with alternative therapies like acupuncture or homeopathy, even fertility massage. There are so many resources at your fingertips and there’s no reason not to understand your choices as a mama-in-waiting.
5. Already pregnant? Bump up your protein intake. Some philosophies encourage up to 90 or 100 grams of protein a day! While that might be extreme for some of us, a healthy amount is closer to 70 grams. We’ve loved protein packed smoothies full of all sorts of good superfoods to hit that mark every day.
[Photo by Erin Hearts Court]
6. If morning sickness is part of your reality, did you know the best thing you can do is eat? Sounds crazy but keeping plain foods like crackers or toast at the ready does help your nausea a bit. Hunger = pregnancy nausea.
7. Plan for your birth. Whether you are hoping to have a natural, drug-free birth at home or an epidural administered at the faintest twinge of labor, it’s still a smart idea to plan for the birth you hope to have. And with that comes an alternative script in case things don’t go that way! Some women hope for a beautiful birth at home and find themselves facing an unexpected cesarean, while others are hoping to schedule their induction only to have world’s fastest labor and arrive at the hospital just in time to push their baby out. (They both totally happen, BTW!). The truth is that birth can never be truly planned so it’s best to create a birth plan with your partner so you know the direction you’d like to head when the time comes.
8. Hire a doula. Along those lines, we can’t recommend having a doula with you enough. If you’re new to birth lingo, a doula is professional labor support for any kind of birth. Yes you’ll have a nurse with you from time to time at the hospital but she will not be laboring with you. And (hopefully this isn’t a huge surprise) but your OB will probably arrive when it’s time for baby to be born. A doula is with you for as long as you need, and can be a voice and presence of calm and reason in the midst of what can sometimes be a crazy experience!
[Photo by Yuna Leonard]
9. Set up a meal calendar. It’s so incredibly lovely to have your friends and family drop off dinner during those first few weeks or months while you’re figuring out how to care for a tiny human. Choose an online app (like Meal Train or Meal Baby) that organizes the calendar and reminds participants when their night has arrived. It’s awesome if a friend or sister sets this up, but hey! You can set up your own too!
10. Make a nursing basket. Never heard of it? Not sure it’s a *real* thing, but designating one basket in your home that holds all the essentials you’ll need while locked to the couch while you get the hand of nursing is soooo incredibly helpful. Fill it with diapers, wipes, burp cloths, snacks, a full water bottle, chapstick, nipple balm, nursing pads, and anything else you realize is essential to your comfort.
*This post is sponsored by Horizon genetic carrier screen by Natera, but the opinions expressed are our own. We thank our sponsors for allowing us to post beautiful content every day!