7 Mistakes That Most First-Time Expectant Parents Make!

First-time parents make many mistakes which can risk the life of their babies. Kathy Fray who has been in this field for over 1.5 decades also advocates this fact. She is an on-call community midwife and has been a part of the journey of countless mothers.

She favors the concept of “Expert Nurturing” where the mothers are provided with factual and non –biased news about the outcome of their pregnancy. She has found some common mistakes that first-time expectant parents make.

Let’s check these common mistakes so that the same can be avoided:

1. Neglecting the importance of Second Trimester

The first trimester sees an unusual rise in levels of Progesterone which is a muscle relaxant hormone. It helps in maintaining the pregnancy as it prevents womb contracting. However, expecting mothers would feel nauseous and extraordinarily tired. This is a sign that mothers should give rest a priority.

In the second trimester, the woman is comfortable and energized. This is the time when shopping for nursery stuff and all other important preparations should be done, a fact that is often neglected.

2. Ignoring the relevance of rest for Mother and Baby wellness in Third Trimester

Third Trimester is a risk period especially with problems like gestational diabetes, slow fetal growth and premature labour taking place. The body tries to avoid these complexities and these tones down the mood for the expecting mother. It is common to see the expecting mother feel tired in such a situation. This is a sign from nature that rest needs to be taken on a continuous basis.

3. Not understanding what due date means

We often misinterpret what the term due date means. This is not a particular date but a 40-week marker and indicates that the arrival of the baby can be anytime during the five-week period of 37-42 weeks. It is also true that any baby prior to 37-weeks is a premature baby and after 42-weeks would be a post-date baby.

If this is exemplified, a woman would often say that she will work up until a month before my baby is due. This in real terms would mean that she would be working up until 33-weeks, not as her baby is due anytime from 37-weeks onwards. If anyone says that the baby was 3 days late, it should actually mean that baby was born at 42½ week.

One should always remember the fact that any baby who is born during the duration from 37-42 weeks is actually on time.

4. Not understanding actual labour length

The first labour experience is challenging for mothers and this fact has also been accepted widely. However, lately, all such experiences have been a part of many labour research stories with researchers wanting to compile the experiences. Women now realize increasingly that it is their right to go for the right kind of birth.

Medical research has also evolved largely and the fetal mortality rate has reduced drastically. However, the research has not been able to find any kind of breakthrough in the length of pregnancy.

The first labour is generally considered to be a three-night affair which comprises of two nights latent and one night active. This fact has been commonly accepted and advocated too. The first overnight involves light irregular contractions followed by a day of uterine activity. The second overnight is of moderate regular contractions followed by a day of niggle.

The third night is the period when labour establishes itself with 3-4 strong contractions every 10 minutes. This is the time when active labour has begun. This happens as it helps in dilating of the cervix. This is the time when the childbirth is 6-12 hours away. Labour is sometimes at a faster pace while at other times, the pace is slower.

5. Not realising that labour knowledge can influence the outcome of Birth

The knowledge of childbirth that first-time parents have can influence the pace of woman’s cervix dilatation during the labour. Kathy also insists on this point and there is no doubt on this as it is all about hormones. It is true that if a woman has knowledge about different stages of childbirth including the phases of labour, she feel unstressed and this will have a positive effect on the levels of Oxytocin that the body will release. This will result in efficient contractions and the cervix can dilate rapidly. 

On the other hand, a woman who is scared will produce high levels of Adrenaline thus reducing the contraction strength and thus slowing the process of cervix dilatation.  This is where childbirth education comes into play as it motivates the woman to leisurely experience the natural pain of Labour.

6. Not realising the worth of long Breastfeeding

Consultants associated with breastfeeding and Midwives also agree to the assumption that it can take about 4-6 weeks for breastfeeding to come up naturally. It takes a week old for a newborn to establish the proper connect and suckle at the breast nipple. Regular rhythmic suckling takes up another week or so and it is by week 3-4 that breastfed babies are doing really well.

New mothers should understand the fact that it usually takes a month for normal breastfeeding to establish completely and the babies might face problems initially like uncoordinated suckle as full milk is still to arrive.

Wisdom plays a great role here and if the new mother has good advice from an experienced midwife, she will understand this process with rapid ease.

7. To overestimate what a new mother should be doing in each 24-hour cycle

A newborn baby is awake for 45-75 minutes every 2-4 hours in a 24-hour cycle. This is often tiring during the first few weeks. Things get better by week 3-4 as the baby sleep overnight for 4-6 hours. Kathy here adds that for a new mother this scenario is difficult as she does (absolutely has to feed her baby, feed herself, & sleep. 40 days and 40 night’s schedule of living life the lazy way is recommended for a new mother so that she can better cope with the forced sleep-deprivation process. It is also advised that the mother should remain home until the 5 weeks and over 5 kilos scenario emerges for the baby. This will help them to care in a wholesome way for the child, keeping him or her away from any kind of infection.

The couples these days have 2-3 children only and the time mothers spend with their child in caring for them in these initial days would leave behind a trail of memories that they will be proud of.

Kathy Fray

Kathy Fray is a senior Midwife, who's been a best-selling birth/babies/motherhood Author at Penguin-Random for the past 1.5 decades. Managing Director of MothersWise.com resources and services, Kathy is also Founding Director of IIMHCO [Intl Integrative Maternity HealthCare Org] who are the global thought-leaders on holistic perinatal medicine. www.KathyFray.com

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