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6. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

Ultrasound during the Second Trimester

Ultrasound can be used during the second trimester for several reasons. These include diagnosis of multiple fetuses, with amniocentesis, with bleeding related to placenta previa or placental abruption, intrauterine-growth restriction (IUGR) and evaluation of baby’s well-being. Ultrasound at around 20 weeks may be done to determine if the placenta has attached normally and is healthy.

Change Sleeping Positions Now

Some women have questions about their sleeping positions and sleep habits while they’re pregnant. Some want to know if they can sleep on their stomachs. Lying on your stomach puts extra pressure on your growing uterus. Others want to know if they should stop sleeping on their waterbed. (It’s OK to continue to sleep on a waterbed.)

As you get bigger, finding comfortable sleeping positions will get harder. Don’t lie on your back when you sleep. As your uterus gets larger, lying on your back can place the uterus on top of the aorta and the inferior vena cava that run down the back of your abdomen. This can decrease circulation to your baby and parts of your body. Some pregnant women also find it harder to breathe when lying on their backs.

It’s important to learn to sleep on your side. For some women, their favorite thing after delivery is to be able to sleep on their stomach again!

Communicating with Your Healthcare Provider

Communication between you and your healthcare provider is critical for a successful relationship; poor communication may affect your ability to get the best medical care possible. Being able to communicate effectively will help you deal more easily with personal issues relating to pregnancy, sexuality and intimacy. It’s worth the effort to find a provider with whom you can establish this type of relationship.

For a successful healthcare provider–patient relationship, you both must be willing to try to understand and to respect each other. Sometimes communication is hard because everyone is so busy.

To get the best care possible, find someone you’re comfortable with and with whom you can communicate easily and effectively. Miscommunication between healthcare provider and patient is often the source of many conflicts.

If language is a barrier, try to find a healthcare provider who speaks your language fluently. If this isn’t possible, find out if anyone on the staff speaks your language or if there are other resources available to you. If language is still a barrier, find someone (a friend or even a professional interpreter) to attend every office visit with you so you can ask questions and receive accurate information. You’ll be better able to understand advice and instructions, treatment plans or directions.

To receive the best care possible, you have to be the best patient you can be. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions; if you have questions or disagree with something, don’t ignore the advice. Instead, discuss it. Speak up when you’re confused or dissatisfied. When a test or procedure is ordered, ask why it is being done. And be sure you get test results later.

Don’t withhold information, even if you feel it’s embarrassing. Tell your healthcare provider everything he or she needs to know about you. In this way, your healthcare team will have all the information they need to provide you and your baby the best care possible.

Go to visits prepared with your questions and concerns written down. Then write down answers you receive or have someone come with you to help you remember important instructions or suggestions. Be an active participant in your health care for your good health and the good health of your baby.

Dad Tip

Having a baby can mean a lot of financial changes in your life. You need to examine your wills and update them, if necessary. You also need to name a guardian for your child, in case something happens to both of you. Other important tasks include checking your life insurance and medical-health insurance to be sure coverage is enough for your family. You also need to consider child-care costs, if one of you is not going to be a stay-at-home parent.

Changing Healthcare Providers. If all these suggestions don’t work, it’s OK to change healthcare providers—it happens all the time. If you think you need to find someone new, start as soon as possible. You might consider calling the labor-and-delivery department of the hospital where you plan to deliver. Ask nurses whom they would recommend.

When you select a new healthcare provider, be sure he or she is accepting new patients. Also check whether your insurance plan covers this healthcare provider. Tell your current healthcare provider you’re leaving, and explain why. Writing a letter may be a good way to do this.

Ask for your records. It’s better to take them with you instead of having them sent, which can take some time. Be sure also to request copies of all tests and test results.

Take your records to your first office visit. Bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, including any herbs, supplements or other substances, you take. Be prepared to cover your health and pregnancy history in detail to provide your new healthcare provider a complete picture of your health care to date.

7. Your Nutrition

About this time, you’ll probably need to start adding an extra 300 calories to your meal plan to meet the needs of your growing baby and your changing body. Below are some choices of extra food for one day to get those 300 calories. Be careful—300 calories is not a lot of food.

• Choice 1—2 thin slices pork, ½ cup cabbage, 1 carrot

• Choice 2—½ cup cooked brown rice, ¾ cup strawberries, 1 cup orange juice, 1 slice fresh pineapple

• Choice 3—4½ ounces salmon steak, 1 cup asparagus, 2 cups Romaine lettuce

• Choice 4—1 cup cooked pasta, 1 slice fresh tomato, 1 cup 1% milk, ½ cup cooked green beans, ¼ cantaloupe

• Choice 5—1 container of yogurt, 1 medium apple

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