After what was no doubt a challenging year in 2020, we’re welcoming the new year with a sense of hesitant optimism, and starting to plan for a future without panic buying, curfews and toilet paper shortages.

Perhaps in this future planning, welcoming a newborn into the world might be on your horizons. If you’re considering welcoming a new baby into the world, we’ve got some pointers for pregnancy planning to prepare your body, mind and pockets.

Prepare your body

As your baby grows, there are increased demands on your body that it may not have experienced before, which is why preparing your body for pregnancy is so important. Exercising regularly, keeping fit and strong before you become pregnant is a great way to help your body prepare for the extra challenges that come with pregnancy.

Areas that are particularly challenged are pelvic floor muscles, upper back muscles, pelvic joints and lower back. All of these areas face the challenges of pregnancy and recover quicker if you’re fighting fit before becoming pregnant.

The extra demands of pregnancy can be exhausting, but the fatigue levels of someone less fit will be higher than someone who regularly exercises. No one is suggesting you sign up for an ultra marathon (unless you’re into that!) but starting a fitness regime can help to smooth the way for the challenges ahead.

Pregnancy can also add a much bigger workload to your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, bowel and uterus, so it’s important to make sure you're strengthening these muscles before, during and post-pregnancy. An assessment with a Women’s Health Physio can help you to understand how to activate these muscles.

Book in a checkup

It’s important to see your GP for a health check before you become pregnant to identify any potential problems that could affect your chances of falling pregnancy or bub’s growth and development.

If you have any existing medical conditions it’s best to chat to your doctor about how these may affect your pregnancy. Some of the most common conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, anaemia and thyroid problems. Each of these will come with their own adjustments, so make sure you bring them up at your checkup.

Some tests that you might have during a preconception health check include a cervical screening test (formally pap smear), breast exam, sexually transmitted infections, blood types and antibodies and immunity to measles and chicken pox.

Get financially savvy

Preparing your finances in another important step in preparing to welcome a new baby into the world. There are different fees associated with your pregnancy and birth journey, including obstetrician fees, which is a Medicare-subsidised cost and the charge varies between doctors, hospital fees (which may be covered by your private health fund) and any out of pocket expenses which include but aren’t limited to blood tests and ultrasounds.

If you’re self insured (don’t have private health insurance), find out how much you’ll need to pay in fees at your birthing hospital. You can find out more about the fees for Epworth Maternity vaginal or Caesarean section births here.

If you have private health insurance, it’s recommended that you get in touch with your provider to find out whether you’re covered for obstetrics, what type of excess you have, if you have copayments, if your baby is covered for special care and if there will be any other out of pocket expenses.

If 2021 is the year that you’ve decided to start planning for pregnancy, we wish you all the best for this exciting next step. Our team is here to support you and if you’d like to discuss giving birth at Epworth, you can chat to our Maternity Liaison Officer at Epworth Freemasons - 9418 8300 or Epworth Geelong - 5271 8322.

Happy new year and happy pregnancy planning!

31 December 2020