Prenatal & Postpartum: It’s so important to keep those appointments

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We've partnered with UnitedHealthcare to share with you a new online resource to support new moms as they take care of themselves and their babies, regardless of their financial situation.

If there was an app to help pregnancy anxiety, I’d download it in a heartbeat! With each one of my pregnancies, I was a ball of nerves. So many questions, so many concerns. I’m fortunate to have had the best doctors, who were always willing to answer all of my questions and take extra time with me to make me feel comfortable. They made me feel at ease, and calmed my anxiety during pregnancy {which was at an all-time high each time}.

I want to share a little bit about my pregnancy journey, and weave in a few “Did You Know” stats that I feel are really important to know. 

One thing that helped with my anxiety was early prenatal care. Between baby three and baby four I had a miscarriage (my personal story is below). My OB made all the difference in the world to me. That was 5 years ago. I can’t even imagine walking through my pregnancy in the midst of a pandemic.

Did you know:

  • Nearly a quarter of women don’t initiate prenatal appointments starting in the first trimester. An important step to a healthy pregnancy is scheduling a prenatal appointment as soon as you think or learn you are pregnant.
  • At this first appointment, a health care expert will confirm the pregnancy and work to determine a healthy pregnancy plan for you and baby. This is a great time to ask all the questions – so make sure to write them down in advance of the appointment (I kept a note on my phone and added to it every time I thought of a new one).

 

COVID-19 adds a whole new level of concern, which I can only imagine would lead to missed appointments, additional stress, anxiety and even depression.

Can I give you one bit of encouragement? In this crazy world of COVID-19 that we are living in, make sure to keep your prenatal and postpartum appointments with your health care provider. They are critical to a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby.

Don’t let COVID-19 keep you from seeing your doctor early!

The beauty of this awful COVID situation is that your doctor office may ask you to use telehealth for some appointments. This allows you to meet with them over a phone (I used FaceTime) or computer and is a safe option, if the doctor recommends it. Of course, there are other appointments that will still need to take place in person (testing, ultrasounds etc.).

Did you know:

  • U.S. Maternal mortality rates (as of 2018) are 17.4/100,000 live births (so it is imperative to make and KEEP those prenatal and postpartum appointments).
  • Pregnant women in the U.S. are increasingly experiencing adverse maternal and birth outcomes after decades of declining rates.
  • Racial disparities also persist in maternal outcomes, including severe maternal morbidity and mortality.
  • An increasing number of studies are finding that pregnant and postpartum women are reporting high levels of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and post-traumatic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic – including both concerns about their health and that of the children.

I had anemia (low iron) with each of my pregnancies. Going to your prenatal appointments is the best way to reduce the risk of complications for both baby and mom and it helps your doctor identify concerns and issues that can lead to premature birth. Without the proper prenatal care, I don’t think I would have known about this deficiency that I ended up having each time.

Did you know:

  • When you are at your first appointment, ask your doctor (or call your health insurance provider before) about programs that can help throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period. They can help with information from providing prenatal vitamins and substance use support to safe supplies for the baby. Most program offerings include information on access to free diapers, healthy foods, formula, breastfeeding supplies, car seats and sleeping options.

My Early Prenatal Care Story

Between baby three and baby four I had a miscarriage. I knew I was pregnant before 6 weeks because my monthly cycle is very regular, so if I miss it, then I am most definitely pregnant. As soon as I knew for sure, I made an appointment with my OB (he was really impressed that I knew so soon). After my first appointment, I dealt with extreme morning sickness, then several weeks later, I began to bleed. I immediately called my OB and he sent me to the ER to be checked and….there was no heartbeat. It felt like a flash….as soon as I was pregnant, I wasn’t. I was distraught. I had never experienced this before. My OB made all the difference in the world to me. He explained what was next, what to expect and the steps we would take. He did some testing and took the time to sit and talk with me and answer all of my questions. I ended up not having to have the D&C because everything cleared on its own. If it wasn’t for proper prenatal care, I would have been lost during this emotional process and could have had severe medical issues after the miscarriage.

Did you know:

  • Risks are particularly high among black women, where the rate of preterm births is 49% higher than for all other races.
  • Racial disparities also persist in maternal outcomes, including severe maternal morbidity and mortality.
  • Low birthweight affects one in 12 (8%) of infants.
  • Infants born preterm or with low birthweight are at an increased risk for experiencing physical disabilities and developmental impairments throughout their lives.

It’s important to see a doctor within one to six weeks after birth to ensure you are recovering properly physically and have the medical and emotional support you need.

Did you know:

As a mom of four, I know that pregnancy and having a new baby can feel overwhelming. Just know that many soon-to-be moms feel this way BUT keep in mind that there are resources and programs that can help, from early in pregnancy all the way into the first years of baby’s life, and beyond.

UnitedHealthcare has developed a new online resource that includes a wide range of information and resources to support new moms as they take care of themselves and their babies, regardless of their financial situation. For more information and resources, visit www.everypregnancy.com.

  • There is a video series providing step-by-step guidance on appointments, starting with a mom’s 8 week appointment, through her baby’s birth, and postpartum.
  • There is information on support resources available, self-care tips, as well as information on managing feelings of sadness or isolation.
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Eryn is a plant-based momma of four amazing kiddos ranging in age from 4 to 19! She is a marketing maven and mentor with 20 years of business development and marketing under her belt. She beyond obsessed with all things purpose, giving back, wellness, and marketing. Living in Orlando for over 15 years, this Flo-Grown, Miami native has fallen for The City Beautiful and all it has to offer! From the local arts, to the craft beer and foodie scene, to all of the non-profits and giving opportunities, Eryn is is love with all things Orlando! Her connection with local moms, businesses of Orlando and philanthropy goes deep. Eryn uses her 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 to 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘦, 𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 & 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘦 other mompreneurs in life & business. Eryn is also an accredited Integrative Wellness Consultant, Purpose Coach and certified Social Entrepreneurship/Small Business Coach, and a clean beauty advocate with Beautycounter. She strives to help other women prosper and flourish in life and business and she thrives on creating authentic partnerships and building relationships. Her motto is be on purpose and she lives to better the lives of others.

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