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Five Things First-time Parents Should Know

Being parents for the first time is no easy task as they are mostly unprepared for it and the surprises can be terrifying. New parents must understand the basics of parenting and curb some harmful habits for the sake of the child. Shared below are five such key suggestions for new mothers and fathers.

Expect pain

During natural childbirth, the baby has to be pushed out of the birth canal. This involves the muscles and tissues stretching, which causes stinging and cramping sensations known as labour pain. This is normal. Medications and exercises are available to reduce pain.

Perineal massages

Perineal muscles form the pelvic floor and are located between the genitalia and the rectum. To reduce the likelihood of perineum tear during childbirth, expecting mothers are advised to massage the perineum 1-2 times per week, 34 weeks into the pregnancy. The massage can be done by the pregnant woman herself or by her partner.

Bonding with the baby

The physical closeness between a mother and her newborn is essential. The baby feels secure and loved, which creates a positive emotional attachment that is vital for the child’s development. Both parents should take part in this beautiful activity together.

Prepare for changes

Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation and headache among other discomforts will be a part of pregnancy. Following pregnancy, pain occurs as the uterus shrinks back to its normal size. The parents should also be ready to spend sleepless nights as the infant will cry because of hunger or colic pain, due to gas. They will also be wetting and defecating on the bed and may suffer from indigestion. New parents need to be patient about these temporary challenges.

Curb smoking and drinking

Mothers who smoke may deliver underweight infants, who are likely to develop respiratory infections. Nicotine entering the infant’s bloodstream through breast milk will affect their sleep. Parental smoking also raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and cancers under 5 years of age. Alcohol consumption during one’s pregnancy may harm the baby’s growth, affect their nervous system, cause birth defects and reduce their cognitive abilities.

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