General Pregnancy Information

How to tell if you are pregnant:

Early signs of pregnancy:

  • Missed period (mwenzi)
  • Sensitive to smells
  • Nausea or vomiting (particularly in the morning)
  • Bloated stomach
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Light blood spotting
  • Elevated body temperature

As soon as you think you are pregnant you should go to the nearest health facility to confirm the pregnancy and start antenatal care. A health provider will give you more information about how to care for yourself to keep you and baby healthy. It is also important to begin making your birth plan and emergency plan so that you are prepared when the baby comes.

During pregnancy you may experience these common symptoms:

  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased appetite and cravings for food and even non-food substances like soil
  • Heartburn/indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Discomforts especially as the pregnancy grows bigger
  • Frequent urination, some vaginal itching or any fungal infection

These symptoms are normal during pregnancy and will not harm the baby, but they can cause a lot of discomfort.

Now that you are pregnant, your body is working very hard to nourish and support your growing baby! Making sure you are eating and drinking enough water and healthy food will give your body the nutrients it needs to keep you and your baby healthy and strong. It is important to rest, eat well and protect yourself from harm or illness while you are pregnant. This is a very important time for you and your baby - by eating well, managing your stress and staying healthy you will build a strong foundation for your child that will support them for the rest of their life!

Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy:

  • Remember to take your iron and folic acid supplements (as recommended by your health provider) to make sure your baby has all the nutrients it needs to grow
  • Eat an extra snack or small meal every day (in addition to your normal meals) to make you have enough energy to support you and the growing baby
  • Reduce your workload and get plenty of rest: avoid heavy work like gardening, drawing water and collecting firewood. Take frequent rest breaks. Growing a baby takes a lot of energy and it is important not to overstress your body
  • Avoid getting sick! Malaria and other infections can be very dangerous to both mother and baby, especially during pregnancy. Always sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net and take medications as recommended by your health provider
  • Practice safe and effective family planning: having babies too close together is very hard on your body and can cause poor birth outcomes (like infant mortality). This impacts your ability to recover and care for your other children. Space your pregnancies at least 2 years apart to allow your body to recover and to give more care to the siblings

What Makes a Good Birth Plan:

  • Decide where you will give birth (which health facility)
  • Choose who will go with you to the birth center and when they will go. (Plan to go to the health center well before labor begins, so that you do not risk delivering the baby on the way to the health center.)
  • Identify the location of closest health facility (in case of emergency)
  • Gather funds for birth-related, transportation or emergency expenses
  • Obtain the necessary supplies (like zitenjes, sanitary/perineal pads, clothes for the baby, thread used as umbilical peg, razor blades, plastic paper, basin, soap)
  • Identify who will look after any other children and the home
  • Choose a means of transportation to health center
  • Identify blood donor in case of post-delivery bleeding or any emergency requiring blood donation

What to bring to the health center (for the birth):

  • Candles
  • Razor blades
  • String
  • Black plastic paper
  • Soap
  • Basin
  • Chitenjes (3)
  • Health passport
  • Clean cloths for washing, drying and wrapping the baby
  • Additional clean cloths to use as sanitary pads after birth
  • Clothes for mother and baby
  • Food and water for woman and guardian
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