Pregnancy is a time of significant change. Whether this is your first or fifth child, nothing can prepare you for the mental and physical shift that takes place during those nine months and beyond. As happy as this time can be, there’s guaranteed to be some anxiety surrounding the future.
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In fact, as many as one in ten pregnant women experience anxiety surrounding money, birth, or other such concerns. As if that weren’t enough, they also have to juggle their routines/schedules to fit a whole host of pregnancy appointments into their lives.
In general terms, pregnant women should regularly visit their doctor for scans, checkups, and general support. It’s also recommended that pregnant women attend regular checks with a qualified dentist, chiropractor, and even therapist in some cases. That’s a lot to keep on top with and, for many pregnant women, it’s stress they don’t need. After all, how could anyone work full-time, manage a houseful, etc. and still make time for all these necessities?
As unlikely as it seems, women manage this across the country, and the majority of them even find ways to do so without stressing themselves out. Doctor appointments, in particular, can actually become a real comfort during this potentially challenging time. The question is, how can you ensure your pregnancy planner is a help to you, rather than yet another thing to stress about?
Understand the appointments you’ll need to attend
If you aren’t prepared for the number of appointments you can expect to face, it’s hardly surprising if their frequency starts to overwhelm you when it becomes clear. Make sure that doesn’t happen by arming yourself with knowledge ahead of time. After all, knowing what to expect in this way removes the risk of any unpleasant surprises, and means that you’ll be in a much better mental space to tackle the load.
Your doctor appointments will, by far, be the most frequent you need to manage, and will generally follow a schedule that looks a little like -
- Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every two weeks
- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
This will allow you to roughly pen in appointments even before your doctor makes them, thus ensuring you get a head start on prep, or doing whatever possible to make sure you can attend. Dental and other such appointments can be more challenging to foresee, but again they aren’t impossible. If all goes well, for instance, your dentist will be able to see you every six months of pregnancy, which is easy enough to manage. That said, they may need to increase that frequency if issues do occur, something that you’ll likely also find with your doctor’s appointments. While knowledge can be fantastic for prep, then, it’s also vital you prepare for the possibility of more frequent appointments in some cases.
Let your employer know as soon as possible
There are mixed opinions about when it’s best to let an employer know you’re pregnant, but alerting them by at least the end of your first trimester tends to be best. While there’s no legal requirement for this, your employer’s knowledge can help you to stay healthy even in the workplace and, more importantly, to manage your appointments with ease.
After all, any boss will get frustrated at an employee continually having to ‘step out’ for no good reason. Yet, they’ll come to expect this the moment you let them know what’s going on. In the majority of cases, you’ll even find that they’ll be able to help you with arrangements like flexible working that ensures you can fit around appointments with more ease than ever.
This support alone can remove the stressors that so often come alongside prenatal visits and appointments, yet it’s simply not possible if you keep your news to yourself. Even if you have doubts, it’s therefore worth broaching the subject as early as you dare. The chances are that your employer will pleasantly surprise you, and make your life much easier at the same time.
Communicate your availability with healthcare providers
To some extent, your appointments will be dictated by when in your pregnancy you are and the availability of healthcare providers, but you can at least communicate your availability here. In most cases, for instance, letting a doctor know you’re only available for early appointments will ensure they book you in at a time that you can work with for the duration of your pregnancy. While this can become trickier as the frequency of these appointments increases, this at least ensures stress-free planning for the majority of your journey.
In fact, if you pair this benefit with a flexible work arrangement between you and your employer, you should find that you don’t once need to stress about an inconvenient time. Instead, you’ll be able to pen each of your appointments into an already-cleared diary. Talk about taking the anxiety out of the process!
Know when your partner wants to attend
Of course, while pregnancy may be happening to your body, you aren’t alone in this experience. The chances are that your partner will also want to attend things like scans each time you have one. Many partners also attend doctors' appointments, especially in the early days, when you’ll need to discuss family medical histories and the like.
Obviously, trying to fit appointments into both of your schedules can become even more problematic, so it’s vital that you get things straight ahead of time. For instance, it may be that your partner only wishes to attend key appointments like scans. Knowing this, you’ll be much better able to arrange things without stressing out about consulting them all the time or working around their schedule as well.
That simplifies things no end, and it means that you can focus more on getting your own schedule right when it matters, as well as ensuring you fit with your partner wherever necessary throughout your pregnancy.
Consider reducing your hours
At the beginning of your pregnancy, you should find your appointments pretty easy to manage across the board. While there will, undeniably, be more going on in your diary at this stage, it shouldn’t be overwhelming.
As you near the end of your pregnancy and your third trimester, however, you’ll need to attend appointments with your doctor alone every week, as well as more likely having to attend regular dental and chiro appointments as pregnancy takes its toll. And, these more regular appointments slots can seem near impossible to manage with full-time employment to boot.
That’s why it’s well worth reducing your hours at work wherever possible once you reach this stage. Something as simple as dropping one day should be enough to see you managing that appointment load a whole lot easier, and most managers are more than willing to accommodate.
This can come as a blow at a time when you need secure finances more than ever, but most women find that it’s a move well worth making. After all, the health of your baby and you should always come first, and this can ensure that’s the case even late in the pregnancy game.
The pregnancy planner
No one ever said that pregnancy was easy, and making time for all those appointments certainly won’t be. But, by approaching the matter in the ways mentioned above, you should at least find that you can organize your pregnancy diary without too many setbacks or dilemmas along the way.