It’s Mother’s Day! If you are pregnant and feeling a little overwhelmed, here are six things that will bless you as you embark on your journey.
Happy Mother’s Day! You are on your way to becoming a mother, congratulations! Preparing to have a child may seem confusing but getting the right information from an experienced mother can be just what you need.
On Apr 3 and 10, City Harvest Church held the first of its Pregnancy 101 classes to give new mothers- and fathers-to-be insight into the changes they will face once their baby arrives. The class, held at Suntec Singapore, was taught by CHC pastor Lynn Tan. Participants explored issues such as the challenges new parents are likely to encounter and how to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for an addition to the family.
Here are six key things that will help you through your pregnancy.
1. KNOW THAT GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOUR PREGNANCY
Reading from Genesis 1:28, Pastor Lynn established the foundation of pregnancy: it has been part of God’s plan since Adam and Eve, because God wants mankind to be fruitful and to populate the earth.
There will be difficult times during pregnancy. For this reason, Pastor Lynn encouraged parents to have a number of Bible verses that speak to them, that they can declare on a daily basis to reassure themselves while trusting in the Lord. During pregnancy, moms-to-be can meditate on Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 4, Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Exodus 23:25-26, and good verses to pray aloud over their babies include Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 139:13-16 and Ephesians 1:17.
2. IT’S NORMAL TO EXPERIENCE CHANGES
Carrying your unborn child brings with it joy, as well as discomfort. There are days where your skin glows and your hair looks voluminous, but many moms-to-be will also find that their senses of smell and taste change and become ultra-sensitive. They might even find themselves nauseated or sick half the time. Pastor Lynn’s advice is not to panic if one encounters some symptoms during pregnancy.
Husbands need to be understanding and supportive of their wives. One of the things husbands should look out for in their wives is symptoms of postnatal depression, such as crying for no reason, lack of energy and loss of appetite. In serious cases, new moms may lack the desire to care for their baby or may even have thoughts of hurting the baby. New mothers may also feel anxious and guilty when they do things for themselves, like have a haircut or a manicure—these are normal feelings that should fade over time.
3. THE TRUTH ABOUT A PREGNANCY DIET
Should moms-to-be really eat for two? Should they satisfy their every craving? Pastor Lynn advised the mothers-to-be to maintain a healthy diet because what they eat is their baby’s main source of nourishment.
Ideally, pregnant mothers should have 60 to 95 grams of whole grain daily to keep their sugar levels down. Raw (or partially raw) fish and red meat are not suitable for pregnant women because mercury exposure in fish and the risk of bacteria and parasites in undercooked meats. For the first six months of pregnancy, pregnant women need double the amount of iron to make enough blood to supply oxygen to their baby. They can achieve that by consuming lean proteins, iron-fortified cereal and orange juice.
Both calcium and folate are important for mothers and babies for the development of the baby’s bones. This is why pregnant women should eat more dark leafy greens, almonds, lactose-free milk, legumes and asparagus. Getting enough folate will reduce the risk of neural defects by 70 percent.
But growing a baby is hard work so it’s okay for moms-to-be to indulge in less healthy options once in a while. They just need to know when to stop. Coffee lovers should not consume more than 200mg of caffeine—that is equivalent to two to three cups of coffee. Junk food and processed food should be kept to a minimum, as well since these present the risk of excess weight gain and gestational diabetes resulting in long-term implications for the baby.
4. SAFETY AT HOME
Being prepared brings peace. Babies are cute and cuddly but they turn your world upside down. When they start to mess up your carefully planned routines and exhaustion kicks in, you might start to miss minor details in safety precaution. The best way to ensure safety is, therefore, to prepare your furniture for the baby’s arrival.
Pastor Lynn listed a few safety procedures to follow. Chests of drawers should be secured to the wall, power point sockets should be covered with a protector and window grilles should be installed. When using high chairs, it is crucial to use the restraining straps on babies. In case of emergency, always remember to have emergency numbers and parents’ contact numbers in an easily accessible spot in the home.
While there is a belief that babies feel safer when they lie on their belly, Pastor Lynn advises the parents-to-be against this. Babies should sleep on their backs to prevent breathing difficulty. The mattress should be firm and well-fitted without blankets to avoid suffocation. Parents should ensure that the babies’ cots meet the current Singapore safety standards by looking for labels bearing EN716, ASTM 1169 and ISO 7175.
For the first six to 12 months, babies should be sleeping in a cot inside the parents’ room. In any situation where parents need assistance from caregivers to care for the baby at night, make sure that the babysitters know how to protect against SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy).
5. CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS
Compulsory vaccines are free for all babies who are Singapore citizens. Permanent residents can also get the shots at subsidized rates at polyclinics. However, fever medication, like Paracetamol, the vaccine for Pneumococcal, Varicella (chicken pox), Influenza, Rotavirus, and Hepatitis A are optional and come with a fee.
6. IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES FOR NEW PARENTS
At the class, Pastor Lynn also shared a few other important principles on the journey of parenthood. She said that communication is vital during childhood development. Parents may consider introducing baby signs in order to understand babies before they are able to speak.
Pastor Lynn also told the class that parenting should never become a competitive sport. It is a gift from God and that’s why every stage of the baby’s development should be celebrated. Every child develops differently and at a different pace.
Another important thing to remember is that a strong Godly marriage is the foundation of Biblical parenting. Godly parenting is about demonstrating faith at home because godliness and morality only happen when parents teach it intentionally.
Felicia Chia, 28, and Daniel Lim, 30, both financial advisors, have been married for a year. They received many new insights after attending Pregnancy 101 class. “Pregnancy can be overwhelming sometimes but Pastor Lynn successfully broke down the points on the matter,” said Felicia. “Learning the emotional and physical changes in women during pregnancy was very informative, especially for the husbands. Now, Daniel can understand that I will be hormonal during pregnancy and we can avoid misunderstandings.”