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What Moms Should Know Before Labor

When you are about to become a mom, it can be hard to navigate the confusing processes that accompany this new stage in your life. We’ve seen it every year from the more than 1,000 pregnant moms who receive prenatal care at Mary’s Center. The arrival of their new baby is filled with excitement, and yet, there is also so much anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. To mitigate these feelings, every quarter, we invite our moms-to-be who are in their last trimester to our Educational Baby Shower. That day, we celebrate with them, providing them handmade quilts, crocheted blankets, and other donations we receive from community partners. At our most recent shower, our participants were overjoyed to receive brand-new baby monitors, generously gifted by Panasonic (below).

The most important thing we provide, however, are helpful tips that will allow newborns and moms to have a great start to the journey that they are on. If you are pregnant or plan to be, we invite you to learn from the advice we provide our participants:

  • Pick out your baby’s primary care provider (PCP) before you give birth. Newborn’s shouldfirst visit their pediatrician two weeks after birth. Make sure you have the phone number handy when you go to the hospital and call to schedule the first well-visit after the baby is born. Mary's Center has many wonderful pediatricians and we would love to provide you the care you need!
  • Make sure you hold onto that important paperwork! Before you are discharged, the hospital will give you paperwork about your new child. It’s imperative that you hang onto it and take it to your baby’s first doctor’s appointment.
  • Write down your questions. Becoming a mom is one continuous learning process. You will likely start developing questions the minute you take your baby home from the hospital. Write these questions down—on a notepad that’s always nearby, on your phone, in your planner, etc.—and take them with you when you visit the doctor. If you don’t write them down, you may not remember them when you are in front of the doctor!
  • Be prepared for sickness. Having a sick baby is no fun but there are a few things you can do to better navigate this scary time. You should always have a thermometer on hand at home—you can buy them for $5-$10 at the drugstore. When you call your provider about your sick baby, one of the first questions they will always ask is whether or not your baby has a temperature. Keep in mind, more than 100.4 is fever. Most pediatric practices have 24-hour on call service. Never hesitate to call if you think your baby is sick—whether they have a fever or not!

But parents learn more than just medical tips at our Educational Baby Showers. They also receive legal advice from First Shift Justice Project about workplace rights for pregnant women and new moms. Here are some things the lawyers share with our participants:

  • Know your rights! You cannot exercise your rights if you don’t know them. Read your employee handbook to fully understand the specific procedures and accommodations at your workplace, but also know the rights all pregnant moms have. Pregnant women are allowed time off for prenatal visits and more breaks if they have a physically demanding job. New moms also have the right to a private room to pump milk in after they return from work—a bathroom does not count! Employees should talk to their bosses before they have the baby to make sure these accommodations will be available once they return.
  • Notify your Employer of your pregnancy in writing. With everything you do, you want to make sure you have proof, which often means having a paper trail. If you notify your employer of your pregnancy in writing, your employer will not be able to argue that they did not accommodate you because they did not know.
  • Plan for your leave and life after your baby. Think about how much time you want to take off and other ways you want to be accommodated after you have your baby. You know your life is going to change, so be prepared for it!
  • Complain of discrimination via proper channels. Companies have HR departments to deal with discrimination and issues employees experience at work. If you are having issues do not be afraid to go to HR.
  • Do not quit! If you have tried everything and are still having issues at work, seek legal help. Mary’s Center has resources for participants who need legal help because they have faced discrimination at work—this is part of our commitment to holistic care.

Our Educational Baby Showers are just one of the resources we offer to our participants and one of the examples of the community space that Mary’s Center offers to improve lives with expertise and guidance. We have so much more to offer, however—come check us out and you will see!

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