As a nurse, I always knew what the antepartum unit was for and who usually gets admitted there.
But it was when I became a patient there and had a high-risk pregnancy is when I experienced and saw the challenges first hand.
I wished there was somebody who warned me or gave me some advice on what it was going to be like.
Therefore, in this blog, I want to talk about what can be expected in Antepartum.
And provide tips/advice to make your antepartum experience less worrisome.
Let’s get started!!
The antepartum unit is where women with high-risk pregnancies are admitted and are watched carefully by the health care team.
Women with high-risk pregnancies are monitored for many things such as bleeding, blood pressure, baby movement, baby growth and labour.
Most pregnant women who are admitted to the Antepartum unit are there until they give birth.
The hospitalization can be for a couple of days to months!!
The goal is for the baby to stay inside the mother’s belly for as long as possible.
But if any problems are seen (like extra bleeding, poor movement, contractions), then the baby is delivered prematurely.
My Antepartum Care and Experience
When I found out I was pregnant, I was low risk and everything was going well.
All my ultrasound looked good.
At the 20 wks ultrasound, they just noticed my son was a bit smaller than “normal”.
So my doctor sent me in for another ultrasound at 28 wks.
It was in this ultrasound where they saw I had placental problems and my baby wasn’t growing well.
This is the day I was admitted to the hospital!!
I was admitted for 2 wks in Antepartum care.
These 2 wks felt soo long!
I was able to go home for a couple of days, but I had to return as my ultrasounds were getting worse.
While you are admitted, you go through so many emotions such as fear, isolation and not having anyone who can relate to your experience.
I learned a lot through my experience and I want to share it with other moms.
Below I list out 7 tips that can help ease your experience while you are going through antepartum.
These are the best tips I wish I was told!!
Hope it helps!
1.Have the Correct Mindset
When you are admitted to the antepartum, you are alone and scared.
You don’t know what will happen to you or your baby.
Also, you don’t want to be there.
You want to sleep in your own comfortable bed and be in your own home.
The hospital food isn’t the greatest.
You are bored being stuck in a hospital room or bed.
But the biggest thing I learned is to change your mindset and stop focusing on all the negatives.
Instead, focus on the positive!
Your baby is being closely monitored and your baby is safe.
Every day, your baby stays inside of you, grows and gets stronger, creates a better outcome for them.
The longer you are pregnant and your baby is growing, the better your baby will do in the NICU.
So focus on that, mamas!
And stop stressing out on things we cannot control.
Stress doesn’t help you or your baby in the long run.
2. Try to get Family and Friends to rotate in visiting you
Being in Antepartum, I learned and experienced isolation and loneliness.
My family and friends tried their best to visit often, but they cannot come every day.
Also, my family would all come at once, then not be able to come again for a while.
My husband also had to go back to work and can only come in the evenings.
So most of the mornings, I was alone.
What I would do differently is to create a visiting schedule for everyone that wanted to visit me.
Since I always had my husband there in the evenings, I would rotate my family members and friends to visit me on different days in the morning.
This would have helped decrease the time of being alone and help decrease my anxiety.
Also, we have access to amazing technology now.
So, set up face time/video chats calls with your love ones if they cannot visit to keep you company.
3. Get Answers for your Questions and Advocate for yourself
When you are suddenly admitted to Antepartum, no one knows when you will give birth or how long you will stay pregnant.
You are told about a vague plan based on what type of monitoring they will do and what to expect.
But no one can truly knows what will happen in the future and when you will deliver.
And this creates intense fear!!!
The fear of the unknown.
The fear of not knowing what will happen to you and if your baby will turn out okay.
Therefore, I advise all moms to be involved in their care and ask lots of questions, about everything!
Talk to the nurses and doctors every morning and get all your questions answers.
Ask about the results about everything such as ultrasounds, any lab work, heart monitoring of the baby.
Monitor your symptoms closely- if you notice any changes that you are worried about, talk to someone ASAP about it.
If you feel that your health care provider is not listening to your concerns (which can happen ), try to talk to another doctor or nurse.
But don’t give up on being heard and keep advocating for yourself!
4.Stock up on Snacks and Food
After being admitted for more then a couple of days, you get sick of the hospital food and snacks.
Every day, my husband would bring me my own smoothies and snacks, but I will quickly finish it and be hungry again.
What else do you expect to do when you are stuck in a hospital bed- eat!!
So remember to stock up and bring a variety of your favourite snacks to keep in your room.
Also, get your family/friends to bring in extra home-cooked meals to keep in the fridge.
An extra tip I wish I was told was to bring in your own mini-fridge to keep in your room!!(check with your hospital if this is allowed)
Otherwise, your meals and drinks will have to be kept in the common fridge, that belongs to all the other patients.
5. Journaling and Writing helps
Writing down your emotions and feelings can be helpful when you feel like you have no control over your situation.
Writing collects your thoughts on paper and can help you understand what you are feeling.
When you are in the trenches and are scared, writing might be the last thing you want to do.
But I have been told by many NICU moms, that writing has helped them understand themselves and reflect on their situation.
This can be therapeutic in so many ways.
Writing can bring out questions you have inside that you never thought of to ask your health care team.
Also, journaling creates a keepsake memory for you to look back on.
This creates an appreciation of the hardship you have been through to get to where you are now.
6. Bring your own Blanket and Pillows from home
This is a pretty straightforward tip that a lot of moms forget about.
The hospital blankets and pillows are not that bad.
But the day I brought in my own comfy blanket and fluffy pillows, (which was 1 week after I was admitted), I realized what I was missing.
Something as small as your own blankets and pillows will improve your sleep and improve your overall comfort level.
So don’t forget to pack this or get your hubby/partner to bring it in for you.
I want all mamas to be as comfortable as possible from the beginning of being admitted to the hospital.
7. You have so much free time- start a small hobby or learn a new skill
When you are stuck in the hospital bed, being monitored, you have so much free time.
First of all, I want to remind you to be grateful for this free time and take advantage of it.
Because after you have your baby, you will never get this much free time again!
At first, I wasted all my time on Netflix and social media, which caused my brain to be numb.
Then I realized I should do something productive and worthwhile with my time.
Therefore, I taught myself the skill of french braids through Youtube videos (something I’ve always wanted to learn).
I also got the idea of this blog when I was in the hospital too!!
My advice is just don’t waste your time doing nothing!
Have a balance of watching entertainment shows.
Then do activities that uses your brain like crossword puzzle.
Read the book you have always wanted to read.
Watch educational and useful videos to learn new a skill.
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