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Finding out you’re pregnant can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It also can be one of the scariest, especially for first-time parents.
“During a first-time pregnancy, you’re experiencing things you’ve never dealt with before, and that can be scary,” says Dr. Cheryl Twu, an OB-GYN at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.
Twu, who is a mother to a toddler herself, says that many first-time moms-to-be have many questions, from what nutrients they should be getting to ensure a healthy pregnancy, to dealing with morning sickness, to when they can expect their baby bump to “pop.”
“The most common questions I encounter from patients concern the health and well-being of their baby, such as the baby’s development and what they can do to make sure their baby is healthy,” Twu adds.
The Hapai App for pregnant moms
“A mobile app can be very helpful for first-time moms because it gives them information about their growing baby and the advice that they’ll need during the different trimesters of their pregnancy,” Twu says. “Being able to check your symptoms or ask a question using a mobile app can help show what you’re experiencing is a normal part of pregnancy. Or, if it’s not, you know to seek medical attention.”
You can search for the answers to more of your questions (like how to alleviate morning sickness symptoms, or which baby names are trending now) on Hapai, a mobile health app from Hawai‘i Pacific Health.
Hapai (the Hawaiian word for pregnant) features weekly updates so that mothers can track their baby’s development in real-time and learn about their own unique pregnancy.
The free app also features helpful tools for expectant moms – and dads – and provides resources to guide them through their pregnancy, as well as tips for preparing for the day of baby’s arrival. For women planning to deliver at Hawai‘i Pacific Health’s facilities, including Kapi‘olani or Wilcox Medical Center on Kaua‘i, it also offers information about classes and other details specific to those medical centers.
Hapai is available to download for both iOS (Apple) and Android mobile phones. You can get more information and download the app at Kapiolani.org/Hapai.
Pre-pregnancy discussions with your PCP
Twu also acknowledges that for many moms-to-be, the best time to begin considering your pregnancy health is before conception.
“If you’re planning on becoming a parent in the near future, you should schedule a preconception appointment with your primary care physician (PCP) now, before becoming pregnant,” Twu advises.
This assessment is meant to make sure you are at your healthiest self in the months leading up to pregnancy.
During your preconception appointment, you can review your personal health history as well as your family history. Be sure to tell your PCP about any medical conditions that run in your family, such as diabetes, hypertension or blood clots.
“Having a preconception appointment can help a patient maximize her chances of having a healthy pregnancy,” Twu says. “We can identify any risks that can affect the mother and fetus during pregnancy and address these risks to optimize the chances for a healthy and successful pregnancy. This also gives us an opportunity to counsel you on a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.”
And what about after baby arrives? That raises a whole different set of questions.
The answer to easing unnecessary stress and worry? Attend a childbirth class.
“Childbirth classes help parents feel less fearful about the upcoming birth of their child,” says Shelly Waiolama, a child birth educator at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.
Waiolama says that she and her team of fellow child birth educators hear many different questions from parents – from how do I know I’m in labor, to when can I bathe my baby, to how can my partner help me.
“This is our specialty – we are the specialty facility in the Pacific region when it comes to caring for mothers and children,” Waiolama says. “We give parents lots of information without the specifics, which each physician may practice differently. But all of the information is quite important things to know when it comes to child birth and infant care.”
Maternity programs and services at Kapi‘olani include the following:
• Free maternity tour.
• Positively Pregnant, Prepared Childbirth and breastfeeding classes.
• Infant Care Class (includes breastfeeding and infant CPR).
• Infant CPR/Pediatric CPR.
• Free Mom and Baby Care Guide.
• Free Baby Kit.
Classes and programs aren’t just open to Mom and Dad – there also are options for grandparents, caregivers and others who will be involved with the care of the child.
“The bottom line is, we are the patients’ and participants’ advocates, as well as the advocate for the medical center,” Waiolama says. “I’ve always encouraged these classes, and I always, always suggest people come. We give them the basic information they need, and this has really, truly helped parents make decisions.”
To sign up for a class or for more information, call 527-2588 or visit Kapiolani.org/Maternity.