Fetal Development Parenting
Some might argue that you're not officially a parent until you hold your baby in your arms. Others insist that you're a parent as soon as you conceive since everything you do during your pregnancy affects child development both mentally and physically.
It really isn't that important whether you consider yourself a parent before or after your baby is born. What is important is that you do everything you can to help your child develop and grow into an adult who can be a productive member of society. For the purpose of this article and website, we'll refer to the beginning of parenthood as the time from when you conceive.
Parenting Tips for Fetal Development
When you're pregnant, everything you do could potentially affect the development of your unborn child. This means it's important to avoid any potential hazards to the fetus. Stay away from alcohol. Don't engage in dangerous activities like ski diving. Don't smoke. Avoid recreational drug use at all costs. Make sure you get enough nutrients to feed your baby.
But good parenting at this stage is much more than doing all the things you've already read that you should do when you're pregnant. Good parenting means you should take care of yourself. Bad parenting puts your needs above those of your child (whether unborn or born), so don't do this. But realize that you must take care of yourself in order to be in peak health to care for your baby.
When you're pregnant, this means take time to make sure you get enough rest. Stress will elevate your blood pressure and make you more tense which will ultimately affect fetal development. Get enough exercise. Strong muscles mean you'll be able to more easily handle the weight of your growing baby. If you're in better shape during your pregnancy, you'll be in better shape after you give birth. This means you'll be able to better deal with the rigors of taking care of a child once you're able to hold your baby.
Keep yourself hydrated. This can be hard in the early stages of your pregnancy when your fetus is just developing and you feel nauseous. To help combat nausea and keep yourself hydrated; add a pinch of salt or a spoonful of sugar to help you keep the water down. Rest whenever you can and pace yourself even if you have what feels like a million things to do.
Take Parenting Classes
If you're a first time parent, you may be anxious about the time when you'll need to raise this new human you're currently nurturing and growing. There really isn't necessarily a right or a wrong way to parent and parenting styles vary drastically. But if you have no idea where to start and are concerned about raising your child, parenting classes can help give you perspective. Your healthcare practitioner will be able to tell you about reputable parenting classes you can take before your due date or after you've had the baby.
Other Ways to Learn About Parenting
Often new parents learn what they want to do and don't want to do based on their experiences with their own parents. If you consider your parents a good source on parenting, you can always ask them for advice. There are also numerous parenting articles in magazine and online that can provide you with information on how to raise your child once she's born. You'll find advice about getting your new baby to sleep, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, and parenting advice for all other ages as well. Parenting Magazine (USA, UK), Pregnancy Magazine (USA and Canada), Today's Parent (Canada), Fit Pregnancy (USA), Tots to Teens (New Zealand) are a few examples of print sources for learning best parenting practices during the fetal development process and beyond. Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years by Jim Fay and Charles Fay is an excellent book about parenting after pregnancy. Parentingmaster.com is one of the many websites available that provides parenting articles for once the baby is born, but doesn't provide too many parenting tips for the fetal development stages.