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So you're going to have a baby!
Having a baby can be a wonderful experience but it can also be a huge challenge especially when you are young. Have a look at the Pregnancy and Birth section to help you understand the changes in your body and how you baby will develop in the womb. It can also help guide you through how to look after yourself over the next few months and provide you with information on what services are there to help you.
Making a Plan
Getting organised There are certain things you might need to organise so that your pregnancy is happy and healthy. If you and the baby’s dad are together involve him as much as possible as well as your family and friends. Things can be more easily sorted out if you have help and support. Check out the following to help you plan what you need to do.
- Go to Your Doctor Your doctor can begin your ante-natal care as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. Even if you have done a pregnancy test, your doctor may want to do another one to be sure.Your doctor will advise you on taking care of yourself during the pregnancy. The Ante-natal care page explains what your ante-natal care will involve.
- Apply for free care under the Mother and Infant Scheme You can get a form from your doctor or HSE to apply for free pregnancy care until your baby is 6 weeks old. This covers your doctor visits, ante-natal clinics and the maternity hospital when your baby is born. All women are entitled to free care even if you or your family do not have a medical card.. Check out the Money Matters section for more information
- Go to the Ante-Natal Clinic Your first visit will at 12-14 weeks approximately. It is important for you to attend all the clinic appointments you are given so that your health and your baby’s development can be checked. To find out more go to the A Clinic Visit page
- Take Care of Yourself Now might be a good time to think about changing some habits. Try to make your diet as healthy as possible, your doctor or clinic will give you information if you need it. If you smoke or drink, pregnancy is a very good reason to give up or cut down. Smoking or drinking can be harmful to your baby. The Healthy You Healthy Baby page gives you some information to help you look after you and your baby during pregnancy
- Talk with Your Employer or Your School/College If you are still at school it is a good idea to let the school know as soon as possible that you are pregnant. Likewise, if you are working your employer will need to make sure your job does not put you or your baby at any risk for example carrying heavy weights, handling chemicals, or using certain equipment. Check out the Big Changes page for more information.
- Book ante-natal classes Your doctor or ante-natal clinic might talk with you about going to ante-natal classes to help you prepare for the birth. Its best to go within the last month or 2 before the baby is born so that you will remember what you’ve learned. See the Labour and Birth page to help you understand what the classes involve and how they might help you and your baby’s dad, if he wants to go to them too. Some areas have separate classes just for teenagers, ask your midwife and she will keep you informed.
Pack your bag. Your clinic will give you a list of what you need to bring to the maternity hospital for you and your baby. Its good to have a bag packed with these things maybe 6 weeks or a month before you are due to have your baby. See the Labour and Birth page for more information.
- Get Your Benefits Sorted. You might also find the Money Matters section useful to help you work out what benefits you might be able to claim during pregnancy or after your baby is born. Some of these must be applied for before your baby is born and some can only be applied for after.
The benefits you get will depend on.....
- whether you are working or have ever worked,
- whether you are living with your parents or not,
- whether you are in school or not,
- what other money is coming into your home.
- Sort out Home School Tuition If you are still in secondary school, you may be entitled to have lessons at home for some of the time towards the end of your pregnancy or immediately after the baby is born. This is called Home School Tuition. You need to apply for this from the Department of Education and Science (See the Education Section