An expectant time

 You’ve taken the home pregnancy test and it indicates you’re expecting a baby. What then?
   The next step is to find an obstetrician-gynaecologist doctor to verify the results. There is only a handful of obstetricians in Cayman, all of whom are kept busy with the more than 600 babies born here each year.
   It’s likely you will have a friend or a colleague who has used the services of a local ob-gyn, so ask around and find one you’re comfortable with.
   While some mothers choose to go off island to have their babies, especially if there are expected complications, most choose to have their babies at the public hospital, the Cayman Islands Hospital, or the private Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital.
   Deciding on which doctor and which hospital you choose may depend on your insurance coverage. As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, check with your insurance company to find out what your insurance covers. Some may cover all the costs, while others have limited coverage.
   At the Cayman Islands Hospital, expectant mothers can attend free weekly classes on Monday nights that covers topics on how to prepare for the arrival of their baby. Sessions run for eight weeks. Check with the hospital on when the courses begin.
   After giving birth, the hospital has a ‘rooming in’ practice during which maternity staff assist mothers with breastfeeding. After being discharged, the Breastfeeding Support Group and the community midwives can continue to give support for breastfeeding.
   Mothers usually stay in the hospital for three days, or longer if there are complications.
   Chrissie Tomlinson has four private birthing suites, and for expecting and new mothers, it offers Lamaze classes, infant and child CPR, breastfeeding consultancy services and a postnatal mother-to-mother support group
   Midwives work at both hospitals. The option of giving birth at home with a midwife is not one available in Cayman.
   There is also doula services in Cayman. Doula comes from an ancient Greek phrase meaning “a woman who serves”. Doulas are basically birth coaches who offer advice and emotional support before, during and immediately after birth.
   Keeping healthy during pregnancy, even when you feel too run-down and tired to exercise, is of vital importance. To help keep your energy levels up and to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need, doctors often recommend prenatal supplements.
   Folic acid is one supplement often recommended by doctors. This contains vitamin B9, which plays helps with cell development and is necessary for the creation of certain fetal structures.
   Folic acids can be obtained from food also, including leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes and whole grains.
   Pregnant women are also often recommended to take iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin D.
   These can support your baby’s appropriate growth and development, but make sure you check with your doctor before filling your shopping basket with any or all of the supplements on offer as taking too large a dose may harm you and your baby.
   After having your baby, there is an array of paediatricians in Cayman who can help take care of your child’s health. Again, get recommendations from other mothers or visit the doctors to ensure their services suit your and your child’s needs.

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