Disabilities and Pregnancy
All future parents need to prepare for a new baby on the way. It’s an exciting time where you decorate the nursery and buy things like bottles, blankets, diapers and cribs. But if you have a disability, you may need more preparation in order to ensure that you’re ready for your little bundle of joy. Special equipment, alternative methods and a strong support system are key for people with a disability who are about to welcome a baby into the world. If you have a disability, read on for these basic tips that can help you get your home and life ready for your future child.
National Institutes of Health states that expectant mothers need prenatal care so their babies have a greater chance of growing healthy and strong. Regular visits to your OB/GYN allow the doctor to provide advice and medical treatment. Before getting pregnant, moms-to-be should discuss any medical issues they have that might cause complications during pregnancy or childbirth. According to the National League for Nursing, pregnant women with mobility issues have an increased risk of falls, urinary tract infections, and changes in the ability to control bladder and bowel movements.
Before the baby arrives, locate community resources that provide assistance to parents with disabilities. This may involve parenting advice, help with childcare or counseling. All parents need help from time to time, many reach out to family and friends for assistance with babysitting and other necessary tasks. As a parent with a disability, don’t be shy about reaching out for the help all parents need. Get your support network in place so that when you need someone to give a hand, you’ll already know who to call.
Preparing Your Home
Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you constantly need outside help to care for your child. Use a variety of equipment to help you get the job done. For example, if you are confined to a wheelchair, find a baby crib that has a side opening. This way you can easily place and remove your newborn from the crib without raising your arms over your head.
Change your baby’s diapers on a bed or on the floor. Purchase baby clothing that has velcro, not snaps. This will make it easier for parents with fine motor skill difficulties to change their baby’s clothes. Use baby harnesses that allow you to carry your little one against your chest so you don’t have to use your arms. A boppy baby chair enables you to interact with your baby. The soft chair sits on your lap so you can hold your child close.
Parents who have issues with mobility will find that the Snugglebundl makes moving your baby around much easier, whether lifting them out of the crib, a carseat, or off the floor after playtime. Serving as a wrap, car seat blanket, play mat, and breastfeeding cover, it combines its many uses to not only make childcare tasks easier, but enable you to remain hands-on and involved.
Visually impaired parents can prepare for their baby’s birth by having a place for every item in the nursery. Then you’ll always be able to find fresh diapers and diaper cream quickly. Keep the baby’s bottles and bibs separate from other items in the kitchen. For example, place your baby’s feeding items in a separate drawer from other kitchen tools. Parents that are deaf or hard of hearing might not hear their baby crying. A good solution is to purchase the Babble Band. Similar in purpose as traditional baby monitors, this baby monitor looks like a wristwatch and alerts you to a crying child through flashing lights and vibrations.
Childproof your home to provide your little ones with protection from dangerous things around the house. Keep medications in a locked cabinet, place safety plugs on unused electrical outlets. Put child proof covers on doorknobs so toddlers can’t wander out of the house while you are unaware or unable to physically follow them.
Replace front steps with a ramp to make your home more easily accessible for wheelchairs. Purchase expandable hinges for doorways. Install skid-resistant flooring to prevent slips. All of these home alterations will help keep you and your baby safe.
If you have a disability and you’re expecting a baby, planning is key. Preparing your home with altered baby equipment or alternative methods will allow you to take care of your little one in the best way possible. By consulting with your OB/GYN and discussing any medical issues you have, you will successfully prepare your life and home for the new baby’s arrival.