Preparing for Pregnancy: Part II

Pregnancy PuzzlePregnancy is a part of life that, more often than not, we have absolutely no control over. Sometimes circumstances help, sometimes it seems like there’s no way out. Since I was born and raised in a different country and have only been in Baton Rouge for a few years, the challenge of navigating this new world seemed even more daunting. Here is part II (following part I) of my list as I was preparing for pregnancy:

1) Health Insurance

Luckily, I have health insurance, but there were many things I didn’t know specifics about. These are the things I initially looked for:

  • Cost of birth
  • Hospitals / birth centers in network
  • Birth options covered

I also scheduled an appointment with an OB/GYN in network at the hospital of my choice. I wanted to find a professional I trusted, who had vast experience, and at the same time “got me.” Scheduling a preventive exam before pregnancy was very helpful. This will not only give you peace of mind, but also be one exam already checked off your list once you are pregnant.

2) Maternity Leave

Let me begin by telling you that in Brazil women get 3 months of paid, yes, you read this right: 3 months PAID maternity leave. And of course many of my friends think 3 months is entirely too little, that it should be at least 6 months. Cut to my Brazilian self working for a small firm in Baton Rouge with NO LEAVE. Wonderful. Also no parents or grandparents next door… So you can imagine my chin hitting the floor like in the cartoons. So here are the options I found available if your firm is not required to offer maternity leave:

  • Start a maternity leave fund. Depending on how much time you plan to be at home, 1-2 years could be enough to build up a reasonable savings fund.
  • Your company might offer short term disability (don’t be fooled by this name, being pregnant is a superpower). The enrollment times might be tricky and they will not cover your leave if you are already pregnant (there’s a 37-38 weeks wait before you can request the leave). Private options are also available with similar underlaying conditions. There’s a considerable amount to be paid each month, and they only cover part of your salary for up to the time established in the contract.
  • Have your mom fly from Brazil to help for 6 months?
  • Move to Brazil?

I am honestly still working out alternatives.

3) Podcasts

Podcasts are one of my favorite learning methods. Here is my line-up:

4) Books

I love books as objects, and I truly enjoy reading them. If you go by top selling pregnancy books on Amazon, you’d probably start with “What to expect when you’re expecting.” I first listened to podcasts, read blogs, multiple reviews, forums, and talked to moms – then I made my list of books. I haven’t been disappointed so far! Here they are in the order I read them:

5) Partner

Last, but not least: getting your partner ready, if you have one. Of course, there is not always a lot of room to influence the other side, but if you do have that opportunity, or you are the other part, Preparing for Pregnancy – Parts I and II are also for you. My husband has, honestly, been incredibly supportive, and although he is very reluctant to change anything in his routine, he did make as many concessions as he could – including adjustments in his diet. My extra items here are resumed to:

  • Sharing information
  • Keeping an open channel of communication
  • Reading all the best baby names to each other


Ana is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Out of passion for learning, she started traveling to all sorts of different places. Fifteen countries later, she has now settled in Baton Rouge and works for a local architecture firm. Graduate school at LSU presented her not only with tools to advance in architecture but also with a deeper understanding of the culture and geography of Louisiana. It is a fascinating state, and Baton Rouge, as its capital, does not disappoint. Ana is currently starting her journey to a country she has never been to before: motherhood (except if you count a dog, a cat, and a fish). You can find her coming up with a myriad of house projects, trying new restaurants in town, park-hopping with her beagle, or enjoying a good movie with her husband.


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