What happens when you, as a surrogate, are past the exhilarating phase of embryo implantation and find yourself in the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” phase? This part isn’t only physical changes — it’s a whirlwind of emotions, joys, and potential challenges.
It’s true that pregnancy is an adventure for the intended parents, but it’s an exciting experience for surrogates as well. Once the delight of a positive pregnancy test settles, here’s what you can expect from the rest of the surrogacy process:
Regular Medical Appointments
Just like with any pregnancy, your doctor will want to keep an eye on your health and the health of the baby. You’ll have regular check-ups with your fertility clinic and OB/GYN — from early ultrasounds that reveal the heartbeat of the tiny life within you to consultations where the medical team ensures the well-being of both you and baby.
Surrogates with uncomplicated pregnancies typically follow the routine schedule of prenatal visits throughout the three trimesters. These appointments are designed to monitor the surrogate’s health, assess the development of the fetus, and ensure a smooth and healthy pregnancy.
The general timeline includes:
First Trimester (Weeks 1-12):
- Confirmation of pregnancy.
- Initial prenatal visit to discuss health history, establish due date, and conduct baseline assessments.
- Regular monthly check-ups, focusing on vital signs, weight gain, and general health monitoring.
- Optional first-trimester screenings, such as ultrasound and genetic testing.
- Note: Most of these appointments will be under the care of the fertility clinic. Surrogates are usually released to their OB provider around 10-12 weeks of pregnancy.
Second Trimester (Weeks 13-27):
- Monthly prenatal visits continue, with an increased focus on fetal growth and development.
- Routine screenings and tests to monitor the health of both the surrogate and the fetus.
- Around 20 weeks, a detailed anatomy scan is often conducted to assess the baby’s development.
Third Trimester (Weeks 28-40):
- Bi-weekly prenatal visits to closely monitor the surrogate’s and baby’s well-being.
- Regular assessments of blood pressure, weight gain, and fetal movement.
- Towards the end of the third trimester, weekly visits may be scheduled to closely track the pregnancy’s progression.
Postpartum (After Birth):
- Follow-up appointments to assess the surrogate’s physical and emotional well-being after childbirth.
Continued support and guidance for postpartum recovery.
Remember that each pregnancy is unique, and medical care is adjusted based on individual circumstances. As a surrogate, you may undergo additional screenings or tests as recommended by healthcare professionals to address any specific concerns or to ensure the well-being of you and baby.
Pregnancy is a transformative process — physically and emotionally. While not a universal experience, hormonal shifts can usher in waves of nausea commonly referred to as morning sickness. Well-versed in the nuances of pregnancy, your doctor will stand ready to guide you through managing unwanted symptoms (like morning sickness) to help you get through this temporary but sometimes challenging phase.
As the pregnancy progresses, you may notice changes such as weight gain, skin pigmentation alterations, and an increase in breast size. Mood swings and shifts in libido can also occur due to hormonal changes. Physical discomforts like backaches or swollen ankles might be present but are part of your body adapting to the demands of carrying a child.
In the later stages, the baby’s movements become more pronounced, which reassures you of their growing presence. You might also deal with issues like insomnia, heartburn, or increased fatigue. While these can be uncomfortable, the anticipation and joy of bringing new life into the world can help overshadow these moments.
Throughout your pregnancy, you might experience a range of emotions. You could feel happy and excited about helping another family, but you might also feel nervous or worried about the pregnancy. You might even feel a bit sad or emotional when you think about saying goodbye to the baby after birth. These feelings are normal and can vary from person to person. Remember that it’s OK to share your feelings with the intended parents, case manager, and your loved ones who are here to support you. You are not alone!
Leading Up to the Birth
As the baby’s due date approaches, the focus shifts to birth preparations. Collaborate with the intended parents on birthing preferences, potential challenges, and the overall birth plan. Clear communication helps promote shared expectations, fostering a positive atmosphere for the upcoming birthing experience and enhancing the collaborative essence of surrogacy.
In the month leading up to the baby’s due date, things will start to get pretty exciting. You can expect to:
- Feel more tired as your body prepares for labor.
- Notice changes like Braxton Hicks contractions, which are like practice contractions. These can be a sign that your body’s getting ready for the real deal.
- Need to visit your doctor more often to check on the baby’s health and make sure everything is going smoothly.
- Be ready for any signs of labor, like your water breaking or regular contractions.
- Keep your bags packed and contact the hospital or birthing center. It’s a good idea to have a plan for how you’ll get there when the big day arrives.
Remember, the intended parents will likely be just as excited and anxious as you are, so staying in close contact with them during this last month is key.
Post-Birth Transition and Recovery
After you give birth, the surrogacy journey transitions into the recovery and postpartum phase. As your body recuperates, the support of family, friends, and fellow surrogates becomes invaluable. This network provides understanding and comfort as you navigate the complexities of this extraordinary journey, embracing the profound gift you’ve provided to others.
If you have any questions about what to expect during surrogacy, reach out to other surrogates in our online community. On the online chat board, you’ll find women sharing their experiences, and asking and answering questions. It’s a place where you can count on each other for support.
Surrogacy and Egg Donor Services
Since 2004, The Fertility Agency has helped bring over 1100+ babies into the world. We work with all intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors no matter their sexual preference, relationship status, ethnicity, location, etc. Our personal experiences and years of expertise provide us with the perfect balance of business and passion. Contact us for more information.