Finding out your pregnant, especially for the first time, can be thrilling and a bit overwhelming, no matter your situation. Your world has been flipped upside down and your mind is swirling with anxious, excited thoughts regarding the future.
You’ll be turning the words “I’m Pregnant!” over in your mind for days or even weeks as you get used to the idea.
That being said, we’re glad you’re here, because you’re already abiding by one of the next steps below – reading up. Here’s a handy guide for your next steps during this incredibly memorable time.
1. Make a Doctor’s Appointment
One of the first things you’ll want to do now that you believe you are pregnant is to schedule an appointment with your doctor, an OB/GYN or women’s clinic (depending on where you’re located) to confirm your pregnancy.
A positive home pregnancy test is an excellent indicator of a pregnancy (it’s very rare to get a false positive) but it’s still best to have your doctor confirm it.
If you have to organize your own OB/GYN, it’s time to find one.
You’ll discuss your last period and your doctor will be able to give you an estimated due date.
Plus, depending on how far along you are, you may be able to experience your first ultrasound, allowing you to hear your child’s heartbeat and see his/her miniature presence on a screen!
Your blood work will also give both you and your doctor a good idea of what health concerns you may or may not have during the length of your pregnancy.
2. Start Taking a Pre-natal Vitamin
Getting on a pre-natal vitamin as early on in your pregnancy as possible is vital to your child’s development.
The latest research indicates that a prenatal multivitamin that contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid is the better option.
3. Change Your Habits
Chances are you’ll have to modify your current diet and exercise routine in some way now that you’re pregnant.
Certain foods are strongly discouraged and can even be toxic during pregnancy, so you’ll want to avoid those.
Also, your exercise levels may need to be decreased, or you may need to begin to incorporate more activity into your couch-potato lifestyle to keep your yourself healthy.
4. Start Reading
Pregnancy and parenthood is a whole new world.
Although there is no manual for ensuring a perfect pregnancy and parenting the perfect child, you will need to educate yourself on new challenges such as breastfeeding, the possibility of introducing formula, child development and milestones, pregnancy symptoms, etc.
Trust me – there is no time to read up once your child arrives.
5. Start Saving
You’ll probably need to make some changes and considerations to your finances.
If you’re currently employed, you’ll either be going on maternity leave or leaving your job altogether (or perhaps it makes more sense for your partner to go this route) in order to care for your newborn.
If living paycheck-to-paycheck, as many people are, consider where you can make cuts and changes currently to prepare for down the line.
6. Plan for the Long-Term
Thinking long-term is pivotal once you’re pregnant. Nine months go rather quickly, believe it or not. You should start considering things like future childcare options and employment concerns now.
For example, does your income-to-child-care-cost-ratio indicate that you or your partner should leave your job altogether?
You’ll be happy you questioned these things when you did once the future arrives and you’re abiding by a plan.
7. Look Into Insurance Info & Hospitals
If you live in a country where you have to contribute towards your maternity care and hospital stay now is a great time to dig into your insurance coverage and preferred hospital.
You’ll want to ensure that your preferred OB/GYN performs deliveries at your preferred hospital and you’ll definitely want assurance that your big delivery day will be covered by your plan.
8. Decide on a Birth Plan
Water-birth? Mid-wife assisted home birth? Hospital birth performed by an OB/GYN? Medicated? Skin-to-skin contact immediately following birth? Delayed cord clamping?
You have several shots to call for how you’d like things to go on the big day which you’ll write in your birth plan.
However, keep an open mind. You may change your mind as you learn more throughout your pregnancy.
9. Pick a Pediatrician
Another one for moms-to-be in the US. If opting to give birth in a hospital, your little one will need to be reviewed and approved for release by a pediatrician.
It’s best to begin calling and getting on the books with your preferred pediatrician sooner than later.
Ideally, your child’s pediatrician should also have authority to release patients from your preferred hospital, but this isn’t always the case.
When it’s not, know that a hospital staff pediatrician will likely do the releasing instead. You’ll visit your actual pediatrician in the days following delivery.
10. Create a Registry
Whether you’ll be having a baby shower or not, creating a registry is a helpful way of tracking every item needed for your little one’s arrival and getting help to buy it all. Who knew such a little person would need SO. MUCH. STUFF.
Determine who you’d like to share your good news with sooner, and who can wait until later.
The chances of a miscarriage drop drastically after the 12-week mark, so the decision is yours.
Some women prefer to tell their closest circle of family and friends prior to the 12-week mark, knowing that, should the pregnancy end prematurely, those same people would be an ideal support system for the loss.
Others wait to share the news until they are 12 weeks along, 6 months along, etc.
It’s really up to you, but definitely something to consider.
12. Plan a Gender Reveal
If you’ve decided to find out the sex of your baby you might want to start thinking about a gender reveal party or creating an image to share with your loved ones.
13. Ease Your Symptoms
Treat yo self. Being pregnant is hard and exhausting. There are pre-natal massages that aim to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy.
Don’t forget to soothe your symptoms wherever possible.
Check out our first trimester survival checklist for some helpful ideas. That being said…
14. Your Cravings
Take advantage of making your husband run to the store for whatever you want, eat all of it, and don’t feel guilty afterwards. This is the only time you’ll unnecessarily wish to inhale a pickle and tomato sandwich, so why not try it?
15. Discuss Preferences
If you haven’t discussed your preferences already, get them sorted out sooner than later.
Does your partner expect to not find out the gender until delivery and meanwhile, you were already beginning to plan a gender reveal party?
If you will be having a boy, circumcision is a pretty big decision to make, especially for some religious denominations and cultures.
Start getting these concerns on the table now in hopes that you’ll reach a compromise or resolution by the time your child arrives.
16. Look into Maternity Leave
Maternity leave benefits vary by country and state.
In fact, if you work remotely from one state for a company in another, you may even find yourself with maternity leave options that are very different from your co-workers’.
Looking into the laws of the state in which you reside will help you financially prepare for the future.
17. Consider Names
You’ll want to give your child a name on the big day, so start getting some ideas on the table now.
Your partner may plan to traditionally name the child after his great-aunt Bertha, while you had your sights set on a more modern, unique name.
Sometimes it can take months to agree on a name.
Even if you don’t share the decision, even if you’d like to see his/her face first, or if you have at least narrowed it down to a handful of “maybes”, you’ll be at an advantage to have something in mind.
18. Buy Something Comfortable to Wear
Unless your normal wardrobe consists of leggings and extra large t-shirts you’ll probably want to buy a few maternity items soon.
It’s amazing how quickly you grow out of your clothes and need to buy new things.
A pair of maternity jeans, some leggings and a few tops is a good starting point.
19. Enjoy It
In the midst of the breast tenderness, morning sickness, and frequent trips to the toilet, remember to enjoy your pregnancy whenever possible.
Do a photo shoot on the beach with flowers adorning your hair. Soak up those who want to touch your belly (unless they’re complete strangers walking up to you in the mall.
This does happen but, it’s okay to not be alright with this!).
Take videos of your little one moving around and kicking in your tummy. You’ll want to remember it someday.