What to do after you find out you’re pregnant…
Holding that positive pregnancy test in your hand can feel surreal; you will experience many emotions: joy, shock, nervous anticipation, and anxiousness. You may struggle with how you feel and that is okay. Whatever you feel is validated - especially if you feel overwhelmed; it is a very common feeling. It’s important to take the time to be patient, understand how you feel and be kind to yourself.
So, if you are staring at that test thinking, “What now?” Then you are in the right place there are a few steps you can take next to begin your pregnancy journey. You have plenty of time to sort things out so take everything slow and enjoy the special time that is pregnancy. We’re parents too, so we have been in your shoes!
Make an appointment at the doctor
You must schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to look into prenatal care options. You will have routine check-ups and scans throughout your pregnancy to check that the baby is growing normally and that you and the baby are healthy. The first prenatal appointment should occur when you are around 8 weeks pregnant, so you should make sure you write down a list of questions that you have so the healthcare provider can give you the answers you need. Any medications or supplements that you are on must be disclosed to the doctor so they know.
During pregnancy, your body needs more vitamins than usual because you are growing a child inside you. You can purchase them over the counter as they are usually any multivitamin called prenatal vitamins. Ideally, your folic acid intake should increase from 400 micrograms to 600 micrograms as it has a very important role in developing the baby's spinal cord and central nervous system. However, it isn’t recommended for pregnant women to take vitamin A as this may cause issues with the baby’s development. Vitamin A should be obtained from your diet in the form of milk, egg, carrots, and dark, leafy green vegetables. So, make sure you check the label when looking at vitamins.
Pregnancy is different for everyone; some women don’t have many - if any - and others have many symptoms. The process contains significant physical changes so it’s natural to have uncomfortable symptoms such as constipation, tiredness, swelling, sore breasts, and a weaker bladder. To battle nausea in the early stages, stay hydrated and eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day that are high in protein but low in fat should help.
Despite your best efforts, the sickness may persist but keep on holding to the thought that it won’t be forever. It mostly ends in the second trimester, though if this isn’t the case, book an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Have good sleep
In the later months, getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, and some women report having sleep issues through their pregnancies, so there are ways to combat this. Getting a full-body or pregnancy pillow will help make you more comfortable.
Sleeping on your side is recommended (on the left is ideal) after 20 weeks of pregnancy, as sleeping on your back causes the uterus to compress the blood flow of the inferior vena cava. However, if you wake up on your back, don’t panic - just turn onto your side. Side-sleeping will end up being the most comfortable position for you.
Aim to have a healthy balanced diet with the food you are allowed to eat while pregnant. Your body will need more protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid so you got to eat more fruit and vegetables and less heavy, processed food. Remember to also stay hydrated.
Ensure your meat is cooked properly though be cautious with cured meats like salami and chorizo to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis. Avoid mold-ripened and soft cheese such as stilton, Danish Blue, brie, and camembert. They can be safer to eat if they are cooked until piping hot. If it is uncooked, there is a large risk of an infection called listeriosis. Caffeine is another thing to cut back on as well as stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Speak to your healthcare provider or an organization if you have concerns about this.
Exercising and resting
You must do both of these to stay healthy. It is safe to continue your daily physical activity or exercise routine if you feel comfortable doing so, though it is best to ask your healthcare provider. Do not do any intense exercise especially if your body is not used to it. Regardless of how active you were before that positive pregnancy test, avoid sports and exercise that could chance getting hit in the abdomen like soccer, ice hockey, kickboxing, or a risk of falling in activities such as horseback riding and gymnastics.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and rest when you feel tired. You will find you will get tired more often during pregnancy; this is normal so just rest.
How and when to tell others
Sharing the news of pregnancy is your choice; many women do wait until after the first trimester which is when the risk of miscarriage drops significantly.
As well to the excitement of telling your loved ones, there will be other considerations such as your work. If you work in healthcare or a job that includes strenuous annual labor, then you must let your employer know as soon as possible to make safety adjustments - especially if your workplace is stressful or high-pressure. Often people tell others at 12 weeks or 20 weeks even though it can be nerve-wracking to tell your boss that you are pregnant. Be aware of your company’s policies regarding pregnancy, flexible working hours, and maternity leave.
Baby feeding options
During pregnancy, it is best to do research and decide how you will feed the baby once they are born. It is an important personal choice to consider as some will choose to breastfeed, and others will choose formulas. There are pros and cons for both of them, and many different options to consider. There are many benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby, though it isn’t everyone’s feeding choice, which is acceptable. The choice is affected by many factors, but what is important is that the baby is happy, well-fed, and getting the nutrients they need. Combination feeding is also a very good option, but remember your decision does not have to be justified to anybody.
Even if you are at the start of your pregnancy, it is still wise to consider your options and be knowledgeable. If you choose formula or introduce formula at a later stage, then research their ingredients and pick an organic formula close to breast milk, such as HiPP, Jovie Organic Goat, Holle, or Premibio.
Look after yourself
Pregnancy is a period of intense change, so remember to be kind and patient to yourself. You may experience a whole host of emotions that are very powerful - including feeling anxious or overwhelmed about the physical changes and adapting to a different, new lifestyle. If you have mental health concerns, then check in with that prenatal healthcare provider of yours so you can get the help that you need. Remember, you don’t have to struggle with difficult emotions by yourself.
We are here to help
We are a community of fellow parents who have been in your shoes, so we understand and can help during this exciting, emotional time.If you have questions about your feeding journey also, then get in touch with our expert customer support team (who are all parents too) to give you the best information and to give your baby the best start in life.