Finding out you’re pregnant comes with so many emotions but whatever your immediate reaction is, the reality is that at some point, you’ll have to take a deep breath and figure out what to do next.
What to do after you find out you’re pregnant
1. Wait to announce your pregnancy. While you may want to shout from the rooftops that you’re expecting a baby, be aware that 80% of miscarriages happen during the first trimester of pregnancy. While most pregnancies do come to term successfully, it would be more prudent to wait before making the announcement.
2. Schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN. Once you see the positive sign (or the blue line, or the two lines, or whatever sign the home pregnancy test uses to announce that you’re pregnant), you can schedule an appointment with a general practitioner to confirm whether you really are pregnant.
If you’re pretty sure you are, you need to schedule your first prenatal appointment around 8 weeks since your last period.
3. If you drink, now is the time to (temporarily) quit alcohol. If you drink alcohol while pregnant, it will reach your baby through the umbilical cord. This can cause serious complications, such as premature birth, brain damage, birth defects, alcohol fetal syndrome, or miscarriage.
4. If you smoke, now it’s the time to stop (hopefully, for good). If despite all the warnings against smoking you are still doing it, now is the perfect time to reconsider. For the sake of your baby, it’s essential to quit smoking during pregnancy. Just like with alcohol, smoking while pregnant may cause a wide range of issues: birth defects, low birth weight, cleft lip, birth defects, miscarriage, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, to name a few.
5. Hydrate. Having to pee a lot and fluid retention are part and parcel of being pregnant. However, you shouldn’t diminish your water intake because of these factors. In fact, staying hydrated during pregnancy is essential to make amniotic fluid and to ensuring that your baby is getting an adequate amount of nutrients. It also helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
While water is an obvious choice, you can also mix it up by consuming foods with a high water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and soups.
6. Exercise. Exercise is good no matter your stage in life; but particularly during pregnancy, it can also ease some of the discomforts associated with being pregnant, such as back aches and joint pain. In addition, it can help you sleep better and may prevent gestational diabetes. Furthermore, stronger muscles and better lung capacity will come in handy during childbirth. Finally, it’ll make it easier for you to regain your pre-pregnancy weight.
However, depending on your lifestyle and level of activity, you may have to make some modifications to your usual exercise routine. Talk with your doctor about your preferred method of exercising.
7. Read up on prenatal vitamins. There are conflicting studies regarding women needing to take prenatal vitamins. Instead of going crazy trying to figure out what’s true, discuss your particular needs with your OB-GYN and follow her advice.
8. Pay close attention to nutrition. During some stages of life, it may be easier to grab food on the go, skip meals, or rely on any unhealthy fare that may be available at the office. However, once you’re pregnant, what you eat, your baby also eats.
Folate (or folic acid) is essential for the development of red blood cells and to prevent birth defects. While you can take folic acid supplements, whole foods like dark leafy greens and avocados contain folate.
Omega-3 fats will help your with cognitive abilities. Whole foods that contain it include walnuts, brussel sprouts, chia seeds, and winter squash.
Also, during pregnancy, your body needs twice the amount of iron than when you’re not pregnant. Dark leafy greens, eggs, and oatmeal are good sources of it.
And depending on your medical history, you may also have additional considerations regarding nutrition.
Contact us at OB-GYN Women’s Center of Lakewood Ranch
Pregnancy is a milestone in any woman’s life. You should have proper care from the time you miss that first period, through your delivery of your baby.
At OB-GYN Women’s Center, we’ll provide you with the best prenatal care during all stages of pregnancy, taking into account your individual medical needs.
Contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and your baby.