Congratulations! The pregnancy test says it's true: You are pregnant!
Early pregnancy is when the fun begins, despite what some may have told you. This is where you get to start celebrating your pregnancy and telling the world your big news, whether you tell them right away or wait awhile. The problem is many women aren't sure what the next step is after their pregnancy is confirmed. Here is a handy list of things to do when the test is positive!
- Do make an appointment with your midwife or doctor. Call for a prenatal appointment as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed or you suspect you are pregnant. The big surprise is that you may feel a sense of "hurry up and wait." Many practitioners don't schedule the first appointment until after you have missed two periods, while others have you come in right away. Even if you don't have an early appointment, do feel free to call with questions about things like medications you're currently taking, symptoms that are worrisome, chronic health conditions, etc. Also do not be afraid to get an earlier appointment if you've had a history that might suggest you need to be seen sooner. Examples of reasons you might need to be seen sooner include: history or previous pregnancy loss, complications in this pregnancy like pain or bleeding, or chronic conditions that you had before pregnancy like diabetes or hypothyroidism.
- Do celebrate! While you shouldn't have alcoholic beverages during pregnancy, that doesn't mean you should stop having fun. A great glass of sparkling cider is a great way to liven up the night and to toast your new bundle of joy. Some women plan a romantic dinner to surprise their partners with the news of the pregnancy, others have bigger parties. How and when you celebrate may depend on many factors. Either way remember that having fun is perfectly acceptable part of pregnancy. By having fun, you're releasing stress and relaxing, which is good for you and the baby.
- Do share your news! Telling your family and friends about the new addition, is fun and exciting. Some families wait until after 12 weeks, the first ultrasound or a special date to begin telling everyone, while others begin telling everyone right away. There isn't a right or a wrong answer to when the appropriate time to tell is for you.
Sharing Your Big News
- Do learn about pregnancy. Look through things like the pregnancy calendar and follow your pregnancy week by week. See if you can sign up for an early pregnancy class at a local hospital or birth center. This will give you a bit of knowledge to start making the appropriate decisions for you and for baby. Books are also a great source of knowledge about pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Books for Pregnancy
- Do take care of yourself. Getting a good nights sleep, eating well, taking a prenatal vitamin and exercising in an appropriate way are all healthy ways to encourage a great pregnancy, easier labor and healthy baby. Listening to your body's signals, whether it be morning sickness or exhaustion, will help you cope more easily with symptoms of pregnancy.
- Do find a support system. Whether you're talking to your family, old friends or new, the support you get is a must have for pregnant women. So much will change in your life and you'll have so many questions, you will need to surround yourself with people to help you answer the questions and gain the knowledge you need. Sometimes that will be your midwife or doctor and other times that will be your friends and family. Consider finding others who are due when you are due to share the ups and downs of pregnancy. These friendships can last a lifetime and are often really helpful.
- Most of all, enjoy your pregnancy! After all, it's only nine or ten months, depending on how you count... Seriously, while the end of pregnancy seems really far away, it does arrive more quickly than most moms anticipate that it will. Planning ahead and preparing a bit every month will help you prevent that panicked feeling towards the end of pregnancy when some moms "wake up" and realize that there are only a few short weeks before the baby arrives.