I'm Pregnant: What Do I Do Now?

Congratulations! You have just found out that you are pregnant! This is a very special time, but it can also be filled with questions and leave you feeling a little overwhelmed. And you may have the question "I'm pregnant now what to do?" There will be a laundry list of things to do. When should you go to your doctor for prenatal advice? What should you eat and what should you not eat? What symptoms are you going to experience? The following tips and information will help guide you through the process.

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I'm Pregnant, Now What?

Below is the list of most important things to do after you get pregnant:

1. Make an Appointment with Your Doctor

This is a very important first step. Proper prenatal care is the key to a healthy and successful pregnancy for both you and your baby. Your physician or midwife will be a wealth of information and can help address any questions or concerns you may have. He/she will also help determine if your pregnancy has any high risks which can affect the type of treatment you receive and activities you can engage in. Make sure you are open and honest with your practitioner because he/she is there to help.

2. Take Folic Acid

Folic acid is an important dietary supplement for expectant mothers. It can help guard against certain birth defects such as spina bifida and other spinal cord abnormalities. Ideally you should start taking folic acid before you become pregnant, but, of course, pregnancies are not always planned. You should start taking the supplement as soon as you have discussed your pregnancy with your medical practitioner. It is never too early to start making healthy choices for both you and you baby.

3. Quit Unhealthy Habits

  • Medications. It is never too early to start making healthy choices for both you and your baby. If you take any medications, even over-the-counter products, you need to discuss continuing use with your medical practitioner.
  • Smoking. There is no safe way to smoke during pregnancy. Even second-hand smoke can harm your baby. Quitting is not easy, but you have no better incentive than finding out you are expecting and carrying another little person.
  • Alcohol. There has been some evidence to suggest that an occasional glass of wine while pregnant may not cause harm to your unborn child; however, the research is ongoing and not definitive.
  • Caffeine. Limit your intake of caffeine to 200 mg per day. This allows you to still enjoy your daily cup of coffee without running into some problems associated with caffeine use during pregnancy.

4. Watch Your Diet

A healthy, nutritious diet is essential during pregnancy. Nourishing your body will help you provide the best environment for your baby to grow. Your diet should consist of lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats such as chicken and some types of fish. While you are carrying another person, keep in mind that it’s a tiny person! You don’t need to “eat for two” during your first trimester. After the first trimester, you only need a few hundred extra calories. Eating healthily during your pregnancy will lay the proper foundation for nursing and a speedy recovery after the birth of your baby. The following video provides more advice on keeping a healthy diet during pregnancy from professionals:

5. Rest

During the first trimester, many mothers experience “morning sickness” as well as feeling generally tired. It is important to listen to your body and put your feet up if you need to. Take frequent breaks and try to rest as much as possible. Rest becomes absolutely essential during the second and third trimesters when your body is being pushed to its limits. As your body adjusts to the changes of pregnancy, you should feel some relief from sickness and fatigue. If these symptoms become particularly bothersome, you can always talk to your physician for guidance.

6. Be Prepared for Early Symptoms

Not all negative symptoms of pregnancy will occur with every woman. You may experience some, all, or none of the most common ailments; however, knowing what may happen can help you prepare. Early on, you may experience a general feeling of fatigue, morning sickness, nausea with or without vomiting, headaches, irritability, or mood swings. Some of these symptoms may be mild or may not become bothersome until the second or third trimesters.

7. Be Ready for Body Changes

Obviously, most women expect to grow a sizeable belly during the later stages of pregnancy; however, there are other changes that might come as a surprise. Painful breasts are a common symptom in early pregnancy. This is due to the flood of hormones released into your body as your baby begins to grow. A darkening of the line between your navel and pubic bone is also extremely common. You may notice that your skin and hair become oily or that you develop acne on your chest or back. All of these symptoms are common during early pregnancy. Click here for the whole list of body changes

Watch the video to learn about more pregnancy symptoms:

8. Decide When to Spill the Beans

Your decision to tell family and friends that you are expecting is personal. If you have a history of miscarriage, you may feel hesitant to share the news. Often couples want to wait to share until the second half of pregnancy when the threat of miscarriage is greatly decreased. Yet, if you want to put the news out A.S.A.P., that is also an option. If you are working, deciding when to tell your boss is also something you will need to consider. Click to learn more advice on when to tell

9. Learn the Danger Signs

While most pregnancies are filled with aches and pains, some symptoms you should never ignore. Severe pain in your abdomen should always be evaluated by a physician. Bleeding from the vagina warrants a call or trip to the local emergency room as this could be a sign of serious problems. Another less overt concern is a severe headache that does not go away with rest or Tylenol. If you experience this type of headache, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia which can cause seizures and even death. Click here for the whole list of danger signs. 

10. More Things to Do

Things to Do

Details and Benefits

Sign up for free pregnancy newsletter

Websites such as BabyCenter.com offer free, weekly newsletters that update you on the progress of your baby’s development. These can be a helpful resource and provide you with a wealth of information and tips to help you during pregnancy.

Join a birth club

Joining a birth club is a fun way to connect with other mommies whose due date is the same as yours. Sharing information and stories with women who are in the same pregnancy stage can be a great way to affirm what you are feeling and experiencing is normal and that you are not alone.

Pick up a pregnancy book or two

Ask other for recommendation of a good book to read during pregnancy. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the gold standard in pregnancy information. The publisher often revises the current version to provide the most up-to-date information. Included lists of symptoms and what to expect at doctor’s visits can help ease your mind and give you things to look forward to.

Start brainstorming baby names

While picking out baby names seems fun and exciting, it can also be a daunting task. As soon as you find out the sex of your baby, start looking at names. There are tons of books and baby name databases. Whatever name you choose, make sure it is something you (and you child) can live with for the long haul!

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