So you’ve just taken a pregnancy test, and it says positive. Now, what do you do?
Here are some things you must keep in mind, as discussed by experts.
Dr. Pamela Abramson-Levine
TEDx Speaker | Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant | Doula | Childbirth Educator | Family Practice and Non-Force Chiropractor, Chiropractic Care
Take the necessary vitamins
When finding out that she is pregnant, a woman should make sure she is taking a good quality prenatal vitamin that includes folate. Hopefully, she has been taking this already, but if she has not, begin taking immediately. Obviously, she needs to stop consuming alcohol, cannabis, and other substances.
Make an appointment with a prenatal doctor of chiropractic
One who is certified in the Webster Technique is best in this situation. The Webster Technique is a specific, gentle analysis and of the pregnant pelvis and the associated muscles, tendons, and ligaments; including the uterine ligaments.
Gentle adjustments are used to correct any misalignments or subluxations that are found. Getting regular chiropractic care during pregnancy can result in an easier and safer pregnancy, labor, and birth by keeping the pelvis properly aligned, which helps the baby to be in an ideal position for labor and birth.
Learn about the physiology of conception and pregnancy, labor, and birth
Most people only have a very rudimentary understanding of these processes. Understanding what is happening physically, hormonally and emotionally is very helpful in the decision-making process for pregnancy, labor, and birth.
Choose your birth attendant and prenatal care provider wisely
A licensed midwife is often a great choice because they are trained to help a woman achieve a physiologically normal birth, and will refer to an Obstetrician if there appear to be any higher risk complications during the pregnancy. I suggest interviewing several midwives, as well as the OBGYNs that they have as a back-up.
Make sure you feel comfortable asking your care providers any and all questions–even the most intimate and embarrassing questions that you can think of.
Eat a minimum of 90g of lean, healthy protein daily
Every gram counts! Even an apple has 1 gram, and it counts. A study of over 3000 pregnant women showed that those consuming 90g of protein daily had zero incidences of pre-eclampsia and toxemia.
Tori Hamilton, BScN, RN, IBCLC
Registered Nurse | International Board Certified Lactation Consultant | Founder, Mothericity
Ensure a proper test and a valid result
If you are experiencing early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, increased tiredness, breast tenderness or a late period, you may want to take a home pregnancy test.
For the most accurate result, you will want to take this test in the early morning when Hcg levels are at their highest and after the first expected day of your menstrual cycle.
You should call your healthcare provider right away
They will schedule an appointment with you to take a blood or urine Hcg test to confirm the pregnancy. Once it has been confirmed, they will schedule you for your first ultrasound. This ultrasound is very important as it will be used for dating and will tell you when your expected due date is. It will be scheduled at around 8 weeks gestation, or if you find out after 8 weeks, as soon as possible.
In addition to booking you for ultrasounds, your provider will set up your prenatal follow-up appointments.
If you are wanting to have a midwife and/or for delivery, you will want to contact them right away to set up an appointment
They may have limited availability, so the sooner the better. You may also want to line up some prenatal childbirth and breastfeeding classes, and connect with a good IBCLC (lactation consultant) that can come to your home after your baby is born.
Focus and take good care of your health
Focus on the following to maintain a healthy pregnancy:
- Stop or reduce smoking as much as possible.
- Stop alcohol use and drug intake.
- Begin taking a prenatal vitamin.
- Stay active throughout your pregnancy.
- Minimize stress whenever possible.
- Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.
- If you are experiencing nausea, try to maximize nutrition with easy to digest foods such as smoothies, overnight oatmeal, and protein balls.
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Ask your pharmacist before taking medications.
Samantha McClellan, CD(DONA), CD(IBFA), CCE
Certified Doula | Certified Placenta Encapsulator | Certified Childbirth Educator |
Owner & CEO, The Carolina Doula Collective
Take some time to start thinking about the type of birth that you think you want to have
Look at different options such as the different hospitals or birth centers in your area, the differences between obstetric care and midwifery care and whether you think you may want to hire a doula.
The options for doulas or out of hospital birth options are limited in a lot of places so it is best to start researching and setting up interviews earlier in pregnancy.
Beginning to think through your preferences and doing research early on in pregnancy also gives you more time to prepare and increases your chances of achieving a birth experience that feels positive to you.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD
Prenatal Dietician, Nutrition Now Counseling
Make a point to eat low-mercury fish and seafood 2-3 times a week
Seafood intake is linked to positive pregnancy outcomes and provides important nutrients for both mom and baby.
Eat your egg yolks
A nutrient found in yolks called choline is super-important during the first few weeks of pregnancy development.
Approximately 90% of Americans don’t get in enough of this nutrient and eating egg yolks helps get to the target intake amount. Choline helps support baby’s brain health and neural tube development.
Nutritionist | Author, The Candida Diet
Have a balanced nutrition
The moment you learn you are expecting a child you feel an overwhelming sense to provide the best environment for that child to grow in, even before they enter the world. The list of things that you need to do when you find out you are pregnant is long and at times daunting.
Throw balanced nutrition into the equation and you are likely to become overwhelmed. Guidelines of how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat can become defeating quickly, however, this does not have to be the case.
You certainly want to evaluate your diet to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition and not consuming foods that would be dangerous for your growing child.
By following a few foundational nutrition recommendations, you can be confident you are providing the best for your child from a nutrition perspective which will allow you to make changes or additions without the stress of doing all at once.
A few foundational nutrition recommendations:
- Begin taking your prenatal vitamin with folic acid included.
- Attempt to make each meal consist of 50% fruits and/or vegetables.
- Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine.
- Avoid undercooked meat, raw fish like sushi, and most deli-meat products.
Related: Best Nutrition Books
Certified Financial Planner | Owner and Principal, My Family Life Insurance
I am a financial planner (CFP) and take a different approach to this. We routinely work with young people and couples who found out they were pregnant or planning for a family.
While there are many things a person, or couple, needs to do, I found that many couples overlook the financial aspect and ramifications. This involves paying for childbirth as well as thinking about maternity or parental leave.
It’s important that couples research their health insurance to see what is covered for pregnancy
Health insurance provided under the Affordable Care Act as well as much employer-group health insurance cover pregnancy. However, most, if not all, health insurances carry a deductible – which you need to pay 100% first – followed by coinsurance. Additionally, it is important to understand what types of doctor visits are covered as well.
Search for providers or facilities covered by your insurance
When it is close to the due date, it is important the couple researches the hospital as well as the hospital/provider staff to make sure the facilities and providers are in their health insurance networks. Many providers within the hospital can be out of network.
On a personal note, my family and I learned the hard way when our 2nd child was born. While our hospital facility was in the insurance network, the anesthesiologist was not. We received an out of network bill months later (which were thankfully able to negotiate to an in-network rate).
What many couples don’t realize is that the out-of-pocket medical costs to have a baby can be in the thousands. Couples need to be aware of this and have a plan to pay. This plan can include saving money for the birth or purchasing supplemental insurance that can help pay.
Couples need to think about maternity or parental leave after the baby is born
One, or both, parents will likely be off for, at most, 3 months. That possibly means 3 months without an income. There are ways to plan for this. First, the couple should check their company’s HR department to see if the company has a leave option.
More often than not, if the company carriers short-term disability insurance, that should cover part of the maternity. Many short-term disability insurance plans cover maternity leave as a disability. However, it is important to check the plan details as many plans will only pay up to 4 or 6 weeks for maternity leave.
Additionally, the plan pays up to 60% of your salary. As you can tell, there can be a potential shortfall. There are other options to help. Couples can supplement with their own insurance if needed, for example.
Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Family Care Specialist, Maple Holistics
Call your OB-GYN and book an appointment
They can give you recommendations for your early weeks of pregnancy over the phone and clarify all your options. This might include things like potential abortion dates, appointments for ultrasounds, and other checkups you might want to consider early on in your pregnancy.
You’ll also want to check your companies maternity leave policy to ensure that you follow the protocol moving forward.
Once you’ve got the logistics out of the way, focus on the most crucial step of your pregnancy journey: support
It’s important to ensure that you have a support system in place from day one, who will be there through the highs and lows of your pregnancy.
Everyone carries differently, some with more difficulties than others, but regardless of your journey, having people around you who can be there for you through these changes can support the overall pregnancy process.
Family Nurse Practitioner | Certified Health Coach | Blogger, Mindful Mama Health
The first thing to do when you find out you’re pregnant is to ditch any unhealthy habits
This includes drinking, smoking, any other recreational drugs, and cutting way back on caffeine. You don’t need to stop drinking coffee altogether, but try to limit it to 200 mg per day which is about 16 ounces.
Make sure you’re taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid
Your baby’s spinal cord starts to develop within the first few weeks, so it’s vital to start prenatal vitamins as early as possible.
It’s important to take a look at your diet when you find out you’re pregnant
Some foods to avoid include cold cuts, raw seafood, and high mercury fish (tuna).
Visit your doctor
Lastly, call your ob and schedule your first appointment. Most offices like to see you between 6-8 weeks pregnant.
Chief Editor, Mom Loves Best
Start taking prenatal vitamins right away, if you’re not already on them
The best time to begin taking prenatal vitamins is before you’re pregnant. They can reduce the odds of your child being born with a birth defect.
When I first learned I was pregnant years ago, I didn’t realize I should already be taking prenatal vitamins at the time of conception. I suffered through a slight lecture from my doctor and chalked it up to a learning experience.
For my second pregnancy, I was better prepared. If you’re not already taking them when you find out you’re pregnant, don’t beat yourself up about it — just start taking them as soon as possible.
Be financially ready
Secondly, I’d urge women (and dads-to-be) to start saving more money as soon as they find out about their pregnancy. You’ll find pretty quickly that pregnancy and parenthood requires a lot of money, so you can never be too prepared financially.
TEDx Speaker | CEO & Founder, Banish
I have so much respect for mothers now that I am pregnant. Everything changes once you get pregnant. Suddenly your life is not yours anymore. I had to change a lot of things and stop a lot of my to-do’s under my daily routine because I became more sensitive in everything (medicines, skincare, perfume).
I immediately made an appointment with my doctor, stopped drinking alcohol and reduced caffeine.
I had so many cravings for different kinds of food (junk food included) so at first, I was nauseated and feeling full that I don’t want to eat, but now, I had to give in to my cravings and eat anyway.
I balance my diet by eating fruits and veggies as well.
I also immediately took prenatal vitamins and though I am physically in pain, I don’t really take pain relievers anymore but have deep tissue massages that helped me a lot. You will also gain a lot of weight, have a hormonal imbalance and suffer depression for quite some time so one of the first few things you should do is to make sure that you are happy and surrounded by people who make you happy.
You should always remind yourself that you are not defined by your weight, skin, status in life, etc. You should be confident and your partner/spouse should always make sure you are happy and always feeling confident and happy.
I’m a very industrious, productive and ambitious person. Having these symptoms and always feeling sick for the last 22 weeks makes me feel like I’m worthless and losing myself in the process.
Surround yourself with good people
It is important that in the early stages of pregnancy, you have a trusted and hardworking team who will take care of your company as their own and you learn to prioritize what matters for now. Just be calm and take one day at a time.
Every week there’s a new symptom that will pop up, it differs in every season, just enjoy each day, document if you like and savor each moment. You’ll do and change a lot of things once you get pregnant – all you have to do is ride the tide.