What to Do When You Find out You’re Pregnant? (According to 10 Experts)

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.

Table of Contents

Dr. Pamela Abramson-Levine

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

Tori Hamilton

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

Samantha McClellan

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

Lauren Manaker

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.

Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards

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

John Barnes

John Barnes

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.

Adina Mahalli

Adina Mahalli

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.

Jordan Foster

Jordan Foster

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.

Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette

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.

Daisy Jing

Daisy Jing

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).

Eat healthily

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.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the first signs of pregnancy?

Every woman is different, and some do not experience any symptoms at all in the early stages of pregnancy. However, the most common early signs of pregnancy include:

– Missing your period
– Nausea or vomiting, especially in the morning
– Tender or swollen breasts
– Fatigue or exhaustion
– Food cravings or food aversions
– Mood swings or irritability

Can a home pregnancy test give a false positive or false negative result?

While rare, it’s possible for a home pregnancy test to give a false positive or false negative result. 

A false positive result (the test indicates that you’re pregnant when you aren’t) can occur due to:
– Taking the test too soon after a miscarriage or giving birth
– Certain medications, such as fertility drugs
– Medical conditions, such as ovarian cysts or kidney disease

A false negative (the test shows that you aren’t pregnant, even though you are) can occur if:
– The test is done too early
– The test isn’t done correctly
– Diluted urine is used for the test

How can I manage morning sickness during pregnancy?

Morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy, but there are ways to manage it. Some tips include:
– Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
– Avoid strong smells or foods that trigger nausea.
– Get plenty of rest and make sure you drink enough fluids.
– Try ginger or acupressure bands to relieve nausea.
– Talk to your doctor about safe medications to treat nausea.

Can I continue to exercise or do physical activity during pregnancy? 

Yes, regular physical activity and exercise during pregnancy can provide several benefits, such as reducing the risk of complications, improving mood, and promoting better sleep.

In general, it’s safe to continue your pre-pregnancy exercise routine, but you may need to adjust it as your pregnancy progresses.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting or continuing an exercise regimen during pregnancy. They can provide personalized guidance and recommend safe activities based on your fitness level and medical history.

Some low-impact exercises that are generally considered safe for pregnant women include
– Prenatal yoga
– Swimming
– Walking
– Stationary cycling
– Pilates (modified for pregnancy)

Remember that safety comes first. Always listen to your body and avoid exercises that involve excessive bouncing, jumping, or other activities that could lead to injury or falls. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid exercise in extreme heat or humidity.

Can I continue working while I’m pregnant?

Yes, most women can continue to work during pregnancy as long as they feel comfortable and their work environment doesn’t pose risks to their health or their baby’s development.

However, you may need to adjust your workload or schedule as your pregnancy progresses. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss any concerns and receive individualized recommendations.

Open communication with your employer and healthcare provider can help ensure a healthy and safe work environment during pregnancy.

Discuss any necessary adjustments or changes to your work duties with your employer, especially if your job involves heavy lifting, standing for long periods, or coming into contact with hazardous materials. It’s essential to prioritize your and your baby’s well-being during this time.

When should I announce my pregnancy?

The decision to announce your pregnancy is a personal one. Some prefer to wait until after the first trimester (about 12-14 weeks) when the risk of miscarriage is much lower.

Others choose to share the news earlier or later, depending on how comfortable they feel about it, their family traditions, or their cultural beliefs.

Announce your pregnancy when it’s right for you and your partner. Consider factors such as your emotional readiness, the potential impact on work, and your support network. Choose the timing of the announcement that makes you feel most comfortable and confident.

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