Congratulations, Mama! Ever since you got a positive pregnancy test you’ve probably been filled with a mix of emotions and questions about your pregnancy. You’re probably wondering…what should I be eating? When should I go to the doctor? And when should I start my baby registry?
Here’s your complete guide to everything you should do when you find out you’re pregnant.
13 things to do when you find out you’re pregnant
Take your first bump pic
Choose an outfit that accentuates your bump and take your first bump pic! It is so fun to watch your belly as it grows throughout the next 9 months and you’ll enjoy looking back at these pictures, too!
It’s best to choose the same outfit to wear with each bump pic and if you’re completely horrible at photography (like me) here’s a great 60 second how to on taking the best bump pics!
Call your OB/GYN
Prenatal care is so important, so once you get a positive pregnancy test, go ahead and call your doc. Typically your doctor will have a policy about when your first appointment is, but regardless, it’s a good idea to make contact with your doctor as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
If your doctor’s office doesn’t want you to come in right away, remember you can always ask the nurse any questions you might have prior to your first appointment.
Your first appointment is typically pretty lengthy, so make sure to plan accordingly. Your provider will first want to confirm the pregnancy through a urine sample, followed up by several tests. Your doc will take the time to go over your medical history and address dietary and routine adjustments that will need to be altered during your pregnancy.
Make a morning sickness kit
Some women claim morning sickness was one of their first pregnancy symptoms, even before their missed period. For most, morning sickness in pregnancy kicks in at or around 6 weeks and can linger throughout the first trimester.
Stock up on supplies and start learning about simple ways you can combat morning sickness now! Two of the best things you can do is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating small meals or snacks every couple of hours so your stomach is never completely empty, as an empty tummy tends to make nausea worse.
Related reading: Natural remedies for morning sickness
Reach for loose fitting clothes
You’re likely weeks out from buying your first true maternity items, but you’ll soon want to make clothing modifications so that you’ll be a little more comfortable.
During my first trimester I got away with the belly band and flowy tops. The belly band allows you to keep your pants unbuttoned or unzipped, while providing support for your growing bump. Total life-saver!
You might also want to look into buying maternity panties. I stupidly didn’t buy these until I was in my second trimester and as soon as I did, I was kicking myself for not doing it early. These are also great for postpartum, too!
Start taking a prenatal vitamin
If you’re not already, go ahead and start taking prenatal vitamins. These supplements are so vital to your baby’s growth and development and should be taken daily. In general, here’s what to look for in a prenatal vitamin:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D, A, C & E
- DHA (you may have to buy this supplement separately)
If you plan to breastfeed, your doc will most likely advise you to continue taking your prenatal vitamins as long as you nurse your baby, so be sure to stock up! Here’s the prenatal vitamin I used, and the DHA supplement.
Prenatal vitamins will sometimes make you nauseous. If you experience this, try taking your vitamin with food or when you’re least nauseous. For me, taking the vitamin at night worked best.
Pay attention to your diet
Now’s the time to stock up on healthy foods to support you and your growing babe. To ward of nausea, it’s best to stick to 6 small meals a day.
Here’s a general guideline of foods to incorporate into your diet:
- Grains: Whole grains are best. Avoid white bread and pastas and opt for whole wheat versions instead. Oats are wonderful, too! Try adding some quinoa or brown rice in every once and a while.
- Protein: Meat, chicken, fish, eggs and legumes (think peanuts, beans, lentils and chickpeas) are great sources of protein.
- Fruits and veggies: Make sure you buy fruits/veggies that are in season. Aim for at least four to six servings of fruit and veggies per day. The more colorful the fruit, the better! Don’t forget about dark leafy greens, too, as they are crucial for cell growth, along with bone growth, and healthy skin and eyes.
- Calcium: Remember when you were little and drank milk all the time to help your bones grow? Well your little one needs calcium, too! Cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, kale and edamame all contain calcium.
Foods to avoid
Before you order a burger rare or put in for a large take out order of sushi, it’s best to make sure what you’re eating is safe during pregnancy. For the next 9 months you’ll want to avoid:
- Undercooked meat
- Undercooked or raw seafood (smoked seafood is also off limits)
- Lunch meat (unless it’s warmed up) and hot dogs
- Unpasteurized milk, or juice
- Soft cheeses (brie, feta, etc.)
- Raw eggs (no runny yolks!)
- Raw sprouts
- Caffeine (in excess of 12 oz per day)
Caffeine during pregnancy
There’s several schools of thought on whether or not some caffeine during pregnancy is safe. Most studies say that it’s safe for pregnant women to consume up to 200 mg of caffeine each day. 200 mg is equal to roughly 12 oz of caffeine. But more than just your morning cup of joe, soda, tea and even chocolate has caffeine in it. So if you plan on devouring a candy bar later in the day, you might want to go easy on the coffee that morning.
Start your baby registry
Starting your baby registry is just plain fun! I always advise friends to start researching products and accessories early as the process can actually be quite overwhelming at first.
Start by deciding on the big ticket items first– things like a car seat, stroller, crib, breast pump, baby carrier, bassinet, etc. You’ll want those items on your registry by the time your baby shower rolls around.
Not sure what to register for? Here’s my top 20 baby must haves.
Nine months is a long time to wait for baby! Pass the time by reading about your growing babe and preparing for the first three months of caring for a newborn.
My absolute favorite book for pregnancy is What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The book is broken down month by month and also includes a lot of helpful information for surviving the first few months with a newborn.
I recommend looking into a birthing course, too. My friend Leisel at Mommy Labor Nurse has an awesome online natural birthing course that’s budget-friendly and packed with info.
Hilary at Pulling Curls has another great online childbirth course that you may want to check out, too.
I really like the online option for childbirth education– you can watch it with your partner at a time that works best for you.
Lastly, if you’re planning to breastfeed, check out the Milkology course. At $20 it’s a complete steal and will help you feel at ease about nursing a newborn. Plus, you can always refer back to the course material after baby gets here, too!
Make sure medications and/or supplements are safe for pregnancy
Unfortunately, a lot of medications, supplements and natural remedies like some essential oils are off limits during pregnancy.
As soon as you become pregnant, call your doctor and let them know the medications you take on a daily basis so they can advise you as to whether or not it’s safe.
Besides prescription medicine, it’s wise to find out if over-the-counter meds that you’re considering taking are safe for pregnant women. To be on the safe side, I would ask my doctor or call the nurse before I took anything.
Lastly, it’s smart to reevaluate any natural remedies you may use like essential oils, as some are not safe during pregnancy.
Start thinking about baby names
Whether or not you’re waiting to find out what you’re having, it’s never too early to begin brainstorming baby names! And it’s so much fun. I’d recommend thinking about your baby’s name early in the pregnancy, as you never know what kind of objections your partner might have to the baby name you like the best, ha!
If you’re completely stumped, here’s a huge list of baby names, with the meanings behind the name, too. I really enjoyed reading these, and even though we had the name picked out for our little girl long before she was even a thing, reading the meaning behind her name further solidified our decision.
Don’t forget to talk about whether or not you’ll choose to share the baby name with friends and family. We chose to keep ours a secret and although we had some pretty impatient family members we loved being able to keep that one little nugget to ourselves!
Decide when you’ll tell family, friends and your employer
This is a big one. For various reasons, and most commonly due to the fact that miscarriages typically happen during the first trimester, some women choose not to reveal their pregnancy until they reach the first trimester.
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong time to announce your pregnancy. Announcing your pregnancy should be a personal decision and one that you and your significant other feel comfortable with.
On one hand, if you go ahead and divuldge your pregnancy and miscarriage later in your first trimester, you might not want to tell everyone that you are no longer pregnant. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may feel as if you’d like people to grieve alongside of you if you do miscarry.
I personally chose to wait to tell my family and friends (outside of a couple close friends that witnessed my morning sickness episodes!) until my second trimester. My husband and I are more private and so this decision made us feel the most comfortable. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re comfortable with when and how you’ll tell others– that’s all that matters.
Modify your exercise routine
Some women think they need to halt all exercise once they find out they’re pregnant, which is actually contrary to study after study documenting the benefits of exercise during pregnancy for both the mother and your developing baby.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
If you actively exercised prior to getting pregnant, it is safe to continue exercising– barring you avoid the following:
- Any exercise that involves bouncing, jumping, or twisting at the waist
- Strenuous exercise
- Exercise where falling is likely
- Exercise where you are flat on your back (before 12 weeks it’s fine to be flat on your back)
- Any movement that puts a strain on your lower back
Keep in mind your balance will be off too, so take it easy!
If you haven’t exercised prior to getting pregnant, no biggie, it’s never too late to start. The benefits are numerous for both mom and baby– and regular exercise has even been shown to lead to a shorter labor. I know what you’re thinking… you had me at shorter labor, right?!
Here’s how to get started:
Start slow. If you haven’t exercised regularly in the past, your body will be deconditioned on top of the fatigue that comes naturally with pregnancy. Try walking for just 10 minutes a day. After the walk, follow it up with 5 minutes of light stretching. As you improve, gradually increase the total amount of walk time, stopping after about 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching is almost as important as the workout itself; especially during pregnancy when muscles are already being stretched and moved out of place.
Note: It’s always a good idea to run any exercise by your doc before you get started!
As your body gets conditioned here are some other exercise routines you can look into:
- Weight training (light weights only)
Make sure to notify class instructors that you’re pregnant as they’ll likely provide modifications for you.
Budget for baby
Budgeting for baby was probably my least favorite chore, but something that was completely necessary. Take the time to list out baby expenses you can expect upfront; these are items like labor and delivery charges, big-ticket baby items, healthcare, and outfitting your baby’s nursery.
Then you’ll want to find out how much a baby will cost per month by estimating your on-going baby expenses. Things like childcare, diapers, wipes, feeding baby, clothing baby, etc. should all be considered.
Here’s an in-depth post I wrote earlier on how to budget for baby, step-by-step.
Final thoughts on what to do when you find out you’re pregnant
There’s certainly a lot to be done to prepare for baby, but most importantly, rather than making sure every single item gets crossed off your to-do list each day, your job is to grow a human! Rest, take it easy and savor these next few quiet months. Tackling your to-do list early will help with any anxious feelings and will leave you with plenty of time to rest. Don’t forget to ask for help, too!