We aren’t going to lie – after so many years of looking out for yourself first and foremost, it can be tough adjusting to the new lifestyle, and the fact that you haven’t even met the most important person in your world yet (although Baby is staying cozy right under your nose)!
Whether you were trying for years, or they are a bit of a surprise, it’s very important to understand what is on the horizon, and how your life will change now that you’re pregnant.
What happens next after the positive test?
A home pregnancy test is the way a lot of women find out the wonderful news, either before or after a missed period. Although these tests are for the most part reliable, it’s best to call your healthcare provider to have him or her confirm the pregnancy with a blood test. Much like your home pregnancy test did, your provider will search your blood for the level of hCG, a hormone only produced in significant quantities during pregnancy, to make sure. Following this, your healthcare provider will schedule your next appointment.
Your healthcare provider can be your most valuable resource from conception to delivery, so feel free to ask him or her any questions you might have about your body, your baby, or anything else.
Many women who are trying to conceive will already be on a prenatal vitamin that provides all of the daily nutrients they’ll need (you still need food!), but those who are not should begin a regimen as soon as possible. Prenatals contain vitamins and nutrients like folic acid, iron, and Vitamin B to help you stay as healthy as possible, and to best facilitate Baby’s development.
Kicking the habits
Smoking and drinking aren’t the best ideas for Baby‘s health, so adjusting to some restrictions may be difficult for some moms, particularly those for whom pregnancy was a bit of a surprise.
It can be really tough, but newly pregnant moms need to understand how much smoking, excess alcohol, and other things can affect the pregnancy. Engaging in these behaviors during pregnancy makes you more likely to miscarry, have a complicated pregnancy, or have a baby with birth defects or developmental disorders, so cutting out or down on these substances is probably just about the most important thing you can do for Baby’s health during these first few days or weeks of pregnancy.
It’s also best to limit your caffeine intake to a cup of coffee or tea a day, and to avoid eating fish high in mercury like tilefish, swordfish, mackerel, and shark. You should also avoid non-steamed deli meat and soft cheeses.
Happy and healthy
Of course it’s important for every man and woman to stay healthy, but this need just increases when you’ve got a baby to take care of too! Pregnant moms need to be very mindful of their activity, nutrition, sleep, blood pressure, and more to ensure that Baby is developing in the best ecosystem possible.
- Activity: Moms-to-be must be very diligent about getting enough exercise, as staying active will not only help you keep your weight gains to a healthy level, but can also help you manage your symptoms, and strengthen your body for labor.
- Nutrition: Even though prenatal vitamins contain lots of vitamins and nutrients you need, it’s important to reinforce this nutritional need through healthy eating. Pregnant women should do their best to eat plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and meats, and avoid eating overly fatty or processed foods, as the body works best with only natural fuels.
- Sleep: Getting the right amount of ZZZs is imperative during pregnancy, as it allows your body to recover to the strength it needs to help baby develop healthily, and can help you manage your toughest symptoms.
- Blood pressure: Abnormal blood pressure, whether high or low, can both be dangerous for you and Baby during pregnancy, so it’s very important to monitor your BP readings so you’ll know that all is well.
Read, read, read
If this is your first pregnancy, you might not be totally informed about what’s about to happen during these next nine months. Read as many resources as you can, whether books, magazines, or online (just make sure the author is reputable!) about pregnancy. Even if you’re a veteran in the pregnancy game, it never hurts to brush up on your information.
- Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
- AK Sfakianaki. “Prenatal vitamins: A review of the literature on benefits and risks of various nutrient supplements.” Formulary Journal. ModernMedicine Network. Web. 1/31/2013.
- Beth L. Pineles, Edward Park, Jonathan M. Samet. “Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Miscarriage and Maternal Exposure to Tobacco Smoke During Pregnancy.” American Journal of Epidemiology. Volume 179, Issue 7. Pp. 807-823. Web. 12/6/2013.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Prenatal vitamins: Why they matter, how to choose.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 5/13/2015. Web.
- “Alcohol and Pregnancy: Know the Facts.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2/6/2008. Web.
- “Nutrition During Pregnancy: FAQ001.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 4/15/2015. Web.
- “High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, n.d. Web.