Author: Jenay Shannon
You got a positive home pregnancy test, and you might be staring at it feeling ecstatic, disbelief, terrified, confused, or all of the above. Welcome to the club, mama, we’ve got your back! Congratulations on this miracle your body is growing! Now that you’ve read your positive test, you’re probably wondering ‘now what?’ Here are 6 things to do once you find out you’re expecting.
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1. Call Your Local OB-GYN
OB, or OB-GYN, stands for “obstetrics-gynecology.” This should be one of the first people you call (aside from your mom) to break the news. If you don’t have an OB already, don’t worry, Google can tell you who is close and recommended, and you’re just a phone call away from an appointment. Or, if you’re going regularly to a doctor, he/she can help you with recommendations.
Your OB will get you situated with your first visit and follow-ups throughout pregnancy. When you call, your OB or nurse will probably help you estimate how far along you are and what your due date is based on your last period. When you do have your first visit, you will be walked through all the information you need. This will include details about pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and you’ll have all the time you need to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you first call, either, that’s what they’re there for and they’re happy to help!
2. Adios Margaritas…and a few other things…
Alcoholic beverages and a few other things are going to have to go temporarily…it’s tough but it’s definitely worth it! Alcohol is dangerous while pregnant. It passes from your bloodstream through the umbilical cord to your baby, and this increases risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or it can cause behavioral, physical and intellectual disabilities in your child for life (FASDs.)
Smoking while pregnant will have to stop. This increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and birth defects. It also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after birth.
Limiting caffeine is also a must since the evidence shows too much caffeine can cause miscarriage and low birth weight! That can lead to complications later on in your child’s life. Experts suggest no more than 200mg of caffeine a day, so while you keep an eye on how much coffee and caffeinated teas you’re drinking, try switching to decaf beverages and cutting back on the chocolate (I know, I know…but it’s only temporary!)
3. Drink your Water!
This one might sound boring, but drink LOTS of water! Staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough here. Often times, as morning sickness kicks in, plain water can be extremely hard to keep down while nauseated. Try sipping versus downing a whole glass. This not only helps with nausea but also helps you avoid running to the bathroom more than you already will be. Some other hacks are adding a little lemon or lime juice to your water, or mixing it with a little OJ. For some women, keeping your water at room temperature helps avoid that uncomfortable, punched-in-the-gut feeling, the one a cold drink might give on an upset stomach. Sipping on some carbonated water is also a good way to get fluids in, and the carbonation can help calm your stomach. Better yet, add your lemon or lime to the carbonated water!
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4. Get on a Prenatal Vitamin
Get on a good prenatal vitamin, if you aren’t on one already. If you have questions about what kind to go with, your OB/physician will have helpful suggestions. The prenatal vitamin contains a lot of vitamins a pregnant woman needs, so be sure to ask before taking other supplements (too much of a good thing can throw you and baby out of balance.) The three key elements in the prenatal vitamin, specifically supporting your body and the growing baby, are folic acid, calcium, and iron.
Folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop and protects against some serious birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Calcium reinforces your body because as baby grows, he or she takes calcium from your bones and teeth and without this supplement, you could lose bone density throughout pregnancy. Iron is what helps your blood deliver oxygen to your growing baby. Iron can also cause constipation, so it’s a good idea to focus on fibrous fruits and vegetables, and lots of water, to help keep things moving.
5. Adjust Your Workout Routine
First things first, ask your physician if you are clear to exercise while pregnant. If you’ve been active prior to pregnancy, you will most likely be safe to do a lot of the same activities you’ve been doing. If you haven’t been active prior to pregnancy, you’re still safe and encouraged to exercise. Staying active keeps a healthy blood flow, helps stabilize mood swings, can lessen the intensity of nausea and fatigue, and overall keeps you, your baby and your pregnancy healthier. Exercising while pregnant can also promote healthier labor and helps your body heal faster postpartum.
Be aware of some good changes to make to your routine, probably the biggest being how you work your core. It’s healthy to back off on the usual crunches, sit ups, push ups and pull ups, planks, etc., anything that front loads your abs and causes more stress on them to push out (which your baby is already doing.) Focusing on your TVA muscle (transverse abdominis muscle) instead of that six pack will help you minimize damage to your abs and keep your core in better shape throughout pregnancy, helping it heal itself quicker afterward. High impact exercises and activities are warned against, especially as you progress in pregnancy due to the impact encouraging premature labor. But again, run everything by your physician first, they can offer advice based on your personal lifestyle.
6. Take an Epsom Salt Bath and RELAX
Sometimes the hardest thing to do while being pregnant is relaxing. But give yourself permission to take a step back. Taking time to calm your muscles, joints, and nerves in a warm bath will only help your body as it works to perform one of the most amazing acts it could ever do. Growing and nurturing a little human is no joke!
Anxiety puts a lot of stress on your body and your baby. So taking time for inspiration and relaxation will help you handle the daily struggles that come with pregnancy, on top of life in general. Epsom salt only adds to the bonus because it’s been used to help loosen stiff joints, ease constipation, and relax sore muscles. You can find this at a very reasonable price at your local drugstore. Light a candle, turn on some peaceful music and give yourself at least 20 minutes for a soak. Love yourself and know your body was amazingly designed to do this.
You’ve got this, mama! There are so many resources out there that can help you with specific details as you continue this adventure. You have all the fun stuff such as gender reveals, choosing names, getting the baby’s room ready to look forward to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, motherhood was never meant to be a solo journey. Remember, you’re not ‘just a mom’…being a mama means hustling like a mother! (Pun intended.) Congratulations on your precious bundle, and best of luck to you and your family!
How far along are you? What was the first thing you did when you found out you were expecting?
Hey Mama! I’m Jenay, wife and new mama to a beautiful baby girl. In addition to blogging about this adventure of motherhood, I love to sing, read, bike, and go on spontaneous adventures with our family such as hiking and camping. I’m passionate about my family, fitness, and traveling (when possible!). I’m excited about this journey of parenting and I look forward to meeting more mothers out there who are on the same journey!