Congratulations! You’re pregnant! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for – the chance to grow your family and become a mother. But now that it’s finally here, what comes next?
The next nine months will be a whirlwind, but here are a few tips to help get you started on the right track.
1. Tell your partner.
The only thing more exciting than staring down at a long-awaited positive pregnancy test is sharing the news with your partner. Whether you plan an elaborate dinner to spill the beans or blurt it out as soon as they walk through the door, it’s a moment of pure excitement for you both.
Should you tell anyone else?
Well, that’s completely up to you. Many couples wait until the end of the first trimester to announce the news to their family and friends, but everyone is different. This is your pregnancy, and there are no hard-and-fast rules you have to follow when it comes to announcing your pregnancy. Do what makes you most comfortable.
2. Verify your insurance coverage.
After the initial excitement, it’s time to get down to business, starting with a call to your insurance company. If you have been through fertility treatment, you are likely well aware of what your health insurance does and does not cover. However, for some, this is all new and you may need to get more information about your coverage.
3. Schedule your first prenatal appointment.
If you do not have an OBGYN, now is the time to choose one. Your insurance policy may decide who you can choose as your healthcare provider, so ask for a list of in-network providers before starting your search. Over the next nine months, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your OBGYN, so selecting a provider you’re comfortable with is essential.
Once you’ve selected your healthcare provider, give their office a call to schedule your first appointment. They’ll usually get you into the office within eight weeks of your last menstrual period (LMP) to confirm your pregnancy, review your medical history, perform a physical exam, and complete any necessary blood tests.
Have lots of questions about pregnancy? Write them down and bring them to your appointment. Remember, there are no silly questions. Your healthcare provider is on your side – their goal is to make you feel comfortable and equip you with the tools you need to support a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few common questions to start your list:
- Do I need to stop taking any of my current medications?
- Do I need to change my exercise program?
- How often will I need to schedule appointments?
- What should I eat during pregnancy?
- What should I expect during labor and delivery?
4. Choose a prenatal vitamin.
Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to the body – so it’s no surprise that your nutrient needs change, too. For example, pregnant women need more iron than non-pregnant women, especially after the first trimester. Iron is important for red blood cell production, and your body makes about 45% more blood in the later stages of pregnancy to help carry oxygen to your baby.
In addition to a well-balanced diet, make sure you choose a high-quality prenatal vitamin to make sure you get all the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy. From the moment you learned you were pregnant, you’ve only wanted the best for your baby. So, be selective about the prenatal supplement you choose. Research shows that several prenatal vitamins may contain contaminants, like heavy metals. Select a prenatal supplement that bears the NSF® or USP® mark. These products have been independently tested and certified for content accuracy and purity, which means that your prenatal has all the nutrients it should, and nothing it shouldn’t.
5. Make a work plan.
It’ll be a major life change when you welcome your little one to the world, and you will need some time off work to bond and care for your newborn.
When do you tell your work you are pregnant? Most expecting mothers wait until the later stages of pregnancy to share the news with their employer, but it’s never too early to start planning. Familiarize yourself with your company’s maternity leave policy, and contact human resources (HR) to address any lingering questions or concerns. If paid maternity leave isn’t an option, remember the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Companies with more than 50 employees must provide a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave when you have a baby.
Your partner may consider checking their company policies on parental leave, too. Adjusting to life with a newborn isn’t easy, but it’s more manageable when you tackle your new routine together. Parental leave also gives your partner more opportunities for baby bonding early in their life.
Don’t forget to take it all in – this is an exciting time for you and your partner, and it warrants celebration. Pop a bottle of sparkling cider and bask in the joy and happiness. After that, focus on one task at a time – you’ll knock out this checklist in no time. You’ve got this, mama-to-be!