Peeing on all those sticks has finally paid off- you’re pregnant! It’s the moment you’ve been looking forward to. You’re so happy and then you realize- now what? Can you freeze in this moment forever? You might want to take a picture of your positive pregnancy test, to capture this moment so you can look back on it forever. You got a positive pregnancy test! Now what?
Step #1: Smile!
Be happy! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Give yourself a moment to realize what that positive pregnancy test means. In this moment you are the only person who knows. This moment wont last forever so let yourself be happy. Touch your lower abdomen, where your uterus sits and connect with that bundle of cells. Allow yourself to imagine your baby and your future. You prayed for that bundle of cells and now it is here. Congratulations!
Step #2: Take another pregnancy test.
You dont need to take dozens of pregnancy tests, but double checking never hurts. Every test has some room for error. Before you start your baby registry, just double check that you are truly pregnant. Two positive pregnancy tests is better than one. It’s a good idea to recheck at a different time of day or even the next day.
Step #2: Tell Someone about your Positive Pregnancy Test!
Now that you have enjoyed that moment to yourself, share it with someone. That someone is most likely your partner, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be your mom, your sister or your best friend. Tell someone supportive. This news is too big to keep to yourself for long. If you want to wait and share the news with your partner in a special way, tell someone else first. You need support at this point in your pregnancy.
Step #3: Start Prenatal Vitamins
Hopefully you started prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant. But if you didn’t, now is the time. Prenatal Vitamins contain folate, which is essential for development of the nervous system and prevention of neural tube defects. The nervous system develops in the first 8 weeks, so the sooner you start prenatal vitamins the better. I recommend Honest Company Prenatal Vitamins. But for a complete guide to selecting prenatal vitamins, check out my article here.
Step #4: Decide on Midwife vs Doctor
Hopefully you’ve thought about this before becoming pregnancy and you may have even met with your provider for a preconception visit. However, if you’ve put off this decision, now is the time to decide.
This is a personal decision and might depend on what providers there are in your area. Let me explain the difference between a doctor and a midwife.
A OBGYN doctor is someone who has completed medical school and residency in obstetrics and gynecology. An OBGYN is trained in regular pregnancy and birth as well as high-risk pregnancies, cesarean section, instrument deliveries, gynecology surgeries and more. Doctors typically work in practices with other doctors and only deliver in hospitals. These are some doctors who work collaboratively with midwives.
Licensed midwives in the United States are most often nurses who continued their education at the master’s degree level to specialize in normal gynecology, pregnancy and birth. In some states licensed midwives do not have to be nurses, but they are trained at the master’s degree level. Midwives specialize in normal pregnancy and birth. They are not trained to do instrument deliveries, cesarean deliveries, or to manage high-risk pregnancies. Most midwives in the United States deliver in hospitals, but some do deliver at birth centers or in the patient’s home. A common misconception is that patient treated by midwives cannot receive epidurals. This is not true. Midwives can manage epidurals in conjunction with the anesthesiologists who place them.
Midwives focus on normal birth and therefore are trained in ways to help labor progress naturally, ways to alleviate pain without the use of medications and more natural remedies in labor.
Step #5: Schedule Your First Appointment
You may feel like this is jumping the gun, but many providers have long waits to be seen. The sooner you call to make that appointment the sooner you can be seen. I’m not saying your initial appointment will be at 4 weeks. In fact, most providers wait until 8 weeks for your initial appointment. But if you wait to schedule this appointment you may be disappointed to find out that your initial appointment wont be until 10 or 12 weeks, depending on the availability of your doctor or midwife.
If you experience anything concerning or abnormal, call your doctor or midwife right away. Some examples of reasons to call your provider include bleeding, severe abdominal pain and severe vomiting. If anything concerns you it is better to call your provider. The worst that will happen is they will tell you its normal and you dont need to come in. However, in some cases your doctor or midwife may want you to come in before your schedule appointment.
Step #6: Say Goodbye to Alcohol (& more)
Now is the time to stop drinking alcohol. No more oysters either! Around the time of your first positive pregnancy test your bundle of cells begins to be exposed to everything you consume. And at this time in pregnancy the baby is very vulnerable. The major organs are developing, such as the brain and heart, so it is essential to limit exposure to any toxins.
These toxins include alcohol, cigarettes, prescription and non-precription drugs and more. If you are taking a prescribed medication you should not stop it. Contact your doctor as soon as possible to ask if it is safe to continue this medication. Your doctor may recommend you stop this medication or switch to an alternative that is safe in pregnancy.
Other things to avoid in pregnancy include raw seafood, oysters, liver, unpasteurized cheeses and potentially spoiled foods. Fish is a fabulous part of a pregnant woman’s diet. However it is important to avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as tuna, swordfish and tile fish.
Step #7: Begin limiting your caffeine.
In pregnancy the recommended limit of caffeine is 200-300mg. This may be a dramatic (and difficult) change for some people. High caffeine consumption has been associated with miscarriage and birth defects. To learn more about caffeine consumption in pregnancy, checkout my article here.
You may also want to consider reading some of my other articles on early pregnancy!