If you’re here I’m guessing you’ve peed on a stick and jumped around celebrating the good news that you are pregnant. Now you’re wondering, what on earth am I supposed to do next?
It’s totally natural to feel more than a little overwhelmed at what’s ahead, or maybe you’re just really excited. I remember being a mixture of both with both of my pregnancies.
If you’re still not sure if you are pregnant, check out this post on how soon can you tell if you’re pregnant for the lowdown on the really early symptoms of pregnancy.
So, what’s next now that you’ve confirmed the happy news with a pregnancy test. Here are 11 things you’ll need to do now that you’re pregnant!
1. Make your first midwife appointment
You need to make an appointment to see your community midwife! In the UK, a GP generally won’t need to see you when you’ve taken a positive pregnancy test. You can just call your local GP surgery where you are registered, inform the receptionist and they will make an appointment for you with the community midwife.
At your very first midwife appointment, they will want to test your wee! Get used to this, as they will be testing it at every single appointment. First of all they will want to confirm you are pregnant and then they will be checking your glucose and protein levels are safe.
Protein in your urine could mean you have an infection in your bladder or kidneys. It could also be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Sugar in your urine could mean you have gestational diabetes. These tests are nothing to worry about, they are done at every appointment and are just intended to monitor you to ensure all is well!
2. Control pregnancy nausea
If you’re still just a few weeks into your pregnancy then you may not be experiencing that many symptoms.
However you could be suffering from nausea, which is common in the first trimester. Unfortunately for some mamas it lasts well beyond the first trimester and can involve being sick, as well as feeling nauseous constantly.
It’s a thoroughly unpleasant experience which I suffered with both of my pregnancies. I have lots of tips for coping with 24/7 pregnancy nausea on this post.
3. Read up on pregnancy milestones
If you’re interested in keep track of how your baby is developing every week, you can buy a book such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting. There are tons of pregnancy books out there and it’s just a matter of finding one that appeals to you!
There are also lots of pregnancy diaries out there where you can record your thoughts and plans for your baby. This is a lovely keepsake to pass on to your child one day.
4. Decide who to tell
A lot of people wait until the 12-week scan until they announce their pregnancy. This is because the risk of miscarriage is sadly at its highest during the first 12 weeks.
However there is no rule that says you can’t tell people about your pregnancy before you get to 12 weeks. It’s really up to you and if you’ve found out early, it can feel like a long, long wait until that three-month scan until you can share your happy news.
You may want to tell your boss if you are having any kind of complications that are affecting work. However many people hold fire on telling their employer until a little later. It’s up to you, but giving them plenty of notice is always a good idea as it gives them time to find cover for your maternity leave.
5. Find out what your company’s maternity policy is
This policy may be available on your company intranet, so you may not have to ask for it! However it’s a good idea to get your hands on it sooner rather than later because it will give you all of the information you need about how much time you are entitled to and what the pay will be.
Maternity pay varies wildly between companies, so this is definitely something you need to find out about. You will be able to plan ahead much easier. Also remember to find out what your partners leave policy is.
In the UK, you may be able to use shared parental leave after your baby is born, which many couples find eases the financial burden and help mums return to their career sooner.
6. Revise your diet
Your midwife will probably give you a comprehensive rundown of the things you definitely shouldn’t be doing, and most of it is just common sense. The obvious ones are no alcohol and no nicotine.
There’s a full list of foods to avoid in pregnancy over on the NHS website.
7. Think about your finances
We all know that babies cost money, but it can really cause a lot of strain and stress if cash is already tight. Try not to panic, because you can make this work! The sooner you start planning for your maternity leave, and the expenses of having a baby, the better because you can start to save immediately.
The best thing to do is to write ALL of your current income and all of your current outgoings, right down to the coffee you buy before work every morning. How much do you put into savings every month, and how much (if anything) is left?
Now look at what your maternity pay will be. Work out the gap between what you will earn during your maternity pay and what your income WOULD be if you weren’t going off to have a baby.
This is the gap that you will need to deal with during your maternity leave, so think about how you can adjust your spending in order to save more, and whether what you already have in savings might be able to help tide you over while you’re off work.
8. Decide on your birth plan
The most important thing to know about a birth plan is, you don’t HAVE to have a birth plan! It’s completely up to you. Of course you need to pick where you are actually giving birth, but you don’t have to plan every little thing about your labour.
You could plan everything right down to the tiniest detail about what music you want playing when your baby is born. It’s totally up to you.
But if you want to just go with the flow and are happy to follow the midwife’s recommendations, that’s up to you! You don’t have to write an essay about what you want your birth to be like.
The key things to think about regarding your birth plan are:
Pain relief. Do you want an epidural, or would you rather use gas and air? There are of course some risks associated with having an epidural, but I have friends who insist it saved their sanity during labour. The choice is completely yours, however it’s worth noting that opioids such as diamorphine can pass to the baby and make them drowsy when they’re born. This can hamper breastfeeding in the early days.
Where do you want to give birth. Do you fancy a home birth, or would you prefer a midwife-led unit. Some NHS trusts have midwife-led units in a larger hospital, so if there are complications that require a doctor, transfers to a labour ward are easier. However others are some distance from a hospital, so this may be something you want to think about. Discuss your options with your community midwife before making a final decision.
Do you want a syntocinon injection? This speeds up delivery of the placenta after your baby is born. I had it both times, it’s worth it. I hardly even noticed the placenta coming out.
Cutting the cord. Does your partner want to cut the cord, do you want to do it together? Have a conversation with your partner before your due date.
Vitamin K for your baby. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot and prevents serious bleeding. In newborns, vitamin K injections can prevent a now rare, but potentially fatal, bleeding disorder called Haemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN), also known as Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB). It can be administered with an injection or orally. Injection is a more efficient way of administering it. The baby will hardly notice it happening.
9. Packing your hospital bag
As you reach your third trimester, now is the time to pack your hospital bag! I personally loved doing this, and packed and repacked it about a dozen times before I actually went into labour!
For me, the trick to packing a good hospital bag is to have three of them! I know it sounds crazy, but honestly it saved my sanity, and made so much more sense with my second birth. Find out my tips for how to pack your hospital bag and what you really need here.
10. Coping with hot weather during pregnancy
One of the worst phases for me during pregnancy was during the summer. I felt so much hotter during both of my pregnancies, so the summer heat drove me insane!
If you are heavily pregnancy in the summer, there are some great tips for coping with the heat while pregnant over on this post.
11. Decorating the nursery
This is one of the most exciting bits of having a baby! I have some fab tips for decorating a baby nursery over here.
As part of this, you will want to think about the things you actually need for your baby. Shopping for a baby can feel exciting, and a bit daunting, as it’s a costly business! I have a post on the stuff you definitely do not need, and the things that will actually be useful!
So there you have it, these are the steps to go through after finding out you’re pregnant! I hope this post was useful.
For lots more information about pregnancy, and life with a newborn baby, check out these posts:
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