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You’re pregnant — now what? Coping with the next four weeks

Excited, elated, incredulous, overwhelmed… When that telltale pair of parallel lines appears on a pregnancy test, you might feel all of this and more. But once the news settles in, you need to spring into action. This is what you can expect over the next four weeks after finding out you’re pregnant.

Finding out that you’re pregnant can be surreal. Growing a tiny human is a pretty incredible experience, but when you learn you’ve got a bun in the oven, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to do and what happens next. So you’re pregnant: What’s next?

Week one:

The first few days can be full of both excitement and trepidation, whether your pregnancy was planned or not. After you’ve discovered that you’re expecting through a relatively trusty at-home test, it’s a good idea to book a doctor’s appointment to confirm how far along you are.

If you can’t reliably recall the details of your last period, then your doc might send you off for an ultrasound, and they’ll probably order a blood test as well to confirm your HCG levels. These are pregnancy hormones that double every week in your first trimester to support your baby’s growth.

Medically, these tests will confirm your pregnancy and give you an estimate of your expected due date. Mentally, you might bounce around in a surreal state of elation and anxiety for a few days while you ponder your future, your relationship and your new charge — and how your life will never be the same again.

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Week two:

It’s not always possible to see your doctor immediately, and even if you do get an appointment right way, your pregnancy blood test results generally take a few days to process. So in this next week, you’ll likely be reviewing your test results and working out how many months remain before you’ll be meeting your newest family member.

When you’re visiting your doctor, ask about any specific diet changes you might need to make related to your pregnancy. Obviously alcohol is a no-go, but there are other foods you might want to avoid over the next seven or eight months, as they might be sources of food poisoning that could cause listeriosis or toxoplasmosis infection.

According to HealthLink British Columbia, pregnant women should avoid these foods:

  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats and deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Soft cheeses, unless the label states that they are made from pasteurized milk.
  • Refrigerated pâté and meat spreads. Canned versions are safe.
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is an ingredient in a thoroughly heated and well-cooked dish, such as a pasta dish.
  • Raw, unpasteurized milk or any other foods that contain unpasteurized milk.
  • Salads made in a store with such ingredients as ham, chicken, egg, tuna or seafood.

Week three:

By now the reality of your pregnancy will usually have settled in. You may have had an ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat — an incredible experience you’ll never forget. At this stage you usually won’t need any more medical appointments until you reach the three-month mark, when your doctor will schedule your next ultrasound and blood test.

Depending on how far along you are, you might start to tell close friends and family members about your pregnancy. As a newly pregnant mom-to-be, it’s completely up to you to decide when you feel comfortable sharing the news that you’re expecting — and there are plenty of creative ways to keep your pregnancy a secret that little bit longer if you wish to.

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Week four:

At this point you might want to consider how and when to discuss your pregnancy with your employer. If you are telling friends and relatives your news, then it might not take long for word to get back to your boss (especially if you’re connected on social media). Whether you wait until you’re 12 weeks along or share your news at the beginning of your pregnancy might depend on how much morning sickness you are coping with.

Legally, each province throughout Canada has its own human rights code or legislation governing your pregnancy rights, but in a general sense you have every right to continue working until you give birth.

“In most jurisdictions, you have the right to keep working during your pregnancy as long as you are able to perform the essential or main duties of your job,” reports the Canadian Commission for Labor Cooperation. “Your employer may not penalize you (like firing you, forcing you to take a lower paying job, or forcing you to take leave) simply because you are pregnant.”

More pregnancy tips

10 Reasons moms shouldn’t be on social media
Your month-by-month pregnancy checklist
5 Things no one tells you about your body after pregnancy

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