Whether you have been trying for a while now or that home pregnancy test has taken you completely by surprise, you have discovered you’re pregnant. So what’s the next step?
Prepare yourself for the next nine months
Book a visit to your GP
If your home pregnancy test is telling you you’re pregnant, the first thing to do is book an appointment with your GP. They will send you for a blood test to confirm the pregnancy, help to calculate your due date and can point you in the right direction when it comes to nutrition, exercise, health and choosing a midwife.
Choose a caregiver
Depending on your pregnancy and health, you may be under the care of an obstetrician or a midwife. The majority of women are under the care of a midwife. Your first midwife appointment is usually booked for when you are around eight to 12 weeks. You can find a midwife through your GP or ask the advice of friends and family who have recently had children. In general, the midwife you choose will follow through with your care and be there for the birth.
Follow the dos and don’ts
You may be surprised to discover there is quite a long list of foods that you shouldn’t eat while pregnant. These include soft cheeses, runny eggs, deli hams and meats, pate, some seafood, unpasteurised dairy products and soft serve ice cream. When it comes to drink, cut out all alcohol and reduce caffeine and soft drinks to a minimum. Smoking and drugs are very harmful to an unborn baby and should be stopped before you even try to get pregnant.
Prepare for the body changes
Preparing yourself for the changes that will occur is a good way to help cope with the next nine months of your life. Your body will change significantly and possibly permanently, your emotions will feel like they are on a crazy rollercoaster ride and you will have quite a few life-changing decisions to make before the baby arrives. Read some pregnancy books, talk to your midwife or primary caregiver, communicate openly with your partner and seek advice and opinions from trusted friends and family. Remember to give yourself as much time and space as you need to deal with all these changes.
Decide when to share your news
Many women find out they are pregnant fairly early on in the process, when they are around four to six weeks. It is recommended to talk with your partner about when to share your exciting news with family, friends and work colleagues. It’s common for women to wait until they are 12 weeks pregnant, as around 80 per cent of miscarriages occur within this first 12 weeks. You may choose to tell only a few close friends or family members during this early stage, as the support can be helpful during this time, and leave the Facebook status announcement until you have passed the first three months.
Book in for antenatal classes
For first-time mums, antenatal classes can be a big help. Run by supportive, knowledgeable women, these classes help to guide you through your pregnancy, preparing you for what is ahead before, during and after labour. They can be a great place to connect with other women at a similar stage to you, and many antenatal classes often get together after everyone has given birth to catch up and share experiences. Your midwife or GP can advise you on how to book your antenatal class. Antenatal classes often start when you are around 25 to 30 weeks pregnant, but it pays to book in early so that you get a class time that suits.