Finding out that you’re pregnant can be an exhilarating yet overwhelming experience. I just found out I’m pregnant, now what? It’s a moment that marks the beginning of a new and transformative journey, filled with questions, anticipation, and perhaps a bit of uncertainty.
From understanding the early signs to taking your first steps after confirmation, this post aims to provide you with practical advice and emotional support. Whether it’s navigating healthcare decisions, adjusting your lifestyle, or simply coming to terms with this significant life change, we’re here to help you make sense of what lies ahead.
So, take a deep breath, and let’s embark on this incredible journey together.
My story finding out I was pregnant for the first time
The happiest day of my life –after my wedding day and the day my baby was born– was the day I found out I was pregnant.
My husband and I were wanting to have a baby for a while. From the first time we agreed to try to conceive to finally having a positive pregnancy test was nearly three years.
First signs of pregnancy
I had spent a week at work feeling tired and strangely out of breath. I remember telling my boss as I was cleaning one day that I felt weird and jokingly told her, “Ha! Maybe I’m pregnant!” She said, “You better take a test.” I laughed it off at the time, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I had never quite felt the way I did.
Oh sure, I’d started my period a few days earlier, but come to think of it… It WAS super light. Nothing to really empty from the diva cup. Just some spotting. Hmmm…could I really be pregnant?
I had taken pregnancy tests before when I had experienced a couple late periods. My husband had been disappointed before, just as I had, so I decided I wasn’t going to say anything to him this time unless I got positive result.
Just my luck though, this night my car was in the shop, so my husband had to pick me up from work. On the way home I asked if he would stop by the local pharmacy so I could pick up a couple things.
“What are you getting?” He asked.
“Something for me,” I replied.
“You’re buying a pregnancy test, aren’t you?”
How does he know that?!
“Yes, but I wasn’t planning to say anything to you about it, so let me be.”
“You’ve taken like 30 of those things.” He sighed.
“No.” I argued. “I have taken 6. Two 3-packs in 3 years. That’s hardly 30.”
“Well, it seems like you’ve taken a lot. Are you sure you want to buy these now?”
“Yes, I have my reasons. Please make the stop on the way home, honey.”
He did, and I bought another 3-pack of Clear Blue Pregnancy Tests, promising 99% accuracy. I honestly tried not to think too much of it.
He was right, they’d just been a waste of money every other time. Maybe I should just go home.
But I continued in my mission.
Prepping for the Pregnancy Test
Once we got home, I showered away the work day, and followed my normal getting-ready-for-bed-routine, making a point to read the test directions before going to sleep. I knew I had to wait for that first morning urine to have the best results (despite what the test directions said), and I didn’t want to try to “hold it” while I fiddled with reading them the next morning.
I went to sleep that night the same as every night, not truly expecting anything to be different in the morning.
The next morning in the 6 o’clock hour, nature’s call woke me and I went into the bathroom. Groggy with the new day, I would have forgotten my mission from the night before, had my night owl wisdom not laid everything out for me.
Doing the pee-pee dance, I hurriedly snapped the cap off the test stick and set to work. I set the test behind me on the top of the toilet and went about washing my hands… and washing my face… and brushing my teeth…, not daring to go near the pee stick that was bound to herald disappointing news again.
Seeing My Pregnancy Test Results
Once my 3 minutes were up, I nonchalantly walked over and picked up the test.
I looked again.
I stared at that one, simple word in utter shock as my eyes filled up with tears.
Then I smiled.
I was pregnant!
What to do when you find out you’re pregnant
Discovering that you are pregnant can be a life-changing moment filled with a mix of emotions, from excitement to apprehension. Navigating this new chapter requires not only emotional adjustments but also practical preparations. Whether you’re eagerly anticipating this journey or are feeling a bit overwhelmed, it can be helpful to know what steps to take after you find out you’re pregnant
1 – Take a pregnancy test
Confirming your pregnancy begins with a simple step: taking a pregnancy test. These tests are widely accessible, affordable, and can be purchased at most pharmacies and grocery stores. They work by detecting the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced only during pregnancy. When a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, your body starts producing HCG.
The accuracy of over-the-counter pregnancy tests is remarkably high when used correctly, matching the reliability of tests conducted in a doctor’s office. For best results, it’s recommended to use the test after missing your menstrual period. Some tests are sensitive enough to detect HCG in your urine as early as 10 days post-conception, but taking the test after a missed period minimizes the chances of a false-negative result. The ideal time for the test is with your first morning urine, as it contains the highest concentration of HCG. To enhance accuracy, consider taking a second test a few days later.
2 – Tell someone
Once you have confirmed your pregnancy, you might want to share this significant news with someone close to you. It could be your partner, a family member, or a trusted friend. Sharing the news can provide emotional support and joy. However, the decision of when and whom to tell is personal and varies for each individual.
3 – Get support
My support system was so important in my pregnancy. Having a baby is a major life event and shouldn’t be taken alone. This support can come from various sources: your partner, family, friends, a therapist, pregnancy support groups, and/or online communities. Emotional, practical, and informational support during this time can be invaluable. It can help you navigate the physical and emotional changes you are experiencing and prepare for the arrival of your baby.
4 – Choose a prenatal healthcare provider
Finding the right healthcare provider is a critical step in your pregnancy journey. You may choose an obstetrician, a family physician, or a midwife, depending on your health, pregnancy risk factors, and personal preferences. It’s essential to choose someone you feel comfortable with and who aligns with your views on pregnancy and childbirth.
Prenatal care should begin as early as possible to monitor your health and the development of your baby. Regular appointments will allow your healthcare provider to provide guidance, perform necessary tests, and address any concerns you may have throughout your pregnancy.
5 – Learn
Educating yourself about pregnancy and childbirth is very empowering. There’s a LOT of information out there, so here’s a selection of books and resources to check out if you’re looking for a place to get started:
Books about Pregnancy
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin: A comprehensive resource covering everything from pregnancy to postpartum. It provides detailed information on each stage, offering expectant parents confidence and knowledge.
- Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Dr. Myra J. Wick: Authored by experts at Mayo Clinic, this book is a trustworthy guide to pregnancy, childbirth, and the first few weeks with a newborn. It combines medical expertise with practical advice.
- Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong– and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster: This book challenges traditional pregnancy advice using data and research, helping expectant mothers make informed decisions.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin: Written by a renowned midwife, this book offers a detailed look at natural childbirth, providing stories and insights that emphasize the joy and empowerment of childbirth.
- Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy by Leslie Schrock: A contemporary guide that offers a fresh, realistic perspective on modern pregnancy, addressing physical, emotional, and logistical concerns.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff: A classic resource for expectant mothers, this book provides month-by-month guidance on the pregnancy journey.
- The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin: An essential guide for anyone supporting a woman through childbirth, offering practical advice and emotional support strategies.
- We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp: A valuable resource for first-time fathers, this book offers a blend of humor and information to navigate the journey of pregnancy alongside their partner.
- The Attachment Parenting Book: : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by William Sears and Martha Sears: This book explores the concept of attachment parenting, emphasizing the emotional bond between parents and their child.
Online and In-Person Resources
Kelly Mom: An online resource offering evidence-based information on breastfeeding and parenting.
The Bradley Method®: A series of classes that focus on natural childbirth and involve active participation of a birth coach, providing techniques for safe and informed childbirth.
If you have any recommendations that have been helpful to you, please let us know below in the comments!
6 – Take care of your health
Maintaining good health is crucial during pregnancy. This involves several key aspects:
While you don’t need to go on a special diet while pregnant, eating healthy is still very important. Pregnant women need an additional 300-500 calories per day and extra folic acid and iron. Eat a variety of proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lentils, high quality fats and dairy products. Avoid too much sugar, undercooked meats, certain fish with high mercury levels, and unpasteurized foods.
Start taking prenatal vitamins as recommended by your healthcare provider. These vitamins are specially formulated to support the nutritional needs of you and your developing baby. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor might suggest higher or lower doses of certain nutrients.
Prenatal vitamins may include:
- Folic Acid*
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin A
Other supplements that may be beneficial include:
- DHA/Omega 3 Fatty Acids or Fish Oil
- Ginger (may help with nausea during morning sickness)
It’s important to tell your doctor about any vitamin or herbal supplements you may be taking as many of them are unsafe during pregnancy or their safety is unknown.
Make sure to get adequate sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re experiencing discomfort or sleep disturbances, talk to your doctor for advice.
Regular, moderate exercise is beneficial for most pregnant women. Activities like walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga can be good choices. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.
Drinking plenty of water is important for your health and the health of your baby. It helps form the amniotic fluid, aids in the delivery of nutrients, and helps prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.
Discuss any medications (including any supplements) you are currently taking with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe during pregnancy.
In addition the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that “during pregnancy, women should not use tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or prescription medications for nonmedical reasons.”
8- Know you workplace rights
The United States is one of the only countries in the world without any kind of paid maternity leave. The laws vary by state so it’s important to know your rights in the workplace.
In the United States:
- State Laws: Each state has its own set of maternity leave laws. Research your state’s regulations to understand your entitlements better. A Better Balance provides information about your legal rights during pregnancy at work. Visit their website to learn about the laws in your specific state.
- Federal Laws: Familiarize yourself with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons, including childbirth.
If you live outside of the United States, then consult with your country’s laws.
9 – Plan Your Pregnancy Announcement
Deciding when and how to announce your pregnancy is a personal choice. Some people wait until after the first trimester, while others share the news as soon as they find out. Consider your comfort level and any cultural or personal factors that might influence your decision.
Sharing the news with your partner, family, friends, and eventually your employer can be an exciting and significant moment in your journey.
To read about how I announced my pregnancy, click here.
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