You’re Pregnant. Honest to goodness, positive line on a stick, you have a little body growing inside of you. The vast range of emotions you feel when you find out your pregnant cannot be prepared for, but one thing is for sure, you had better start preparing now for that little bundle because nine months goes a lot faster than you would expect. There are a lot of people that say you shouldn’t be trying to prepare so early on in pregnancy and that you have plenty of time to think about things later, but it is never too early to start preparing and let’s be honest, you are way too excited/anxious to not do something, right? Now, I am not saying to run off and pack your hospital bag or anything (let’s reserve that for something to do in your 9th month of pregnancy, read more here!), but there are a lot of things you can (and probably should!) do now
1. Start Taking A Pre-Natal Vitamin
If you were trying to conceive then you might have already started doing this, but if you haven’t then start NOW. Pre-natal vitamins contain all of the necessary vitamins that your body needs to produce a healthy, growing baby during development and the first trimester is when all of the major organs are developing so you need to have those vitamins. You can get these by prescription from a doctor, but they can also be bought over the counter. Just look on the back and make sure it has folic acid in it (recommended by most doctors is 800mg).
2. Read Up!
It is never to early to start reading about pregnancy, babies, and parenthood. There is so much information out there that even though you have 9 months to read it, you still won’t read it all! Becoming educated about what is happening in your body is helpful because you can understand the stages of development and you gain awareness of what things you should be looking for so that you know if something isn’t right. Plus it is SO interesting, I am always amazed when I read about how that little bean develops inside! It is just fascinating. My favorite book was Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week, but I also LOVED reading pregnancy blogs and I loved reading the book I got for Tony about pregnancy, The Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion.
3. Make a Doctor Appointment
Maybe you already have an awesome doctor, in which case call them up and schedule an appointment. If you are like me though, you will probably have no idea where to even begin the doctor search. Start by asking people who they like, look up reviews, and if all else fails just find your nearest OBGYN clinic or even the closest hospital and give them a call. Then you can get some names and research them. And if you go to your appointment and find out you don’t like them, don’t be afraid to branch out and find a doctor you really trust because that will be important. Once you find a doctor, schedule an appointment. Some doctors will take you as soon as you find out, while others like to wait until you are 8-10 weeks before the first appointment.
4. Calculate Your Due Date
This is more just for fun than anything, when you go to your doctor’s appointment they will calculate it for you based on when your last period was and baby’s measurements, but if your doctor requests that you be 8-10 weeks to see you it might just be too hard to wait! There are a lot of sites that have due date calculators and you just plug in your information and it gives you the date! Of course it is subject to change based on the actual timing that you may not know, but it is usually fairly accurate.
5. Decide Who/When/How To Tell
This one is kind of tricky and there is a lot of controversy regarding this. Some say you should wait until you are out of the first trimester, others think it is fine to tell everyone. You can read more about my opinions on that here, but just know that whatever you decide to do is a good decision. Whenever you decide to tell you can get as creative as you want (I will post some fun announcement ideas soon!) or let it be a simple, special moment.
6. Alter Your Exercise Routine
I should add, if applicable. Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, but clear it with your doctor first before continuing. There may be some exercises you should refrain from doing or alter a bit so that they are safe for pregnancy. You can search pregnancy safe exercises or talk with your doctor about them.
7. Adjust Your Eating Habits
Having a baby means your body is working extra hard and needs all of the nutrients it can possibly get! Try loading up on healthy foods that have important vitamins and proteins that you need. Vegetables that are rich in folic acid like leafy greens, legumes, avocados, and green peppers are great. It also helps to start eating small meals, several times a day. This might be tricky if you are struggling with morning sickness, and if this is the case don’t feel bad. Eat what you can and here are some tips for morning sickness that might help you survive.
8. Take a “Before” Photo
This is something that I didn’t do and I regret it 100%. It is fun to be able to compare your photos as you grow from month to month, not to mention a fun way to help document your journey and your child will love to look back and see what it was like when you were pregnant.
9. Start Using Lotion Now
Everywhere. Every day. Multiple times a day. I am not convinced that doing a bunch of extra treatments really helps prevent stretchmarks, I kind of think you either get them or you don’t because stretchmarks occur when your skin lacks elasticity which is actually genetic, but it doesn’t hurt and hey, it might help. If anything it keeps your skin moisturized which is huge because when you are super pregnant and your belly starts itching from dryness, it is THE most uncomfortable feeling. Possibly aiding in avoiding stretchmarks is really a bonus.
10. STOP drinking, smoking, birth control, etc.
Does this one really need any explanation? All of these things are harmful to baby’s development. The second you know you are pregnant, ditch these things. If you are on birth control that is invasive, such as an IUD or a rod in your arm, contact your doctor immediately.
11. Download a Pregnancy App
This was one of my favorite pregnancy aids, I downloaded the babycenter app and loved it because I just put my due date in and it provided weekly updates and information right to my phone! Even though reading books is great, sometimes they can feel overwhelming so to have an app that has a ton of information all in one place, and each week provides a short synopsis of what is happening as well as tips and videos and photos was amazing. I loved my babycenter one but I know there are several great ones out there.
12. Start Documenting Your Journey
It will amaze you how quickly pregnancy brain sinks in and how easily you forget things about being pregnant. Start taking photos and writing about your journey. You can use a diary or get a notebook and write one line a day about pregnancy. You can also start a photo journal or photo book or write about it on your blog. There is a ton to do after you have a baby (check out the list I created of 17 things to do after baby comes here) without having to remember everything about pregnancy and writing it down, it is much easier to do along the way if you have the energy to do it!
Your body is working hard, you need that extra rest! Take it while you can because by your third trimester, it is going to be hard to get good sleep and once you have the baby you can just plan on always being a little tired for the next 18 years. (jokes, but really!)
14. Make a To-Do List
What things do you want or need to get done before the baby arrives? Make sure to write them all down so you don’t forget then make a calender and schedule when to try and get them done. This will save you immense stress in that last trimester when you are rushing to finish everything before the baby gets here!
15. Check Your Medications
There are a LOT of medications that are unsafe for pregnancy, so if you currently take any, look at the bottle and find out what it says about taking while pregnant. Be sure to clear all medications with your doctor too. Also be aware that many over the counter medications can be harmful too, even medications for something as simple as a headache or heartburn. Find out what medications you can and can’t use and then try to find alternative methods that are pregnancy safe. This goes for natural medicines and essential oils too as some are unsafe for pregnancy.
16. Keep a List of Questions
When I first found out I was pregnant, I had more questions than I could possibly imagine having, but of course my first doctor appointment came and he said, “do you have any questions?” And my mind went completely blank. Keep a list with you and as you think of questions, add them to the list, so that you can be prepared when asked if you have any questions.
17. Become Acquainted with Symptoms to Watch for
Both positive and negative. Some bloating, cramping, spotting, nausea, tiredness, and soreness of breasts are fairly common symptoms, and whether you get all or some or none of them is going to depend on you and your own pregnancy. Be aware of some of the possibilities, but also be aware of the things to watch out for like heavier bleeding, severe cramping, or dehydration so that you can get to a doctor if necessary and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
18. Find Support
Pregnancy is a long, emotional journey. The sooner you find a support system the better. This could be your spouse/partner, friends, family, or even online support groups for other parents or pregnant women.
19. Try to Ease Your Symptoms
So you are sick. Really sick. And you can’t manage to go more than 45 minutes without yawning. And you can’t count the number of times you are going to the bathroom in a day because it is so often. Relax. This is normal and usually are signs of a healthy pregnancy. You may not be able to get rid of symptoms entirely, I mean you are building another human afterall- give yourself a break! But there are some tricks you can do to help manage your symptoms- not drinking a lot of water before bed will help reduce bathroom breaks at night. Taking naps in the day or going to bed early will help ease how tired you feel. And for morning sickness, here are some tips here
20. Research, Research, Research!
A lot of people don’t realize how many options are available when it comes to pregnancy, delivery, and parenting. Start researching now so that you can make well informed decisions about what you want to do. If you want some ideas for where to start researching, you can start with looking at different delivery methods, breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding, pregnancy tools to use, and various parenting methods. Try not to get lost in all of that information and follow what you feel is best for you and your baby!
21. Start Saving Money
Babies are EXPENSIVE. Maybe you are financially set already to have this child, but if you aren’t then now is the time to start saving up! When it comes to saving money, 9 months isn’t that long of a time. Start finding coupons for baby items to stock up when they go on sale and putting aside money each month that can go towards the baby.
22. Learn About Your Insurance
There is no nice way to say this really, but most people will agree with me when I say that insurance can be the biggest pain in the butt. Now is the time to call and inform them of the pregnancy, what your options are, what things they cover, and if they have any programs specifically for pregnant women. I know some insurance programs offer bonuses specifically for pregnant women such as 24 hour access to nurses, free books and informational outlets, free infant CPR classes (or similar), and even can offer freebies like breastpumps and giftcards.
23. Invest in a Pregnancy Pillow
ASAP. I didn’t get a good pillow to use until I was into my third trimester, and it changed my pregnant life. I was lucky (eyeroll) and got to have morning sickness for my entire pregnancy, and this pillow helped immensely with the nausea at night because it helped control stomach acid and heartburn, which both make nausea worse. Plus pregnancy can get extremely uncomfortable, it will be nice to have this on hand when you first start feeling uncomfortable rather than waiting until just weeks before you deliver. Trust me, you will be thanking me on this.
24. Avoid Reading Stressful/Negative Things About Pregnancy
Being pregnant already increases your stress levels and anxiety, don’t fuel it with online discussion boards about horror stories with pregnancy or read stressful information in books. If it is something that might make you worry or give you negative thoughts, save yourself the stress and skip it. You are already working hard enough to create that little person, don’t spend extra energy worrying and stressing about things you read.
25. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is extremely important even when you aren’t pregnant, which makes it just that much more important when you are! Your body needs more water too because it expels so much energy while building a body, and the baby starts to use up that water too. Grab a giant, refillable, BPA free bottle and keep it with you constantly and drink every time you think about it.
26. Find Comfortable Clothes
You may not have a big belly yet, but over the next few weeks you will start to notice clothes fitting tighter and pants feeling more snug on your waist. I know, I know, you don’t need pregnancy clothes this early, but honestly they are THE most comfortable things and you might as well take advantage of them while you can. This early on, I would probably invest in some good leggings or something with a stretchier waistband so that you are comfortable until you get to a point where you will fit into maternity clothes. And I don’t even need to mention that it is just fun to look at maternity clothes, even if you don’t need them right away and there is no shame in that!
27. Stop Stressing and RELAX!
Yes, you are having a baby and your life is about to change and it is exciting! But these first few weeks can be very overwhelming and exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Try not to stress about little things, negative things, or things that just don’t matter. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself and being excited about your baby! That little miracle will be your most amazing accomplishment and the greatest love of your life!