The test is positive, you’re pregnant! Let me be the first to say congratulations. As you’re letting the fantastic news sink in, your emotions may be swinging wildly from utter elation to total fear. What on earth should you do, how will you cope? Don’t worry, your body was made for this job and we’re here to guide and support you every step of the way. Here are some of the important things to do as you start to prepare yourself for parenthood.
Your early pregnancy to-do list
- Calculate the due date: Want to know when you’ll you get to meet your new baby? There’s no need for complicated maths, just check out our Pregnancy Calculator for the simplest way to find out when D-Day is. Star it in your calendar and start crossing off the days.
- See your doctor: Make sure you’re registered at a GP surgery or health clinic near your home, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the professionals over the next nine months.
It’s important to see a GP or midwife as soon as you think you’re pregnant, they’ll tell you all about your options for pregnancy care and local maternity services. They’ll book an appointment for when you’re around 8 weeks pregnant and they’ll make a note in your record because pregnancy can affect the medications you can take and any illnesses or condition you have, or may later develop.
- Share the news: It’s up to you when you announce your pregnancy to family and friends. Lots of women are too excited to wait and tell everyone immediately, others prefer to leave it until after 12 weeks, when the risk of miscarriage drops. It’s not unusual to wait a little longer to inform work, to avoid being dealt with differently.
Discuss with your partner how you’d like to share your happy secret, in person, on phone, or on social media. Make sure you’re both in agreement, I’ve seen lots of trouble and tears when one partner wants to tell their close friends in person and is shocked to see it’s already been splashed all over Facebook.
- Find out more: Your body is being flooded with hormones and working to build your baby. This incredible process will affect every part of your mind and body. You may feel emotional, sick and more tired that you could ever have imagined. We’ve got all the information you need to find out what’s normal and what’s not, as well of lots of tips on how to cope with the health niggles you’ll face along the way.
- Get into good habits: Hopefully you’ll have binned the booze, ciggies and any recreational drugs when you started trying to conceive. If not, it’s never too late. Look after your body and you’ll be nurturing your baby too, check-out our guides and make your bad habits history.
- Eat right: It’s a cliché but you really are eating for two. But that isn’t a licence to stuff your face. In pregnancy you’ll need as much as three times the amount of vitamins and minerals but only a paltry 200-300 extra calories. So look up our healthy eating guides and pick a diet rich in micronutrients, with loads of fruit, veg, fish, lean meat, pulses, dairy and whole grains to fuel your baby’s growth.
- Exercise: A fit body will be better able to cope with the demands of pregnancy and childbirth. I’m not expecting you to suddenly start an intense regime if you’re not used to it. Instead have a look at our exercise guide and try yoga, pilates, swimming or just getting outside for a brisk walk every day. You’ll be fit to cope with the bump, the birth and beyond.
- Start the supplements: Ideally you should have started taking a 400mcg Folic Acid supplement as soon as you stopped your contraception. It’s proven to help protect your baby against spina bifida and other neural tube defects. But now is better than never, so see your doc or nip out to the pharmacist TODAY and start topping up your levels. Lots of us are also deficient in Vitamin D and other essential micronutrients, so I always think it’s a good idea to take a prenatal multivitamin to boost folate and all the other vitamins and minerals your growing baby needs.