There is a million and one things that flood your mind when you see that extra line, little cross or text saying, "pregnant" on the test you have just taken. Whatever happens from this point forward, you will never be the same. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start when you first find out that you're pregnant, especially if it is your first time. Do not worry though, this post will give you my top ten tips for when you discover you're pregnant.
- Start pre-natal vitamins.
There are tonnes of versions available to suit every budget, and there is different ways to buy - some of which will be cheaper than others. My daily dose of choice is Pregnacare, as it gives a little of everything the baby will need. The most important thing to ensure, however, is that you have Folic Acid. Depending on your BMI, you made need a prescribed higher dose, so be sure to check with your GP or midwife. Don't worry about those crazy expensive prescriptions though, they're free once you receive your maternity exemption card.
- Keep it quiet.
I know this is hard, trust me. If I'm excited about something it's almost impossible for me to keep my self-restraint. However, up to 75% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester, and one of the hardest things to do, at any stage, is have to tell people you've lost the baby. Personally, I have lost babies in the early stages of pregnancy. I also have friends and family members who have Angel babies from much later on in their pregnancy. It does not get any easier, whether you have to tell a few people, or everyone you know. Give your baby a chance to develop, and enjoy those early days where you and your partner share your own little secret. After that first scan (usually around 12 weeks) you can begin to tell the world about that amazing miracle you're creating.Ring your GP and book in with the local midwifery team.
- Check your medications.
For some people, this will mean having to stop taking medications altogether. For others, like me, it will mean regular check ups and a possible change in dosage. I suffer from hypothyroidism and - now that I am pregnant - I have to have regular blood tests to check if the dosage of my medication is correct. In my situation, it is super important to get it right due to our baby being unable to create her own thyroxin for the first three months of development. It is imperative you check that anything you do take regularly is both safe and right when it comes to being pregnant.
- Don't go on a diet, but check your lifestyle.
From smoking and drinking alcohol, to eating high sugar and high fat content foods, there is tonnes of things that you should both avoid and balance whilst you are pregnant. Smoking and drinking alcohol have both been linked to the underdevelopment of baby's in utero, and so are best to avoid 100% during pregnancy.
- Download a pregnancy app (or more than one if you like!)
There are a few different apps available some that are free, and others for which you have to pay. My favourite one - which I use almost daily - is Sprout: Pregnancy.
- Start taking pictures.
With my first pregnancy I have hardly any photos apart from a few taken by my brother who is a photographer at Joshua Earle Photography. I wish I had more documentation of the changes that happened to my body during the process.
- Start your pelvic floor exercises.
I know this sounds like a bit of a strange one, but they will prove to be invaluable in the future, both when baby puts pressure on your bladder and during labour itself. If you're not sure how to do these, the NCT guide on how-to is a fabulous way of learning.
- Check out available freebies.
There is a list of some of my favourites on another blog post I wrote earlier this week. You can find it here.
- Do not use the internet to search up any of your symptoms.
As easy as it may be to pop onto Google and look up symptoms and potential problems you may experience during pregnancy, avoid doing so. It is an easy way to panic yourself and convince yourself something serious is wrong where it may have a simple explanation. There are plenty of avenues through which you can get the information you need to calm any fears.
The main people you need to keep on speed dial are:
- Your midwife; After your booking in appointment you will have contact details for the community midwife you have been assigned to. When I need some advice, or information I simply drop her a text, and she usually replies pretty quickly.
- Your Early Pregnancy Unit; This unit can be named slightly differently depending on which hospital you are local to. In instances of bleeding and other more serious problems they are the best people to call.
- Your pharmacist; Often, things can be quickly sorted by a quick call or visit to your local pharmacy. Pharmacists are more knowledgeable than people give them credit for. Plus, if they are unable to help, they will tell you where best to go.
- Your GP; Just the same as with non-pregnancy issues, your GP should be one of your first points of call. My GP now has a telephone triage service through which I can go over symptoms with a doctor, and if needed, get a prescription. It's super quick, and super easy. There is a great page of information about services and support on the NHS website.