June 24, 2016

I'm Pregnant, Now What?

For those who have been trying to conceive (especially if you have been trying for awhile), you will never forget that exciting moment when you finally get a positive pregnancy test! You might even take three (like me) because you just couldn't believe the first one. You'll probably tell your spouse or partner as soon as possible, maybe in some cute creative way, or in the spur of the moment you might just wave the pregnancy test in their face (or just yell for them to come to the bathroom to make sure you aren't seeing lines!), but what happens next?

1. First, you'll want to verify your pregnancy with a blood test. You can schedule this with your hospital, or primary doctor, or if you have an OBGYN, contact them and they can set up the blood test for you along with various other prenatal tests (you'll get your blood drawn a few times, which is nicer to get done all at once than needing two appointments). It's not a big deal if you don't have an OBGYN at the moment, just be prepared to get your blood drawn again later for more testing.

2. If you don't currently have an OBGYN, start looking as soon as possible. Most won't see you till you are 8-10 weeks along, but you'll want to get scheduled with one as soon as you can. You will also want a few options since a lot of times OBGYN's will stop accepting new patients, so in some cases, you won't get your first choice.

If you are comfortable telling others this early, then ask friends and family who their doctor is, that's your best bet at finding a good OBGYN, but if not you can probably find other reviews and suggestions online as well. You can even ask your primary doctor if they recommend anyone (that's how I picked my OBGYN back when we were having trouble conceiving).

3. Prepare for morning sickness. You'll want to stock up on ginger ale (my favorite is Seagram's, only 100 calories and uses real ginger). Peppermint also helps. I recommend using peppermint flavored toothpaste, Tom's of Maine is what I use. It's amazing how well that stuff works, bonus was it got me to brush my teeth multiple times in one day! The dentist is going to love me!

If it's really bad, you'll have to see a doctor to see if they can give you medication and if it's extremely bad, you might end up in the hospital like Kate Middleton. However, you could also be extremely lucky and never have nausea! I consider myself lucky since I only vomited once and my nausea only lasted a couple weeks.

4. Stock up on lotion, body butter, whatever you use for dry skin, you will need it! I went from a cup size C to a size D before I was 10 weeks! My breasts still itch like crazy and I'm hoping they don't get bigger now that I bought a few size D bras. I was reading online and found women recommend maternity bras for this reason, but they are just so pricey (granted I always buy bras on clearance at Target or Kohls). Some also recommended just getting nursing bras or tanks. I ended up buying a couple nursing tanks from Old Navy when they were on sale and they are the best thing ever! Plus if my boobs do go up another size, there is plenty of room in them! (I do recommend going a size down, usually I wear mediums, but the small in the Old Navy nursing tank is super roomy, I could probably fit into an extra small, but I liked having the extra room). 

5. Get a pregnancy journal. I have this cute one I got as a free sample that has all sorts of prompts for each week, but you can easily just make your own using a regular journal, or maybe you'll skip it all together, but I think it would be a cute thing to have to look back at later.

6. Read Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I highly recommend this book since it goes over all the pregnancy myths and allows you to make your own decisions as to what is safe and what is not. However, I would still cut back on caffeine, limiting yourself to a couple cups of coffee a day and skip the wine until the 2nd trimester (and then only occasionally, but most doctors will say none at all. It's your call).

Now don't fret if you had a glass of wine the night before you found out you were pregnant (If it makes you feel any better, I had 2 tequila sunrises a few days before I found out I was pregnant. A lot of babies are a result of drunken escapades, so don't worry about something you can't change, just hold off on the drinking for now.)

7. Use your Google skills and find out what is safe and not safe to eat or drink, and to find out what medications are safe or unsafe. If you aren't certain, ask your doctor. Do not trust anything anyone says in forums or word of mouth, make sure you are looking at a reputable source such as the CDC website.

8. If you have a cat, if possible, have someone else clean the litter box for the time being, or make sure you wear gloves and a mask, then wash your hands afterwards (like you should always do anyway). This is due to the risk of toxoplasmosis being present in cat feces. However, if you have an indoor cat and it's always indoors, your cat is probably completely free or immune to this disease. A simple trip to the vet will let you know either way and if your cat is clean or immune, you can clean the litter box as much as you want (but hopefully you will still wash your hands afterwards!).

If your cat is an outdoor kitty and not immune to toxoplasmosis, it might be time to keep them indoors only or have someone else clean the litter box. Also note that you are more likely to get toxoplasmosis from gardening (playing with dirt) than from your cat, so if you garden, always wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards, or put your garden on hold till baby arrives.

9. Weigh yourself. This may seem odd to do after finding out you are pregnant, but it is important to know what your pre pregnancy weight is (you probably haven't gained any weight yet, that doesn't happen till around week 12) in order to know how much you should gain. Your doctor will probably weigh you as well at your first appointment and then tell you what they recommend based on your starting weight.

However, I would weigh yourself anyway just in case you don't get to see your OBGYN before you start gaining weight, which could mess with their estimate of how much you should gain, unless you don't care of course and plan on pigging out while your pregnant. I'm overweight, so I'd like to gain the recommended and no more so I can easily lose it after birth (and continue to lose weight like I was trying to before getting pregnant).

10. Finally, Relax! I was amazed by how many pregnant women on online forums were stressing out so early in pregnancy over the thought of miscarriage! Sure it happens, but it happens for a reason and there is nothing you can do, worrying isn't going to help and the added stress is not good for the little person growing inside of you and for you!

I was told I was low risk right away (my OBGYN was quick with getting the blood test results back to me) and I think that's why I never really worried. I also never experienced any spotting or bleeding that some women do (usually it's nothing, but always call your doctor at any sign of blood).

If you are worried about miscarriage, find something else to focus your attention on, maybe start a baby registry, start planning out your finances, read a good book, take a nice relaxing bath, binge watch your favorite TV show, etc! You should be enjoying this moment, not fretting about something that you have no control over!