If you’re like most people who find out that they are pregnant, you’ve been trying for a very long time. Some people just get lucky and get pregnant without spending a lot of time or effort trying.
But for most it takes months or even years to get there. That’s why learning the news is so important and such a great moment for you.
Unfortunately, it’s not all going to be chocolates and roses from here. There’s some important things you need to know from that moment on.
The First Thing You Should Do
The very first thing you want to do when you think you might be pregnant is take a pregnancy test. It’s important to know for sure as soon as possible.
This is why a lot of women who are trying hard to get pregnant will take pregnancy tests once a week.
Now you don’t need to go that far but if you think you may be pregnant make sure that you take a test.
Pregnancy tests are available just about anywhere and if for any reason you can’t get a hold of one your doctor or even the local emergency room can get one for you.
The sooner you find out for sure if you are pregnant the better it’s going to be for you and for your baby.
Now let’s say you’ve taken your test and it’s positive. What’s the very first thing that you should do? Well the first thing is to celebrate.
Take a few moments to be excited about this new chapter in your life. Once you’ve taken your moment make sure you talk with your partner or any other important people in your life that you want to share the news with.
All right, so now you’ve found out for sure and you have shared the news with some important people and you’ve celebrated the news (a few times). The next thing to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Your baby is very small at this point but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help it along. You want to make sure you’re in prime physical condition and that you’re helping your baby as much as possible right from the start.
How to Get Healthy & Keep in Shape
Okay so you’ve made your appointment to talk with a doctor and you’re ready to commit yourself to your baby. You will need to make sure that you get healthy as quickly as possible and this could be difficult depending on individual factors.
Smoking and drinking are not good for your baby and they can actually harm him/ her immensely, even if you only do it ‘once in a while.’
Quitting completely is the best way to keep your baby healthy. Even if you don’t have an addiction each time you smoke or drink or you’re around someone who smokes you could be putting your baby’s health and even their life at risk.
That’s not something you want to take a chance on.
Another thing you want to do is make sure you’re eating healthy. This means you need to eat at least three meals a day and you need to make sure they are healthy meals.
That means enough fruit and vegetables and plenty of protein. Your doctor will be able to give you a healthy diet plan that you should follow.
Remember that your doctor will also let you know any foods you should avoid. Some (such as seafood) are not good for your baby.
Vitamins could be an important aspect for you if your eating habits are not as healthy. This will help you get the vitamins and minerals that your body and your baby need in order to be healthier.
Without the right level of vitamins your baby won’t be able to grow in a healthy way. That’s why you need to make sure that you are getting everything you and your baby need.
Another thing you want to do to get healthy is get some exercise.
If you are the type of person that already exercises a lot you’ll be able to continue exercising the same way. Your body is used to this and it won’t hurt you.
If you don’t usually exercise, or if you only exercise a little, you’ll want to limit your exercise. This way you don’t hurt yourself or your baby.
Most importantly, if you want to get back to the pre-pregnancy shape and lose the post pregnancy tummy faster, getting an postpartum girdle is the easiest way to do.
Surviving The Pregnancy
When you first find out you’re pregnant you’ll be excited and happy. You won’t think a lot about the things that really need to be done.
That’s why you need to carefully read through this post. There are a number of different things that you’ll want to keep in mind while you’re pregnant.
Things to Keep in Mind
You want to make sure that you consider everything your doctor tells you while you are pregnant. As we mentioned in the last chapter it’s going to be important to pay attention to your diet and your exercise routine.
You will also want to get plenty of sleep. This is another important aspect of staying healthy. If you get enough sleep you’ll feel better and your baby will be able to grow stronger as well.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your baby is a part of you. This means that you have to think about your baby at all times.
If you eat anything you have to remember the baby is eating it. If you are around smoking or you choose to drink that gets to the baby as well.
You need to make sure that you are considering this every time you go anywhere or do anything.
Putting on weight is going to happen. You will gain weight to carry your baby and you will gain more than just the weight of the baby.
For example, a baby will generally weigh between 5 and 9 pounds when they are born. You will gain more weight than this and that’s perfectly healthy.
In fact, you should gain approximately 25-35 pounds if you are average weight before you get pregnant.
You will be able to lose this weight quickly after you have the baby. In fact, you’ll likely be able to lose almost all of it just by having the baby.
The rest will be easy to get rid of once you’ve had the baby. If you put on additional weight, however, you’ll have a harder time trying to lose the weight after you have your baby.
You definitely don’t want that.
What You Don’t Know About Being Pregnant
1 – Morning Sickness
There are a lot of things that you probably don’t know about being pregnant, especially if it’s the first time. One of the things you’ll want to know is that morning sickness is real.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur only in the morning. Morning sickness does not hit everyone. You may be one of the lucky ones who never has morning sickness or who only has it for a very short time.
You may only experience it early in the morning. These people, however, are the lucky ones. Most women will experience morning sickness throughout the day or for a longer portion of their pregnancy.
Morning sickness is something that a lot of mother’s go through but you should know that it does eventually go away. There are also ways that you can reduce the effects.
Some of the best things to do are taking a nap or eat something light. You could eat toast or crackers, for example, to help you reduce sick feelings.
2 – Cravings
You may not experience any cravings or you may get them a lot. You may have them at normal meal times or they may hit you in the middle of the night.
You could have cravings for ‘normal’ things or you may find yourself craving something random or strange in the middle of the night. All of these will be perfectly normal.
Your body is going through a lot of changes and this fluctuates chemicals and hormone levels throughout your body. That can cause cravings.
It’s something that a lot of pregnant women have to work through (and something your partner or support group will need to help you with as well). Don’t be alarmed even if you start craving something that you previously hated.
It does happen. Your tastes may even change while you’re pregnant and you may find yourself loving things you hated and hating things you loved.
3 – The Truth on ‘Eating for Two’
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you are not actually ‘eating for two.’ A lot of people make this mistake and think they need to eat twice as much because they need to feed the baby as well.
The truth is that you’re eating a little extra but you should not be eating for two people. Your baby is not going to eat as much as a full second person.
This means you need to eat well and eat enough but not too much.
4 – Maternity Clothes
You’ll also want to think about getting through the later stages of your pregnancy. You’re going to need maternity clothes at some point during your pregnancy though the exact time is going to vary a little depending on you personally.
Some women need maternity clothes very early in their pregnancy while others may not need them for much longer. Consider when you start to get a little uncomfortable in regular clothes.
That’s when you’ll want to start looking at maternity clothes.
5 – The Truth of The Matter
There are a number of other things you should consider as well. These include:
- Hot flashes
- Your tummy may itch as it grows
- Fluid retention
- Sign up for classes right away
- You may start snoring
- Don’t wear underwire bras (they actually reduce the growth of milk glands)
- Your feet may swell
- Talk to your baby like you would after it’s born
Take the Classes
You may think that you know everything about being pregnant and that you’ll be just fine at having and raising your child. Maybe you would be. But taking the classes allows you to feel more confident that you’re doing the right thing.
You’ll learn how to do everything from swaddle your baby to feed them and a lot more.
This is important when you’re a first time parent.
Don’t let any of your friends or family talk you out of these classes. They may tell you that these things ‘come naturally’ or that they can help you.
When you take the classes for yourself however, it helps to boost your confidence and make you feel better about the process. You want that confidence level when you’re talking about your baby.
You can choose to take as many or as few classes as you want. You may choose to take Lamaze classes (where they’ll teach you breathing techniques for when it’s time to have your baby).
You may want to take birthing classes and consider a home birth. Other classes won’t be as specific and may teach you general things about parenting.
These are great classes to attend and if you can get your partner to go with you then you’ll learn even more.
When The Time Comes
So now you’ve made it through the pregnancy. You are really close to ‘that time.’ For most this will happen right around nine months.
This is when the baby is completely developed (at least as much as they can be while still in the womb). They are ready to come out into the world and that’s where all your hard work is going to come to fruition.
Now some babies will arrive early. It’s not ideal but it does happen. Don’t worry too much if your baby comes early.
There is actually a lot that doctors can do now to help your baby even if they seem far too small. When your baby does come early it generally means there is something wrong but that may be something wrong about your body and not theirs.
For example, if you have high blood pressure it may not be affecting them at the moment but doctors may decide to ‘take the baby’ early (induce you earlier than your due date) to make sure it doesn’t.
Your doctor is going to do everything that they can to make sure your baby is healthy and perfect. So don’t be concerned if you go into labor early or if they induce labor early.
They won’t do it so early that it will endanger your baby.
Before it's time
Before it’s time there will be signs that it’s getting close. You’ll be getting close to that nine month mark first of all.
You may also experience what are called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are contractions that come about far before the baby is ready to be born.
They feel similar to real contractions (at least the beginning of your real contractions) and they often worry first time mothers.
A Braxton Hicks contraction is not going to deliver your baby. They’re actually not even the right kind of contractions and they’re not going to even possibly deliver your baby.
If you go to the doctor or hospital they will tell you that you’re having Braxton Hicks contractions and not to worry. They may prescribe you something to help with the pain or to help it go away but they will send you home because they know your baby is not going to be born yet.
If you are having what’s called a ‘C-section’ or if you’re considered high risk or if you have passed your due date without delivering your baby, you will probably have a day scheduled that you know is going to be the day your baby is delivered.
On this day your doctor will induce or will complete the C-section and your baby is born.
If you don’t fit these criteria, you’ll have a date that the baby is expected to be due but that doesn’t mean it’s the day your baby will be born. They may come a little early or a little late.
This happens normally and it’s not something you should be concerned about. Within a couple days and sometimes even a couple weeks is normal.
Earlier than that and your doctor will make sure the baby is healthy. Later than that and your doctor will schedule to induce you.
The Go Bag
As you get closer to the time of your delivery you’ll want to get together what we’ll call your ‘go bag.’ This is the bag of things that you need to have when you go into the hospital.
Because you could go into labor at any time, you want to have this bag with you and available. You don’t want to be packing it at three in the morning when you have contractions and you’re in pain.
The go bag should have clothes for you, your camera, as well as anything you need for the baby.
This includes diapers (though the hospital will provide them while your baby is there), formula if you’re going to opt out of breastfeeding, clothes, blankets, toys and anything else you may think they or you will need.
Knowing It’s Time
You will definitely know when it’s time to have your baby. This is where you start to experience contractions and your ‘water breaks.’
What really happens is the amniotic sack that the baby has been protected in for the last nine months breaks open and your baby becomes ready for the birthing process.
Your water may break before your contractions start or some time in the middle. But you will definitely know when the contractions begin.
These will likely start out smoother than they end. You may experience slightly uncomfortable sensations to start. These will gradually start to occur more frequently and for longer periods of time.
For example, you’ll hear women say that contractions are five minutes apart and last three minutes each. As you get closer to delivery the contractions will come faster.
The options for birth
When your baby is about to be born you may have options.
The first is whether you want what is called a spinal tap.
This is a strong pain reliever that is intended to relieve and greatly reduce the pain that a woman experiences during labor. Not all women opt to have it and some may opt for something not as strong.
You should know that labor is not going to be pain-free. The contractions are only leading up to everything after all.
Whether you want to have medications when you deliver is entirely up to you. We won’t even attempt to tell you the best way.
Another option you will generally have is who you want to be with you. Most hospitals require you to limit the number of people in the room with you when you deliver.
The specific hospital will let you know but usually it will be two. You get to choose who those people are. You don’t have to have anyone specific but you’ll want to think about this before you get in there because it’s going to be a stressful situation for you and you don’t want to be making a lot of decisions.
The last option is generally going to be the type of birth. Now unless you have risk factors or the baby is in the wrong position most doctors will want you to attempt regular birth before they will allow you to have a ‘C-section.’
For a normal birth you have to wait until you are dilated (enlarged) to a large enough size for the baby to come through the birth canal. This may take a few hours or (brace yourself) more than 24 hours.
If you are in labor for a long time and don’t seem to be dilating properly the doctor will approach you about the option of a C-section.
Also, if any of the above factors apply they will likely tell you that a C-section is the best option for the health of you and your baby.
A C-section is actually short for Cesarean section. This is when the baby is born through surgery. The doctor will give you a local anesthetic and take the baby through the stomach.
This is an easier process to execute however it can be more difficult to heal afterward and this is generally why doctors don’t prefer it.
There is nothing wrong with this option however and your baby will be just fine if delivered in this way.
As a first-time mother you will want to go to the hospital when your contractions start to get difficult for you. Don’t try to ‘stick it out.’
You want to go in when you know that you’re in labor. At this point the doctor is able to help you and will be able to give you pain suppressants if you want them.
If you wait too long you won’t be able to do this.