Just found out you're pregnant? Here are ten things to kick-off your to-do list for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
By Halle Tecco
So you POAS (pee on a stick) and get a BFP (big fat positive). This is life-changing news, and you may feel a bevy of emotions—excited, scared, anxious, surprised. What now? Here are ten things to do to kick-off a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Begin taking a prenatal if you’re not already. Look for which brands contain folate, iron, calcium, choline, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine. Read this article by Dr. Liz Kane on what to look for in a prenatal and check out our Prenatal for her.
- Call your OBGYN! Most like to see patients at six to eight weeks after your last period (earlier if you are at risk for ectopic pregnancy or have unique concerns), but it’s time to get that first appointment scheduled. Your first prenatal visit will cover an assessment, routine labs, genetic testing, and more. If you don’t yet have an OB, call your insurance company to find one who is covered under your plan.
- Stop using products that contain toxic chemicals. Especially look out for BPA and phthalates, which are chemicals often found in food, food packaging, drink cans, cosmetics, perfume, air fresheners, and soft plastics (e.g. shower curtains or children’s toys). Research shows that these types of chemicals found in plastics and other man-made goods are linked to health risks in fetuses and infants.
- Calculate your due date. March of Dimes has a free and easy calculator to help you know how far along you are and estimate your expected due date. Of course, every pregnancy is unique, and most babies arrive sooner or later than expected. Always talk to your doctor about your due date.
- Rethink your diet. Now is the time to cut down on caffeine, cut out booze altogether, and start nourishing yourself with what your body really needs. Read What To Eat When You’re Pregnant to get weekly descriptions of what's happening in your body and learn how certain foods contribute to the development of a healthy and happy baby.
- Get moving! The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week during pregnancy. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. Try brisk walking, gardening, yoga, or swimming. Your doctor may recommend avoiding hot yoga, contact sports, downhill snow skiing, water skiing, and/or scuba diving.
- Get your flu shot. The flu shot is even more important for you now that you are getting immunized for two! According to the CDC, the flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women because changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization, such as pneumonia. These complications can be life-threatening.
- Track baby’s growth and development. Perhaps one of the coolest things the female body can do is grow a human! The American Pregnancy Association (APA) has a week-by-week guide to development so you can follow along.
- Read Parent Plans. Covering topics from pregnancy to parenting philosophies, this workbook is especially designed for couples planning for a baby. Expect to think and talk about everything from baby names to values and finances to fertility.
- Enjoy this special time. Document your journey with photos, videos, or write in a diary. Document the good moments, the awkward things your body may do, times of anxiety, questions you have, your hopes for the baby, etc. The process can be therapeutic and wonderful to look back at in the future.