You've Got A Bun In The Oven! Now What? ~ The Ultimate Guide For What To Do After Finding Out You're Pregnant
Congratulations My Friend, You're Going To Have A Baby!
You just found out your pregnant and I would like to be the first to say "CONGRATULATIONS!" I'm so excited for you. The next 9 months of your life are going to be very special. But also frustrating. You will be glowing, excited, and content, but also sick, sore, and tired. Pregnancy isn't easy, but as you know the reward far outweighs the costs. To get you started on the right track in your pregnancy journey, I'm going to give you a little list of what you need to do after you've had a positive home pregnancy test.
I've Got You Covered, Here's What You Need To Do After You Pee On That Stick!
1. If you haven't already, break the news to your husband
I had all these plans for how I was going to break the pregnancy news to my husband. Funny thing though, I was in complete and utter shock myself, so those plans got tossed out the window. When Mr. B arrived home from work, I simply gave him the 4 positive pregnancy tests (yes there were 4, and 4 more over the next week just because I couldn't believe it!). He was surprised and said "Really?!" Then he got the biggest sweetest smile and in that moment I knew he was going to be the best dad ever.
Fun Ways To Tell Your Husband You're Pregnant
I've made a little list of fun and inventive ways to tell your husband you're pregnant, just in case you would like to be a little more romantic than me!
- Give your hubby a Father-to-Be book, wrapped with baby themed paper.
- A great Father-To-Be book is "Your Pregnancy for the father-to-be" by G. Curtis, and J. Schuler
- Tie a bow around your belly (you could wear some sexy lingere for this one!), you could also write "You're A Daddy" on you belly with lipstick
- Serve him a drink in a baby bottle that say's you're a daddy
- Gift wrap a onesie with a clever saying on it like: You're a Daddy, Daddy's Future Sidekick, etc..
- If you grocery shop together, the next time you go fill your cart with pregnancy related items, see if he notices
2. Make an appointment with your family doctor
Before choosing an obstetrician/midwife/doula or other baby doctor, it is best to make an appointment with your family doctor. (S)he will administer another urine test, go through your medical history, and provide you with the paperwork for your first round of blood testing. Your family doctor will also discuss your health care options and may refer you to an obstetrician.
Your family doctor will also provide you with a due date. They simply use the first day of your last period. If you are uncertain of this date, they may refer you to have a "dating ultra-sound".
If your family doctor will be seeing you again before you are referred to your permanent prenatal care provider, they will book you in for a second appointment which will include a pelvic exam and a pap smear, if you are due to have a pap.
3. Choose who you want to deliver your baby - make an appointment or ask for a referral from your family doctor
We are so lucky to be pregnant today and not 30 years ago because we have more choices then ever for how we want our birthing experience to be. Our first choice is who will be caring for us throughout our pregnancy and delivering our baby.
- Family Doctor
- Some family doctors, especially if you live in a smaller community, will provide your prenatal care and deliver your baby.
- The nice thing about choosing your family doctor is you can continue to see this doctor for paediatric care after your baby is born.
- An obstetrician is a "baby doctor" specialist who's post medical training was strictly in women's reproductive and general health
- They work strictly with pregnant women and delivering babies
- You may require a referral from your family doctor to see an obstetrician
- In many cases obstetrician's work in a team. They take turns sharing office hours and on-call hours. If you choose to see a team of obstetricians it is up to you to meet each doctor on the team and you will want to do just that. It could be any one of them who is on call at the time you go into labour
- Many small towns do not have specialists, so you may not have the option to see an obstetrician
- In many cases a midwife is a nurse who has been trained to care for women with low-risk pregnancies and attend uncomplicated births, but sometimes a midwife will not have prior experience as a nurse and has only been trained as a midwife
- A midwife will focus on you as a "person", rather than as a "patient"
- They will spend extra time with you, discussing how you feel and any problems, and the are oriented towards a "natural" birth
- If you want to have a home birth or give birth in a birthing centre, you will need to find a midwife because doctors do not attend births outside the hospital (generally)
- Like obstetricians, midwifes sometimes practice as a team, sharing office hours as well as on-call hours
- Midwifes usually have a relationship with a family doctor or obstetrician who will be on standby in case there are complications prenatally or during delivery, be sure to ask your midwife if this is the case
- If you can't find a midwife who has availability or if you would like the best of both worlds holistic health and conventional care, you may be interested in hiring a doula
- A doula will provide additional support over and above your doctor's care including emotional support, physical comfort measures, and will help you obtain information to make informed decisions
- You can have your doula in the delivery room to assist you as a birth coach and ensure your birth goes as smooth as possible
- She will also be with you postpartum to teach you about baby care, breastfeeding, and help with emotional issues like postpartum depression
- Think of a doula as an extension of your doctor, doulas are not certified for full prenatal and delivery care, only doctors and midwives have this certification
Personally I wanted to work with a midwife, but due to the demand for midwives in my city, this option wasn't available. So, I decided to go outside my city for care. I now have a mixed team of doctors and midwives and I am trying to meet every single one of them before it's time for little B to arrive. I am very happy with the hospital, clinic, and team of healthcare professionals I am working with :-)
4. Research nutrition and exercise for pregnancy
As mothers we have a responsibility to be as healthy as possible during our pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure we are building strong little people. The decisions you make during pregnancy can have long term effects on the health of your child. Now is the time to clean up your diet and start light low impact exercise.
Obviously you will also want to quit smoking, consuming alcohol, and/or taking certain drugs/medications. Be sure to check with your health care provider for each prescription medication you may be taking. They may need to change the medication or dose accordingly.
Try my 6 week Simply Food Program. This is a very inexpensive way to start eating healthier and it helps you clear some clutter, so when you start nesting you can focus on creating a beautiful nursery instead of cleaning house ;)
5. Decide when and how you're going to break the good news to your family, friends, and coworkers
When and where to break the news is a big decision for many couples. My husband and I couldn't wait to tell our family, especially because we found out shortly before Christmas. Although we hadn't made it to the famous 12 week mark, we decided to tell our families at anyways. We were spending Christmas with his family this year, so we told our little 3 year old niece and she broke the news to the rest of the gang. It was pretty cute.
Because we were away from my family I sent them all a Christmas card with a picture of the positive pregnancy results and congratulating them on their new titles (Grandma/Grandpa/Aunt/Uncle...) They opened their cards on Christmas morning. Best Christmas present ever!
It is up to you when you tell your family. Many people wait until after the first trimester, as risk of complications drops significantly after this period. You may choose to wait longer as well. We decided to tell our families first, then wait until the 8 week mark to tell our friends.
Unique Ways To Tell Your Family And Friends You're Pregnant
- If you have a pet you could purchase a pet jacket for them to wear that says big sister or big brother (this works if you have only 1 child as well)
- If you are telling them near a holiday you can give them the announcement as a gift
- Post a picture on social media or send one in the email of you and your husband both looking at a bun in your oven
- Simply have all your family and friends over for dinner, cook a baby themed dinner for them, and decorate the table with items you would see at a baby shower. It won't take them long to catch on
- Purchase baby themed shirts for you and your husband and see who notices
6. Start choosing baby names
For my husband and I, it took only one baby naming session to pick our names, for other couples it may take the whole pregnancy. Start thinking about names now. Even if you don't choose one until the day your little bundle of joy arrives, your search will be helpful in picking that name.
How To Simplify The Process Of Choosing A Baby Name
Because my husband didn't want to do the research behind picking names this is how we chose our baby names:
- I went through pretty much every name for boys and girls on a baby name app.
- I wrote down the ones I liked as I went through them (the apps usually have a favourites button you can use to save the names you like)
- After I reviewed them all, I went through the favourites list and narrowed it down. This whole process took a few days
- I then gave this list to my husband who picked out the names he liked and from there we chose together. Easy as pie!
The names we picked are a secret, you will all find out on the big day ;)
7. Go to bed at a decent time, get plenty of rest
I received advice from many mothers to go to bed early during the first trimester. In the first trimester we are especially tired and fighting sleepiness will be a never ending battle. Because I chose to act on this very good advice, I found the first trimester a breeze when it came to energy levels. I made sure I allowed myself at least 10 hours for sleeping. I was also in a special position where my schedule allowed for napping every day, so I took advantage of a 30 minute cat nap daily. Do your best to fit lots of sleep time into your schedule, you will thank me for it.
I've also chosen to continue getting lots of sleep throughout the second trimester. Simply because I know the third trimester brings insomnia and when my little baby arrives, I will be wishing I could have my sleep time back.
8. Get your finances in order
Now is the time to seriously start budgeting and paying off any debts you may have. If your country doesn't cover your health care costs and you have limited or no health insurance, it will cost money for your prenatal care and delivery. You will also have added costs as you get closer to your due date for "baby accessories/furniture". I assume you would also like to start saving money for your little one's future. Remember, you will be reduced to one family income until you are ready to return to work after having the baby.
As mothers we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure financial health for our families. Money and debt problems place strain on couples which can transfer negatively to our children. No matter what your financial situation is, there is always a way to rectify it if you are willing to put in the work.
How To Prepare Financially For A Baby
- Prepare a budget
- List all your projected income sources and amounts earned for the month
- List all your potential expenses (every single one) for the month
- Deduct your expenses from your income and this how much money you project you will have left over for savings and extra debt repayment
- If your left over number is negative you will need to tighten up your budget by reducing any entertainment and frivolous expenses
- If this number is still negative, I highly recommend you seek help from a professional. There are many free government programs that provide professional help for debt repayment
- Make a list all your assets and debts
- Determine if there are any ways you can modify your budget to free up money to pay off debt faster and start a savings account for your baby
- Is there anything you can sell to put lump sum payments on debts, whether assets from your list or larger household items you don't need or use
- Keep track of your income, expenses, assets, and debts each month and do your best to stay within the budget you set for yourself in step 1
I want to note that debt is a "disease" that is plaguing civilization today. It is not healthy and needs to stop. If you can't afford to pay cash for it, don't buy it! It is not worth the stress of having to pay off massive credit card debt. Personally I cut up my credit cards over 4 years ago. Since then my husband and I have managed to reduce our debt to just our mortgage. We are on track to be debt free by the time our little B heads off to his/her first day of kindergarten.
Once you start paying off your debts it is addicting. You see the future and the freedom you can achieve by not owing money. If you struggle in this area I implore you to look for professional help to get you through it. Your situation may seem bleak, but trust me, there is always a way.
You will want to learn money management skills to pass on to your children so they do not end up in dire financial situations. I would like to see the next generations "stick it to the bank" and not borrow a single dime!
9. Talk with other mothers to learn their experiences during pregnancy
The best way to learn about pregnancy is from other mothers. Their experiences will be invaluable resources for you to learn what to expect, how to be prepared, and those little tips they wish they new during their pregnancies. If this is your first pregnancy, and you don't have many friends who have recently had a pregnancy, look into attending prenatal yoga or various classes like birthing classes. These are great places to meet and talk to women who've been there done that.
I have a special treat for you this month. I am in the process of preparing a collection of pregnancy stories from mothers around the world. This collection will give you an opportunity to learn pregnancy hacks right from the horses mouth (so to speak). Expect the release to be closer to the end of April.
10. Start a pregnancy journal, including snapshots of your growing baby bump
Your journal can be elaborate and detailed or you can simply jot down weekly how you felt and any changes you are going through. I chose to write a journal on my blog, because after 30 years, my mom couldn't remember much about her pregnancies (no fault of hers). It would have been nice for me if she kept a journal, as I assume there would be many similarities between us. If you have a little girl, you can give this to her when she is pregnant for the first time.
A journal will help you to be more aware of what is happening and changing with your body. If you are uncomfortable for any reason you can let your doctor know and maybe catch problems earlier on when they are easier to rectify.
Journaling is a great way to explore your emotions and help you come to terms with your pregnancy. Whether or not you planned to have a baby, you are, and all pregnant women have feelings of insecurity at times throughout their pregnancies. Writing them down will help you to accept those feelings and move on.
Don't stress yourself out about preparing for your baby in the first trimester. You are going to have so many other things to worry about like morning sickness, picky eating, and low energy levels. Take the time to rest, enjoy being in the spotlight when you announce the good news, and to simply get comfortable with being pregnant. Remember there is lots of time for change, growth, and preparation.
Love and Happiness,
Krystal Bernier, The Healthy Minimalist