Congratulations, you're pregnant!
The journey to motherhood can be daunting. Maybe this is your first pregnancy or it's just been a few years. What should you do next? Here are some important things to do as your first steps in your pregnancy experience.
Take a Deep Breath
Learning that you are expecting can bring many emotions— every women may feel a range of feelings from excited to anxious to joyful and even a bit scared. It’s all normal. Take a deep breath and acknowledge whatever it is that you feel. Know that you always have support at every step with AdventHealth for Women.
Track Your Symptoms
Your body will go through many changes during your pregnancy and you might have some symptoms that pop up from time to time. From morning sickness to back pain and many others in between, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor to make sure that they fall within the normal range of a healthy pregnancy.
Connect With Your OB/GYN
It’s important to call your OB/GYN and let them know that you’re expecting. Each physician may have different protocols for when they schedule your first appointment, but they may have important information to share in the meantime, like adjustments to your current medications or lifestyle. Establishing your OB who will guide you through from expecting to motherhood is a critical step in your life journey, and you can trust your whole-person obstetrics experts at AdventHealth for Women to deliver the best possible care with uncommon compassion.
Know Your Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is an important indicator of whole health. If high blood pressure is not treated during pregnancy, it can lead to complications for both a mother and her baby, including preeclampsia, eclampsia, stroke, pregnancy induction and placental abruption. Untreated high blood pressure can also affect the mother’s blood vessels and reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The good news is that much of this can be prevented with routine blood pressure screenings and treatment to manage it, if necessary.
Focus on Your Nutrition
You’re eating to feed two. So it’s important to get adequate nutrition for both your and your developing baby’s whole health. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Talk to your doctor about what vitamins are best for you. In general, prenatal vitamins with DHA are commonly recommended.
- Eat a balanced diet, avoiding foods that could be harmful to your baby, such as unpasteurized dairy and juices, certain seafood, undercooked meat and too much caffeine. Talk to your doctor about his or her specific recommendations for you.
- Be aware of what over-the-counter medications are considered safe during pregnancy and be cautious about anything not approved by your doctor.
Get Your Rest
Pregnancy can make you tired and fatigued, especially in the earlier weeks. It’s important to listen to your body and get the rest you need. Take naps. Sleep in. Go to bed early. Do what you have to do to nurture your whole health throughout your pregnancy.
Exercise can be a great way to stay healthy and fit during your pregnancy, but you don’t want to overdo it. Talk to your doctor about what is recommended for you. In general, activities like walking, riding a stationary bike or doing a prenatal yoga class can bring many positive benefits for both mom and baby.
Know What to Expect
The first round of tests and screenings for newly pregnant mothers is all about making sure that you're healthy and to find out if any special considerations will need to be taken during your pregnancy.
Here are more details about some of the tests you may experience during your first trimester:
- Socially Transmitted Infections (STIs)
A standard range of tests is performed to ensure that you're not carrying any infectious diseases that you could pass on to your baby.
- Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear
This is just like your annual exam where the doctor will be looking for any signs of cervical cancer or anything else out of the ordinary.
- A1C Test for Diabetes
Diabetes can complicate a pregnancy and may even develop later in pregnancy, so it’s important for your doctor to know what your glucose levels are.
- Urine Culture
The urine culture screening is used to ensure that you don't currently have a urinary tract infection or UTI that would need to be treated immediately.
- Blood Type
A blood test is run to determine your blood type. Those with Rh-negative blood (O-, A-, B- etc.) can be at risk for bleeding later in their pregnancy and may require medication to treat it.
- Screening for Antibodies
This check is to ensure that your body isn't responding to the pregnancy as a foreign invader, like an infection. There are also other antibodies that you may have acquired through a previous pregnancy or a blood transfusion that may harm your growing baby.
- Genetic Screening
This test is performed to determine if you're a carrier for any single gene disorders like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, or muscular dystrophy, to name a few. These rare but serious hereditary diseases can be passed down to your children so it's important to know if this will be a factor in your family planning.
The number of ultrasounds you can expect to have depends on many factors, but generally, you’ll have at least two during the course of your pregnancy. Your first ultrasound will take place between five and 14 weeks. The next ultrasound you may receive will be between 18 and 22 weeks and may be able to indicate the sex of your baby.
Let Us Be Your Guide
We believe in the well-being of you and your baby from pregnancy to birth and beyond. As your lifelong partner in whole health, we’re committed to providing you with the best women’s care available. Learn more about the women's health and family planning services in your area that will help you prepare to welcome your new family member into the world.