This post is going to share what to do after you find out you’re pregnant. Or, if you’ve forgotten, you should still do these things for EACH pregnancy. What to do when you’re first pregnant.
First off, hello! I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I’ve seen THOUSANDS of pregnant women and I know how many thoughts are going through your head. Let’s untangle a few of them, but first I’d love it if you let me walk by you during this pregnancy:
1. Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests to find out if you’re pregnant
They’re legit, people. They just have less packaging, less advertising and less plastic. It’s not like your doctor’s office needs an EPT to tell if you’re pregnant each time. I buy them in bulk, just so when I’m having a procedure or I’m taking medicine I can KNOW. Do it. Or, check these out from Amazon!
BTW if you’re reading this without a positive pregnancy test — the first thing you want to do is to go buy a test and take it (don’t email me, I have no information on if you’re pregnant or not).
I know a lot of people worry their pregnancy test wasn’t right — but there are VERY few false positives (but some people do lose the baby in early pregnancy and that’s different).
False negatives do happen for a variety of reasons
- Taking it before a missed period (too early)
- Not doing the test right
- Expired tests
Also, the time of the day can matter (your first pee of the morning is best). If you have irregular periods, wait at least 30-40 days from your last period, or about 2 weeks from when you think you conceived.
If you get a negative result, and don’t get your period for a few more days (and it’s passed the time you would have missed your period) take another one, or call your provider.
I also have a “super accurate” online pregnancy test. 🙂 I also have a really cool pregnancy calendar that gives you a lot of dates to look forward to (including your due date, when your first trimester ends, and more).
FYI, a home pregnancy test is just about as accurate as a blood test — although a blood test can show if your levels are rising and falling, talk with your provider if you have questions. However if you get a positive result on a pregnancy test, you are most likely pregnant and you should call your provider (there are some rare medical conditions that can also cause a positive pregnancy test, but all of that would require you to see a provider for help).
Ok, now you KNOW you are pregnant, what are the next steps?
2. Find a health care provider when you’re first pregnant
Perhaps you had an OB before you got pregnant, but a lot of people just see family practice doctors for physicals outside of pregnancy. I have a whole post on finding a doctor but let me boil it down to the best way:
- Find someone close to your home or your work (this is a good idea because you see them FREQUENTLY near the end).
- Figure out what hospital you want to deliver at and find a doctor that matches it.
- Find one you agree with — and this post has lots of hints to help you figure that out!
Most doctors want to see you for your first appointment between 6-10 weeks. However if you have certain medical conditions (like high blood pressure) they may want your first prenatal appointment earlier, so find a doctor ASAP.
At your first appointment for pregnancy care they will do a thorough medical history, and will likely do some blood work and urine tests. They will also ask a lot of questions about your insurance (to make sure they get paid). If you don’t have insurance, they can possibly help you get on medicaid.
I also did a podcast on choosing your provider.
3. Find a hospital when you’re first pregnant
Again, 2 and 3 are kind of inter-related. I worked at a free-standing birth center. This offers the ability to not be in a “hospital” environment, but having a full hospital at your disposal (because I am a nurse that works for the hospital). I think it’s really nice not to have share elevators with people who have who-knows-what.
I’d see what’s around you and get recommendations from friends about local hospitals. Keep in mind that doctors only get “privileges” at one or two hospitals. They can’t just go to any hospital and deliver a baby. It’s just not how it works. One word: paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. 🙂 Hence, they can usually only keep up with a few. Also, it would require them to drive and possibly be at several hospitals and that can take time away from other patients, so it can be a hard call.
That’s just one of the ways why a hospital is not a hotel (pregnant women need to read that article).
4. Call your insurance in early pregnancy
Check out co-pays and how much your hospital stay is likely to cost. Also, you may need to pre-approve your hospital stay, they can give you the skinny!
5. Find a prenatal vitamin and take it when you’re first pregnant
Hopefully, you were taking prenatal vitamins before you conceived, as folic acid is most important before you’d really even know you’re pregnant. They can help prevent birth defects. Any questions about what you should take, ask your healthcare provider.
Prenatal vitamins are a cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy. You should take them all of the weeks of pregnancy. It’s a really important thing.
Keep up with a healthy diet too, just because you’re taking vitamins isn’t a reason to slack on “eating the rainbow”. A balanced diet will help you feel better too.
You’ll also want to stop things like illicit or addictive drug use, birth control pills (if you were on it), and most alcohol or coffee consumption. Ask your doctor what levels they think are OK. And yes, marijuana use during pregnancy has been tied with low birth weight in babies (and possibly issues later on).
6. You can continue to work out in early pregnancy
If you feel up to it, you can continue to keep up the same activity as you did before you got pregnant. There are more restrictions on what type of workouts you can do as you progress in your pregnancy. Check with your doctor, but there’s no reason to feel like a fragile flower.
Many women find low impact exercises extra helpful during pregnancy.
7. Being tired is normal in early pregnancy
I remember with my last baby, if I wasn’t pregnant I would have been sure I had cancer. I wanted to lay in my bed ALL. DAY. LONG. When I wasn’t caressing my pillow I was wishing I was. Constant droopy lids. SO. TIRED. When you think of all the iron it takes to build a placenta and a baby, you’ll know why! Having a hard time sleeping — this post shows you some ways to sleep during pregnancy.
Looking for more info on very early pregnancy symptoms << that blog has some awesome info!
Also, if you haven’t told your husband/partner yet — my friend Camille has some cute ideas on how to tell your husband you’re pregnant.
It’s NOT too early to think about fitting in a prenatal class? Check out my online, non-nonsense prenatal class for couples available now with 3 price points to fit your wallet! — even a free version to try out now!
Most people don’t feel morning sickness right away. MOST people find it starts between weeks 6-9 and peaks before the end of your first trimester (week 13) — but if you have any questions ask your provider. Have morning sickness? Check out my post on lollipops for pregnancy nausea.
As soon as that baby implants in your uterine wall, your body starts building hormones to keep it alive! You may find mood swings very early in pregnancy (plus there are a lot of changes that you may feel uncertain about).
Up to you. We didn’t tell family members until later, but I told my work early on as there are times pregnant women need to not be in the room (x-rays, etc) so it’s just best that my team knew.
Like I said, those hormones are crazy!
Ask your provider when you schedule your first appointment — every office is different!
If you’re interested in getting prepared, but not sure you’re ready for a prenatal class, try my Free Beginning Prenatal Class: