So, you’ve just discovered that you’re pregnant. Congrats! After you’ve overcome the excitement, shock or whatever you may be feeling, it’s time to move on to the next steps. You’ve got to prepare for what’s to come. Even if this isn’t your first baby, the wealth of information out there can feel overwhelming.
To help you navigate the big changes coming to your life, we’ve compiled this list of seven steps to get you started on a healthy and happy pregnancy.
7 next steps for pregnant women
1. Decide on an OB-GYN or midwife.
It’s important that you choose a healthcare provider you trust to help you bring your bundle of joy into the world. Think about what type of birth you desire — a “standard” medical birth with all the meds or something more natural. Ask questions to potential providers to make sure they support your wishes. It might take a few appointments to find someone you’re comfortable with, but don’t just settle. This is your unborn child we are talking about!
2. Make some changes to your diet and lifestyle.
You may already know that tobacco and alcohol should be avoided at all costs for the health of your growing baby. There are foods that you should watch out for too, such as undercooked meats and larger fish such as shark and swordfish. Your food becomes your baby’s food, so make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking lots of water.
3. Share the news.
Sharing the news of your pregnancy is a personal choice. Many people choose to wait until the first trimester is over before announcing the news. Others share their pregnancy with just a few close family and friends early on. A popular way to share the news is creating a photo announcement about your family’s new addition. You could post it on Facebook or mail it to your family and friends.
4. Handle your career.
It can feel complicated and difficult to manage your work and career life while pregnant. Use Fairygodboss’s pregnancy week-by-week tool to guide you through the process, one week at a time. You’ll find advice on dressing for work, preparing for maternity leave and making important work-life decisions throughout your pregnancy and childbirth.
5. Take a childbirth class.
It’s a good idea to take a childbirth class around your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, but you might want to start looking now. Often, you can find these classes at the hospital where you plan to deliver. Childbirth classes help you mentally and physically prepare for the big task of childbirth by teaching you the basics of the labor process. You and your partner (or a friend) will learn coping techniques to use during labor and delivery.
6. Make plans for maternity leave.
Maternity leave (or parental leave) is often a big focus for moms and dads who are expecting. It’s important that your job allows you time to heal from childbirth and bond with your baby. But preparing for maternity leave can be tricky. Laws vary from state to state, and each company has its own set of rules regarding how long a new mother can stay home. Start researching your company’s policies and asking who you need to talk to about the upcoming event.
7. Bond with your baby.
Even before your baby is here, you’ll be spending quite a lot of time wondering who this little munchkin is. When the baby starts kicking (around 16-18 weeks), you’ll finally get a feel for who they are. Before that, pregnancy can feel mysterious. Download a pregnancy-tracking app to help you visualize your baby’s size from week to week. Talk to your baby, create items for them and start thinking about names. These are all ways to feel a bond with your baby before you ever meet them.
Pregnancy is a fun yet confusing time in your life. This list is meant to get you started in the early days, but you’ll probably need to do much more in preparation for your little one. If you’re ready for more helpful tips, check out our pregnancy checklist. You can also find endless pregnancy and childbirth resources online.