There it is. The positive pregnancy test you’ve been waiting what feels like an eternity (i.e. 5 minutes) for. You’re pregnant!
What should you do first? Go tell your husband. Wait, no. Maybe your doctor? Find a midwife? Order a pregnancy book? Your head is swirling and twirling with thoughts and to-do’s.
If the first thing you did was Google “I’m pregnant… now what?!,” we have some answers for you right here.
Without further ado, here’s a helpful “to do” list for you:
1. Revel in it
Go ahead. Jump up and down and run around the house screaming at the top of your lungs, “I’m PREGNANT!!!” Do your happy dance.
Whether it happened quickly, or you’ve been trying for years, it is truly a blissful moment when you realize you’ve got a little miracle growing inside of you.
In the near future, you’ll settle into the fact you’re with child. For now, it’s time to just feel joy.
2. Find a fun way to tell your husband or partner
Sure, you could go the old-fashioned way, and tell them the moment you find out. Or you could get Pinterest-y and surprise the heck out of them. Here are a few ideas to get your mind going, but the more personal, the better.
- Put a bun in the oven. Add a toothpick flag on top that says the baby’s due date. Ask your partner to take dinner out of the oven so he catches it first-hand.
- Make a sign ahead of time that says, “I’m pregnant!” and plan a trip to the mall or a fair where you’ll know there will be a photo booth. Hold up the sign on the first take, then enjoy his reaction in the remaining pictures.
- “Hide” the pregnancy test some place that you know he’ll find it. In his sock drawer, wrapped up with the TV remote, in the door of the fridge next to the beer.
- Let the T-shirt do the talking. Get him a t-shirt that announces the news like this one or have your kid announce that they are going to be a big brother or sister—that includes fur kids too.
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3. Change your diet
If there was ever a time to take your health seriously, it’s when you’re growing a baby inside of you. No matter your starting point (daily McDonald’s trips and soda to leafy greens and bone broth), making sound nutrition decisions during pregnancy isn’t easy.
You have the cards stacked up against you—your heightened sense of smell, your aversion to greens and meat, your morning sickness that lasts way beyond the morning.
If you’re ready and willing to change your diet though, try not to get too caught up in the details. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there. What’s most important is that you eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense, real foods to make sure you’re giving your baby everything it needs. Try to incorporate as many colors of the rainbow into your plate as possible so you and baby benefit from all Nature offers.
I’m also a proponent of getting ample protein per the Brewer’s Diet. For me, it made all the difference in my feet swelling from my first pregnancy when compared with my second and third.
4. Start a prenatal
Even if you’ve been following a nutrient-rich, fertility diet full of avocado, liver, grass-fed meat, and cod liver oil, you should still take a prenatal supplement to make sure all your bases are covered.
Unfortunately, our depleted soils and industrialized food system keep us from getting everything we need from food alone.
Of course, many of your typical drugstore prenatals have also been industrialized. They may contain all of the nutrients, but these nutrients are created in a laboratory with vitamin isolates separated from the natural co-factors that help your body properly absorb the vitamin.
Thank goodness, then, for natural vitamins, which have actually been shown to be superior to synthetic ones. Here is an in-depth breakdown of natural prenatal vitamin options.
5. Swap out your products
When we think processed, unnatural, and toxic, food usually comes to mind. But the products you use on and around yourself can affect you (and your baby) just as much. (Read more about this here and here)
Start in your medicine cabinet with your toothpaste, soap, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. Here are a handful of suggestions for natural alternatives, and what to look for in your products going forward.
Then make your way to the cleaning and laundry products. There are a few good products out there, but sometimes the best solution is whole foods like salt, lemons, vinegar, and baking soda.
Finally, ditch the scented candles, perfume, “fresh scent” fabric softener and Glade Plug Ins. These are toxic and not good for you or baby. (Source)
6. Download a pregnancy app or sign up for Mama Natural week-by-week
There’s nothing more exciting than following the growth of your baby every single week.
- Week 5: Your baby’s heart starts beating.
- Week 14: You’re entering the second trimester and your little one is the size of a peach. Eek!
There’s no need to wait for your checkups to get this information, because, of course, there’s an app for that. In fact, there’s quite a few pregnancy apps.
That said, there aren’t any apps out there for the crunchy mamas-to-be, so I created my own. It’s called the Natural Pregnancy Week By Week and you can sign up for it here.
7. Set up an appointment with a midwife or a doctor
If you’re most comfortable with a doctor, there are some natural-minded obstetrician gynecologists out there.
However, if you want a more natural childbirth, then working with a midwife is your best bet.
Studies show that midwife labors tend to have fewer interventions (source), plus moms who give birth with midwives are more likely to successfully breastfeed. (source)
If you do choose to go the midwife route, here are great interview questions to find the right midwife for you.
8. Find a doula
There’s another birthing professional besides your doctor or midwife? Yes, and they are more necessary than you could ever imagine. A doula is a trained professional who gives continuous physical (non-medical) and emotional support to expecting mothers. I like to call them birthing angels. Some doulas even provide postpartum support.
One study found that expectant mothers matched with doulas were:
- four times less likely to have a low birth weight baby,
- two times less likely to experience a birth complication,
- and significantly more successful at initiating breastfeeding.
The best way to find a doula is to ask around. Your friends, family or midwife can give you referrals. Interview them yourself, and make sure they’re the best fit for you. If you can’t find a good referral, try this site or this site to find one in your area.
9. Build a registry
Oh, the baby registry! Even more exciting than a wedding registry, but also more confusing. If this is your first kid, chances are you have no idea where to start. Should I go cloth diaper or disposable? How many bottles do I need? What’s a swaddle, and how do I do it?
First things first: Remember that baby “stuff” is helpful, but babies (especially newborns) don’t actually require that many things. If you start with the basics—something to wear, some place to poop and some place to sleep, you’re covered 🙂
You’ll realize that, even though your friend “can’t live without her Moby wrap,” your little one might not take to it. Also, though you may have many well-intentioned friends and family who have their registry recommendations, you might be looking for a more natural or minimal route. I’ve got you covered there.
Here’s everything you need to know about creating a baby registry.
10. Up your mental game
Educating yourself is vital to prepare you (and your partner!) for childbirth mentally, physically, and spiritually. Through childbirth education classes (like the Mama Natural birth course!), you will learn everything you need to know about each stage of labor, get helpful tools to navigate the intensity of childbirth, and connect with a support network of other pregnant moms.
Many moms find that practicing positive birth affirmations and visualizations can also help. Studies show that our brains can create new, positive neuro pathways through our thoughts. As a result, birth affirmations can help you connect with baby and reduce fear and anxiety around labor.
11. Do strategic exercise
Exercise boosts baby’s brain power. It doesn’t have to be crossfit, either. In fact, gentle exercise is much more appropriate for pregnancy—just some light stretching or 30 minutes of walking a few times per week will do.
You can also do pelvic exercises to keep your baby in optimal position for birth.
12. Get out while you can
Once morning sickness passes (or maybe you’ll get lucky and skip that phase altogether!) and you’re in the second trimester (also called the “magic middle”) get out and party!
OK, maybe party isn’t the right word. But there are plenty of things you and your partner can do to treat and nurture yourselves.
Here’s a fun list of 17 things to do before baby arrives.
Suddenly feeling the urge to clean out the junk drawer? Rearrange the furniture? Organize that giant box of pictures into photo albums? After you’ve partied like it’s 1999, get down to business. Nesting is the intuitive desire to get your home ready for your bundle of joy.
A 2013 study found that nesting is more than “irrational” behavior; it’s actually key to preparing for childbirth. And it doesn’t just stop at cleaning the garage and painting the bathrooms, it can also include intense thought as to where the birth will take place and who will be present.
When it comes to nesting, there is no reason to hold back. By getting “your ducks in a row”, you will feel more productive, less stressed and ready for your big labor day. Get your nursery set up, wash those baby clothes, get your hospital bag packed, do whatever it takes to feel good heading into birth. Unless, of course, it involves lifting heavy objects, climbing a ladder, or sacrificing precious sleep.
How About You?
What did you do when you found out you were pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.