Getting a positive pregnancy test is a life-changing event, and however you are feeling about that positive test you just got, we want you to know that we're here for you every step of the way! You likely have a lot of questions, and we aim to answer those here as much as possible.
Every woman is different, as is every pregnancy, so we want to preface this with the fact that nothing can replace the direct recommendations of your doctor that were meant specifically for you. Everything we share here is to give you an idea of what to expect and general instructions on how to care for yourself during this time. However, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away! Nothing can beat the advice of your doctor for your pregnancy.
I'm Pregnant - Now What?
The majority of women like to schedule an appointment right away after a positive at-home pregnancy test, especially if it’s their first. You don’t have to worry about visiting a doctor immediately unless you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- Excessive headaches and nausea: Headaches and nausea are pretty normal during pregnancy, but if they feel excessive then you’ll want to see a doctor right away.
- Vaginal bleeding: If you have vaginal bleeding that’s more than a little bit of spotting, as spotting is fairly normal.
- High fever: This could indicate an infection or some other ailment.
- Itching throughout your body
- Pain during urination
- Sudden swelling of your hands, feet, or face
- A chronic health condition: These can affect your pregnant body in a variety of ways, and it’s good for your doctor to stay on top of things right away.
If you don’t have any of these things to be concerned about, don’t worry about seeing your doctor immediately. You’ll just want to schedule an appointment as soon as you can to start prenatal care. You may also consider getting a blood test done to confirm the positive at-home pregnancy test because false positives can happen, as well as other things, within the first few days of pregnancy.
There are a few things to be thinking about right now as you prepare to go see a doctor about your pregnancy:
- Calculating your due date
- Choosing your doctor or midwife
- Deciding when to announce your pregnancy
What to Know About Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is designed to give mothers peace of mind and encourage them to care for their bodies during pregnancy. It can help prevent complications with your pregnancy and help keep your baby healthy throughout the length of your pregnancy.
Your prenatal care should begin when a doctor confirms your pregnancy and you’ve scheduled regular appointments with your obstetrician (OB). At each appointment, they will check your blood pressure, weight, and urine protein in addition to checking on your baby to ensure that your body is handling your pregnancy normally and that there isn’t cause for concern.
Prenatal care is essential for the health of your baby and yourself. Here are some benefits you’ll discover from receiving prenatal care.
- Your health and the health of your baby depends on it. A humbling stat that backs this up is that babies whose mother didn’t follow a prenatal care routine are three times more likely to have low birth weight, and five times more likely to not survive than the mothers who did follow a prenatal care routine. While most pregnancies can be perfectly normal, prenatal visits can help detect any potential problems or potential health concerns ahead of time, meaning that your doctor can make educated plans to improve your pregnancy and protect you and your baby.
- You’ll get personalized nutrition information. Your diet is very likely going to change during pregnancy, and you’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients to support yourself and your baby. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t “eat for two.” Your doctor can provide you with the do’s and don’ts of what you should be eating during this time.
- You can keep track of your baby’s development. Downloading an app that gives you an estimated weight and size of your baby is vastly different than knowing their actual weight and size and being able to hear their heartbeat! Your doctor can track your baby’s growth and do ultrasounds ([see ultrasounds you can expect by trimester](https://ogaidaho.com/ultrasounds-by-trimester/)) that will verify your baby’s development and gender.
- You can schedule tests to ensure the full health of your baby. Limit the number of surprises you experience through proper prenatal care. The negative effects of many conditions can be minimized through proper intervention with your physician – but first, you have to identify if there is a problem. It’s vastly empowering to know about an issue beforehand and to address it rather than finding out when you get to the delivery room and the baby is born.
- You’ll be prepared for labor and delivery. You and your partner will create your own labor and delivery plan, but how well that plan is laid out will depend on how educated you are on labor and delivery procedures. At your prenatal visits, your OB will discuss all of this with you, including procedures, questions and concerns, as well as potential scenarios. This also includes discussion on the risks and benefits of every treatment or intervention option that’s available to you, so you can make educated decisions.
Life During Pregnancy
There are a lot of changes that happen during pregnancy! The biggest of which will be bodily and lifestyle changes. A pregnancy typically consists of 40 weeks broken into three trimesters. Each trimester brings new things to the table and can include some adjustments.
The first trimester of your pregnancy includes weeks 1 through 12 and comes with a lot of adjustment and bodily changes. Your body starts to go through many changes thanks to the hormones that will affect just about every system in your body.
The second trimester of pregnancy spans weeks 13 through 28 and is typically easier than the first trimester. Symptoms such as nausea and fatigue tend to diminish, but you’ll likely start experiencing new symptoms as your body is adjusting and your belly is expanding. The most exciting part of this trimester is that you’ll be able to feel the movements of your baby before the end!
The third trimester is your final stretch before the baby comes! Many women express feeling “huge” at this point but be assured that everything you’re experiencing is contributing to the baby’s health. You’re going to be experiencing a lot of the same things you did during the second trimester, with some changes. Your body is continuing to try to make room for the baby and it may get a bit uncomfortable. However, once the baby is born, you’ll see these discomforts dissipate.