Once you’ve seen that positive pregnancy test you might go bonkers. Tons of questions and concerns will raise and they make the first weeks of pregnancy scary, exciting and exhausting. But, do not worry, it will all eventually get easier. Find here a to-do list for those first few weeks, use it as a guide and find what feels right for you.
1. Arrange your first antenatal appointment
You might not be familiar with the procedures and timings of the antenatal appointments in your area. You should normally book your first appointment with your midwife when you are around 12 weeks pregnant, but it may differ depending on where you live.
During your first appointment with the midwife, you’ll go through both you and your partner’s medical and family history. Your midwife will also check your blood pressure, weight and height, take some bloods and give you some advise on how to look after yourself during pregnancy.
Until then, you can always see your GP if you need some support or use your private health insurance if you have one.
2. Learn what to eat and what not to eat
You might have heard a lot about the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy. Some of them are raw or under-cooked eggs, meat, fish, liver and pate and some strong cheeses and unpasteurised dairy products. You should also wash very well all fresh vegetables before eating them.
These foods might contain parasites, bacteria or toxins that could harm your developing baby like Toxoplasma, Listeria, Salmonella or Anisakis amongst others.
It is also recommended that you cut down on caffeine. So switch to decaf drinks or limit your coffee and teas as much as you can.
It is really a myth that you are eating for two. You won’t be needing extra calories till your third trimester, when you will need to add around 200 calories to your healthy, balanced diet. That will get all the nutrients that you and your developing baby need. Check out Baby Centre tips on how to eat well during pregnancy.
3. Cut out on toxins
There is far more research on this matter nowadays and that’s why most experts advise to cut out alcohol and smoking. There are both toxic to your baby, associated with higher risk of miscarriage or fetal development problems.
4. Vitamin supplements
It’s likely that many people recommend you to start taking vitamin supplements from day 1. The truth is, the only essential supplement is folic acid. You need 400 micrograms a day to prevent your baby against spina bifida, a brain and spinal cord development problem.
Ideally, you should have a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy, but there are some multivitamin supplements that can top up your daily requirements, specially for iron or vitamin D. You can buy them over the counter from pharmacies or supermarkets. Check with your GP or midwife first if you are not sure.
5. Check before taking any medicines
You need to be careful about taking medicines, even if you’ve been taking them for long or without prescription. In order to be always on the safe side, check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking any medicine.
6. Learn the danger signs
It can sometime be difficult to tell whether the symptom is really dangerous or not, such as itchiness or back pain. If they don’t go away or you are experiencing abdominal pain, cramps, bleeding, abnormal vaginal discharge, swollen legs or face, blurred vision, fever or your baby moves less, seek medical help immediately.
7. Be gentle on your exercise and chores
You do need to keep doing regular exercise. It’s good to keep you fit and prepare for what’s to come. Activities like Yoga, Pilates, walking… are gentle to your body.
On the other hand, avoid exercises and activity with high risk of falls or injuries, high impact on your pelvic floor or intense cardio workout. Your body is changing every day and you need to adapt to it.
8. Keep yourself informed: websites and apps
There are plenty of websites where you can read about pregnancy but… are you sure of their sources? In my opinion, the best source is always NHS choices, with plenty of links and resources.
Another website I like is Babycentre, specially their app. I love it. Extremely user friendly, good sources, tips and support info such as videos or graphics. It is a very easy way to keep yourself informed as well as getting your partner involved in the progression of your pregnancy. Definitely recommended!