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Note: This is my opinion on what you should do when you find out you are pregnant. It is how I feel, and I feel strongly about it. I know others will either agree or disagree, and that is fine, but it doesn’t change my experiences or my thoughts. So please be courteous about what you comment.
The second you find out you are pregnant, a lot of things can run through your mind.
“We are going to be parents!”
“Oh my gosh, we are going to be parents!”
“We are going to have a CHILD.”
“I am going to get so huge.”
“It’s going to cost so much money.”
“I’ve never diapered a baby before.”
“But we are going to be parents!”
“What in the world do we do now???”
Don’t worry! I am here to tell you some helpful tips and things to do once you find out you are pregnant! I am on my second pregnancy, and during the first, I was just so full of excitement that I didn’t think about some of these things. But now that I am in the middle of my second pregnancy, I have realized that there are several things that you will want to do as soon as you find out you are pregnant, and then throughout pregnancy.
1. Decide when to announce your pregnancy. I always wait to announce my pregnancies publicly until the second trimester. I think family is okay to tell, but it can be smart not to tell the whole world until after the first trimester is over. Yes, it’s hard not to tell your friends as soon as you find out you are pregnant, but try not to post it to Facebook just yet. One of my biggest fears is having to go back and tell people that something has happened and you have had a miscarriage. The baby is most vulnerable during the first 12 weeks you are pregnant, and after the first trimester, the chance of a miscarriage drops dramatically (down to 10% of all known pregnancies). Everyone is different any you may decide to tell people as soon as you find out, but think about where your support system lies in the small chance that something does happen. If you want to read more about why I think you should wait, you can read this post about why I wait until the second trimester to tell people I’m pregnant.
2. Document your pregnancy. One of the best ways to do this is to use a pregnancy journal. There are tons of cute ones on Amazon, and I have seen cute ones on Etsy, too. The best ones ask questions about each week or month, and provide lots of places for you to write down how you’re feeling, what you’re craving, or changes you’ve been experiencing. It might seem silly if you aren’t pregnant, but there’s a lot of stuff that happens and it is fun to write it all down! Plus, then you can go back during subsequent pregnancies and compare! You’ll be amazed at how different pregnancies can be even in the same person! If you’re not sure how to document your pregnancy in pictures, check out this post.
3. Take lots of pictures. This sort of goes along with documenting your pregnancy, but it is really fun to take lots of pictures. You can do weekly pictures or monthly pictures. With Little J and this pregnancy, I have been taking a picture (or trying to) every two or three weeks. It’s fun to see how you grow, and you can even get creative with a little sign or use your computer to put in text. This also makes it so you can compare what you looked like with multiple pregnancies, and you can see how much sooner and bigger you are the second time around! And get Dad and other kids involved, too. There are lots of cute pictures I have seen on Pinterest with kids kissing their mom’s belly or with couple maternity shoots. Just take lots of pictures!
4. Check your medications to see if you can still take them. I had some allergy medications that I was taking before I got pregnant with Little J and after my first appointment, my doctor recommended not taking them anymore. Some things like ibuprofen shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy either, so you may want to consider switching to Tylenol for any headaches or cramps that get severe. There are other things that you shouldn’t take during pregnancy, too, so check with your doctor in your first prenatal visit to find out what you need to be careful of. It’s much better to be safe than sorry!
5. Take a before picture. With my first pregnancy, I took a “one month” picture as soon as we found out we were having a baby. Then with this pregnancy, I took a “five week” picture. It was fun to see how much different I looked, and then to compare the before picture with a picture from right before Little J was born and then after I had lost the weight. “That will make you feel bad,” you say. No. Trust me. It will be fun to compare, and in my case, it actually helped motivate me to lose the weight once baby was born. And while not everyone may think this is funny, it was crazy to see where I had gained that 50 pounds. With my daughter, I only gained 35 pounds, and you can tell in the pictures below that most of the weight gain was in my belly and not in my face and butt like it was the first time!
6. Use lotion early and everywhere. During my first pregnancy, my skin decided that it was going to have stretch marks all over. And I mean all over. My chest, my thighs, my butt, and yes, my stomach. So as soon as I started seeing those little lines I started slathering on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Palmers Tummy Butter. And while I still had the stretch marks, I think it definitely helped me not to get them as bad as they could have been. So my advice would be to use lotion early and everywhere, because you don’t know where you are going to get those stretch marks, especially if it is your first pregnancy. You will go through a lot of it and it’s not the cheapest stuff, but it really is worth it!
7. Find a workout plan and stick to it. Not only is it important to workout when you aren’t pregnant, it is important to stay healthy and workout while you are pregnant! Your body is going through a lot of changes and you want to keep it healthy. When I was pregnant the first time I used the stretches and exercises in the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book and I did them every day. They helped me stay flexible and I think especially the ones that strengthen your pelvic floor helped me have a really fast delivery. This time I am doing a combination of the Gaiam Fit Plan for Pregnancy and Blogilates. I feel great and I feel strong. It is a combination of cardio and strength training and stretching, which will help you stay healthy as long as you aren’t eating too much. And I also really think that if you are used to working out every day, once you have had the baby it is easier to lose the weight because you will be used to working out every day. If you’re not sure what you’re going to need when you’re pregnant and working out, check out this list of pregnancy workout essentials.
8. Shop around for maternity clothes. I have found that my favorite places to buy maternity clothes are Target and Old Navy. They have cute clothes other places, too, but Target and Old Navy are both affordable and cute. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes because you don’t get to wear them all the time. But at the same time, you still want to look cute and show off that bump. The Liz Lange line at Target is my favorite for maternity clothes. I pretty much want all of their dresses, and the tops I got from there are my favorite of all my maternity shirts. Pants are a little bit harder, because they usually just come in small, medium, or large and I have yet to find ones that are long enough. I’ve had success at Old Navy, but only because I was able to order long ones. Try on a bunch and if you still can’t find any that are perfect, just remember that you only have to wear them for a few months. If you want to know about more places, check out my post Best Places to Shop for Maternity Clothes (In Store and Online!).
9. Start taking a prenatal vitamin. You may already be taking one if you were trying to get pregnant, but if you aren’t, start now. They are jam-packed with lots of good things your baby needs to get a head start on life. Folic acid, iron, and calcium are especially important. Prenatal vitamins are not only important for your baby, but they are important for you since your baby is zapping up all those vitamins that you would normally get. So you need extra, and that is where a prenatal vitamin comes in. So as soon as you find out you are pregnant, get some! And you can even buy giant bottles that will last all of pregnancy, so that is fantastic. And if taking a pill isn’t your thing, now they have gummy vitamins that I’m assuming are delicious and a lot easier to take. So you really have no excuse to get your baby those extra good vitamins and minerals they need while growing!
10. Research baby products. Especially the big things like strollers, car seats, and cribs. One of my favorite places to look (not necessarily buy) is Amazon.com. They have such a wide selection of items, and they have tons of great, helpful reviews for each product. You should also ask any young moms who have recently bought things and see what they like and don’t like. And once you do have a few in mind that you feel good about, try and see them in person at the store. I mean really, you have nine months to find these things and you obviously want the best for your child. And the second time around you will already have a lot of the bigger things and won’t have to look again (plus, you won’t have time). You can read about the best baby products we ever purchased here and the best list of baby essentials here.
11. Make a list of what to do before and after your baby is born. This was super helpful to me because it helped me feel more prepared before Little J was born, and then I knew exactly what I needed to do after he was born. Lucky for you, I have compiled two such lists and they are some of my most popular posts. They are the things that I did, and they were so helpful. I’m sure I will add to them when the time comes for this pregnancy, but for now, check them out so you can be prepared (did anyone else just sing that like Scar from “The Lion King?”). There is a list of “25 Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born” and “15 Things to Do After Your Baby is Born.” Trust me, a lot of good info there. And you don’t have to use all of it, but at least add some of them to your lists!
13. Download an app to follow along. I personally love the ones where each week they tell you how big your baby is in terms of fruit. My two favorites from my two pregnancies have been the “What To Expect Pregnancy” app and the “Baby Bump Pregnancy Free” app. Right now I am using the “What To Expect Pregnancy” one and it is really nice because you have access to daily tips, weekly updates, and discussion boards for people who are having babies in the same month as you. And it’s exciting to have it right there on your phone every week so you don’t have to go looking it up. Even if you aren’t big on reading books at least you get some tips this way!
14. Read as much as you can. When I was pregnant with Little J I pretty much read everything I could get my hands on about babies and pregnancy. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and then a few other books that were about the same thing. Especially if it is your first baby or you haven’t been around babies much, you want to get as much information as you can about how to be healthy and help keep them healthy and growing and happy, right? Fortunately for me I love to read, so this wasn’t hard, but even if you aren’t a big reader (which, if you got through all my previous tips you may be), it’s different when it’s about trying to raise a child. I also just wrote my first book, “Preggers,” that’s a less medical, fun, helpful guide to pregnancy! Parenting can be scary stuff, especially when you are first starting out and have no idea what you are doing. So go pick up a book and start learning all you can, because it really does help!
So congratulations on being pregnant, and don’t worry! You have eight months (depending on when you are reading this) to prepare for your new little bundle of joy. Yes, it can be scary to find out you are pregnant, but being a parent is the best (especially being a mom!) so just get excited and don’t worry. Good luck!!