Just found out you’re pregnant and not sure what to do next? Here are 14 things to do when you find out you are pregnant to help you prepare, stay healthy, and have the best pregnancy you can!
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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! During my first pregnancy, I was just so full of excitement that I didn’t think about some of these things. But after being pregnant three times and having three babies, I’ve realized that there are several things that you’ll want to do as soon as you find out you are pregnant, and then throughout pregnancy.
14 Things to Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant
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 10-15% 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 my friend Aubrey recently published her own pregnancy journal (it’s beautiful!). 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! And if you’re not a big writer, try taking pictures to document your growth! (Here are some cute ideas for documenting your pregnancy in photos.)
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 all of my pregnancies, I took a picture 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 different 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 the first time 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 my second 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 my baby was born.
“That will make you feel bad,” you say. No. Trust me. It will be fun to compare and see how pregnancy changes your body! 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 Palmer’s 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.
The second time I did a combination of the Gaiam Fit Plan for Pregnancy and Blogilates. I felt great and I felt strong. I did 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 make sure you have all the pregnancy workout essentials you need, too!
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, and you can try them on in the store, which is helpful since not all pregnancy bodies are the same!
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. I also really like PinkBlush Maternity‘s maternity clothes!
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!
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’re 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.
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, get some! And you can even buy giant bottles that will last all of pregnancy, so that’s 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. 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. They have such a wide selection of items, and they have tons of great, helpful reviews for each product. The reviews are SUPER helpful when you’re trying to find something you’ll like! You should also ask any moms with babies who have recently bought things and see what they like and don’t like. They may even let you come check out their favorite items!
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 my first was born, and then I knew exactly what I needed to do after he was born.
Lucky for you, I have compiled a few lists and they’re some of my most popular posts. They’re the things that I did, and they were super helpful. 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,” “15 More Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born,” “17 Things to Do Before Your Second 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 they’ll give you a head start!
12. Write things down throughout your pregnancy
This can be questions for your doctor, feelings you are having about being a parent, or stories about the firsts (when you first found out, first felt baby, first heard the heartbeat). These are special things and there’s usually a place in the baby book for at least important dates and how you felt when you found out you were pregnant (or you can write it all in a memory journal for your child!), so you will want to make sure you remember! And since pregnancy is notorious for making you forgetful, writing down things will help you solve that problem (especially the questions for your doctor thing)!
Pregnancy is weird and you can easily question the things that are happening with your body. And since you probably don’t want to call the doctor every day, write those questions down and bring them to your next appointment. Super handy to have them right there in front of you when the doctor asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”
13. Download an app to follow along
Now I haven’t been pregnant for three years, so I’m not super in the loop here, but I personally love the apps where each week they tell you how big your baby is in terms of fruit. My two favorites from my pregnancies have been the “What To Expect Pregnancy” app and the “Baby Bump Pregnancy” app.
The “What To Expect Pregnancy” app 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 my first 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’s 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.
And side note, if you aren’t a big reader, you can try listening to podcasts about pregnancy!
I’ve also written a pregnancy 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!). Work on some of these things to do when you find out you are pregnant, get excited, and don’t worry! Good luck!!
This post was originally published on April 28, 2014.
I found your blog to be so helpful and comforting. I literally just found out a few days ago that i’m pregnant and i’m excited to learn and journal. Will be checking in a lot here and sharing with other new moms. I am nervous and have not told family and friends yet. Will take your advice of waiting for the first trimester or even longer to pass by. I think it’s a smart decision to do so. I’ll be honest, i’m not sure why but I feel very nervous about the actual delivery. This is my first baby and I have so many ‘what ifs’. I am wondering if i’ll have a safe vaginal birth or c-section and how much it will pain and if i should take the epidural and if i do will it cause more back pain to the back pain i already experience etc etc etc. I also don’t know how much i should exercise and much more. I’ll be reading a lot and I have yet to find the right doctor…
Chelsea Johnson says
Congrats, Tabitha! There’s a lot to think about, but the good news is you have nine months to get ready! I’ve got lots of pregnancy posts to help out!! Reading a lot and being informed is so important!! Good luck!
Hi there! I know this is an old post but I wanted to comment on maternity clothes. I had great luck with nursing tops while pregnant. Not as large as maternity tops but great for late second trimester and after baby comes. Also…invest in a belly band! Let’s you continue to wear your regular pants for while without buttoning…or if you have some larger pants wearing thor without a tight belt!
Chelsea Johnson says
Laura Angell says
This is so helpful thank you so much I just found out that I was pregnant and was freaking out because I didn’t know what to do but thank you again I feel like I can breathe now lol
Chelsea Johnson says
Congratulations! It can definitely be a bit scary, but it’s such an exciting, wonderful time! I’m glad I was able to help you calm down 🙂
5 Weeks Pregnant says
Hey Chelsea, what prenatal vitamin do you take?
Chelsea Johnson says
Whatever is cheapest? I don’t remember haha! I haven’t been pregnant for 18 months!
Thank you for making this post. My boyfriend and I both are just starting out in our careers 2 months now and just discovered I’m pregnant. We are both 28 years old and this would be our first. We are llanning took keep this to ourselves for a long good while only because like you I don’t like to open up to a bunch of strangers and only close family and friends. Anyways I been overwhelmed withe now the thought of being a parent at this moment but AGAIN we are nearly 30 and at this point most couples are trying to conceive. After reading your post, I do feel a little at ease and I hope i begin to get excited soon.
Chelsea Johnson says
Congrats, Danielle! I had a hard time getting excited with our third baby, so I definitely can see where you’re coming from. It can be scary to have a baby when you weren’t planning on it for a while! But congrats, girl! I hope you have a happy and healthy pregnancy! And if you’re interested, my book might be a good read for you!
Recently found out im 4 weeks pregnant and i wasnt planning on doing anything pre-baby-arrival apart from kind of.. well.. waiting! This blog post has inspired me to take some of your recommended steps i.e. document, photograph, and im even more excited now than when i heard the news! Thankyou so much and il be sure to from now on keep an eye on your blog which ive just stumbled upon. Much love!
Chelsea Johnson says
I’m glad I could help! Congrats, and good luck!!
Niki at Toot's Mom is Tired says
I love love love that t-shirt with the weeks on it. That’s such a cute idea! I’ve never seen anything like that before. I need to get one of those for my friend.
Chelsea Johnson says
Isn’t it adorable! I was so excited when I got mine! It was one of my favorite things I had during my third pregnancy!
Chelsea, thank you so much for publishing this article. I just found out I am pregnant, and at first felt silly for searching “What to do after finding out I’m pregnant” into Google search, but now I am so glad that I did! Everything you wrote about is super helpful for me (a first time mom.) I’m a little scared because anything can happen, and we all want to do what’s best for not only our baby, but ourselves. I plan to take lots of pictures and hopefully find a cute baby book to follow along. As for people knowing about my pregnancy, everyone here is some of the first to know! I have told a few people I trust, but not publicly. I don’t plan to for quite some time. I know I just babbled a lot, but again, thank you for this article. I will follow this throughout my pregnancy!
Chelsea Johnson says
You’re so welcome, Emma! And congratulations! It really can be daunting when you find out you’re pregnant for the first time and have no idea what to do! I’m so glad I could help! That’s what I’m here for!
Kate Welling says
You mentioned that we should check our medications after finding out that we’re pregnant. It makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to keep taking some of them. My sister just found out she has an unplanned pregnancy. It would be nice to get her to a service that helps with this.
Chelsea Johnson says
Have her talk to an OBGYN or her family doctor about it!
I wish we had waited to tell people during our pregnancy. My husband and I struggled with infertility and got pregnant through IVF and were so excited that we started telling as many people as we could, never posted anything on social media though. Then when we were at our 10 week OB appointment we found out that the baby had stopped developing about 2 weeks prior. It was devastating after the struggles we had gone through and having to go back and tell people we had lost the baby so shortly after we told them we were pregnant.
Chelsea Johnson says
I can’t even imagine. I’m so, so sorry, Diana. Thank you for sharing.