After being two days late on my period in August, I decided to take a pregnancy test. On 14 August at 6:33am, my world changed forever.
I went to the toilet, and the three longest minutes of my life started. 6:30.. 6:31.. 6:32.. oh come on! My phone alarm rang. It was time to turn the test over. I instantly went from being cool calm and collected before taking the test, to feeling sick to my stomach when thinking what a positive result would really mean.
‘Pregnant 2-3 weeks.’ Shit. Not a bad shit at all. An excited shit, but also scary, anxious, and surreal all in one word. Shit.
Once I got over the initial shock, I started thinking about the next steps.
There’s no manual on what to do once you find out you’re expecting, so it’s easy enough to feel a bit lost. With this, I went straight to my Holy Grail – Google – and researched the first things to do after finding out. I’ve decided to note down a little checklist of the first 10 things I did with the hope that this list would help someone else in the long run
- Contact my local midwife
This was the very first thing I did as it’s the starting point of the journey. I contacted my GP surgery and they redirected me to the midwives centre in the area.
I phoned the centre to register my pregnancy in which the midwife asked for details such as my name, address and the last day of my last period.
At the end of the call, the midwife arranged my ‘booking-in’ session which happens after passing the eight-week mark. Pre-covid, this appointment would be held face to face with the midwife, but obviously things are a bit different by now.
The appointment took place over the phone, with it taking around an hour to complete. In this appointment, the midwife asks you and your partner about your personal health, and your family’s health history.
2) Start taking pre-natal vitamins
They recommend that pregnant women should have 400mg of folic acid daily from the start of pregnancy (or before if you’re trying for a baby) until they at least pass the 12-week mark. This folic acid helps with the baby’s development in the first weeks of pregnancy and helps reduce health problems like spina bifida.
They also say that all adults need 10mg of vitamin D, which is the vitamin that’s created when skin’s exposed to sunlight (and thanks to covid for crapping on any hopes of going abroad and the awful weather in Wales, there’s little chance I’d have any vitamin D without it being in a capsule!)
3) Decide when the world would know
Whenever I have any good news, it’s nearly impossible for me to keep it to myself. But, knowing how fragile the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is, I had to keep my mouth shut until we got the ‘all-clear’ after the first scan.
It’s completely up to you when you want to start telling people of course, but it’s important to discuss the topic as a couple in order to make sure that both of you are on the same wavelength.
4) Look into my diet
No, I’m not talking about a diet of cutting carbs and living on salad for nine months. I mean looking at websites such as the NHS and Tommys (a website specifically for mamas-to-be and new mums that has been created by midwives) to see which foods you should avoid when pregnant (oh how I miss a bloody steak – sorry to any veggies!)
5) Download pregnancy apps and join maternity clubs
Something I’ve really enjoyed doing is reading daily updates of what’s going on in my body and how the baby’s developing from day to day. I always like seeing which animal or fruit he’s measuring closest to! This week he’s the same size of a puppy (cuuute!).
The apps I use are, Pregnancy+, Emma’s Diary, Bounty and What to Expect.
Also, Emma’s Diary and Bounty offer free packs that are available from supermarkets and Boots. These packs include different essentials all mothers will have in their cupboards at some point. In the packs I got, I had Sudocrem, Bepanthen, wipes and more.
I’d also recommend that every mam-to-be / mam should join the Boots Parenting Club. I’ve been able to bag a free MAM bottle, baby toiletries and maternity pads (oh the glamour) using the club, which also has special offers exclusive to the members. Who doesn’t like freebies?!
6) Look at what medication is safe to take
It’s important to know which medication is safe to take whilst pregnant, as even some of the over-the-counter medication is deemed as a no-go. One of these is ibuprofen.
Ask your midwife if you’re unsure of any medication you are currently taking or look on the NHS website.
7) Take pictures of my bump
This is one thing I’m so glad I did from the start of my journey! Looking back at my bump from the first months to now makes me see my body in a way I’ve never been able to appreciate it before! It also makes you realise how bloody fantastic a woman’s body is! (Just a little note though, if you see a pregnant woman – please refrain from the ‘you’re huge’ and ‘are you sure there’s only one in there?’ comments. They get really boring by the sixth month!)
8) Keep exercising regularly
Before falling pregnant, my favourite thing to do was go to the gym throughout the week. With this, I set myself a task to try my best to keep fit in my pregnancy. It wasn’t because I was worried how much weight I’d gain, or worried about the bounce back after giving birth, but more from the mental health element.
Research shows that working out increases your energy levels throughout pregnancy and helps you fall asleep easier. It also works miracles on your mood!
The types of exercise I’ve been enjoying are:
- Weight training (not too much!)
- Pregnancy Yoga
If you’ve read my blog on the first 31 weeks, you’ll know that I was exhausted in my first trimester. My bum was glued to the sofa and my excuse was always “I’m growing a person, it’s tiring work!” – worked a treat every single time!
Remember not to over-do anything. If the housework is getting too much for you, ask your partner to help – they’re there to help! Trust me, there aren’t many people who’d say no to a pregnant woman.
Also, it’s so important to relax because once the little one makes their entrance, any sort of relaxation goes to pot!
Pregnancy can be such an anxious time, from waiting for the positive result all the way up to the birth. It can be easy enough to forget how special the journey to motherhood is. Any time negative thoughts take over, I try to take five minutes to remember how lucky and grateful I am to be in a situation to be able to bring a baby into the world.
My pregnancy has flown by too quickly, so by now I welcome every grunt whenever I get up, every pain (seriously, what the hell is lighting crotch?!) and every movement I feel in my tummy, no matter how late at night (usually around 3am – thanks mate!).
In a matter of two months, my life will never be the same, so until then, I’ll enjoy every single step of the way.