Take a moment to process what you just found out.
If you think about it, pregnancy is essentially the most natural thing in the world.
Research shows that about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. So if your pregnancy was unplanned, you are definitely not alone!
Human intimacy is very mysterious, and the process of new life is mysterious and miraculous.
So now what do you do? Here are the first things that I suggest that you do:
- Allow yourself to process the information. Let shock, surprise, joy, fear, etc. wash over you. Remember that pregnancy is extremely natural.
- Find an OB-GYN. Tell her or him you are pregnant and make an appointment. Feel free to ask a family member or friend in the area if she likes her OB, and try that one. You are not stuck with the first doctor you go to. You can switch to a different doctor, if you want, like I did.
- Take prenatal vitamins, avoid alcohol, and begin to scrutinize food and medicine that you are taking into your body. Google is very helpful to search for information. Sometimes, Google recommends asking your OB for answers. If you would like, start a list of questions for your OB and take it with you to your appointments. Some common questions and answers online are to take Tylenol for pain medicine; do not take Advil. Take tums for stomach ailments. If your prenatal vitamins do not include DHA from fish oil, you can take fish oil supplements and also eat fish a few times a week. I do this.
- Be good to yourself. “Treat yourself,” as they say on Parks and Recreation. Take time to rest and relax. Try to eat well and sleep well. Feel free to take naps, go for walks, etc. Take it easy.
- Build a support network. As you get used to the idea of truly being pregnant, reach out to loved ones for their support and encouragement on this amazing journey. You deserve special attention, advice, and love.
- Find a pregnancy app, such as BabyCenter, to learn about your baby’s development, your changing body, and tips for pregnancy. There are online groups through such organizations that give you a chance to hear from hundreds and thousands of other women who are pregnant as well. I joined the July Moms group in BabyCenter and felt a sense of connection with other pregnant women. I was happily surprised to find that other women had similar experiences to me, like feeling very hungry at times, and craving things like spicy foods, pickles, etc. BabyCenter tells you information about your baby, such as at four weeks, the baby is about the size of a poppy seed, at nine weeks about the size of a grape, at 18 weeks about the size of a bell pepper, etc.
- Expect that you may feel morning sickness, especially in the first trimester (the first three months). Research shows that 75% of women experience some type of morning sickness. I felt fatigue and food aversion, which was frustrating for me because I lost all of my drive to cook. Once the second trimester rolled around, I was cooking again and feeling much better.
- Expect that you will have a “pregnancy glow.” You are literally full of life. You will be a witness to the world of the miracle of life.
- Take photos of your “baby bump.” Some women like to take a photo every week once they start to show to see the progress of growth. BabyCenter has a feature in the app specifically for taking baby bump selfies.
- Be kind to yourself. Your hormones during pregnancy will make you feel more emotional than usual at times, such as crying more easily when sad or happy. Remember you are not alone, and your body knows what to do.
By Mary Piescik