Discovering your pregnant can throw the most well adjusted woman into complete disarray. You may have been trying to get pregnant for an absolute age then suddenly you discover you are and…despite having been trying for the grand event for over a year, you still stare at the little blue stick with absolute disbelief…
Now, obviously, in writing this blog I am assuming that you out there are PLEASED to discover your upcoming baby. That might not necessarily be the case – maybe the baby wasn’t planned and your lack of the monthly curse coming is a real problem. Maybe you and your partner had decided that two was enough and you were practising a contraception technique which just didn’t cut the mustard this time around..
If, discovering an upcoming new arrival is a shock rather than a surprise, you probably need to do a little more work than read this blog …communication to each other is the no. 1 priority, for example!
However, for the purpose of this blog I am going to assume that you had been planning and trying for a baby and that the news of the upcoming arrival is a blessing – not a curse. So, this article is focused on the top 6 things that you need to think about on discovering your pregnant:
- Confirming your pregnancy with your GP.
Even though you might have done the pregnancy test yourself a few times over, it pays to get an expert to confirm it, so get yourself to the doctors as soon as you can. For starters, your doctor will help you calculate your due date – essential when planning everything to do with a baby (from when you will be finishing up at work to getting the baby’s room ready). Your doctor will also talk you through the different emotions and physical symptoms you will be facing in the coming months and talk you through keeping yourself healthy through your pregnancy.
They will underline key milestones within your pregnancy and will talk you through different options in regards to medical help through the pregnancy and the birth itself.
2. Knowing your pregnancy signs and symptoms
Before you even realise you are pregnant you could well suffer from some well-known pregnancy symptoms, so it pays to read up and be prepared on what these might be. Eg you could suffer from some or all of the following: nausea, tiredness, heartburn, leg cramps, vomiting, tender breasts, swollen hand/ feet, enlarged breasts, visible veins, metallic taste in the mouth, heightened sense of smell, emotional mood swings, sensitive teeth and back-ache, greasy hair, indigestion …to name but a few. Of course you might be lucky and not suffer from any of them. Or you could be extremely unlucky and suffer from the lot.
Here are some tips for dealing with some of them: wear flat shoes, put your feet up at the end of the day and try not to spend long periods of time standing around, keep a packet of barley sugar or ginger snaps or even ginger tea in your bag and carry them everywhere, invest in packs of heartburn tablets and stash them in your desk, in your car, on your bedside table and in your bag – heartburn’s horrid! Get yourself a stash of large comfy knickers and maternity bras – sexiness is on-hold for a while! Make sure you get some early nights and good night sleeps – there’s tons of sleep deprivation ahead so store up now!
3. Deciding when to announce your pregnancy.
Everyone’s different when it comes to announcing their pregnancy. Some people are so excited they want to shout it from the roof-top straight away. Others might be more cautious, deciding to wait until the ‘safer’ period i.e. the 12 week mark, before letting people know. It’s all down to personal preference – and also down to whether or not you’ve had problems in the past. e.g. you might have got to the 8 week mark before and had a miscarriage. Or you might be in a precarious position at work or in your relationship.
Personally we had been trying for almost two years to get pregnant and I wanted to make sure I really was pregnant before telling the world as I couldn’t quite believe it myself…
When you make your decision think about it carefully and the order of which you are planning to tell people. For example, it’s probably a good idea to tell your boss before you tell your colleagues…and to tell your parents before you tell your friends…!
If you decide that you prefer to keep your news to yourself and your partner for a while then be aware that there is a whole lot of fun to be had in trying to keep a pregnancy under-wraps! If, for example, you like a glass of wine or two then it will be noticeably obvious to friends if you suddenly stop drinking entirely. I used to order fizzy water with a slice of lemon and pretend it was a G&T or invent massively exorbitant excuses for my not having a glass of wine:
“I’m doing a 21km run in the morning.”
“I had a big night last night.”
“I’m feeling like I’m coming down with a cold.”
“I’ve got a big meeting at work tomorrow.”
“I’m not feeling the best.”
“I’m doing a detox.”
Pick any of them to use if you want – they’re good ones -but be-warned, take a note of which ones you use when and to whom as some of my friends started getting suspicious when I used the same excuse 3 times in a row….
You’ll also need to do all your pregnancy research on the sly, and feign disinterest in other people’s pregnancies around you.
There will be other things that will bug you too. When I was pregnant second-time-around there was massive building and renovation work at my office. The women who were pregnant were moved to sit somewhere quieter with no chemicals. I, who was in the early (and arguably the most critical stage of a pregnancy) was left to sit with all the others, listening to the constant bang banging, chain sawing and surrounded by dust and toxic chemicals. But – then again, it was my choice to keep my pregnancy under wraps at that point so I had nobody to blame but myself.
4. Finding a medical professional who speaks your language
We are lucky in the western world that there are so many choices when it comes to medical support during our pregnancy. You can go private or public. You can choose a midwife, or an obstetrician. You can have your baby at home or at the hospital. You can choose the water bath or the bed. You can opt for pain relief or au natural…
Each one of us has different needs, desires and ideas of what their birth will be like. There is no right or wrong. What is important is that you don’t just do what everyone else is doing but you choose what is right for you and your partner. I was a little older when I started having babies so for me, the safety of an obstetrician felt right. I also wanted to be in the hospital when I had my baby, although my mind was made up on a water birth -not a bed birth (I didn’t get the water birth but that’s a different story!). When choosing your midwife, doctor, obstetrician, don’t just settle on the first one you meet. Ask around and talk to a few and choose the person who suits you and your needs the best. Having a baby is highly personal so you need to make sure you have the right person alongside you on your journey ahead as well as in the room at the key time!
5. Finding out the sex of your child and choosing the name.
There is such a palaver about whether or not you should find out the sex of your child at the 18 week mark. Whether you do or not is totally up to you. If you’re a planner and you must know then great. It enables you to decorate baby’s room for the right sex baby, buy the right clothes and other appropriate toys and get the name buttoned down. If you prefer a surprise – then that’s fine too. Just go for white walls, beige and other non-gender specific colours and clothes. And…it means you need to have two lots of names chosen and up your sleeve for whomever makes an appearance!
Naming a child can be a whole minefield of arguments and advice. Everyone has an opinion and they are happy to share it. Try to tune out well-meaning relatives who might hate your choice of Romeo for your child. If you like it then go for it! However, do be mindful that the choice needs to be made by both partners. You might like one name and your partner might just hate it. You can’t name a child something that gives one of you the willies so make sure you’re in agreement before you even mention names you’re considering to anyone else.
My husband and I happened to attend a dinner with friends who were expecting their second child. I made the mistake of asking if they had started thinking about names and I had clearly touched a raw nerve as the arguments and debates that followed made me want to make a quick exit….
6. Get yourself prepared
When I say get prepared, I mean in so many ways…
Buying baby stuff is pretty obvious and we have a whole blog on that here. The main thing is not leaving it until the last minute so you’re not caught out. Buying maternity clothes is another obvious one – again, click on maternity clothes for the blog on that one. No, I’m talking about the other stuff. I’m talking about getting yourself mentally prepared for having a child and ensuring that you are going to have help and support for those first few months.
Doing things like visiting the hospital before-hand to check where the parking is and which floor the labour unit is on. Planning and packing your hospital bag – what you really need in a hospital bag can be found here. Arrange a babymoon with your husband – have some quality time together and also do stuff that you like to do. Have some ‘you time‘ and get in lots of trips to the movies and other stuff that might seem too hard after baby comes along.
Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Keep yourself fit – having a baby is like running a marathon so you need to be fit for the birth and for the months following. Don’t organise too many things or visitors in the first few months – keep yourself free to get to know your baby and to establish your new family.
And, importantly, think about and plan your maternity leave. How much time can you afford to take off? How much time do you want to take off? If you want to take off more then you need to start planning the financials sooner rather than later. If you need to go back to work sooner then you need to look into childcare options.
Finally, if you’ve just found out your pregnant you’re probably feeling pretty happy right now and I really don’t want to burst your bubble. However, there are some myths about pregnancy that I feel are important to dispel from the start:
- You will get special treatment when you’re pregnant – actually people don’t really care about your pregnancy. Chances are they won’t give up their seat for you. Don’t be surprised if nobody bats an eyelid at you.
- Pregnant women have a lot in common – being pregnant is all you have in common. Don’t think just because you are all pregnant you will all get on.
- You will be rewarded with diamonds. Tori Spelling gets push presents….nope…am still waiting for mine….
- You will bounce back – some women do. However, having a baby changes you forever – emotionally and physically. You will never be the same after you have kids. And that isn’t a bad thing. It is an amazing thing. It gives you an insight into your parents and your ancestors which is amazing – but you will never be the same again.