As a woman, once you get your period you are aware of the potential to get pregnant and suddenly be responsible for more than yourself.
For this reason, there is always the choice to remain abstinent. There is also the choice to seek regularly administered birth control so that you can have more of a say in when you become pregnant and are going to bring a new life into the world.
So, whether you have done all of this and are about to bring a new life into the world intentionally and with all the associated joy, or if you have not felt like yourself of late and have just taken a pregnancy test that let you know Surprise!
You are about to be a mom, there are seven things listed below that should be done when you discover you are pregnant.
For some of these, it very much depends on whether you were attempting to get pregnant or you got pregnant without a conscious effort. For those who got pregnant intentionally, it is not necessary to do No. 4 & 5, as you most likely have already done those in some form before now.
The same can be said of No. 6. However, if circumstances change along the course of the pregnancy, those items may need to be revisited and re-evaluated. There is no shame in those types of changes. For someone who is experiencing a surprise pregnancy, it is best to do all seven of these things soon after discovering you are pregnant.
1- Find an Obstetrician or Midwife
If you have taken an at-home pregnancy test – or 4 – that have come up positive, it is time to consult a medical professional.
If you do not have a gynecologist that you are comfortable with, then look for local obstetricians, consult friends who have been pregnant recently on whether they would recommend their doctor and otherwise do some research to see what you are options are for a local doctor.
This is a doctor that you will see monthly, then bi-weekly and finally weekly. Then, this doctor will deliver your child.
Doctors are not the only option. While you are considering an obstetrician, you can also consider a midwife. A midwife can help with at-home births, water births and generally replace a doctor unless a medical emergency arises.
This may be a lot of information and considerations that overwhelm you if you were not planning a pregnancy. Therefore, the best bet may be a visit to an obstetrician to confirm the pregnancy and find out a due date.
Then, you can weigh options and you can always transfer to the care of a midwife or doula, and you can always opt to switch doctors during the course of the pregnancy.
Schedule an Appointment
The important thing to remember is that pregnancy tests can be incorrect. Therefore, it is important to schedule a consultation with a medical professional to have a more accurate test done, to determine whether you are pregnant or not.
Also, an ultrasound can be performed by a medical professional to let you know how far the pregnancy has progressed while you were unaware of your condition.
2- Evaluate Your Budget
Babies are expensive. As of 2015, it will cost parents $245,000 to raise a child until the age of 18. That means the cost of college tuition is not included in that figure.
So, if you are pregnant, it is time to sit down and look at the amount of money you make, the amount that is spent on bills and necessities for you and your significant other and then consider the fact you will be adding a member of the family that will need certain things to be kept happy and healthy.
Understand Baby Basic Necessities
There are numerous questions that will factor into your monetary needs to care for a newborn infant. Some things, like a place for the baby to sleep, are necessary. However, while a fancy crib in the baby’s own personal space would be ideal, it is not absolutely necessary.
For the first six months to a year, it is advised that baby sleep in the parents’ bedroom, in order to reduce the risk of SIDS and increase the parent’s ability to hear and respond to the needs of the infant.
Other considerations include the choice to breastfeed or bottle-feed. If breastfeeding, the choice of whether or not pumping breastmilk to be fed to the infant comes into play.
All of these will factor into immediate costs, as a pump for breastmilk can be costly, but the formula is an extended expense that adds up as well. Bottles may be necessary for both methods of feeding.
Diapers are also a necessity, but the impact on the budget immediately will depend on whether you want to use disposables and buy some each time you need to or if you choose to cloth diaper, which is a bigger initial investment but saves money over the time that an infant remains in diapers.
Clothing tends to be a necessity as well, as do blankets and other items to keep the baby warm and comfortable. All of these need further consideration to determine how they will impact your budget and how significant your savings or future plans, such as a new car or a new house, will be impacted by the need for certain things for the baby.
Therefore, the budget is something to start considering now and continuing balancing as you learn more about your baby and your decisions on how to feed, clothe and diaper that new little person.
3- Evaluate Your Relationship
You may be in a committed relationship with a significant other, and this point may not be necessary. You may also not be sure who the other parent is. That can occur.
Finally, you may be in a relationship that you are unsure you want to continue, and now you will have another person that weighs on every decision and issue that occurs in your relationship.
For these reasons, when you find out you are pregnant is as good a time as any to consider the future of the relationship you are currently in. You also need to consider whether you are ready to be a single parent if you are not comfortable continuing the relationship you are in.
You may be concerned that your significant other is not ready to be a parent, but you also need to consider the possibility they will be excited about having a child and the two of you will have to work together to make every decision for that child. You will need to make every effort to co-parent amicably if the relationship does not succeed.
Considering all the possible outcomes is a necessary step to take. However, also balance those considerations with the fact that a pregnancy in the first trimester typically involves a lot of hormone shifts, and you may be a bit emotional at this point in time.
So, if up until now you thought your relationship was going splendidly, you may want to table the idea that you need to end the relationship because you are pregnant and suddenly seeing a lot of unhealthy aspects.
4- Consider the Available Options
At this point, it is time to stop and remember that being pregnant does not mean a new life will come into the world. Pregnancy is a journey that does hold the potential for miscarriage that can not be prevented. Also, in the United States, abortion up until a certain point in the growth of the fetus is legal.
Therefore, if being pregnant and responsible for another life within your body is not feasible for you at this moment, abortion is an option to consider.
Likewise, you believe you can handle the pregnancy itself but caring for an infant and raising a child are not tasks you feel able to complete, adoption, once the baby is born, is worth considering as well. There is no wrong answer to these considerations since your pregnancy is a unique situation.
No one can speak for you when it comes to determining the best options. Those are considerations that need to be weighed by you and the other parent to this burgeoning life. If there is no other parent in the picture, that too can weigh on your decisions.
Carrying a pregnancy to term and bringing a new life into the world are very big challenges and lead to huge changes in your life.
For that reason, it may be a good idea to consult a counselor or a professional to help you weigh any concerns you have or reservations. If abortion is an option you are seriously considering, it may be a worthwhile conversation to have with an impartial individual on the potential effects of that choice for you in the future.
Certain groups with religious affiliation do offer to counsel with the intent of helping you make the best decision for you when it comes to carrying on with a pregnancy or terminating it.
For those who prefer no religious affiliation, there are groups that can still help you weigh the relevant factors related to your pregnancy and the fetus that is growing within your womb.
5- Take a Hard Look at Your Lifestyle
- Do you do illegal drugs?
- Do you drink significant amounts of alcohol on a weekly or daily basis?
- Do you smoke cigarettes?
- Do you engage in dangerous activities on a regular basis?
Certain things that you have been doing up to this point as an adult may need to be evaluated for their part in your life from this point on. Now that you know you are pregnant, certain activities and substances should be abstained from for the health of the baby growing inside you.
Remember that baby relies on you for safety and nutrients, and it cannot survive on its own until well after birth. Therefore, doing certain activities or ingesting substances that will not further the growth of the fetus is putting a life in danger that has no way to protect itself or voice its disagreement with your actions.
Making the choice to stop doing illegal drugs or regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol is an admirable step to take. However, the ability to simply stop doing those things may prove impossible, since those are addictions that tend to be difficult if not impossible to cease on your own simply by making the decision to do so.
Consider visiting a rehabilitation facility, perhaps one that works specifically with pregnant mothers and can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy while beating an addiction. Discuss options with your obstetrician.
Pregnancy is not a time to hide things from your doctor, as it can be detrimental to both your health and the health of the developing fetus.
A useful resource for an expecting mother who wants to find a treatment facility in her state is this web site. This provides information on the rehab facilities in each state that offer assistance to pregnant mothers.
These facilities provide both in-patient and out-patient treatment, as well as long-term and short-term options for beating an addiction.
6- Consider the Medications You May Take Regularly
Certain medical conditions require prescription drugs that can be dangerous to a growing fetus. Likewise, medication for mental illnesses can be dangerous for a baby to receive through the bloodstream of the mother.
Certain treatments like surgeries or chemotherapy, for example, can be dangerous for a fetus if the mother were to have them done during the pregnancy.
It is wise to discuss any chronic conditions with the obstetrician when you see them for the appointment that confirms your pregnancy. It may also be worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your regular physician to discuss medications and conditions that you have and how they could impact having a healthy pregnancy.
Websites like Medicinenet.com offer information on various drugs and their impact on a fetus during the three trimesters of pregnancy. This website and others can help you get an initial idea of the danger to your baby in regard to medications you take regularly.
The next step is a serious discussion with medical personnel to evaluate the danger of taking the drugs versus not taking them and the potential risk to the health of you, the mother-to-be.
7- Have Fun Planning the Announcement
On a more light-hearted note, finding out you are pregnant may be frightening or intimidating. However, remember that a new life is a gift. Your life will change for the better if you choose to bring a new life into this world. Have fun when you can. That means finding a great and unique way to let your family and friends know that you will be having a new baby.
Pinterest can be a wonderful resource for finding a fun way to theme your announcement or to simply show the loved ones in your life that you will be bringing a new life into the world for them to get to know and love as well.
Finding a cute way to announce your pregnancy in pictorial form or in words can be a great way to de-stress if this is a surprise pregnancy. It can turn your energies toward finding fun and positivity in a situation that you were not expecting and that may be making you depressed.
The first trimester involves a lot of hormonal changes and body adjustments, and those can lead to unpleasant side effects of carrying a child, like a morning sickness (that strikes anytime day and night) or other health issues. If this is the case, that is all the more reason to find a fun way to let everyone know that you are going to have a baby.
Final Considerations for a Pregnant Mother-to-be
Pregnancy can be a very significant jolt to a life that was going along at a satisfactory pace and in a manner that was sufficient for the woman living it. Pregnancy can also be a joyous gift to those who were attempting to achieve the condition and look forward to welcoming a new life and changing the way their life was currently going.
In either situation, however, it is worth considering those changes to your life, how they will go and potential issues that might arise. Recognize that you could feel completely different after the arrival of a baby.
Unforeseen circumstances can impact your life at that time, including postpartum depression, a panicked significant other that leaves and is not involved in the life of the infant and a lack of support from other family members for any number of reasons.
This list of considerations does not include everything you will need to do when a new life can be sharing yours in less than a year’s time.
However, this list of considerations is a starting point. Other things will come to light as your pregnancy progresses. Deal with those as they arise.