Looking back on my pregnancy – it was both an exciting and scary time. Being a first time mother can be just that, scary. It’s the fear of the unknown. You want to share the news with everyone but at the same time have so many unanswered questions. You experience a bag of mixed emotions while all sorts of thoughts are running through your mind. “Is it too early to share the news? Will I make it past the first trimester? Am I actually pregnant? How will people react?”. Thankfully for me, I have sisters. Although both are childless, it’s nice to have someone to confide in other than your partner, because really, they’re most likely just as clueless and terrified as you are.
To help you through the intial shock of this overwhelming journey, I’ve prepared some tips below that will assist you with prioritizing your thoughts and honing in on what really matters. Keep reading as I’ve also included a list of things that can wait to be tackled and additional considerations that will serve you through your pregnancy.
What to Focus on NOW:
1. Clean up your diet (If you weren’t working on it before, now is the time to do it!)
I know, how is a newly pregnant person supposed to clean up their diet when all they want to do is give into those stubborn pregnancy cravings? Especially in the first trimester – cravings are a REAL thing. Not all women are so lucky though, as many suffer from severe morning sickness (not just in the morning). None the less, it’s important for both you and your baby to establish good eating habits that will take you through to the end of your pregnancy. To me, this means including ample fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein in your diet. Limiting sugar, and anything “white”. Not too bad, right?
2. Begin taking a quality pre natal vitamin.
If your pregnancy was planned, you may very well already be taking a pre natal vitamin. This is great and gives both you and your baby a head start on your pregnancy. It ensures that your body already has all of the vitamins and minerals that are crucial to carry your baby through the next 9 months. If not, don’t worry – you can purchase prenatal vitamins from any drugstore (most grocery stores carry them as well). I personally used Pregvit for it’s higher dose of iron and would highly recommend this product if this is something you also lack. Remember to always read labels and follow the instructions provided. Most prenatal vitamins should be taken at the same time each day and often times on an empty stomach. This can cause some women to become quite nauseous. If you are one of them, I’d suggest having a light snack with your pill (any type of carbohydrate will be sure to tide you over).
3. Proper sleep and rest (let’s face it, after baby comes you won’t sleep for the next 18 years).
If you were never someone who woke throughout the night to use the washroom, you will be now. The first trimester and quite early on, will have you waking through the night and running to the washroom. The extra blood flow that your body produces as a result of being pregnant is to blame. Keeping this in mind, It’s crucial that you get ample rest and sleep well through the night. Your body is working hard and will be going through some major changes, that in itself can be stressful enough.
4. Contact your GP to make an appointment.
You’ll want to contact your family doctor to schedule an appointment. They will go through a routine check and take lots of blood work. To prepare for this appointment, you will need to know the first day of your last period. This will assist your physician with calculating your due date. Your doctor may also refer you to an obstetrician. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask any important questions you may have; so make a list of questions in advance of your visit.
5. When you’re going to begin telling people and who.
This is something that is very personal and completely up to you and your partner. Often times it is said that after the 3 month mark is a good time to begin sharing your exciting news with friends and family. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your partner in advance so that you are both prepared, should you receive questions or are caught off guard.
6. Download a pregnancy app like “BabyCenter”.
In the day of modern technology there are so many unique and amazing apps all about pregnancy. There are some that will calculate your due date and track your cycles, others that will track your growth and share with you how your baby is developing. By far my favourite is BabyCenter. It takes you through each week of pregnancy and shares developmental milestones. It also includes a forum where you can ask questions and connect with other moms who are due in the same month and year as you. It’s a safe place to reach out to others who are experiencing the exact same feelings as you.
What can WAIT (although extremely fun):
- Shopping for clothing
- Researching the latest baby products
- Decorating the nursery
- Buying baby furniture
- Setting up a registry (for a potential shower)
You may also want to CONSIDER:
- How your work schedule could affect your pregnancy. Do you have morning sickness? Do you work shift work? Have a long commute? A lot of things can come up mid pregnancy and having a back up plan or peace of mind is always comforting. You may want to make arrangements to work remotely or save some vacation time for days when you have medical appointments.
- How long you plan to be away from work. It’s important to make arrangements for your maternity leave. Will you take a full year off? Will you take vacation time prior to your leave? Will you continue contributing to a pension? Although these decisions seem trivial, it’s a good idea to start considering them early on.
- Reviewing your finances. This is always a tough one. By nature, many of us tend to avoid numbers at all costs. However, It’s important to begin planning for the additional costs associated with a baby. Have an idea of your monthly bills and create a budget – there are tons of free templates available online. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to enjoy your new bundle of joy is money!