You may be surprised to hear that around 40% of pregnancies in the UK are unplanned. Surprises come in many different forms, and pregnancy is one that countless men and women will experience at some point in their life. Suddenly finding out that you’re pregnant can be shocking and frightening to begin with, but that doesn’t mean it can’t turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you! Here are some of my best tips for when you unexpectedly find you’re expecting…
Work on Your Health
This one is obvious, but it’s also one of the most important things you can do when you find out that you’re pregnant. We should all be looking to drop our unhealthy habits and lead a better lifestyle, but when you’re having a child, this is non-negotiable. If you’d been drinking, taking any drugs or legal highs and smoking before, then stop immediately. If you’re on any kind of prescription medication, ask your doctor if they’re safe for you to keep taking during pregnancy. It’s also important to limit the amount of caffeine you’re getting. Most doctors would recommend sticking to less than two servings a day. It’s also a good idea to start taking some over-the-counter maternal vitamins, most importantly vitamin D plus folic acid supplements.
Have the Talk
Another essential step following an unexpected pregnancy is having that talk with your partner about the child you have on the way. Make sure you have this talk somewhere where you can be alone, where no one will barge in with their opinions, and lay on more pressure than there is already. It’s also important to be totally honest and open with each other about your feelings. Remember, it’s completely normal to feel more terrified than excited when you first get the news! While your thoughts and feelings should come first, it’s also important to spend some time discussing your finances. Start looking into some of the financial and legal resources available for couples living together. You’re certainly not going to be the first couple to unexpectedly find out that Mr Stork’s on the way, and you’d be amazed at the number of free and helpful resources that are available to you. Aside from that, all expectant parents should stash a little extra cash away, examine the state of their insurance, and make plans regarding work and childcare once the child is born. If you decide to terminate the pregnancy, get an appointment to see your Doctor who can arrange it for you and for additional support.
(Don’t) Start Eating for Two
You may have heard pregnant women say “I’m eating for two” and thought it was an exaggeration. It’s now not recommended to eat for two or increase your calories until the third trimester. Even then, it’s more important to eat a healthy balanced diet than pile on the calories. Every woman’s weight gain is different in pregnancy, so try not to compare yourself to others. Women who have a higher BMI during pregnancy are more at risk of complications for the mother and baby. Try not to load up on “empty calories” from your favourite takeaway. You still need to maintain a healthy diet, with a mixture of fruits and veg, wholegrains, protein, and dairy. If you’re not sure on the foods to avoid, check my post here for the foods you can and can’t eat in pregnancy. See if you qualify for healthy start vouchers, which give you free fruit and veg and milk if you’re pregnant and on a low income.
Make an Appointment
As soon as it’s convenient, schedule an appointment with your Midwife (UK), OB or gynaecologist (US). Even in the earliest stages of your pregnancy, you may even be able to have an ultrasound, depending on where you’re based. In the UK the first scan is at 12 weeks. However, you probably won’t be able to see a heartbeat until at least six to eight weeks. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your midwife a lot of questions. If you don’t have a GP, Gynaecologist or OB that you see on a regular basis, it’s time to start looking. This is the person who will be responsible for looking after you in your pregnancy, so it’s important to find one who you can trust and feel completely comfortable with.
Get Clued Up
The internet is full of some amazing resources about pregnancy that can answer all the questions you may have about the months ahead of you. You’re likely to have a lot of these, and getting clued up can put your mind at ease and help you ensure you’re doing what’s best for both you and your kid. One great thing for keeping informed is using an online, interactive pregnancy calendar. Following the markers of your baby’s development will be both exciting and fascinating. Above all else, make sure you’re looking out for the early warning signs of potentially serious problems. A lot of issues that can come up during pregnancy can be treated much more effectively if they’re caught early on. Get informed, pay attention to what your body is doing, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Disclosure: collaborative post
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