There’s a whole range of emotions that women experience when they decide to do a home pregnancy test and it comes back positive. Women may feel nervous, surprised, excited, relieved, afraid, happy, overwhelmed or any combination of those all at once. You might not know what to do first!
Jade Elliott spoke with Emily Hart Hayes, CNM, DNP, Intermountain Healthcare, about what you need to do.
After sharing the news with your partner, what should you do to help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy?
1. Schedule an appointment with your midwife, OB/Gyn, or primary care provider.
Studies show that good prenatal care helps ensure healthier pregnancies, safer labor and deliveries, and stronger babies. Your first prenatal visit should happen between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy (when your menstrual period is 2 to 4 weeks late).
At your appointment, your provider will do another pregnancy test or blood test to confirm the positive results. They will also order routine blood tests and may do an ultrasound to confirm your due date. At this visit, you can discuss any questions or concerns you have and learn of the importance of going to prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy.
2. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescription or over the counter medications to find out if you should continue taking them.
If you can’t get to see your provider right away, call or send a message to your provider about any current medications you’re taking.
3. Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use marijuana or illegal drugs, they are harmful to your baby. If you need help quitting any of these, talk to your midwife or doctor and they can help you with resources.
There’s no “safe” number of cigarettes or drinks, and many common medications can harm your developing baby.
4. Protect yourself from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for pregnant women by the two national organizations of obstetric physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. The American College of Nurse Midwives also recommends the immunization.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19, and there is preliminary evidence that severe disease from COVID can cause pregnancy complications, too.. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene.
5. Start taking prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter. Look for prenatal vitamins with at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid. Taking folic acid before and during a pregnancy can reduce the risk of a child born with serious birth defects of the spinal cord or brain.
6. Get enough sleep and exercise.
Balancing activity and rest will help you nurture your developing baby – and will help you feel good, too. Both rest and exercise help you cope with the mood swings of pregnancy, ease aches and pains, and manage morning sickness. Talk with your provider if you have any questions about exercise and what’s safe for you and your baby.
7. Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated
What you eat can affect the health of your growing baby. So, make every bite count. Limit high-sugar and high-fat foods (like sodas and ice-cream and other desserts, and fatty meats like sausage or fried chicken). Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Go for low-fat protein foods like low-fat milk, skinless chicken or turkey, and beans. Avoid fish that contains mercury. Drink eight glasses of water every day.
8. Wear a seatbelt.
It may not always feel comfortable around your growing waistline, but right now a seatbelt may save two lives. And if you want a head start on a safety seat for your baby, check out this car seat safety information from Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Medical Center.
9. Be informed. Learn about pregnancy, childbirth, recovery, parenting, etc. Intermountainhealthcare.org has many patient education resources for pregnant women.
10. Be aware of any mood changes, depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth and talk with your provider about your concerns.
Your provider can refer you to a behavioral health provider if needed.
For more information about pregnancy or to find an OB/Gyn or midwife visit intermountainhealthcare.org
The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.