The moment you find out you’re pregnant will be one of the most emotional and overwhelming feelings of your life – whether the pregnancy is a complete surprise or a long-awaited miracle, you may be wondering exactly what to do. Try not to stress, there isn’t a long list to follow, the most important thing will be to relax and take it easy as much as you can, but here’s a little guidance about what to do when you find out you’re pregnant.
What to do when you find out you’re Pregnant
- Confirm your pregnancy with a urine test or HCG blood test
- Find a midwife or other LMC
- Immediately stop drinking alcohol
- You may need to change your diet and supplements (i.e. Folic Acid and Iron)
- Talk to a PT or midwife about continuity of exercise
- If you do not wish to continue your pregnancy, talk to your doctor.
What to do when you suspect you might be Pregnant
Perhaps your period is late and you’re still wondering if you’re pregnant. If you suspect that you might be pregnant, take a test at your earliest opportunity to confirm your pregnancy, either with a home pregnancy test (available over-the-counter at supermarkets or pharmacies), or at your doctor’s. Pregnancy tests ascertain the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in your urine. HCG hormone will only be present if you are pregnant. The instructions will generally be to collect a little urine in a cup and use an eyedropper to move a small amount of urine onto the testing stick.
In most normal pregnancies, HCG hormone levels doubles every 48-72 hours, so even if you can’t remember when your last menstrual cycle (period) was, the HCG levels can be used to give you an estimate of ‘how pregnant’ you are. Once you have confirmed the pregnancy with the ‘pee stick’ test, you may wish to visit your doctor to get a blood test, which can tell you the exact HCG levels.
When do you need to find a Midwife or LMC after you find out you’re Pregnant?
When you find out out you’re pregnant, you may feel anxious to speak to an expert, and possibly find your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) – either a midwife or an obstetrician. Midwifery care in New Zealand is one of the best in the world, and unless you have a high risk pregnancy, there is no need to use an obstetrician, though some people choose to. The cost of using an obstetrician is approximately $5-7,000, whereas pregnancy care by Midwives in New Zealand is free. If your midwife discovers any complications during your pregnancy, you will be referred to an obstetrician and the remainder of your care with them will be free of charge.
It is advisable to find your midwife within your first trimester. The earlier you get in touch with one, the better the likelihood that she has availability to take you on as a patient. See How to find a Midwife in New Zealand.
When you find out you’re Pregnant, you need to look after your body and your baby
The advice from alcohol.org.nz is to stop drinking alcohol if you could be pregnant, are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Every time you drink alcohol, your baby’s tiny body absorbs the alcohol which is carried from your blood stream, through the placenta, to your baby. Your baby can’t break down alcohol like you can.
It is also advisable to immediately change your diet, because some foods harbour risky bacteria which can cause food poisoning. Food poisoning can also seriously harm your baby and put your pregnancy at risk. See What Foods to Avoid When Pregnant, and also, increase your nutritional value with Foods to Eat When Pregnant.
If you have not already been doing so, you should take prenatal vitamins and/or iron supplements if necessary.
What to do about exercise when you find out you’re Pregnant
It is advisable to stay as fit and healthy as you can during your pregnancy, while also taking care of your growing baby. I have shared my exercise and F45 journey during my pregnancy, as well as some general advice around taking care of yourself. It is advisable to talk to a personal trainer or at least discuss with your midwife or LMC how to look after your body safely during pregnancy.
Put your feet up
It is so important for both mother and baby that you rest during your pregnancy. Put your feet up, relax, try not to stress, get lots of sleep, and create a keepsake of this beautiful time with the made with love pregnancy journal – journalling is so therapeutic and you will be so glad you did in years to come.
If you do not wish to continue your Pregnancy
For some women pregnancy can be a difficult time. You may need someone to talk to or you may want some specific support. A midwife or your doctor will be able to talk to you about any issues you face. It is your right to terminate your pregnancy if you want to. Visit Abortion Services in New Zealand, ring 0800 ABORTION (0800 226 784) or talk to your doctor or nurse.