Things to do when you first find out you’re pregnant

By 07:50

If you’ve been following my pregnancy blog posts, you’ll know that my bun was a complete surprise. I hadn’t been preparing for pregnancy so when I discovered I was pregnant, I had to move quickly past the shock and denial phase into preparing for the next 9 months…and for life beyond.  Here are my tips on what to do the moment you find out you’re pregnant that should help you through those daunting nine months to come.

1. Create a support system
Soon after we found out we were pregnant, I told a friend, my husband told his work colleagues and we told our immediate families. It didn’t seem like a great idea at the time, with everyone oozing excitement when we hadn’t quite come to terms with our own feelings; but when I became very sick, these were the people we could talk to. My husband had loads of morning sickness advice and our parents kept checking up on us to see if we were ok. 

2. Find a gynae
I am ashamed to admit that I never visited one until six weeks into my pregnancy. I had my annual pap smears done at my GP but I didn’t do any other girly part checks so when I found out that I was pregnant, it was a mad dash to find one. At the hospital closest to me, I found a female gynae which seemed perfect. The only problem is that gynaes get booked fast. She was so busy that she wasn’t taking on any new patients.

I asked one of my friends who just had a baby and she highly recommended her gynae. I managed to get an appointment and decided he was a keeper at my first visit. He had a jovial bedside manner which was exactly what I needed when I was so unsure of my own feelings.

Find out about they gynaecologist’s fees when doing your selection. Mine is very expensive and medical aid only covers about half of his consultation fees but I’m comfortable with him and we can afford it so that’s all that mattered to me. 

3. Revise your medical aid cover
I moved over to my husband’s medical aid shortly after we got married. It was cheaper than mine for better cover but it only covers up to 200% medical aid rates. When you’re in a private hospital, specialists can charge up to 300% medical aid rates so we signed up for top up cover through Admed. They cover what the medical aids don’t during hospital stays. As I understand it, you should not need to pay a cent out of your pocket during delivery. 

4. Get started on pre-natal vitamins
I have to admit that I’m not a fan of vitamins. With a balanced and varied diet, your body will get and absorb all the vitamins it needs. Any more and you just pee it all out. However, most women don’t get a lot of folic acid in their diet which is crucial in preventing early pregnancy birth defects.

I didn’t have a very good diet in my first trimester. I went through phases where I would only eat Lays chips or fish fingers. I’m pretty certain my vitamins helped me get the right nutrients. Who cares about the remainder that I pee’ed out. 

5. Review your fitness regime
I used to be pretty fit with my dance classes. When I found out I was pregnant, I had to do the responsible thing and stop. There were quite a few risks that came with dancing through my bodily changes. It’s also about knowing yourself. I knew that I would ignore my body in the pursuit for more flexibility and mastering certain tricks, so I stopped. I’m not encouraging anyone to stop. In fact, if you haven’t started exercising, you should. I just had health complications that made even simple forms of exercise difficult to do.

6. Track your pregnancy with an app
I use Ovia. It sends you daily emails to remind you of how far along you are with informative articles on symptoms, baby’s development and yours. It’s cute to have around especially if your pregnancy symptoms put a damper on your moods. 

7. Google is your friend
People who scare too easily will tell you not to Google. I like being informed and I’m not going to think I’m dying of some rare disease by reading just one article. Google has helped me with understanding what other women go through and reaffirmed whether my symptoms are normal or not and what I can do about them.

8. Plan a babymoon
We planned a non-pregnant holiday which turned into a fugitive-harbouring trip. Do some research on your symptoms and figure out the best time to travel for you. Then go spend some quality time with your partner. It’ll probably be last holiday where it’s just the two of you. If the baby expenses mean you can’t afford a holiday, how about a staycation? Just take a break from the baby madness and enjoy your time together without baby cries ruining the romance.

9. Shop around for maternity clothes
Unfortunately only the maternity boutiques sell maternity wear so it is going to be expensive. Fortunately, if you watch your weight, you should be able to take your normal clothes through your pregnancy. I was bloated and uncomfortable quite early on in my pregnancy and I couldn’t do without a pair of maternity pants that I bought from Koco Bino.

10. Visit baby expos
And baby stores. It’s a great way to research the products you need. At the expos, you will get good deals.  It’s less overwhelming when you are armed with the right information to make the right decisions. 

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