All you veteran mums out there - do you remember the moment you first realised you were pregnant? Chances are, it’s permanently emblazoned on your memory – because whether your pregnancy is a much-anticipated, longed-for event or a total surprise, seeing that little blue line or hearing those words from your GP is a moment that changes your life forever.
First, there’s the adrenaline rush – the unmistakable sensation of a major milestone being reached. Many women simply sit and stare at the test for a few long moments, as if it might change if they take their eyes off of it. And the monologue in your head might sound something like this:
“Right, so I’m pregnant. We’re going to be parents. Oh my, I’m going to be a MUM. Like, with a REAL BABY. But I’ve never even changed a nappy! This is real - WE’RE GOING TO BE PARENTS. OMG, what on earth do I do now??”
As soon as the shock has worn off a bit, and you’ve told your partner the happy news, however, you’ll probably find yourself with questions. Lots and lots of questions. And one of them will probably be, “Who should I call first?”
Of course you’ll likely want to tell your best friend and your parents…and your partner’s parents, but don’t put the phone down just yet: if you’ve taken a home pregnancy test, you’ll also want to ring your GP surgery to make an appointment. They will set you up for antenatal care with a midwife (including those exciting ultrasound scans, when you’ll get your first glimpse of your little one!) You’ll have up to 10 appointments over the course of your pregnancy, to make sure your baby is growing well and answer any questions you have.
After those three exciting calls, though, you may want to pause for thought. Yes, you now have the biggest, most delicious secret of your life... but many experienced mums would advise you to keep the news fairly close to your chest, at least at first.
Why? For one thing, if you’re working, you’ll want to make a well-thought-out decision about when to inform your boss (see our article on Your Rights at Work for more information on this). The other reason is more sobering, but still worth considering: while they are still rare, 80% of all miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. So while you’ll almost certainly want to tell your family and close friends, you may decide you’d rather not post the announcement on Facebook or Instagram just yet.
A few other things you may want to do in the early weeks of your pregnancy:
- Think ahead. Yes, it’s still nearly 10 months until your little bundle of joy will actually make an entrance, but regardless, one of the first things you’ll be asked is where you want to have your baby. Would you rather have a hospital birth, or do you prefer the more homely environment of a birth centre? Or perhaps you’d like to aim for a homebirth? You’ll probably have lots of questions while you’re considering, but that’s okay – your midwife is a great resource to help fill in any gaps in your knowledge.
- Write things down. It’s a great idea to keep a notebook handy, whether you use it to jot down questions for your midwife or muse about what you’re feeling, or your hopes and dreams for your baby-to-be... any and all of it will be precious later on, particularly when your child asks you what it was like when he or she was in your tummy!
- Get out the camera. Documenting your changing body is a fun way to mark the weeks of your pregnancy; many women take a weekly or monthly shot in the same position to show that gorgeous bump getting bigger. Photo printing websites like Snapfish offer pregnancy photo book formats that will turn your pics into a lovely keepsake (and if you join our HiPP Baby Club, you can order one for half price!)
- Give some thought to how you’re going to ‘eat for two.’ Granted, in the first couple of months of pregnancy food may be the last thing you want to think about, but it’s worth having a quick look at the best foods to eat during pregnancy, and those that are best avoided. (After all, your appetite’s bound to come back sometime!) And if you’re not already taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, now’s definitely the time to start.
- Follow along from the outside. Keeping track of what’s going on in your burgeoning belly is fascinating – for example, did you know that your baby’s tiny heart begins to beat as early as the sixth week of pregnancy? Our pregnancy week by week calendar gives you a glimpse into the amazing things happening inside!
Most of all, though, any mother would tell you to try to relax and really enjoy this heady time – it’s unlike any other, and you’ll remember it for the rest of your life!
Experienced mums, help the newbies out: what did you do – or wish you’d done – early in your pregnancy? If we’ve missed out on any great ideas, let us know in the comments section!