I'm pregnant, now what?!

So, you've peed on that stick and either you are feeling one of two ways: 

                     OR                              

Either way honey, congratulations, you're preggers!

Any time I found out, I was always more Buddy, than JLo in my reaction! But either way, you are probably asking...now what?!

Here are 8 things I'd recommend, and have done myself in the past:

1. Ensure you are taking your folic acid daily, and some form of prenatal vitamins. For me personally, prenatal vitamins I've taken previously haven't had a very positive affect on my digestive system. So I took the folic acid and specific, very high quality,  EFA Omega-3 and Omega-6 capsules, and made sure my diet was awesome.

2. Clean up your diet. Get rid of refined, sugary and processed foods. Increase your veggie intake and try to eat as healthily as you possibly can, including a very balanced diet. Reduce caffeine in your diet and don't forget it can hide in several sources that you might not be aware of...particularly chocolate and chocolate icecream! Also you have fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and decaf teas & coffees will still have some caffeine included. Herbalist and Naturopath, Marina Kesso, says:

There is a surprising lack of understanding about nutrition in general during pregnancy. Pregnant women want to be the healthiest they have ever been when they are growing a baby. Things like increasing your intake of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) is so important during the 1st and 3rd Trimester. You need a proper pregnancy oil. The average salmon you buy in the shops is farmed and that won't provide you with enough EFA, hence why you need a supplement.

3. Booze - just cut it out at this early stage. There is no healthy amount of alcohol that has been proven to be safe to drink in pregnancy. If you smoke, stop immediately.

4. It's so important for both your mental and physical health and for baby's, that you exercise all throughout your pregnancy. Exercise guidelines state you should continue exercising as per your usual routine unless you are doing a hi-risk sport where there is a risk of falling or abdominal trauma. Make sure you are getting at least 5 x 30 minutes of cardio per week. These can be a mixture of walking, swimming or running if you have been used to that. Ensure you can talk comfortably all throughout your exercise, and stop at any point if you feel unwell, getting cramps or if there is any bleeding. Above all, just be comfortable at all times as you exercise. 

5. Start to look into healthcare providers. Generally, the first person to make contact with is your GP, where all care relating to pregnancy is completely free. This is where you are most likely to get information regarding your options for antenatal care during your pregnancy. In Ireland, the majority of babies are born in hospital, and outside of this, the options vary enormously, and depend on where you live and also what risk factors your pregnancy may present. Most will decide between Public, Private, or Semi-Private care.

Sheona Kelliher is a midwife working in Ireland and also writes for Cow&Gate Babyclub. She gives the following information:

Public Care:

  • Free service
  • Seen by junior doctors and midwives
  • Unlikely to see the same doctor at each appointment
  • The birth will be attended by a midwife
  • You will have a bed on a public ward ( approx. 6-12 beds)

Semi Private Care

  • There is a charge for this service, available with private health insurance
  • Clinic is overseen by a consultant obstetrician
  • Seen by junior doctors and midwives
  • Depending on the size of the clinic you may see the same doctor throughout your pregnancy
  • Birth will be attended by a midwife
  • You will have a bed on a semi-private ward (approx 4-6 beds)

Private Care:

  • There is a charge for service, available with private health insurance but not covered by all packages
  • Choice of consultant obstetrician
  • See the consultant at every visit
  • Birth will be attended by midwife
  • Any complications your consultant will be contacted
  • Consultant attends the delivery where possible
  • You will have a private room, where available

As well as these options, you can choose to go for 'Combined Care', whereby you alternate your appointments with the hospital and your GP. Again, it's not available everywhere and you must be low-risk.

Home Birth is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland but is largely dependent on where you live and your risk level. There is a free service via the HSE, but you can also enter into a private agreement with a self-employed community midwife

6. Consider an early scan for peace of mind. This really depends on your history. I would never have done this, and I didn't, on my first pregnancy, which resulted in a devastating miscarriage. So on all my subsequent pregnancies, I have had an early scan at 6 and a half weeks where possible. It is mostly done either if you go privately, or at a private clinic like Baby Scan, or similar. I'd also consider acupuncture to support your growing baby in early pregnancy. I'm a big fan of this :)

7. If you are working, take a look and see what sort of maternity policies are available. You don't have to announce anything, but have a sneaky peek is a good start!

8. And finally, ENJOY IT! Even though it can be a very anxious time, try as best you can to enjoy it! Allow yourself to get excited, maybe even buy yourself a pair of maternity jeans! To help you ease any nerves and to help bond with baby, why not download my gorgeous 10-minute relaxation.

 

If you are looking to take some exercise with a qualified professional, why not look at my 7-week Prenatal Yoga & Birth Preparation Program. Until then, enjoy the fact you are pregnant!

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Helen Plass is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist, and Yoga Instructor, working with women and their birthing partners to achieve a comfortable, healthy & happy journey into Pregnancy, birth and Motherhood. She is known for her very practical & non-judgmental approach to pregnancy and the crazy times of motherhood. Check out all her communication at NurtureMamas.com, and if you are in Ireland, her local business MumandBaby.ie