You're Pregnant! - Now What Do You Do?

By Anna-Maria Boelskov - May 07, 2018

The Pregnancy Checklist -  What to Do When You Find Out You're Pregnant 

Maybe your pregnancy was planned, maybe it wasn't, and you are reading this still in a state of shock and excitement. I wish there had been a blog or a website to explain what to do next when I first fell pregnant. This blog post is my guide to that very first stage of the pregnancy. What do you need to do when you realise you're pregnant? Who do you need to see and reach out to? We'll go through this first part of your pregnancy in this blog post so that you can clear your mind and begin your journey with a foundation of knowledge and understanding. With knowledge comes confidence and ease of mind.

If you approach this time in your life with as much awareness as possible, you will see that you can have 9+ months of magic on your hands (and in your belly). Falling pregnant can feel like a labyrinth of appointments, scans, mixed messages and random (welcomed and un-welcomed) advice from left right and centre. 

To help you on your way I have outlined some crucial steps that will lay a great and wholesome foundation for your time ahead.

  • Get a blood test from your GP to confirm your pregnancy. If you do a urine home pregnancy test, you need to get your blood human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) tested to confirm how far along you are. Your GP will also do an array of different tests that are standard when falling pregnant. 
  • Book in your dating scan in advance (if you wish to have one) it can be hard to get a scan last minute. The dating scan confirms your due date and needs to be done between 6 weeks to 13 weeks gestation. Otherwise, the scan isn't accurate enough.
  • Decide where you'd like to give birth so you can get yourself the right set up for pregnancy care and birth. I have written a thorough breakdown of your birth options here.
  • Get healthy. If you haven't done any fertility preparation I urge you to get advice on diet, skin care and supplementation for the different stages of your pregnancy journey and prep for the fourth trimester. An integrative GP, nutritionist, naturopath, TCM practitioner and acupuncturist can help you. I offer support via online and in-clinic appointments here.
  • Get your nutrients tested. You're sharing your body with your growing baby, and your baby is getting nourishment from you and your diet. So being up to date with your different nutrient levels is essential and to avoid not getting depleted. I suggest blood tests for iron, ferritin, vitamin D and zinc as a basic requirement as well as urinary iodine. There may be a need for more to be tested, but that depends on your particular situation. This is not common medical practice but a thorough and wholistic way to ensure you are at the most optimal wellbeing possible and will help you recover well after birth. I offer thorough pathology screening here.
  • Listen to and read positive birth stories. Surround yourself with women and experienced birth workers, so you are setting yourself up for a great and positive experience. The more you approach this unique time in your life with an open mind and careful attention to your needs and wishes the more you are likely to have a pregnancy and birth experience that feels positive and fuels you to have a good start to motherhood - a very new chapter in your life. You can listen to this particular episode on my podcast, there are also several other great birth-related podcasts available and I highly recommend these books: Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah J. Buckley and Ina May's guide to childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. 
  • Look into having a doula. Having a professional support person by your side in labour and birth has been shown to reduce the chances of intervention and improve your overall experience. You can read more about when to hire a doula and what a doula is as well as some of my clients birth experiences here
  • Book a childbirth course. I am a believer in the notion that knowledge is power. The more you know about something, the better your chances are of a positive and enriching experience. When it comes to childbirth it really rings true - when do we learn about childbirth? ... certainly not from Hollywood movies! Some of my favourite childbirth educators are Nadine Richardson, the founder of SheBirths and Jennifer Hazi a Midwife and founder of Circles of Women. There are many great childbirth educators, so it is worth exploring the many choices and options for childbirth education.

This is not a complete list but it will get you off to a more comprehensive beginning in finding your way as your are getting ready for birth.  There are no 'right' way but there will be your way and that is as perfect as it can be! 

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References: "Melatonin Synergizes with Oxytocin to Enhance Contractility of Human Myometrial Smooth Muscle Cells" |  | James T. Sharkey, Roopashri Puttaramu, R. Ann Word, and James Olcese

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