You just got some big news, you’re pregnant!
After the initial shock of this life-changing news, you’re probably wondering what’s next.
This post will be a helpful guide about what to do when pregnant for the first time. Even if you are a nervous first time mother, use these tips to have an enjoyable first-time pregnancy experience.
First Time Mom Checklist for Pregnancy
So you want to know exactly what you should be doing now that you have a confirmed positive pregnancy test? Here are the next steps for you as you go through your first pregnancy experience.
1. Find out how far along you are
Shortly after getting my positive pregnancy test, I used a baby app from What To Expect to estimate my due date. I wanted to know right away when I could expect my little one to arrive!
Of course, you will get a more exact due date from your doctor’s office based on your last menstrual period and an ultrasound. I got my first positive pregnancy test on a Sunday and there were no doctor’s offices open at that time. It’s fun to get a quick answer from these calculators.
Related: The Best Apps for New Moms
2. Schedule your first prenatal appointment
Speaking of doctor visits, you should go ahead and schedule your first doctor’s appointment with your OB/GYN. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to start looking for one.
This visit usually won’t happen right away which was shocking to me as a first-time mom. I had to wait a few weeks. Most doctors’ offices will schedule your appointment when you are 6 to 8 weeks along.
3. Check your insurance benefits
I’m sure you’ll want to know what having this baby will cost. The first and probably the largest expenses are for delivery.
Check with your insurance company to verify your coverage and benefits. Ask them what pregnancy and childbirth expenses they cover. Besides prenatal care and care for your newborn, your plan may cover breastfeeding supplies, doula services and more.
Be sure to verify that your doctor and hospital are in network with your insurance plan. This can help reduce your out of pocket costs.
4. Start taking a prenatal vitamin
Prenatal vitamins can provide many vitamins and minerals you need. They help fill in the gaps in your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body requires. Prenatal vitamins are a little bit different from regular multivitamins because they contain more folic acid and iron.
The good news about taking a prenatal is that you can take them in many forms, just pick the one that works best for you. There are standard prenatal vitamin pills, gummies, and even a prenatal liquid vitamin. If you having problems with swallowing pills or just want an alternative be sure to check out liquid prenatal vitamins.
5. Practice healthy habits
You’ll want to stop drinking and smoking immediately after getting a positive pregnancy test. This is an important healthy pregnancy tip because both of these can impact your baby’s health and development. Learn more about why both of these habits are not safe during pregnancy.
6. Consider diet changes
Changing your diet now that you’re pregnant doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Make simple changes like adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Also, eating for 2 is a myth. You don’t have to pile on too many extra calories. Understand that pregnancy cravings are real, but try to limit them or indulge in moderation.
I was lucky because one of my pregnancy cravings was pineapple. Out of all the things I could want to crave, fresh fruit isn’t half bad!
Now is not really the time to do a drastic diet change though. Keep it simple and eat from a variety of food groups and you should be fine. If you’re interested in a sample meal plan for pregnant women, check this article out.
7. Modify your exercise routine
Exercise during pregnancy has a few benefits like weight management and improving your physical wellbeing just to name a few. Women who were exercising prior to getting pregnant can continue, and even if you didn’t work out before you can start now.
The key to this is to do moderate exercise and listen to your body. Avoid strenuous activities and pay attention to when you get signs that you need to slow down or take it easy.
I enjoy running, but during my first pregnancy, it didn’t feel that great to run. I switched to walking instead and I got up early most mornings to take a walk around my neighborhood. It felt great and I felt it really helped me mentally as well as physically.
8. Create your maternity leave plan
If you are working currently, you will need to give some thought when you will stop working, how to tell your employer and your plans to return to work after the baby.
Some moms will assume they can work up until the day they deliver and they don’t consider the possibility of complications. Be sure to ask your HR department about leave options, short term disability benefits and more. I wrote a very in depth article about making a plan for your maternity leave at Mom Life Happy Life, be sure to check it out if you want more details.
9. Get some rest
Your body is so hard at work growing your baby and it’s natural for you to feel tired, especially during the first and last trimester of pregnancy.
At first, I would feel bad about needing to go to bed so early when I felt like I had a ton of other things to do. Now in hindsight, I would just tell myself to stop stressing and just go to sleep!
Since this is your first pregnancy, I want to tell you to get all the sleep you need and want. It’s okay I promise. If you need help with getting more sleep here are 18 safe and effective pregnancy sleep tips you’ll definitely want to know.
10. Decide who you’re going to tell
You know the big news and your partner knows by this point too. When and how are you going to share your news with the world? That’s completely up to you!
There are no hard and fast rules for telling people when you’re pregnant. Everyone pretty much has to play by your rules when it comes to sharing your pregnancy.
Some women opt to wait until after the 12 week mark when the risk of miscarriage is lower. I personally waited until I was about 20 weeks along because it happened to fall during my birthday week! I knew that people were going to notice my bump in my birthday pictures so I made the announcement on my birthday.
11. Start looking at baby names
Even if you were one of those women who had baby names picked out before your little one was even conceived, it is so fun to explore potential baby names.
Think about it, you are responsible for the name of a brand new person! I think the name you select for your baby is super important, so make sure you and your partner love it! You will be saying it a lot during your baby’s lifetime.
12. Document your journey
You will want pictures during your first pregnancy to look back on. You cant take enough! If you are the selfie a day type, try weekly bump pictures.
You will enjoy looking back and seeing the progression. Looking back at my bump pictures, I can vividly remember what I was doing that day and how I felt.
13. Update your wardrobe
As your body grows and changes you will need to get new clothes. Let me tell you that you don’t need to break the bank to update your wardrobe with maternity clothes that work for you. You shop smarter by using these simple money saving tips and maternity clothes shopping checklist.
Don’t worry about maternity clothes looking frumpy or crazy either. During my first pregnancy, I avoided buying maternity clothes for a while because I was scared people would be able to tell they were maternity clothes. Silly right?
Maternity clothes today are as trendy and stylish as ever and they are SO comfortable. The first time I tried on a pair of maternity jeans at Target, I let out an audible sigh of relief, no kidding!
14. Start saving money right away
Yes, its true babies can be expensive. You probably don’t have baby expenses in your budget right now so consider putting money aside right now.
The earlier you can start, the better it will be! In the US, hospital bills for childbirth can be really costly. Imagine the look of surprise on my face when at my first prenatal visit, they gave me the estimate for a hospital birth with my OB/GYN. The sticker shock did motivate me to start saving then and there.
Related: 27 Ways To Have A Baby On A Budget
15. Take a childbirth and breastfeeding class
Sign up to take a local in person class, your hospital will probably offer a few options. There are also affordable online breastfeeding classes you can take at your own pace, whatever fits your schedule!
I signed up for both of these classes and due to some scheduling issues, I was only able to make the childbirth class. That class was very helpful and informative and I felt like I was able to ask a lot of first time pregnancy questions without any judgment.
If you take your childbirth class at the hospital you plan to deliver at, then usually they’ll give you a tour of the facility. It’s so good to be prepared and ask questions about what they can offer and what you can bring.
Oh, how I wish I had taken the breastfeeding class prior to giving birth! As a first time mom, I was under the impression that breastfeeding would come naturally and be a breeze, so I didn’t bother to reschedule. Big mistake!
If you’re worried breastfeeding won’t work for you, or you won’t be able to produce enough milk, taking a class can help to calm your fears and anxiety of the unknown.
16. Create your birth plan
Speaking of preparing for birth, it may seem a while away if you just found out you’re pregnant, but you really do want to have some idea of your birth plan.
When it comes to having a baby, things don’t always go as planned. You can plan your whole pregnancy and be prepared for a vaginal birth and end up having a C-Section.
Your birth plan is a good way to prepare for both options. Instead of looking at it as a set of commandments set it in stone, think of it as your wishes for how things should go.
Make sure to share your birth plan with whoever will be in the delivery room with you so that they can help advocate for your desires as well.
Related: What To Wear After Giving Birth
17. Create a baby registry
Okay, creating a baby registry may not be necessary the minute you find out you’re pregnant but it sure is fun!
As a new mom, you will probably want to know all about the newborn must haves, and I have a free printable pdf newborn checklist just for you!
The earlier you start your baby registry and share it, people might just go ahead and buy from it. Be sure to create an Amazon baby registry for family and friends that don’t live close but still want to buy something for your little one.
Its also really easy to order things online overall. Plus when you create your Amazon registry you will get a welcome box with free goodies!
While you’re creating your nursery checklist, you’ll also want to plan for how to prepare for bringing baby home.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this first time mom checklist , hopefully, you have a plan about what to do when pregnant for the first time.
Don’t forget to check out my 10 brilliant first trimester survival hacks!