Those few minutes while you wait for your at-home pregnancy test results may be the most exciting and excruciating of your life. You wait for what feels like an eternity trying not to peek, take a deep breath, and finally read the panel—and it’s positive. There’s a rush of emotions and fantasies about the future—and if this is your first time being pregnant, you’ll probably find yourself asking: what do I do now?
Being a first-time mom isn’t always easy. You’re filled with questions, excitement, and probably a little fear—it’s totally natural. That’s why the team at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama has created a guide for what to do when you find out you’re pregnant. Start off with a deep breath and relax—we’ve got your back every step of the way.
Schedule an Appointment with a Trusted OB/GYN
The first thing you should do is schedule a prenatal appointment with an obstetrician you can trust. You’ll probably see your OB/GYN more often during this time than any other in your life, so be sure to choose a provider that you feel comfortable with. You might also want to look for a practice with advanced tools like 4D ultrasound and SneakPeek genetic testing or early gender reveal.
We’ll aim to schedule your first prenatal appointment around the 8th week of pregnancy. A lot of helpful things will happen during this appointment, including:
- Confirmation of your at-home pregnancy test results and due date
- A health assessment of you and your baby
- A conversation about your family medical history, lifestyle habits, and gynecological health
- Time to ask questions about your pregnancy journey (feel free to bring in a list of questions so you don’t forget any!)
Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
We recommend that women start taking prenatal vitamins 3 to 4 months before they start trying to conceive. If you haven’t started taking them before pregnancy, that’s okay—but you should start as soon as possible. These vitamins are widely available over the counter, and have many important vitamins and minerals for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends choosing a prenatal vitamin with:
- Folic acid (at least 600 micrograms)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
Take Stock of Your Medical History & Medications
At your first appointment, your doctor will ask for your medical history to evaluate any potential risks to you and the baby. Before you arrive, make sure to take stock of health issues that run in your family and your personal medical history. This will help your doctor assess your pregnancy risks and have a clear picture of your health.
Bring along a list of medications and over-the-counter supplements you’re taking along with their dosages. It’s important to be honest and thorough about this list, as some pills can be harmful during pregnancy even if they’re safe otherwise. Be sure to include multivitamins, herbal supplements, over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications.
Focus on Pregnancy Nutrition & Exercise
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll want to cut out several foods, drinks, and substances straight away, including:
- Tobacco and nicotine (including e-cigarettes)
- Raw or undercooked meat and eggs
- Raw sprouts
- Processed meats (hot dogs, deli meat, etc.)
- Certain types of fish high in mercury
- Caffeine (in excess of 200 mg)
Prenatal vitamins are wonderful, but they can’t take the place of eating a balanced and nutritious diet. At OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, our board-certified physicians have plenty of resources available to new moms to navigate the challenges of eating for two in a safe and healthy way. From handling cravings to managing morning sickness, we have advice for it all.
We can also connect you with healthy eating resources, including free tools like MyPlate. MyPlate Plans can give you personalized recommendations based on your height, pre-pregnancy weight, and level of physical activity, as well as meal planning strategies.
Exercise is important, and can be safe in a healthy pregnancy—but your regimen might not look the same as before. Your obstetrician can help find ways to stay active and prioritize your health safely!
Track Your Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes—your body is getting ready to do something amazing, and some discomfort is bound to come with it. A certain amount of nausea, aches and pains, and tiredness is to be expected. But let your obstetrician know if you experience any of the following:
- Severe vomiting that persists or is accompanied by blood or intense dizziness
- Signs of a urinary tract infection, such as burning when you urinate, intense urges to urinate, or fever/chills
- Extreme lightheadedness, especially if accompanied by blurred vision or fainting
- Vaginal spotting, especially if accompanied by pelvic pain
Any of these symptoms could be signs of a complication that requires medical attention. Even if we find out there isn’t a complication, your OB/GYN can help you manage these uncomfortable experiences.
Ask for Support
Your pregnancy journey is intensely personal, and you get to set your own boundaries about who to tell, when to tell them, and how much to tell them! But remember to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s from your family, friends, or a healthcare provider, having a good support system can make all the difference for your mental health and well-being during this time of change.
At OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, we strive to be a source of knowledge and comfort to all our new moms-to-be. We hope that our office is a place where you feel safe asking questions, sharing concerns, and getting what you need to have the most positive pregnancy experience possible. Whether you’re planning a pregnancy or looking for a new OB/GYN who can fully address your needs, we’re here for you for every stage of life!
Pregnancy Support & Prenatal Care for Women in the Birmingham Metro Area
OB/GYN Associates of Alabama has three convenient locations in downtown Birmingham, Gardendale, and Hoover to serve the women of our community with the best possible care. Our board-certified providers continually invest in ongoing education, the latest medical technology, and proven techniques our patients care about most. Call (205) 271-1600 or request an appointment online today!