Whether it’s something you’ve been planning (and working on) for quite some time, or it’s a complete surprise, you’re bound to be met by a barrage of emotions the moment you see those two lines, plus sign, or digital words proclaiming you’re pregnant. In that moment, it’s as though everything changes...because, well, it kind of does.
After having some time to fully absorb the news, many women wonder what next steps to take. We spoke with Dr. Iffath Hoskins, clinical associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health for her expert advice for very newly expectant moms.
First Things First
What’s the first thing to do when you find out "you’re a momma to be? Dr. Hoskins says, “Feel elated (hopefully)!" Then, she recommends getting to a doctor to get accurate dating, and to make sure that everything is okay in regard to mom’s health and the baby’s.
For most women, making drastic lifestyle changes aren’t necessary in pregnancy. In fact, Dr. Hoskins simply recommends, “adequate rest and sleep, healthy diet and exercise, and to enjoy the pregnancy.”
The First Doctor’s Appointment
As tempting as it might be to get an ultrasound right away, there isn’t much to see in the very early stages, if at all. Dr. Hoskins suggests that ideally, a woman would make her first prenatal appointment by “6-8 weeks gestation, within two weeks after a missed period.”
You’re bound to have tons and tons of questions as a newly expecting mom to be, and that’s totally natural. Ask away!
Among the most common questions Dr. Hoskins hears is, “Is my baby ok?” Early on, there are measures that can be taken to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally, and as your pregnancy evolves there are more specific tests to test for any abnormalities or concerns. Another question asked often is, ‘When is my due date?” which can be calculated by a dating scan. You can also get a rough estimate of this if you are familiar with your cycle length and dates.
Women also often ask Dr. Hoskins what to expect within each trimester. Your body, and the baby’s, will undergo lots of changes and transformations trimester to trimester, even week to week, and knowing as much as you can will help to anticipate everything coming your way. There are also helpful apps you can use to track development and milestones, such as Ovia Pregnancy and Baby Center.
Another common question, Dr. Hoskins says, is “What meds/immunizations to get, and what to avoid?” This is a biggie, because as you may or may not no, many things you might be accustomed to taking are considered off-limits or not recommended in pregnancy. Keep in mind that whatever you ingest from here on out can have a potential effect, and you want to be as healthy as you can be. There’s no harm in calling the doctor, prior to your first appointment, with any questions regarding medications, supplements, or immunizations.
Though the journey has only just begun, it’s completely normal to feel anxious, excited, terrified and thrilled all at the same time, and chances are these feelings will continue throughout the next nine months. With proper medical care and the right mindset, your pregnancy will be off to a fantastic start.