So, you just found out you’re pregnant and got your BFP (big fat positive)! Yippee! Congratulations! This is BIG news! If you’re wondering what your next steps might look like – keep reading!
Some women dream for years about getting pregnant, and for others it might come as a bit of a shock. Either way, I want to reassure you that you’re not alone in wondering “what should I do next?!”
Finding out you’re expecting can come with a whole whack of emotions – from joy and excitement, to fear and panic and everything in between. It’s all normal, and it’s all okay! Acknowledge and feel your feelings! But before you start planning whether or not you’re having an unmedicated home birth or an epidural and a hospital birth, pause for a second! You’ve got 40 weeks to figure it all out! There is no rush to have it all figured out right this second.
So, if you’re looking for a few “next steps”, I’ve outlined some below!
Let’s dive in!
- Consider taking a second pregnancy test
If your first instinct is to run to your nearest pharmacy to buy every different pregnancy test on the market and take them all, slow down a minute! There is certainly nothing wrong with taking a second test – after all, human error can happen, and expired pregnancy tests can give you a false positive reading – so a second test might give you a little validation and piece of mind. But there is NO need to buy and take every different test on the shelf.
According to the mayoclinic a home pregnancy test may read positive if you’re taking certain medications – like fertility medications for IVF, if you’ve recently had a miscarriage, or are having an ectopic pregnancy. This is why it’s important to schedule a doctor’s appointment after you get your BFP.
- Calculate your due date
I’m sure one of the things you’ll be itching to find out is your baby’s due date! Conception usually happens between 11-21 days after the first day of your last period, but since it’s tricky to know the exact date you conceived, healthcare practitioners will usually calculate your due date based off of the first day of your last known period.
You can also do this at home! I used THIS to calculate my expected due date! Keep in mind though that due dates are more like “guess dates” and that every baby will have it’s own unique gestation period! I’ll get more into that later!
You got your BFP! What you *should* do is take a minute to celebrate this life-changing news! Even if you were planning this pregnancy, it’s totally normal to feel a little overwhelmed by all the changes that are about to come your way! A small suggestion I have is to keep the news between you and your partner for a little – so that you can savour and enjoy the moment before being bombarded with well-meaning questions like “are you going to find out the sex”, “are you planning xyz for your birth”, “have you done xyz yet”, from grandparents and close friends.
- Start thinking about the kind of practitioner you want to attend your birth!
So, you have a few different options here! You can choose to birth with a midwife, or an OBGYN – or you can choose to birth outside the “system” and hire a traditional birth attendant, or freebirth! You have TONS of options!
If you’re looking for guidance choosing your perfect practitioner, check out my free guide here
- If you want to give birth with a Midwife, apply for care ASAP!
If you’re birthing in Canada, and want to be under the care of a midwife team, I HIGHLY suggest applying for care ASAP. We have a limited number of midwives, and they are usually highly sought after.
I’m going to share a little bit of my personal experience here. I found out I was pregnant just shy of being 4 weeks along, and was waitlisted at one of the midwifery groups I applied to.
My big advice, even if you think you *might* want to give birth with a midwife – apply for care as soon as you get your BFP!
- Make a doctors appointment
After you see your BFP, call your family doctor (if you have one, if not, a walk-in clinic will work!), and schedule an appointment. Your first “prenatal visit” usually won’t happen until around your 8th week of pregnancy, but you can absolutely see your GP sooner! Depending on the practice, wait times might be long!
Your family doctor might order some tests – like baseline blood work, they might verify your blood type, HIV/Hepatitis status, check for vaccine antibodies, check your A1C to assess your diabetes risk, do a urine sample to test for infection and STD’s, and order a “dating” ultrasound to confirm when your expected due date is. Of course, ALL of these tests are optional, and you can decline anything that doesn’t feel right to you.
- Practice good self care
Getting good sleep, taking prenatal vitamins (if you aren’t already), and exercising safely can all help you have a successful pregnancy, easier labor and a healthy baby. Of course, listening to your body’s cues – like exhaustion or morning sickness – will help you cope more easily with pregnancy.
- Decide when and how to share your news!
There is no right time, or way, to share your news! I’m going to share a little bit of my story here, and *trigger warning – infant loss* maybe it’ll help you!
So, the first time I found out we were expecting was on mothers day in 2020. We decided not to share the news with anyone – not even our family – until after our first ultrasound. That is what the internet suggested, and it felt “right” to us at the time.
My first ultrasound showed that the pregnancy was ectopic and I had to have a chemical abortion. We hadn’t shared our news with anyone, so we didn’t have much support going through that experience. We ended up telling our inner circle that we were experiencing pregnancy loss, and it felt like a whole roller-coaster of emotions.
With my second pregnancy, we found out we were expecting and shared the news later that day with our immediate family and inner circle. We had their immediate support, especially with all the anxiety and fear I felt surrounding this pregnancy.
Now, with my third pregnancy, we didn’t share the news right away. In fact, we haven’t actually shared our news with very many people yet! If you’re reading this, you might be one of the firsts!
I’m not saying sharing your news earlier or later is better – it’s up to you to decide what feels right, and listen to what your intuition is telling you!
I hope this helps you navigate your early pregnancy days with a little more ease, and less confusion!
ALL my best,