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You're Pregnant—Now What? 8 Important Things to Do

By Chaunie Brusie, R.N.
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D. , Susan Ko, Ph.D.
September 05, 2023

After a few watchful minutes, you have the answer to the question you’ve been wondering about: Yes, you’re pregnant.

Maybe you’ve been trying or maybe this is unexpected. Either way, you might not be sure what to do next.

While pregnancy can be full of to-dos, there are eight important things to focus on first. Here’s what to do when you find out you’re pregnant.

1. Tell the Person or People You Trust Most

Whatever feelings you might be having about your pregnancy, you don’t have to face this life change alone. It’s common to tell a partner first. But it could also be a trustworthy friend or family member—whomever you feel closest to.

Support is important in pregnancy. Studies suggest that having social support while you’re pregnant can have a positive effect on your health and well‑being. This can positively impact your baby’s health and well‑being too.

You may not feel ready to spread the word to everyone yet. But pick out at least one person to share your news with and talk to about your feelings.

What If I’m Not Sure I Want to Have a Baby?

Then you definitely need support. You also need to understand all your options. Planned Parenthood has some good information on how to weigh your options. You can also make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic to discuss them with a medical professional. Or call the All-Options Talkline at 888-493-0092.

2. Find a Prenatal Provider

An ob-gyn, family practice doctor, or midwife can provide prenatal care. This provider is someone you’ll see throughout your pregnancy to check on how your pregnancy is progressing and monitor your and your baby’s health.

When searching for a prenatal care provider, you may want to start with personal recommendations. Another good place to start is with your health insurance carrier. Many carriers have a directory of providers that accept their insurance.

No matter who you choose, it’s important you call the doctor or midwife soon after finding out you’re pregnant. That way, you can get an appointment at the right time, ask any immediate questions, and inform them of any health concerns you have or medicines you’re taking.

3. Set up Your First Prenatal Visit Appointment

Book your first prenatal visit as soon as possible. Appointments can fill up quickly, and depending on how far along you are, you may have to wait a few weeks until you see your doctor or midwife.

Be ready to answer questions about how many weeks pregnant you are or when you had your last menstrual period. It’s most common to be seen about 7–10 weeks after the first day of your last period. (This is often 3–5 weeks after getting a positive pregnancy test.) That’s usually the best time to be able to detect a heartbeat and to accurately estimate a due date.

4. Talk to the Doctor About Any Health Concerns or Medications

Once you find a provider, let them know about any medical conditions you have. Tell them about any and all medications you’re taking. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and even vitamins and supplements, says Ila Dayananda, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn in Brooklyn, New York, and chief medical officer of Oula Health.

Some medications are safe to take, and others can be dangerous for pregnancy, so have this conversation as early as possible. “Each medication, each body and each circumstance is different, and it’s best to consult with and follow the guidance of your doctor at all times,” says Dayananda. Some medications might need to be slowed down or replaced with other medications.

The doctor may have other recommendations based on your health history too. For example, you may need to see a special type of doctor called a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. Or they may give you special requirements for physical activity.

“Your doctor may advise against strenuous physical activities,” says Dayananda. “But activities like walking, swimming, and yoga as well as prenatal-specific exercise are usually encouraged.”

5. Quit Unhealthy Habits

If you drink alcohol, smoke, vape, or take illegal drugs, stop now. These substances have known risks during pregnancy.

For help quitting, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you smoke, you can also call 800-QUIT-NOW to talk to a counselor about quitting. To find a drug or alcohol treatment facility, go to FindTreatment.gov, or call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP.

6. Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin

You can find prenatal vitamins at a drugstore, or your doctor can prescribe one for you. The vitamin you take should contain at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. This nutrient can help prevent birth defects, especially when taken daily in the early weeks of pregnancy. (Even better if you started taking it before you were pregnant.)

7. Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Now that you’re pregnant, you may need to be more careful about what you’re eating and drinking. Some foods increase your risk of food poisoning and infections that can affect an unborn baby. These include cold deli meat and raw or undercooked seafood (like sushi), meat, and eggs.

And while you shouldn’t drink any alcohol, you can have a little coffee or tea. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says it’s okay for pregnant people to have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s about the amount in 1–2 8-ounce cups of coffee.

See more in our guide to food safety during pregnancy.

8. Practice Self-Care

A tremendous amount of change is happening in your body in early pregnancy. Rapidly increasing pregnancy hormone levels can cause symptoms like fatigue, morning sickness, and even aches and pains.

It’s okay to take extra time for self-care and rest during these weeks. You’re growing a human and that’s incredibly hard work.

Give yourself permission to ask for help when you’re not feeling well—or really anytime you need it. “Surround yourself with people who love you and support your decisions,” Leigh Anne O'Connor, a board-certified lactation consultant in New York City, suggests.

Pregnancy and parenthood can have its ups and downs. It’s a good idea to join a pregnancy support group. Or share your questions and concerns with the Twill Care community. Having a support system in place will help you care for yourself and your baby through it all.

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