You have just found out you are expecting. Life is amazing and all is well in your world. Now what? All of a sudden there is so much more to think about, things to do, things to buy, am I showing already? Ha! Slow down. Yes, this is an exciting time. Whether you are a first-time mom or about to have baby number four, either way, you know there are a lot of things to do. How do you prioritize what comes first? Well, that’s what I am here for. To help you narrow down five important things to do when you are expecting.
Your whole world is about to change, and things can quickly become overwhelming. I say start planning sooner rather than later. This is a great time to practice being flexible as many things will not go as planned. Expect the unexpected.
It is important to enjoy this special time, so consider this a small part of your nine-month to do list.
1. Celebrate Congratulations! Yayyyyyyy!
Are you over there jumping up and down for joy? Excited, nervous or still in a state of shock? All the above? LOL.
When I found out I was pregnant with our little one I was shocked but completely over the moon. It was the best news I ever heard in my whole life. I was at the beginning of the 9th week and was given an ultrasound with a picture!!! It wonderful.
So this is at the top of my list. I believe the first thing to do when you are expecting after you let the news sink in is to celebrate.
Life, love and the new addition to your family. There are so many reasons to be glad you’re pregnant. Spend time planning, dreaming about what life will be like once you’re a mum.
Don’t worry about weight gain, watching your belly grow is a beautiful experience.
2. Think About Waiting To Share Your Wonderful News
You don’t have to wait if you don’t want to. Do consider not sharing you news with the world until after the first trimester.
It is just my opinion and suggestion. Here’s why. The first trimester is a very important and highly sensitive time. Hormone changes are in full effect and your baby is most vulnerable during the first 12 weeks you are pregnant.
After the first trimester, the chance of a miscarriage drops dramatically. According to statistics, the number goes to 10% of all known pregnancies. It is so hard to do, but why not keep your special secret and relish knowing something most people don’t!
Or choose those closest to you and tell them. After your first trimester, share your news with the world. We decided not to tell a single soul until I was in Week 13. I had just crossed into the second trimester.
Of course, you might be on the phone calling your family, friends and all loved ones as soon as you finish peeing on a stick or leaving the doctor’s office. That is great too. I believe in doing whatever makes you happy. Always do what feels right for you as this is a personal choice.
If you decide to wait, you can use this time to come up with different fun and creative ways to make your announcement. Soon, a little boy or girl will be calling you “mommy”.
You will find your to do list of important things to do when you are expecting growing by the day. Don’t stress yourself out. The best thing you can do is to prioritize.
Make timelines and set achievable goals for yourself.
3. Find Yourself A Doctor You Can Trust
One of the most important things to do when you are expecting is to find a doctor you can be open with and trust.
I cannot imagine not being able to ask questions, share your worries and thoughts with a doctor throughout pregnancy. If you are a first-time mum like me, you will have a lot of questions. You will want someone who can give clear, thoughtful responses to ALL your questions.
We had the best private doctor I could have ever asked for. Here in Austria the social security system lets you choose the doctor you want to use for the duration of your pregnancy. These are doctors are listed under the social system. All wonderful doctors, however you cannot call them 24/7.
With non-private doctors you get only 4 ultrasounds for the duration of the pregnancy and you may feel rushed when you would prefer to take the time to ask questions regarding your pregnancy. On the other hand, it is all free.
I was glad my private doctor was available to me at all times.
Now this might be a non-issue depending on the country you live in.
Going private was important for me because even though we would be paying everything cash out of pocket, it meant 1 – 2 monthly check ups until 34 weeks then weekly till birth. Doc on call 24/7, monthly ultrasounds plus pictures and videos of the baby, PLUS up to one hour Q&A time with the doctor at appointment times of choice.
Not to talk of the great team of specialists, supply of pre-natal vitamins, books, etc etc.
The checkups and consistent care help keep you and your baby healthy, spot problems if they occur, and guide you through your pregnancy. Women with high-risk pregnancies need to see their doctors more often.
Again, this was unique to my situation and may be different for you.
Find out as much as you can about the doctor prior to your first appointment if it is one you have never been to see. If you’re not comfortable with your doctor after the first appointment, switch. No sense in delaying the inevitable.
Friends, family, or colleagues may even offer recommendations. Hospitals and clinics can also provide you with a list.
4. Look Into Maternity Leave Options
Ok, it may be hard to give my advice and suggestions on this one as the law on maternity leave in the country you live in may be very different to the laws here in Austria.
One of the most important things to do when you are expecting and preparing for a baby here in Austria is maternity/paternity leave. While it might seem like there is still enough time until your little one arrives, you really should consider all the options you have.
Here, you can go on maternity leave for up to two years. There is even a special law called “Mutterschutz” – “maternity protection”. The protection period for pregnant employees begins eight weeks before birth and ends eight weeks thereafter. The law states that during this protection period there is absolute employment prohibition – say what? YUP!
At 7 months, you get to stay home and prepare for your baby. You have more flexible time for doctor’s visits, and anything else you need to do. AMAZING!
This also means, not returning to work until 8 weeks after giving birth. Again, more time for you and your baby as well as time to heal after birth. Most moms do over here do not return to work after this 8 week period. They go on maternity leave. I am so blessed to have this option available to me. Others are not so lucky.
I chose to take a one-year maternity leave. This is a decision that no one can make for you. You and your partner, or even if you are a single parent, may already have a set and clear decision in place.
Others will go through many scenarios, changing your mind several times before coming to a final decision.
Familiarize yourself with your company’s maternity-leave policy. Read the employee handbook, be mindful of deadlines and information you need to provide to your employer.
5. Play It Safe
There is the obvious – no alcohol and cigarettes. Then the not so obvious – cough syrups, sleep aids, some say even antacids.
There are several over-the-counter products which may contain ingredients that can harm a developing baby.
Avoid the following:
You can download the foods to avoid list here.
Clearly, there is still so much for you to think about and plan. Every mom to be should do what they feel is best for their family as well as what makes them happy.
You will have a million questions thrown at you. How are you preparing? How will you birth your baby? Epidural? C-Section?
You will get a lot of advice, both solicited and unsolicited. Take the advice you feel is beneficial to you and your baby. All the rest, toss it out of the window.
It is important to feel confident and good about any and every decision you make. If something doesn’t feel right, then it usually isn’t. If you’re a first-time mum, it might be enlightening to read some baby books.
Eat a salad, but enjoy the cake! Your feet may start to hurt, perfect time for a pedicure.
See the positive side to things and savour the good moments.
Just remember – every mum is different, just as every pregnancy is different.
This is a time of great changes, blessings, and happiness, so enjoy it.
Need some more information on pregnancy and mommyhood? I have lots for you to read here.
Are you a mom to be? Already a seasoned expert with six kids?
Please share with me and others what you consider to be one of the most important things to do when you are expecting.
You never know who you might be helping.