You’re pregnant! If it hasn’t sunken in yet, you’re not alone. So many emotions are probably running through you. One minute you’re excited, then the excitement may turn to anxiousness. It’s all normal! These are the things you can do during the first 13 weeks to stay a step ahead of the wild ride to come.
Make an appointment with an OB-GYN that accepts your health insurance and delivers at your preferred hospital.
Use an estimated due date calculator as some providers may not schedule an in-person appointment until you are 8-10 weeks pregnant.
If you haven't already, start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with folate or folic acid.
Familiarize yourself with the foods and drinks you should avoid.
Grab a water bottle, and try to drink about ten 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
If you're drinking tap water, get a water test kit to check for contaminants, especially lead, which cannot be removed via a Brita or refrigerator filter.
Start locating important documents for you and your spouse. If you don’t have them, apply for new copies.
Social Security Card
Certified Marriage License (if you’ve changed your last name)
Buy the What to Expect When You're Expecting book, download the WTE app, and subscribe to the daily digest emails for your baby's birth month.
Get in the habit of going for walks.
Ask the Doctor's Office these questions, even before your appointment:
What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin? Do you recommend a brand?
Do you have advice for combating early pregnancy symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fatigue, etc)? Vitamin B6, Preggie Pops, Ginger Tablets?
Can I continue taking (x, y, z) prescribed medications? Are there any I should avoid?
Can I continue taking (x, y, z) over the counter medications (e.g. face wash, face cream, pain killers, etc.)? Are there any I should avoid?
Should I be taking any supplements (choline, fish oil, etc)?
How much exercise can/should I be doing?
Should I change my caffeine intake?
Before my first appointment and/or throughout early pregnancy, when should I call or go in to the hospital (e.g. bleeding, cramping, feeling faint)?
If you have any substance addictions (alcohol, tobacco, etc.), make a plan with your doctor about how to quit.
If you have a job that requires heavy lifting or exposure to chemicals, talk to your doctor about whether your employer needs to make any accommodations for you.
Jot down questions that you think can wait until your next appointment.
Familiarize yourself with the optional fetal abnormality tests and screens offered during the first trimester so that you can decide which, if any, you would like performed.
First Trimester Screening
Performed between 11 and 14 weeks
This screen helps determine the overall risk factor for chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 21, 18 or 13. It uses the results of a blood test (hCG and PAPP-A), an ultrasound test for Nuchal Translucency (NT), and maternal age risk factors to determine the risk. Further testing is required for diagnosis. (American Pregnancy Association)
During the ultrasound test for Nuchal Translucency (NT), the back of the baby's neck is checked for increased fluid or skin thickening during an ultrasound, which might indicate a defect.
Cell-free DNA Testing [also known as Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)]
Performed between 10 and 22 weeks
This blood test helps determine the overall risk factor for chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 21, 18 or 13, as well as genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis or hemophilia. Further testing, however, is required for diagnosis. This test can also tell you the sex of your baby. (Mayo Clinic)
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Performed between 10 and 13 weeks
This test looks at a baby’s chromosomes using a sample of the placenta tissue to check for chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 21 and 18 or other genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, or Tay-Sachs disease.
There are two ways the procedure can be done. In transcervical, the most common method, a catheter is inserted through the cervix into the placenta. In transabdominal, a needle is inserted through the abdomen and uterus into the placenta. (American Pregnancy Association)
Personal Medical History- or Genetic-Specific Testing (Lab Tests Online)
Fragile X Syndrome
Varicella Zoster Virus (Chickenpox)
TORCH Panel (Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes simplex virus)
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (history of thyroid disease)
Blood Glucose or Hemoglobin A1c (if at risk of type 2 diabetes)
Decide when you want to tell your employer that you are pregnant, typically after 12 weeks.
Ask the HR department at your company for documentation about your employer’s maternity leave policy.
If your company does not offer paid maternity leave, then research your options for paid and unpaid leave such as:
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
Temporary Disability and/or Paid Family Leave (only applicable in certain states)
Private Short Term Disability Insurance (some, but not all, require that you were enrolled prior to becoming pregnant)
Call your health insurance company to inform them that you are pregnant and to start planning medical expenses.
If you don't currently have health insurance, research your options.
Research college savings plans in your state (529 Plan).