You just found out you’re pregnant. It’s exciting! It’s beautiful! It’s … overwhelming. The first month of pregnancy is only the beginning of a long journey, but there are a few things you should do right away to set yourself up for success.
Think about daycare.
We know it sounds crazy to think about daycare when you don’t even have a bump yet. But in many cities, daycare options are limited and you may need to spend months on a waiting list. If you know that you’re going to need daycare, it’s best to at least research what the options are in your area and sign up early if necessary.
Take folic acid/folate.
If you weren’t taking folic acid or folate before you conceived, it’s not too late to start now. Getting enough folic acid before you conceive and during the first trimester greatly reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
Understand your health insurance.
Health insurance in the US can be complicated, so it’s not a bad idea to call your insurance provider and find out exactly what is covered for prenatal and postnatal care. You don’t want to assume a birthing center and midwife is covered, only to get a huge bill at 20 weeks that you have to pay out of pocket!
Schedule a prenatal appointment.
Most healthcare providers won’t see you until you’re at least eight weeks pregnant, but it’s a good idea to schedule the appointment as soon as you know you’re pregnant. While you’re on the phone, ask them if any of the medications you’re taking are not suitable for pregnancy. Mention everything, even vitamins, supplements, and herbs.
Calculate your due date.
Your doctor will do this for you at your first prenatal appointment, but you can do it yourself. Pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last menstrual period, even though you weren’t technically pregnant until you ovulated. Dating a pregnancy from the last menstrual period assumes a 28-day cycle, so if your cycles are not 28-days, this may not be accurate.
It may not occur to you to take photos now, when you look exactly the same as you did before you were pregnant. But if you’re into documenting your transformation, now is the time to start! If you want to get creative, there are many sources of inspiration.
Curl up with a good book.
Pregnancy isn’t just a biological event—it’s a literary one, too. There is so much excellent writing about this transformative experience in a woman’s life. If you’re looking for reading beyond the straightforward “What to Expect” genre, check out this reading list.