Do you think you’re pregnant? Maybe you’re experiencing a range of pregnancy symptoms including: nausea, fatigue, breast changes, frequent urination and a lack of period. Or perhaps you just “feel different”. Regardless, the fact that you suspect you’re expecting is exciting! But before you start shopping for maternity clothes, there are some things you should consider:
Confirming your pregnancy can easily be done through a home pregnancy test. These tests can be found at your local drugstore and are generally inexpensive. They work by detecting the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your urine. When taking this test, keep in mind that results will be most accurate approximately 12-14 days after conception and could vary depending on certain medications you may be on or even how far along you are (in other words, there’s always a chance of false-positive or false-negative results).
The most dependable way to confirm your pregnancy is by visiting your doctor. Your doctor will send you for a laboratory blood test that will accurately determine the levels of HCG hormone in your blood stream. This test will help determine how far along you are. He or she may also give you a thorough physical exam to check for changes in the cervix and enlarging or softening of the uterus.
If you think you’re pregnant, it’s important to ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle. Staying active through exercise, getting enough sleep and maintaining a proper diet is beneficial to both you and your baby. A daily balanced diet that includes multi-vitamins, calcium, protein, iron and 0.4 mg of folic acid is essential to maintaining your energy levels and ensuring the healthy development of your unborn baby. This is also the time to avoid any substances (e.g. alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs) that could seriously harm your baby or potentially cause a miscarriage.
*Please talk to your doctor prior to starting any exercise plan or making any lifestyle or diet changes. For more healthy pregnancy tips, please visit the Health Canada website.
Spread the News
Deciding when to share the exciting news is personal and there is no wrong or right answer as to when the best time is. Some families decide to tell everyone right away, some wait until a special occasion and others wait until 12 weeks once the risk of miscarriage decreases and they’ve gone for their first ultrasound.
You may wish to tell your work the good news when you decide to tell everyone else. Providing as much notice as possible will help your employer secure a reliable replacement for you while you’re on leave.
For more information on maternity and parental benefits in Canada, visit Service Canada.
Plan for the Future
Now that you’ve confirmed your pregnancy and have shared the news, it’s time to plan for your baby’s arrival! Using a pregnancy tracker is a fun way to plan and understand how your baby is developing week by week. In the early stages or as soon as you confirm your pregnancy, you should make an appointment with a midwife or obstetrician-gynaecologist (OBGYN) who will evaluate your medical and personal needs throughout the pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll be seeing this person often so it’s important to ensure you choose someone you are comfortable with.
This is also the time to make a checklist of essentials including:
- Crib & bassinet
- Crib sheets & blankets
- Change table
- Breast pump
- Baby clothes
- Car seat
- Diapers & wipes
Thinking you may be pregnant can be both exciting and scary. Once you take the steps to confirm and plan for the pregnancy, preparing for the future will be a very rewarding and terrific experience.