Finding Out You're Pregnant

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably just found out you’re expecting. If so, congratulations! Having a baby is a big deal, whether it’s your first or you’re a dab hand at this parenting thing. Whatever your experiences, we thought we’d put together some first steps to help you figure out where to go from here.

A man and woman hug while looking at a positive pregnancy test.

Pregnancy: Doctors, midwives and scans

So, first things first, let’s get the official stuff sorted. This section covers the medical side of pregnancy; what you need to do and what to look out for.

Telling your doctor you’re pregnant

The first big step when finding out you’re pregnant is to tell your GP. From there, they can set everything else in motion, from scans and check-ups to recommending any additional support or supplements you may need. It’s a guaranteed way to make everything feel much more real. And from here you can start to plan everything else.

It’s important to inform your doctor as soon as you’ve had a positive pregnancy test. The sooner you tell them, the quicker they can refer you to a midwife and start to track the progress of your pregnancy. They won’t be able to determine a due date until the 12 week scan, but they can certainly start to map out your journey.

  • The 12 week scan or the ‘dating scan’
  • The 20 week scan or ‘mid-pregnancy scan’
  • Antenatal check-ups with the midwife – around one a month

Some people end up having more face-to-face time with doctors and midwives, for different medical reasons. Your doctor or midwife will inform you of how many appointments to expect during your pregnancy.

Antenatal classes

If you’ve seen any episode of a sitcom featuring a pregnant person, you’ll have an idea about what an antenatal class is - mainly groups of nervous people sat around, watching horrific birthing videos and breathing heavily. The truth is actually less intimidating.

Antenatal classes are a great opportunity to learn more about baby and develop the confidence you need to handle the birth and everything that comes after. Most classes start in the run up to baby’s due date, usually 8 to 10 weeks before, although it tends to be a bit earlier for parents of twins or multiples. They occur once a week and last an hour or two and cover lots of things, including:

  • How to stay healthy and active during pregnancy
  • The emotional effects of pregnancy, birth and beyond
  • Labour and giving birth
  • Pain relief and relaxation tips for labour
  • How to care for your baby

Antenatal classes are free on the NHS but other paid private options are available.

A pregnant woman sits on a bed holding her tummy.

Pregnancy hormones, feelings and announcements

When you find out you’re pregnant, there are lots of feelings and emotions to deal with. It’s only natural. That said, it’s important to understand what you’re feeling and how to cope with it.

How you feel about being pregnant

No doubt you’ll feel excited about the arrival of a little one. That’s no surprise. But it’s also OK, if you find that you’re a mixture of different emotions. That could be down to your pregnancy hormones, but equally, it’s a natural response to something like this.

It’s perfectly normal for all parents – mums and dads too – to feel nervous, anxious, worried, unsure. You’re bound to be concerned about what the next nine months (and beyond) will hold for you, even if this isn’t your first baby.

What’s important is sharing your feelings. No matter how you feel, talk about It with your partner, your friends, your family but also your doctor or midwife. By opening up about your emotions, you will start to get a better handle on them.

For more advice, the NHS has a great guide to mental health in pregnancy.

Pregnancy hormones

When you’re pregnant, hormones take over. Sometimes you’re crying at an advert for car insurance, and next you’re feeling Instagram-ready first thing in the morning. Pregnancy really does take in the highs and the lows of all your moods.

  • Oxytocin
  • Prolactin
  • Progesterone
  • Relaxin
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin

Each of these hormones has a different effect on you and your body, to help you handle the changes you’re going through and to support baby’s development. They’re nothing to fear but by researching them, you can start to understand what is happening to your body.

The NCT’s pregnancy hormone guide is really useful.

A man and a woman sit on a bed with a laptop researching baby products and pregnancy advice.

Pregnancy research and announcement

Once you’ve got the medical side of pregnancy up and running, and you’re starting to feel like an expectant parent, the next bit is preparing for your little one and letting others know.

Doing the research

When it comes to pregnancy, there’s a lot of research. While some of it will be to help you feel less intimidated about carrying bubba, giving birth and everything that comes after, other areas will be a chance to embrace your creative side.

Preparing for the arrival of your little one by researching the right pushchair and car seat lets you focus on clear, practical tasks which can be great for keeping your mind busy. Planning baby’s nursery and nesting are great for not only making your home feel more child-friendly and welcoming, but they give you a fun project to work on while you wait for that due date.

There’s lots of great information out there, as well as advice from us on how to find those parenting essentials. The most important thing is to look for trusted sources so you can get a much more rounded picture of what’s to come.

Telling people about your pregnancy

Of course, if you’re giddy with excitement, the first thing you’ll want to do is shout it from the rooftops. And that’s great but there’s also no pressure to share your news until you’re ready.

Many parents choose to wait until after their 12 week scan. The first initial meeting with their little one, where they can see that bubba is developing well, acts as a green light for making it official. However, some people leave it later than that, and that’s fine too.

This is your journey, and while you can’t control everything in it, you can choose when and where you want to let people know. So, find the time that’s right for you. It might be pre-planned, it might be a spontaneous thing, but either way, it’s your decision.

Summary

While everyone’s experience of pregnancy is unique to them, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who has been through it. Talk to other mums and dads you know, to get a sense of how they felt and what surprises and obstacles they faced. The more you know, the more you can prepare.

So that’s it. Pregnancy in a nutshell. We know that one single blog post can’t answer all your questions or answer all the concerns you have, but hopefully it’s a helpful place to start. We’ll have plenty more blogs offering lots more advice, so don’t forget to check back in now and then.

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