“Wait. The pregnant line is actually coming up a little!”
That was my reaction to the first pregnancy test I took.
Before it finished developing, I ripped into a new box to test again. Test #2 came up positive.
To make sure they weren’t defective, I took one two more...just to be safe.
Sure enough, all four were positive.
I was starting to think it might be true, I might actually be pregnant, and had overwhelming and intense feelings of:
- And to be honest… triumph
It was like I finally won the prize in a contest I’ve been tirelessly entering for the past several months with no luck. I felt on top of the world!
...The questions started.
So many thoughts raced through my head after seeing the positive pregnancy tests. Logical questions, nonsensical questions, cheese-related questions...basically #allofthequestions.
In talking with fellow preggos, I realized a lot of these questions weren’t as random as I thought! They were actually pretty common.
To save you the hassle of Googling yourself silly, here are answers to the 8 questions that go through your mind when you find out you’re pregnant:
“Could this be a false positive?"
My first question was whether this was true — whether I was actually pregnant.
What I later learned is that it’s rare, though not impossible, for a pregnancy test to show a false positive.
Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is basically only present if you’re pregnant. (Although some fertility treatments can increase your hCG levels.)
It’s much more likely to have a false negative than a false positive when it comes to pregnancy tests. It’s easier for a test to miss existing hCG (false negative) than to detect something that’s not there to begin with (false positive).
That being said, it’s always a good idea to take more than one pregnancy test. The more positives you get, the likelier it is that you’re actually pregnant.
And the next step? Patience.
Waiting for that first doctor's appointment can feel like an eternity, but when it comes and you see that little heartbeat, you can breathe your first sigh of relief.
”Do I need to get a blood test to confirm the pregnancy?”
When my home tests showed I was pregnant, I immediately called the OB to set up a blood test to confirm. They’d need a blood test to be sure, right?
The receptionist asked me how many pregnancy tests I took at home. When I said “four,” they responded: “Yeah, we don’t need your blood. Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”
I ended up going to my general doctor for peace of mind. But all she did was have me pee in a cup and take yet another pregnancy test.
I covered all the bases and no one wanted my blood. Looks like at-home pee tests are the winner here!
”How soon should I see a doctor?"
I assumed my doctor would want a check-up as soon as possible to make sure everything was going okay with the pregnancy. But that wasn’t the case, either.
Most doctors don’t want to see you until you’re well into your first trimester, around 7-9 weeks (every pregnancy is different, though.) Before that time, there isn’t much for the doctors to see.
I honestly couldn’t wait until nine weeks to go to the doctor. While you’re waiting for that first OB appointment, here’s a great resource on what to expect at every doctor’s appointment to help you prepare.
”Is my baby okay?”
The thought of waiting five weeks after finding out I was pregnant was absolute torture. It was terrifying! You don’t feel anything at that point so I counted the days until I could see the OB and find out whether our pregnancy progressed and our baby had a heartbeat.
As for what to do before your first OB appointment…
Every pregnancy is different so ask your doctor what to do prior to your first visit to keep your baby healthy.
Your doc may give specific guidelines or it may be nothing particularly special. I was told to “maintain my normal routine” until I saw the doctor.
You’ll want to start taking prenatal vitamins and avoid the foods on the no-no list (see below!)
Exercise is on a case-by-case basis — your doctor will give you details on what you can/can’t do. (Here’s a great article on the dos and don’ts of pregnancy workouts.)
Other than that, take care of yourself! Do your best to keep stress levels low. Get enough sleep. And when in doubt, ask your doctor if there’s anything else you should be doing.
”How will my body change?”
Not gonna lie, I spent a lot of time puffing my belly out in front of the mirror in the early days of pregnancy!
You can find sources online that tell you a woman with a healthy weight will usually gain 25-35 pounds, or that the lower your BMI before getting pregnant, the more weight you’ll gain during a healthy pregnancy.
But (extremely important point alert!) every woman is different.
Some women will gain 50 pounds while eating healthy and working out. Others may gain 20 eating whatever they want and doing zero exercise.
Every body is different and as long as your doctor isn’t worried about your weight gain, you shouldn’t be either!
”What can I eat? What can’t I eat?”
My husband Tim and I go out for pizza at least once a week and I wasn’t sure if I could eat my beloved pepperoni and soppressata anymore.
While pregnant, everything you ingest (by eating, drinking, breathing, and through your skin) gets passed on to the baby. So you have to be extra careful about what you put in and on your body.
A general list of foods to avoid:
- Cured meats, like soppressata * SAD FACE * (UNLESS COOKED - rule is if it is steaming when it gets to you, you’re fine - *smiley face* for pizza!)
- Soft cheeses, like brie or gorgonzola
- Unpasteurized dairy products and juices
- Raw or undercooked fish, meats, or eggs
- High-mercury fish, like swordfish
- Organ meat, like liver
- Raw sprouts
- Excessive amounts of caffeine (a 12-oz cup of coffee a day is generally seen as fine)
Unlike while breastfeeding, you want to avoid ALL alcohol while pregnant. Although some people may tell you it’s fine to have a glass of wine, there just aren't sufficient studies on the effects of small doses of alcohol on a fetus. We feel better safe than sorry!
Same goes for smoking cigarettes. And any kind of drug is a no-no as well. (Goes without saying, right?)
”When will we find out the gender?”
Traditionally, you can find out your baby’s gender during the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, around 18-22 weeks. We found out our baby’s gender at the 19-week mark.
One word of advice? If you want it to be a surprise, make sure to look away when the sonographer tells you to!
When ours said, “Okay, I’m about to look at the sex,” it was like staring at a bright light. I couldn’t turn away.
And before I knew what was happening, I was staring at what was very obviously an ultrasound of my SON, without any second chance or warning.
So...yeah. If you don’t want to know, listen to the sonographer the first time!
If you want to know sooner, modern medical technology lets you find out your baby’s gender as early as nine weeks. Blood tests like the Panorama prenatal screening check for a variety of factors, including genetic abnormalities and gender. If you’re over 35 years old, your health insurance may pay for those tests; if you’re under 35, you can choose to pay out of pocket.
One thing’s for sure: Your relationship WILL change when you have a baby.
As for how it will change, that one’s up to you both.
It’s important to think in advance about what you want out of being parents, what kind of support you need from one another, and what roles you want to play.
Nine months of pregnancy gives you plenty of time to talk with your partner. Being honest and upfront about these ideas gives you space to come up with a game plan for how you can work together in this new, amazing, exciting challenge.
There are so many questions that go through your mind when you find out you’re pregnant. But the one that feels the heaviest is...
Am I ready?
Something I’ve realized in talking to a lot of moms is that none of us feel truly 100% ready.
The next nine months will be a big change, for sure.
But you’ve got this. Your body is made for this. Take it day by day, listen to the people who love you best (your doctors and family), and above all, listen to your gut. Mama’s intuition is a real thing...and it kicks in quick.
”How soon do I need to finish the baby’s nursery?”
This one’s totally up to you! Some moms like to get Pinterest-boarding right away, others wait until the nesting drive kicks in, and others wait until baby’s home to organize the nursery.
But a word of advice? Give yourself plenty of time for furniture deliveries. It can take anywhere from 4-10 weeks, and that’s not taking into account products that come damaged and need to be replaced. (Speaking from personal experience here.)
In any case, the Diaper Genie® Compatible Bag Adapter is a great addition to any nursery. This handy little tool lets you use ANY bag inside your Diaper Genie®, instead of being tied to the manufacturer’s refill bags.