Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/14/2021 --There's a whole range of emotions that women experience when doing a home pregnancy test and it comes back positive. Women may feel nervous, surprised, excited, relieved, afraid, happy, overwhelmed or any combination of those all at once.
After sharing the news with their partner, Intermountain Healthcare gives these suggestions to women on next steps.
1. Schedule an appointment with your midwife, OB/Gyn, or primary care provider.
Studies show that good prenatal care helps ensure healthier pregnancies, safer labor and deliveries, and stronger babies. The first prenatal visit should happen between six and four weeks of pregnancy (when a woman's menstrual period is two to four weeks late).
At that appointment, a healthcare provider will do another pregnancy test or blood test to confirm the positive results. They will also order routine blood tests and may do an ultrasound to confirm the due date. At this visit, a woman can discuss any questions or concerns they have and learn of the importance of going to prenatal visits throughout their pregnancy.
2. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescription or over the counter medications to find out if you should continue taking them.
If a woman can't get to see your provider right away, they should call or send a message to their provider about any current medications they're taking. They should not change or stop taking a prescription without consulting with a medical provider or pharmacist.
3. Don't smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use marijuana or illegal drugs, they are harmful to your baby. If you need help quitting any of these, talk to your midwife or doctor and they can help you with resources.
There's no "safe" number of cigarettes or drinks, and many common medications can harm a developing baby.
4. Protect yourself from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for pregnant women by the two national organizations of obstetric physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. The American College of Nurse Midwives also recommends the immunization. The The CDC has recently strengthened their recommendation for the COVID vaccine as well.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19, and there is preliminary evidence that severe disease from COVID can cause pregnancy complications, too. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene.
Doctors also strongly recommend getting a flu vaccination, which can be done at the same time.
5. Start taking prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter. Look for prenatal vitamins with at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid. Taking folic acid before and during a pregnancy can reduce the risk of a child born with serious birth defects of the spinal cord or brain.
6. Get enough sleep and exercise.
Balancing activity and rest will help nurture a developing baby - and will help mom feel good, too. Both rest and exercise help cope with the mood swings of pregnancy, ease aches and pains, and manage morning sickness. A woman should talk with a healthcare provider if they have any questions about exercise and what's safe for her and her baby.
7. Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated
What a woman eats can affect the health of a growing baby. Woman are encouraged to make every bite count. Limit high-sugar and high-fat foods (like sodas and ice-cream and other desserts, and fatty meats like sausage or fried chicken). Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Go for low-fat protein foods like low-fat milk, skinless chicken or turkey, and beans. Avoid fish that contains mercury. Drink eight glasses of water every day.
8. Wear a seatbelt.
It may not always feel comfortable around a growing waistline, but a seatbelt may save two lives. And woman can also get a head start on a safety seat for baby by checking out this car seat safety information from Intermountain's Primary Children's Medical Center.
9. Be informed. Learn about pregnancy, childbirth, recovery, parenting, etc. Intermountainhealthcare.org has many patient education resources for pregnant women.
10. Be aware of any mood changes, depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth and talk with your provider about your concerns.
Your provider can refer you to a behavioral health provider if needed.
For more information about pregnancy or to find an OB/Gyn or midwife visit intermountainhealthcare.org.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit intermountainhealthcare.org. For helpful advice for expectant moms and new parents, see Intermountain Moms online or follow us on www.facebook.com/intermountainmoms, www.instagram.com/intermountainmoms, or https://twitter.com/IntermtnMoms.