5 Things to Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

When we got pregnant with our son in 2014, it was a surprise and we knew right away we had much research to do. We thought it would be nice to write down a list of 5 things to do when you find out you’re pregnant that can help you out faster than it took us to figure it all out.
5 Things To Do When You Find Out You're Pregnant: When wanting natural approach towards pregnancy and birthSo you have missed your period by over a week, you take a pregnancy test. You see the two lines. You’re pregnant! You either have a look of shock and surprise or the sweet feeling of accomplishment from finally getting pregnant. Either way, now that you have a sweet little baby growing inside you, you need to figure out what to do next. If you are here reading this, you are most likely trying to figure out what way is the healthiest, natural, and holistic approach to approach the next 9 months of your life, and the beginning of life for your developing baby.
These 5 things were very helpful for me and hopefully will assist you in this exciting next step in your life:
1. Research research research.What to do when your pregnant
Get a few books on having a healthy pregnancy. This could be your first time ever as a mom or your first time trying a non-medicated approach, so it’s best to see what you’re about to get yourself into either way. Here are some books I recommend, and which really helped my husband and I on our first pregnancy and birth.
  • The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan. This book is amazing. It has helped me through so many questions and informed me on so much I didn’t even know was a part of pregnancy and birth. It also gives you a guideline for a wholesome diet for you and your growing baby, based on the Weston Price Foundation. It also includes all the necessary and unnecessary procedures and why you need or don’t need them with backed-up research. If you are not a big reader, I recommend that this be the book to get.
  • Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block is an amazing read and eye-opener for an inside look of what really goes on during hospital births and what a lot of doctors do and procedures that are not best for mothers. It helps you be informed and equipped if you do a hospital birth on what to ask for and what to deny in a birth plan.
  • Active Birth:The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas talks about how important it is to give birth not laying down like hospitals recommend. She gives positions and exercises to get you fully prepared for a successful natural birth.
  • The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin is really great for you, your husband, and anyone who will be helping you during birth. It helps everyone be prepared for labor and know what is going on during each phase and how best to help you get through it.
2. Determine where you want to deliver.
Deciding where you want to give birth will set you up for everything you need to prepare for. Hospital? Birthing center? At home?! You want what will be the most comfortable setting for YOU. Not what your husband, mother-in-law, random lady in the grocery store is going to recommend, but you. You are the one who is going to push out this baby. You want to be in the place you feel most safe so that you can focus all your attention on laboring and a successful vaginal delivery of your baby.
Besides picking your place, you need to decide who you want to deliver your baby. That can play a part on where you deliver too. Do you swear by a western medicine approach or do you want a certified nurse midwife? Midwife at a hospital? Or in your home? These things all help determine where you want to deliver.
My ideal choice for my next birth would be a home birth. I made the decision to do a birthing center for my first born since I had no idea how my body would take to labor, and wanted more help and hands on call. And it was a great successful natural birth. I have friends who had great success with a natural hospital birth with a midwife, and their reasoning for having all the necessary emergency equipment at hand if the issue arises. So you really need to take the time to understand what makes you feel most comfortable and go with it.
3. Take a Look at Your Diet.
You may have been fixing your diet in preparation of getting pregnant, or been doing the usual not expecting a pregnancy anytime soon. Either way, once you are pregnant, you need to make sure you are eating an adequate wholesome diet for you and your growing little one inside. It is not just about you anymore, and never well be from here on out.  😉 **I based a lot of my diet around the Weston Price Foundations recommendations that are also listed in The Nourishing Traditions Baby and Child Care book I always talk about, and also off of our Non-Diet ideas.

The most important things to remember are:

  • Protein. You need to up your protein intake to 80+ grams a day. Yes that can sound extreme and out of the question, but it really isn’t that hard if you try. I would try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner focused around protein, and even some of my snacks.
    Great protein sources I loved during my pregnancy were grass-fed meats (beef, chicken, fish, bison), organic yogurts, raw organic milk and cheese (I could live on cheese 😉 ), nuts and seeds (I love almonds and sunflower seeds!),  eggs are EXCELLENT for you (at least two a day when pregnant), and even vegetables have small amounts of protein. There is almost 10 grams of protein in a bunch of spinach, not bad! When you conscientiously try to get protein in and keep track, we were surprised that some days I was getting more then 100 grams in!
  • Vitamins and Minerals. A lot of us are already lacking on some of the vital vitamins and minerals our body needs. This has happened from the destruction of our good soil throughout the years and the more processed foods being consumed. Magnesium, Vitamin A, B, D, E, and K, DHA, Biotin, Folate, Choline, Glycine, and Sulfar are important for you and your baby. I know that sounds like a lot, and it is, but that shows how important these are for your developing baby. We are now also discovering that morning sickness can be linked to the lack of vitamins and minerals in our bodies. [1 great article on the current research findings]
    Liver is one of the easier and best ways to get a LOT of those nutrients in. Either consuming it cooked, or buying dehydrated liver tablets are great choices. Other whole food supplements that are great are fermented cod liver oil, beef gelatin, and magnesium sprays. I talk a lot about these benefits in my 5 Real Food Supplements to Have on Hand post.
    Making sure to get a lot of fresh dark green vegetables and all kinds of fruit is essential as well. My Bradley Method class always said to try and eat every color of the rainbow daily in fruits and veggies to get different nutrients.
  • Fats and Oils. This is not the time to skip out and go on a low-fat diet. I am not talking about going to McDonalds and having a fatty Big Mac daily, I am talking about GOOD FATS and OILS. These help develop a lot of the essential organs of your growing baby. The brain is on average 60% fatty tissues, so it is crucial to be getting in a bunch of good fats for proper brain development.
    Here are some good daily ones: grass-fed organic butter, coconut/coconut oil, avocado/avocado oil, raw whole fat milk, nuts and seeds, olive oil.
  • Avoid Process/Junk Food. You know it’s not good for you, and to truly create a healthy, happy baby, you need to forgo the Oreos, milk shakes, McDonalds, frappucinos, etc. Limiting if not getting rid of commercial vegetable oils (i.e canola oil), refined sweeteners (i.e. sugar, high fructose sugar..), artificial sweeteners (i.e. splenda), white flour and processed grains, caffeine, alcohol, and drugs (prescription drugs). I know, it can feel like anything yummy is on that list, but you have your whole life to splurge, take 9+ months out to help your baby. Also we have some nice substitutions on our recipe section. Trust me, there is always a nice alternative that doesn’t have to compromise the flavor!
These 9 months can have a large influence on their health for the rest of their lives. Link

4. Exercise Routine.
Get one set up. I know the first trimester you can feel so weak and tired that you can barely get out of bed. Yes, rest is your number one priority, but staying active is really important as well. Even if you can get an invigorating stretch or yoga in on the tired days that’s good. Exercise and stretching are key to an easier, faster, and less painful birth. Think of giving birth as like training for a marathon. If you wait till the day of to go through it, its doubtful it will go well. Having “trained” for it will do a world of wonders for you. And if all else fails, go on a long, nice walk.

5. Your Attitude and Those Around You. 
When you are pregnant, your attitude and stress level play a part in how you feel and the health of your growing baby. Being stressed can lower your Vitamin A and wear out your adrenal storage in you and your baby’s body. WebMD talks about high stress affects:

There are some data to show that higher chronic stressors in women and poor coping skills to deal with those stressors may be associated with lower birth weight and with delivering earlier,” says Ann Borders, MD, an OB/GYN in the obstetrics and gynecology department, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, at Evanston Hospital, NorthShore University HealthSystem.
“Chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain development that might lead to behavioral issues as the baby grows”, she adds.

What to do when you find out your pregnantThere are also been studies that show if mother has had high cortisol levels due to stress, it can be passed down to her baby. This will cause a more stressful and anxious baby. So try and find time to take a breather and relax. This also includes the people around you. Let your husband do the dishes and clean the bathroom this week. Go curl up on the couch and read a book for a hour.  Visualize the ideal birth for you or a place that makes you feel relaxed. What does it smell like? Look like? etc. Pregnancy yoga can be a great way to de-stress as well. Meditation, or quietly talking to your baby are all great ways to stay less stressed.

Another great way to have a positive outlook on labor is to read encouraging and strengthening birth stories. If you want to read mine, here is my first and second labor stories.

If you want some more helpful tactics towards a natural labor, I have 6 Helpful Tactics here.

I hope these five tips can help you start your new exciting pregnancy off in the right direction. I would love to hear any questions you have or tips you have learned from your pregnancy.

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  1. Rebekah | 6th Oct 16

    Great tips, Bree! I’ve read the Nourishing Traditions book and the Birth Partner, but I haven’t even hear of the other two. I love the book Gentle Birth; Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah Buckley. So good! Also Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel. Have you read Real Food for Mother and Baby? I think you would really like that one too.

    • Bree | 6th Oct 16

      I have not, but now will definitely look it up!! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Nikki Crump | 5th Oct 16

    This is a great list! I really love the books you suggest!

  3. Daisy Suman | 3rd Oct 16

    Such a good collection of helpful resources to have when expecting for the first time! Wonderful post… thanks for sharing, Bree.

  4. Hannah Diane | 3rd Oct 16

    Yes, yes, yes!! I did this with my first, and have done some even this time around with my second!

  5. Payton | 3rd Oct 16

    I would add, give yourself grace; in regards to success or failure of all these things. I did all of these things, maybe not as best as they could have been done but I really did. And I stillll ended up with a 40 hour labor, an epidural, and emergency c-section (which I should have researched more). You can never know enough or do enough to make things go exactly how you want, so just do your best!

    • Bree | 6th Oct 16

      This is great! Yes self-grace is much needed as your pregnancy progresses! There is only so much we can plan and prepare for, and truly don’t know what will happen during labor. In the end, a healthy, precious baby in our arms is the best outcome!

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