21 Things to Know When You Find Out You're Pregnant

When you find out you're pregnant, you have to go to the doctor and clarify your doubts. However, here are some things you should know.
21 Things to Know When You Find Out You're Pregnant

Last update: 29 June, 2022

When you find out that you’re pregnant, a lot of doubts begin to haunt your head, especially if it’s your first baby. These concerns go beyond the normal changes of pregnancy and are related to lifestyle, nutrition, and proper care for this stage. That’s why today, we’ve prepared a list of things you should know from the day you discover you’re pregnant. Don’t miss it!

What things should you know when you find out you’re pregnant?

Although you may have wished for it and even planned it, the news of your pregnancy will mark a milestone in your life, and day by day, new doubts, concerns, and fears about pregnancy and childbirth will arise. But don’t worry! All this is absolutely normal and it’s good that it’s happening to you because your life will change forever (and for the better).

Keep in mind that every time you have a doubt, it’s best to discuss it with your gynecologist or midwife. But while you wait for the first appointment, we’ll answer the most common doubts that appear when you first find out you’re pregnant.

1. The normal duration of pregnancy

The day the pregnancy test shows two little lines, the first thing that comes to your mind is when the baby will be born. You probably know that gestation lasts about 9 months, but to know the exact due date, you’ll have to count 40 weeks from the day your last period started.

However, pregnancy is considered to be full-term from week 37, and from then on, you’re baby’s ready to leave the uterus. However, it’s best for babies to be born after 38 weeks.

2. The importance of good hydration

An adequate state of hydration helps prevent many health complications, especially during pregnancy. You should know that at this stage, dehydration, heatstroke, circulatory problems, and fluid retention are quite common and more severe than at other times of life. Also, keep in mind that part of the liquid you ingest is used to produce amniotic fluid.

To avoid risky situations, drink between six and eight glasses of water a day, at each stage of pregnancy.

A pregnant woman eating fresh fruit.
Nutrition and the adoption of healthy eating habits are key to promoting your health and the proper development of your baby. Listen to your body and tend to its needs!

3. Healthy eating from day one

Pregnancy is a time of high demand for nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it’s crucial that you maintain a complete and varied diet, prioritizing fresh foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, and meats).

Avoiding processed, fatty, or spicy foods is appropriate to improve digestion and avoid excess weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure during pregnancy.

4. Folic acid supplementation

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin, necessary for the production of new cells.

During pregnancy, especially in the first weeks of gestation, this vitamin contributes to the formation of the neural tube. Therefore, drug supplementation prevents the development of severe congenital malformations, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.

5. The most common symptoms of the first months

The action of pregnancy hormones on body tissues leads to the appearance of uncomfortable symptoms. In fact, it’s common to discover that you’re pregnant by the changes you perceive in your body and its functioning.

At first, you’ll probably experience dizziness, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. Also, due to the action of progesterone on the gastrointestinal system, your digestion will slow down and you may experience constipation and even hemorrhoids, especially in the third trimester.

6. How to exercise during pregnancy

If you’re used to exercising, you shouldn’t stop your routine because of pregnancy. On the contrary, you should maintain the practice because it can offer many benefits to pregnancy.

Keep in mind that in the first trimester, you shouldn’t abuse intense exercises and avoid strength exercises. Swimming, yoga, pilates, and walking are the most recommended activities for this stage.

7. What foods or drinks to avoid

There are foods that can put your baby’s health at risk, such as raw meats, unpasteurized dairy products, and raw and poorly washed vegetables. These eating habits can increase the risk of dangerous infections, such as toxoplasmosis and listeriosis.

Also avoid eating large fish, such as tuna, because of the amount of mercury concentrated in their flesh. In addition, avoid foods that can trigger an allergy or digestive intolerance.

More things you need to know when you find out you’re pregnant

A happy couple holding up a pregnancy test.
If you just got the news, congratulations! A new chapter of your life is about to begin and it’s important that you take care of yourself from the very beginning to enjoy your pregnancy to the fullest.

8. The use of medications during pregnancy

Some drugs can be harmful to the formation and health of babies. Therefore, before ingesting any medicinal substance (even if it’s of natural origin), you must have your doctor’s approval. They’ll guide you regarding the drugs approved for use in pregnancy and the appropriate daily dosage, which don’t pose a risk to you and the baby.

9. Olfactory sensitivity

The increase in pregnancy hormones will also affect your sense of smell. You may feel more sensitive to smells and even have an aversion to certain fragrances.

It’s also common to suffer from rhinitis, allergies, or nosebleeds due to the increased blood supply in this area.

10. The risk of miscarriage: One of the important things you should know when you find out you’re pregnant

Miscarriage is the loss of gestation before 20 weeks. It’s a fairly frequent phenomenon, occurring in 10 to 20% of pregnancies. In general, they’re caused by genetic problems that affect fetal development, but other times, the reason why they happen is unknown.

If you present alarming symptoms, such as moderate abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and general malaise, consult your doctor.

11. The consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Alcohol is a dangerous substance during pregnancy because even in small doses, it passes into the placental circulation and reaches the developing fetus. As your little one’s body isn’t yet mature enough to process it, it can be intoxicated and damaged by this substance.

A toxic dose hasn’t been determined, so experts recommend zero alcohol during pregnancy.

As for tobacco consumption, its harmful effect on health in general and especially during pregnancy is well known. Therefore, it’s best that you and your partner give up smoking.

Among the risks of smoking during pregnancy are the following:

  • Ectopic pregnancies
  • Spontaneous miscarriages
  • Placenta previa
  • Congenital malformations
  • Premature births or low birth weight in babies
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

12. The expected mood swings at this stage

Another thing to keep in mind when you find out you’re pregnant is that your emotions will be prone to sudden changes. It’s normal to go from being happy to being sad from one moment to the next, to cry for no apparent reason, and to be extremely sensitive to situations that are of no great importance.

Although this is a normal symptom, discuss it with your doctor if you feel that it affects your well-being or that of your environment.

A pregnant woman yawning.
During the early stages of pregnancy, your body consumes a lot of energy to create the placenta and for life to develop inside you. Because of this, you’ll feel sleepier during the day and have the need to rest at all times.

13. Sleep

Be prepared for a change in your sleeping habits, as pregnancy is the gateway to the world of motherhood.

At first, you’ll feel sleepier during the day, but you’ll probably suffer from insomnia at night. Changes in your sleep pattern are normal and are a kind of adaptation for the postnatal stage.

In addition, constant trips to the bathroom, nighttime hot flashes, and bodily discomfort will also affect your rest.

14. You’ll urinate more frequently

One of the first symptoms of pregnancy is the constant urge to urinate. This happens due to the increase in the volume of body fluids, added to the weight of the uterus on the bladder. These two conditions mean that month after month, your trips to the bathroom increase. Especially in the weeks leading up to delivery.

15. Breast sensitivity

From the beginning of pregnancy, your breasts are prepared to ensure the baby’s nourishment.

Therefore, you may notice how they become larger and more sensitive, as well as painful. Likewise, there are changes in the pigmentation of the nipples, some bluish veins appear under the skin and, occasionally, colostrum comes out of the nipples.

All this is in favor of guaranteeing the best food for your baby: Breast milk.

16. Prenatal check-ups

Prenatal check-ups are the periodic check-ups performed by the gynecologist to assess your health and that of your baby. They include quarterly ultrasounds and blood tests, which will guide the specialist as they follow your pregnancy.

It’s really important to be consistent with them and have the indicated diagnostic tests in order to avoid preventable and potentially serious conditions.

17. When to feel the first kicks

When you find out you’re pregnant, what you long for the most is to feel your baby. However, you have to wait until the second trimester to feel your baby’s movements. It’s around week 20 when you begin to feel a slight tingling in your belly due to the baby’s kicking.

These movements will become more intense as your pregnancy progresses. You should be aware of feeling your baby daily, as this will be an indication of good health.

A little girl putting her ear against a pregnant woman's belly.
The first baby kicks are usually felt around week 20. But if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you may feel them sooner.

18. Muscle aches and pains

It’s normal for muscle discomfort to appear in different places throughout pregnancy, as the weight exerted by the uterus on the tissues is no small thing. Similarly, cramps in the groin and lower limbs appear towards the middle of the second and beginning of the third trimester.

Physical exercise, proper posture, nutritional supplements, and a good diet will help prevent these painful symptoms.

19. Vaccinations during pregnancy

The mother should be protected against infectious diseases during pregnancy. Therefore, it’s important to check if the vaccination schedule is complete, and if any vaccine is missing, complete it. However, you should ask a specialist about the appropriate time to receive a certain immunization.

Flu, pertussis, and coronavirus vaccines can be administered during pregnancy.

20. Labor

When you find out you’re pregnant, another fear that invades you is the moment of birth. Even the doubt of whether you’ll be able to give birth vaginally is more common than you think.

For physiological reasons, all women can deliver a baby vaginally. However, there are particular conditions that may warrant a cesarean birth.

Fortunately, you’ll have many months to prepare and learn the best techniques from your doctor or midwife. Therefore, you’re likely to be able to make your labor a beautiful experience.

21. Breastfeeding or baby formula?

As with labor, you need to do your research about the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of feeding. And in case you decide to feed your baby with your milk, it’s advisable that you inform yourself and seek professional support in this area. This will help you enjoy successful breastfeeding.

When you find out you’re pregnant, doubts may keep you awake at night

If you feel that your life has changed completely from the moment you confirmed the news that you were going to be a mom, imagine what you’ll feel the day you have your child in your arms!

That unique moment is also accompanied by a great deal of uncertainty, doubt, and even some fear. Suddenly, you’re the one who’s responsible for the well-being of the most important person in your life.

But don’t worry! It’s not just you, and the unknowns will become clearer with time. But in the meantime, we’ll help you discover what you need to know about the wonderful journey of being a mom. Congratulations!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.