First things first, take a deep breathe and then let it out slowly. Here at Adoptions Choices of Nevada, we understand that an unplanned pregnancy can be a scary time in your life. We understand that there are a million different thoughts running through your head, and it’s our goal to help you with your unplanned pregnancy and health-related questions.
With all the information out there, here is a step by step rundown of how to stay healthy during your unplanned pregnancy.
To begin, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. He or she will confirm your pregnancy if you happened to get mixed results on the at-home pregnancy tests. It is best to see your healthcare provider within two weeks of a positive pregnancy test. You, healthcare provider, will help you decide what prenatal care you should be doing for you and your baby. Remember, every pregnancy is different and will have different needs.
It is also ideal to make an appointment with your OBGYN before 30 weeks. Anything after that is too late to book an appointment. This trip to your OBGYN should be around 8 weeks after your last menstrual period is missed. This will be your prenatal visit, which will likely be the longest due to all the various tests and questions you may have. Bring all your questions, concerns, and bring up the different options you have a birth mother for a birth plan here. Your doctor will most likely do a round of tests like blood work and a PAP smear during this visit as well. After this visit you should feel prepared for the pregnancy.
Quit smoking. As soon as you find out you are pregnant if at all possible, as this will drastically reduce the amount of risk you are placing on yourself and your baby. Aside from the potential risks of cancer and other major health problems, your baby could also experience: premature birth, birth defects such as a cleft lip or palate, and death by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). An increased risk of a low birth weight is another possibility, which could cause health issues for your baby later in life.
Because medical professionals and research are unsure about the possible effects recreational smoking can have on a developing fetus, this includes smoking marijuana as well. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific circumstance, or want advice on how to quit, be sure to consult with your doctor and OBGYN. They will be your best resource with what are the safest and healthiest measures to take, especially if you are unable to stop cold turkey.
Along the same lines, drinking while pregnant is a big no-no. There are many conflicting ideals about alcohol and pregnancy available now-a-days. That an occasional glass of red wine can heal you de-stress and is good for the heart. That it’s ok to drink in the first semester, but to stop once you enter your second. While red wine does have its benefits, those do not apply to pregnancy. In fact, any kind of alcohol can be harmful to you and your baby. How?
Well, you see, when you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream, which flows directly through the placenta and into your growing baby. It increases the risk of your baby developing physical, behavioral and intellectual disabilities. One such disability is known as: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Other risks include, but are not limited to: a slower growth rate, birth defects and brain damage.
For your unplanned pregnancy and health of yourself and your baby, it is key that you stop drinking as soon as you know you’re pregnant. If you drank before you knew, it’s ok. Let your doctor and OBGYN know, then be sure to not drink for the rest of your pregnancy.
Now that we’ve got the more scary stuff out of the way — some good news! Let’s talk food and vitamins for your unplanned pregnancy and health. In general, you’ll find that most foods are safe for both you and your growing baby. However, you’ll want to ensure that everything you eat is free from any and all foodborne illnesses. How do you do this? By cooking your meat and rinsing your produce completely; making sure that all utensils are washed with hot soapy water. Being mindful not to use the same knife to cut raw meat and vegetables. Standard/best practices for cooking in general. If you already do this with your day-to-day cooking routine, then you’re already succeeding! Keep at it!
It’s imperative to keep yourself and your baby safe throughout your unplanned pregnancy. This means being sure to take any vitamins your doctor recommends. He or she may prescribe prenatal vitamins and other mineral supplements. One of these mineral supplements will undoubtedly be vitamin D. For most, it is recommended to get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day. Talk to your doctor about what an appropriate dose for you would be, to reduce the risk of taking too much or too little. Also speak to your doctor about any medications you are already taking. He or she may recommend that you stop certain ones while pregnant.
Staying in motion! This may not have been on the top of your “to-do list,” but it is still important. You don’t have to run a marathon, but maintaining moderate levels of low-impact activities should be a part of your daily routine.
For those who were not doing higher intensity sports before pregnancy, considering taking up activities such as: walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, cycling, water aerobics, or very light yoga. All these can help you stay fit and keep a healthy heart rate. If you already involved in higher intensity exercise — jogging, lifting weights or more intense aerobics — talk with your doctor about any concerns or if you should discontinue while pregnant.
It is best to avoid activities that could lead to getting hit in the abdomen or a fall like: boxing, soccer, football, baseball or horseback riding.
Unplanned Pregnancy and Health
Here is the final step: Breathe. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, breathing is key. There is a lot going on with your body. Your hormones are all over the place. If this is your first pregnancy, and you become worried at any time, call your doctor. If you have concerns about how to start the process of considering adoption, our adoption professionals are available and will happily answer any questions you have.
It will be okay. Despite the surprise of your unplanned pregnancy, you can still stay healthy and safe.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Tia Kitchens is a college graduate with a B.S in Psychology from Capella University who has always had a passion for three things: animals, writing, and mac ‘n cheese. Two of these three are things she has based her work around. Animals are a big impact on her life due to her love for helping others through difficult situations. Through her studies, she has found the human-animal bond is strong enough to help others. This, paired with her writing, helps her record her findings and teach others through her words.
She is excited to join Adoption Choices as an Editorial Intern because she’s wanted to adopt since she was little, and is excited to learn about the industry and the adoption journey.
Her goal is to make a change in the world with her words and end up on someone’s inspiration pinterest board! Being a key quote on someone’s pinterest board it shows her words have a huge impact on people. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but if that picture is just words it surely means more that way! To learn more about her, follow her on Twitter and Instagram!
“Home Pregnancy Tests: Can You Trust the Results?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Jan. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940.
“Staying Healthy and Safe.” Womenshealth.gov, 14 Mar. 2019, https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/staying-healthy-and-safe.