Pregnancy Guide


Congratulations, kudos, and woo hoo – you're pregnant! In those rare moments when you're not dancing on air or completely freaking out, you may wonder what you need to do next. Here are the most important things to do as you wait to meet your baby.

Start with the pregnancy basics

Calculate your baby's due date. Don't bother with a pencil and paper – just use our handy due date calculator. Not only will it tell you the date you'll be looking forward to all pregnancy long, it'll give you a personalized calendar that shows when you'll hear your baby's heartbeat, find out your baby's sex, and more.
Choose a doctor or midwife. You'll be seeing a lot of your obstetrician, family physician, or midwife over the coming months, so it's important to find a good match. Once you've made your decision, help get your pregnancy off to a healthy start by scheduling your first prenatal appointment. (Prenatal care providers typically schedule the visit for when you're at least 8 weeks pregnant.)
Decide when to announce your pregnancy. Some women wait until after the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage drops, while others announce it right away. Some wait to tell their co-workers or boss to avoid being treated differently at work, while others want their workplace buds to understand why they're a little green around the gills. Also consider how you'll make the news public – in person, by phone, in writing, or by picture or video (or get creative inspiration from other parents). Of course, this should be a joint decision – you don't want to opt for secrecy only to discover that your partner's already announced the news to 400 Facebook friends.

Plan ahead before you have your baby

Find out what's in store throughout pregnancy. The list you're reading now gives you a feel for what happens in early pregnancy, but what else should you expect? Get a sneak peek at the months ahead with our quick pregnancy overview.
Figure out your finances. They're worth every penny, of course, but babies cost money. Use our baby cost calculator to get a feel for how expensive your bundle of joy is going to be in the first year. Then do what you can to get your bucks in a row.
Get your ultimate pregnancy to-do list. Are you a planner? Do you want details? Look no further than our mega pregnancy checklist for the nitty-gritty on all your pre-baby tasks – from conception until your due date.
Brainstorm baby names. Finding the perfect baby name is one of the most exciting parts of the pregnancy journey – though it can be a bit overwhelming. You don't need to choose a name anytime soon (some people even wait until after their baby is born), but it can be lots of fun to start a list of possibilities. Read up on how to pick a name and the pitfalls to avoid, and then browse our baby name inspiration lists and search for names in our Baby Names Finder.

Take care of your body and baby

Pay attention to your health. A healthy lifestyle is always important – but when you're living for two, it's that much more vital. So make sure you're getting enough folic acid, start taking a prenatal vitamin (your healthcare provider can recommend one for you), eat a healthy pregnancy diet, consider a pregnancy-friendly exercise routine, and try to get plenty of sleep.
Avoid pregnancy no-nos. You don't have to live in a sterile bubble, but some things are dangerous during pregnancy. These include certain foods, alcohol, cigarette smoke, too much caffeine, some medications, recreational drugs like marijuana, and various toxins, as well as certain activities and behaviors. Talk to your caregiver to find out more about what you may personally need to steer clear of.
Be prepared for early pregnancy symptoms. Not every pregnancy symptom will happen to every woman, but educating yourself ahead of time can prevent you from being blindsided. You might experience nausea and vomiting, jaw-dropping fatigue, odd food cravings, sore breasts, and maddeningly frequent bathroom trips. And those are just the more common complaints. A host of other symptoms could lie ahead, too.
Brace yourself for body changes. You're probably already expecting the amazing expanding belly and va-va-voom breasts, but other body changes are in store that you may not know about. Be on the lookout for things like thicker hair, darkened skin, and acne breakouts – then, later in pregnancy, swollen ankles, stretch marks, and varicose veins. You might notice other body and beauty changes, too. Pregnancy affects every woman differently, but knowing what might happen can help you take your particular physical changes in stride.
Follow your baby's development. Your baby is growing and changing incredibly fast. Taking a peek at your baby's development every week can keep your spirits up in the face of those less-than-pleasant pregnancy symptoms.