So you peed on a stick and it’s positive for pregnancy. Now what?
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve already birthed a human or have a little human around you who calls you some variation of “mom.” And now you find yourself holding a pee stick affirming that yes you are more than just a little bit queasy (and hopefully you aren’t holding that stick while you’re reading this, but if you are don’t forget to wash your hands). And now the question is, what do you do next after a positive pregnancy test?
First, if this is something you were hoping for, then CONGRATULATIONS! It may have been a long road and many sticks to get here, or maybe a quick jaunt and one stick. (If this is NOT something that’s cause for celebration and you need different resources, scroll to the bottom of this post for info.^^) A blood test at a physician’s office or clinic can confirm hCG levels since home pregnancy tests are more like a “screening,” and aren’t necessarily 100% effective.*
What happens on your first appointment?
Expect your first prenatal appointment to be a data gathering session. The medical services provider will want a full health history, including gynecological and family history. There will likely be an ask for labs, like a blood draw and urine sample. Depending on the estimated conception date, you may have an ultrasound to confirm the estimated birthing date. And you’ll have a chance to hear the fetal heartbeat through a doppler.
What care options do you have?
Insurance generally covers obstetrical care, which means that OBGYNs are the primary option. But, no two are alike, and each has a specific location or locations where they have privileges. If you have an OBGYN already, you can “interview” them to see if your goals are aligned. (Sure, this provider has been there for you through annual pap smears, mammograms, random pelvic pain visits, and testing. However, birth is a completely different situation, and how you envision yourself laboring and birthing can be a completely different picture for the provider supporting your labor.)
Additionally, you can choose to be under the care of a midwife and birth at home or a birth center. Insurance, however, doesn’t not typically cover this upfront but you can work with them to see what if any costs can be covered.
What are all these tests for?
First trimester screenings are optional, and tests for increased risk of Down syndrome and trisomy 18. Later in this period, an optional quad screen can evaluate for things like neural tube defects. Again, these are optional.
If you are 35 or older, get ready for that positive pregnancy test to lead to your “geriatric pregnancy” classification. (Look, a bunch of dudes in coats came up with this term back when fertility studies and classifications pointed to increased risk of infertility and chromosomal anomalies happened after a certain age, and “35” fell into that middle. Don’t get me started. But! Every body is different. Every pregnancy is different. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your body and your pregnancy need.)
What’s a birth team?
A birth team is exactly what it sounds like, the people you want around you during your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum period. Like your own personal Avengers. This can include a trusted friend whom you can vent to, your healthcare provider, your partner or supportive family member, your doula, and other health services (chiropractor, yoga instructor, pelvic floor therapist, mental health counselor, etc).
When do I make a public announcement?
The old rule of thumb was to make it through the first trimester before sharing because the risk of a miscarriage decreases at that point. Announcing to the world that you are pregnant or have a positive pregnancy test result is your choice. Seriously. Just like whether or not you tell anyone you’ve gone into labor. (And also don’t forget that you can choose who gets to be with you at the birth.)
Nutrition: Cut back on caffeine, unpasteurized foods, cold cuts, lunch meats, raw and undercooked seafood (sushi). Eating for two is not the same as eating because of two! Approximately 300 more daily calories are needed for pregnancy, so stock up on protein, fruites, veg, and whole grains. A well balanced diet can assist in minimizing nausea and constipation. And WATER! Please. Drink all the water. (Did you know: sipping through a straw can help you drink more water? Drink more than you think you need because it’s easy to become dehydrated and miserable.) Folic acid intake activate! In addition to a prenatal, don’t forget leafy greens, most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and fortified breakfast cereals can help. Don’t forget that Texas WIC can help if you qualify.°
Staying Active: If you’re not already training for a marathon, this is not the time to start. If you’re currently active, maintain that level of activity with some modifications. If you’re not active, try a little bit a day and work your way up! Walking, swimming, prenatal yoga. Twenty to thirty minutes a day is idea.
R&R: Rest and relaxation can be hard if little ones are already afoot. If you already have a self care practice, maintain that! If you don’t, building in time to do something that’s just for you can help tremendously. Even if that’s hitting the store solo and taking the long way home while belting out to music on the way home. Are there work or home duties that someone else can help with? Communicate your needs regularly so that the amount of your mental load can be reduced even if just a smidge.
As you continue your journey, your birth team can help guide you through all the things as they come up (because things will always come up). You’ve got this! Now, go wash your hands since you just peed on a stick.
Alamo City Moms is a resource for all moms in the greater San Antonio area. ACM recognizes the many pathways to becoming a parent and a family and wants to provide as much information to our community as possible in that decision-making process. This article strives to provide those options to our readers free of personal opinion or perspective.
- Are you preparing for pregnancy as a non-binary person? Family Equality has a starter resource here with links to additional resources and a tip sheet for providers.
- Are you looking for queer centered pregnancy resources? See this list here, this thread on reddit, this group online, this podcast, this other podcast.
- ^^ San Antonio has limited service options for pregnancy termination. You can begin your search for care here and here if your medical provider does not offer assistance or you do not have a medical provider already. In Texas, health insurance coverage for services is limited unless your employer has purchased a separate rider. This includes restrictions to Marketplace options and Public Employee Insurance Plans.
- *Maternity care and childbirth are covered by Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Employer health insurance programs often offer maternity programs at no extra cost, and they should cover a blood test. You can also shop for coverage in the health insurance Marketplace.
- ° Apply for WIC here. As a client, you will get healthy food, breastfeeding support, nutrition support. WIC is open to many incomes and families. If you are on Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP you meet the income eligibility guidelines for WIC. If you don’t qualify for these programs, you may still qualify for WIC by meeting the income guidelines for your household.