You're Pregnant! What's Next? 6 Steps for Expectant Parents in Singapore (2023)
Congratulations, the moment you've been eagerly anticipating has arrived - you're pregnant! As you embark on this incredible journey of parenthood, it's completely natural to feel a mix of excitement and uncertainty about what lies ahead.
In this article, we'll take you through the essential steps to ensure a smooth and joyous pregnancy. Becoming a parent is a remarkable experience, and we want you to feel confident and well-informed throughout this life-changing process. Get ready to cherish every moment as you discover what's next in this incredible adventure of parenthood.
Step 1: Confirming the Pregnancy
Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy
Common signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary from person to person, but there are several key indicators to look out for.
- One of the most well-known signs is a missed period, which would have prompted you to take a pregnancy test.
- Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, other signs may include breast tenderness, fatigue, frequent urination, and nausea or morning sickness.
- Some individuals have also mentioned the lack of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or an improvement in one’s mood during the period that they expected their PMS to kick in.
Taking a Home Pregnancy Test or Visiting Your General Practitioner (GP)
Home pregnancy tests have become a convenient and widely used method for early pregnancy detection. These tests work detect the presence of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in urine, which is produced shortly after conception.
Most home pregnancy tests are simple to use and typically provide results within seconds, with some tests even indicating how far along you are. Some tests are also so sensitive that you can test up to 4 days before your period is due.
You could also choose to visit your usual General Practitioner (GP) who will be able to do a urine test for you to confirm your pregnancy.
Calculating How Many Weeks Pregnant You Are
The most common method is to count from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). This approach is based on the fact that conception usually occurs around two weeks after the start of your menstrual cycle. So, if you've missed your period and suspect you might be pregnant, you can count the number of weeks from the first day of your last period to estimate how far along you are. A popular conception and pregnancy due date calculator can be found here.
Step 2: Making Your First Appointment With The Obstetrician-Gynaecologist
Which Week Should Your First Gynae Visit Be?
Most mothers choose to plan their first OBGYN visit when they are 6-8 weeks pregnant. The first visit is to confirm the pregnancy, estimate the due date based on a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound, detect the baby’s heartbeat, and advise on important next steps. Do note that some popular *Obstetrician-Gynaecologist (OBGYN) have limited slots, so do make an appointment in advance if you can!
There is no harm in visiting the OBGYN earlier than 6 weeks pregnant, but as it is still early on and the baby is extremely tiny, the OBGYN may not be able to detect the embryo through the ultrasound nor pick up a heartbeat yet. What this means is that you will have to come back in another 1-2 weeks' time anyway.
*An OBGYN specialises in both obstetrics (care for all aspects of pregnancy and fertility care) and gynaecology (care for female reproductive health).
Selecting Which Gynae To Go To: Public vs Private?
Selecting an OBGYN or gynaecologist is always a difficult decision. One thing to note is that you can always change your OBGYN along the way, so you do not have to be too fixated on picking the perfect doctor for your first visit. The rates stated below are only an approximation and do not include the fees for scans, medications and tests.
*To be eligible for subsidised consultation at a public government hospital (Singaporean or PR), you have to obtain a referral letter from any Polyclinic. If you visit the government hospital without a referral letter, you will be considered a private patient with unsubsidised rates. Private patients at both government hospitals and private hospitals pay almost the same rate. Do check with the individual clinics on their consultation rates as the more popular an OBGYN is, the higher their rates usually are.
Preparing For Your First Gynae Visit
Preparing for your first OBGYN visit can help ensure a productive and informative appointment.
- Gather relevant medical records, including details about your menstrual cycle and any pre-existing health conditions.
- Make a list of questions and concerns you may have about your pregnancy, prenatal care, and any lifestyle adjustments required during this time.
- Bring any supplements or medications that you are taking to get the go-ahead to continue consuming during pregnancy. This is also important to prevent your OBGYN from overprescribing prenatal supplements.
- Wear comfortable clothing since you will likely have an abdominal or vaginal ultrasound during your visit.
Step 3: Get Started on Prenatal Supplements
Prenatal supplements are specifically formulated to provide the essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial during pregnancy. These supplements typically contain folic acid, iron, calcium, and other nutrients vital for fetal growth and maternal health. Folic acid, in particular, plays a significant role in preventing neural tube defects in the developing baby.
However, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any prenatal supplements, as they can recommend the appropriate dosage and ensure it complements your individual health needs.
Step 4: Making Lifestyle Changes
Changes To Your Diet
Making dietary changes during pregnancy is crucial for ensuring the healthy growth and development of your baby.
- Focus on consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Incorporate foods high in folate, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, as these are particularly important during pregnancy.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meats, fish high in mercury, unpasteurized dairy products, herbal products, excessive caffeine and all alcoholic drinks.
Changes To Your Fitness Routine
Making appropriate changes to your fitness routine during pregnancy is crucial to maintain your health and supporting the well-being of you and your baby. Consult with your OBGYN to ensure your exercise routine aligns with your circumstances.
- It's generally safe and recommended to engage in regular physical activity during pregnancy, but adjustments may be necessary. In most cases, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, or modified strength training can be beneficial.
- Avoid exercises that involve lying flat on your back or activities with a high risk of falling or abdominal trauma.
Changes To Your Lifestyle
As your body will be undergoing many changes during pregnancy, getting enough rest and sleep is important for your physical and emotional well-being. Also, managing stress levels and seeking support from loved ones can contribute to a healthy pregnancy experience.
Step 5: Sharing The News With Close Family & Loved Ones
Many expectant parents choose to wait until the end of the first trimester to share the news as this period is considered a critical time of development. Nonetheless, it is useful to share this news with a group of your closest family and friends who are vital in providing the necessary emotional support and guidance that you will require in your first trimester.
Having someone asking if you are okay, preparing nutritious meals for you, lending a helping hand with household chores, and giving in to your food aversions and cravings, will go a long way in your emotional and physical well-being.
Step 6: Download Pregnancy Related Apps & Join Pregnancy Groups
Downloading pregnancy-related apps and joining pregnancy groups can be valuable resources for expectant parents. These apps offer a wealth of information, personalized insights, and helpful tools to guide you through each stage of pregnancy. From tracking your baby's development week by week to recording prenatal appointments and setting reminders for important milestones, these apps can help you stay organized and informed.
Additionally, joining pregnancy groups or online communities provides a supportive network where you can connect with other expectant parents, share experiences, seek advice, and find reassurance in knowing that others are going through similar journeys.
We hope you now feel more informed and empowered to embark on this remarkable journey of pregnancy and parenthood. Embrace the joy, the challenges, and the miracles that come with this incredible experience. Best wishes for a safe and healthy pregnancy, and may the journey ahead be filled with love, laughter, and endless blessings!
Start preparing for your baby!
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