Seeing those two pink lines on a pregnancy test when you’re not actively trying for a baby can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. Chances are, in that moment, you don’t exactly know how you feel. Maybe your contraception failed, or perhaps a one-off encounter caught you off guard. Perhaps either you or your partner had been told you were unlikely to conceive… whatever your situation its a huge thing to come to terms with. If you’ve just discovered you’re expecting a surprise baby, here’s what you should do next.
Consider All the Options
First things first, it’s important to consider all of the options. As incredibly difficult as it might be, you may not be in a position to keep the baby due to health, mental health, financial or any other reason. You might decide to go ahead with the pregnancy but consider adoption, or you may decide to keep the baby. It’s a huge decision so spend some time working out what your next step will be in terms of pregnancy and beyond.
Getting support is so important when you’re pregnant. Whether your baby was planned or unplanned, pregnancy is a very vulnerable time in a woman’s life and we all need a good support system in place. Some women have supportive partners, families and friends whereas others may need to seek out a support system. Groups like Pro-Love Movement are great for women who are single and pregnant, you can always find due date groups on Facebook to connect with others due around the same time as you which can be a huge support network. If you struggle with your mental or physical health then you may have additional needs in pregnancy that need to be met, speak to your GP to be referred to the correct services.
Focus on Your Health and Lifestyle
If you weren’t planning on having a baby then you may not have been living the healthiest lifestyle prior to conception. So once you find out you have a baby on board, a big lifestyle change may be needed. You’ll of course want to quit smoking and drinking. You’ll need to take pregnancy vitamins, and boost the intake of healthy foods in your diet. Most pregnant women do well with regular light exercise, this could be walking more, swimming or any kind of exercise class geared at pregnant women. Professionals will advise doing all of these things before conceiving but if you werent planning a baby then that can’t be changed. It is in your control to take initiative once you do know you’re pregnant though, so do what you can to live as healthily as possible to increase your chances of a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby.
Start Saving Money
Having a baby can be expensive, so getting your financial situation in order as best you can is a smart idea. Try and get out of debt, or speak to a debt charity to get payments under control if you’re struggling with money. Aim to put some money away so you have access to some cash once the baby arrives. Find out what money and help you’re entitled to, and look into what maternity money you will get. Doing this early on allows you to spread the cost of things and budget.
Finally, getting organised is key. Women who planned their pregnancy have some advantage as they had time before conceiving to consider everything whereas you will need to start now. Start by writing a list of everything you’ll need- baby items can be picked up second hand cheaply if you don’t have a lot of cash. If you have friends and family willing to help, having a list ensures they’re buying things that you genuinely need. Consider things where the baby will sleep, do you have a spare room at home you can turn into a nursery? If not, will you need to think about moving house? How much time will you take off work, will a car seat fit into your car- there are lots of things to think about. You have nine months to get organised so try not to panic, if you work your way through your list logically you’re more likely to get everything done in time.
Having a surprise pregnancy can feel scary, but you’re in good company. You’re not the first woman this has ever happened to, and you won’t be the last! Decide what’s right for you and then go from there.
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