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6 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

236 days to go...

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Try not to dwell on your lifestyle before you realized you were pregnant, but start making changes now.

Have you only just discovered you're pregnant? Not all women realize they are pregnant immediately, especially if it wasn't planned. If you've only just found out, it's natural to be concerned about things that you did before you knew, such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs. You may be worried that you've harmed your unborn baby. Use your pregnancy as an opportunity to assess your lifestyle and improve your health.

Because of how pregnancy is dated (see This is Day 1 of your Menstrual Cycle), your baby is still only a little over four weeks old. If you have not been taking folic acid, start taking supplements starting today.

Time To Think About

Prenatal care

The options for prenatal care in the US are outlined in section Prenatal Care Options, but they do vary from area to area. Whatever your type of prenatal care, any ultrasound scans, tests, and investigations may also take place at a hospital. Your options are likely to be:

  • Group medical practice
  • Solo medical practice
  • Combination practice
  • Maternity Center-based practice

Going solo

The prospect of being pregnant and single, especially if it wasn't your choice, can be tough. Make sure you:

  • Take care of yourself: plan a healthy diet, and an exercise routine. Get as much rest and restful sleep as you can. Ask a friend to spur you on or get online and seek support from other single pregnant women in your area-you will have a ready-made support network after the birth.
  • Ask for help from family and friends. You will probably find they are delighted to be involved in your pregnancy and are willing to come to prenatal appointments and classes with you: you may want to consider asking one of these people to be your birth partner.
  • Discuss support and access with your baby's father (if appropriate), and if you can't agree, seek legal advice. You and your baby will benefit if an amicable arrangement is reached, and the sooner you start talking, the easier it will be after the birth.
  • Arrange support for after the birth. A survey found that grandparents who are actively involved in their grandchildren's lives contribute positively to their well-being. If you don't have family close by, try to build a network of other support that will see you through the early weeks.
  • Start thinking early about your career options for after the birth. You don't have to make any decisions, but it helps to know some of the choices you may have to make later.

pregnant single woman talking with mother

If you're single and pregnant, don't be alone – share the highs and the lows with those close to you.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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