Let's take a look at the exciting things that lie ahead of you, from that first folic acid tablet to the time your baby smiles at you.
After the decision
Have you and your partner just decided you'd love a baby? Before you ditch your birth control, you'll both want to start working on a healthier diet. Both women and men who are trying to conceive benefit from taking folic acid, a B vitamin that has been proven to increase fertility. Folic acid also helps prevent neural tube defects in your future baby, so women who would like to get pregnant should take at least 400 mg a day. You'll also want to go to your family doctor for a preconception checkup. You can make sure your general health is in good order and that you are not taking any medications that might interfere with a healthy pregnancy. Get tested for nutritional deficiencies like anemia, but also for sexually transmitted diseases just in case. Once your healthcare provider gives you the green light, you can go for it!
Tracking ovulation and baby-making sex
Women who like to feel in control of their lives, and who would love to boost their chances of a quick pregnancy, can track their ovulation by using one of many ovulation-detecting methods out there. Ovulation predictor kits, an ovulation calendar, measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) and even your cervical mucus can give you great insight into your fertile window. (Read more at Best ways to detect ovulation) Your "first time" might be long behind you, but that first time during which you might actually conceive a baby is special in its own right. Afterwards, you'll be on the lookout for super early signs of conception all the time. You know you've ovulated, and you think a little nausea, tiredness or bloating could well be symptoms of pregnancy. This is a very exciting time!
Your positive pregnancy test
The vast majority of couples get pregnant within a year of starting their attempts. You were trying, so you knew it could happen. Yet, you are never quite prepared for that special moment. One day, you'll realize your period is late and you should probably take a test. You'll wait for what seems like an eternity, and then those two lines show up. Your positive pregnancy test! You did it! You're going to be parents! For some couples, conceiving is not quite as straightforward. A miscarriage is an unfortunate but common event, and some couples won't get pregnant within 12 months. You'll want to seek medical attention if you are not pregnant after one year.
There will be lots of milestones during pregnancy the first time you realize you suffer from morning sickness (charming!), buying your first maternity clothes, feeling your baby move for the first time, and perhaps finding out the gender of your baby. Your first prenatal appointment is also a right of passage of sorts. For your baby, pregnancy is a time of continuous milestones, from reaching the uterus and implanting there, to becoming viable outside the womb, and eventually being born. Pregnancy can make you somewhat uncomfortable at times, but try to enjoy it as much as possible.
Labor, birth and beyond
Labor and birth are the ultimate culmination of pregnancy they represent the day your baby is born and the day you are born again too, as a mom. While labor and birth can be a little scary, you'll get through it just fine! Your labor and birth will feel less unfamiliar if you spend the months before you have your baby researching the process itself and your options. Some women use movement, massage, or hypnotherapy to help them cope, while others opt to have an epidural to eliminate most of the pain. Whatever you choose, having a healthcare provider you know and trust by your side will make your baby's birth easier on you. After your baby is born, you've got a whole new set of milestones to look forward to! They include taking your baby home, the first bath, first smile, first time sitting up, and first words.