Positive pregnancy test: here’s what you should do next

  • READING TIME 13 MIN
  • PUBLISHED November 02, 2023
  • AUTHOR Donna

Key takeaways

  • If the pregnancy test shows two lines, you’re very likely pregnant. Pregnancy tests, used correctly, are highly accurate.
  • After learning the news, call your gynocologist and schedule your first prenatal appointment.
  • Start planning your life as a soon-to-be mom. Evaluate your diet, habits, exercise regime and budget.

Positive pregnancy test: here’s what you should do next

Congratulations, you just got the big news, you’re pregnant! Getting a positive test is about to bring on a flood of emotions and a ton of questions, starting with: what are you supposed to do next?

Double-check if the results are true

If the test is positive, you’re very likely pregnant. Home pregnancy tests are generally very accurate but only if you follow the instructions closely and use a test that’s within the expiration date – they typically last for two to three years after manufacture. Kits are usually most efficient if used first thing in the morning before you drink too much water which can dilute the levels of pregnancy hormone in urine. Don’t read the test too early either or let it sit for too long – check instructions on when the results are supposed to come in. 1

False-positive results are also rare but still possible in individual cases. If you underwent a fertility treatment recently, for example, and received a “trigger shot” of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG – a hormone that is also produced during pregnancy), you may get a false-positive test. 2 You could avoid the misunderstanding by waiting at least 10 days after your trigger shot before taking a pregnancy test. If you’re having doubts, we suggest you turn to your gynecologist.

Another cause for confusion with reading the results is the occurrence of the evaporation line on your device. In these cases, the test appears to be positive—there is a colourless line instead of a coloured line—but it’s in fact not a positive result. An evaporation line can appear if you wait too long to read the test result or if the test gets wet.

There’s also a slim chance that the test picks up the pregnancy hormone due to a chemical pregnancy – a very early miscarriage that occurs when a fertilized egg fails to properly implant in the uterus.

Start taking prenatal vitamins

But, again, if you see two clear lines, you are very likely pregnant. This is a good time to start taking prenatal nutrients – if you haven’t been popping them already. Prenatal vitamins include important nutrients, minerals and omega fatty acids (DHA). Among other nutrients, preggos need more folic acid and iron to safeguard the baby’s development and overall good health. 3 4

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is especially important. An abundance of research shows that the micronutrient can help prevent between 50 to 70 percent of defects of the neural tube. 5 6 That’s a part of the embryo that eventually evolves into the baby’s brain, spinal cord and skull. If the neural tube fails to properly close in the womb, it leaves the developing brain or spinal cord exposed and could lead to various disabilities, including loss of bladder control or leg paralysis.

Doctors and health organizations around the world encourage you to add folic to your diet – not only during the first weeks of pregnancy but already in the baby-making period. The moment you become pregnant (which is usually before you become aware of the fact) the embryo already reproduces important cells that are vital for brain and spine development. 7 8 Learn more about folic acid, its benefits and suggested doses in our article here.

Schedule a doctor’s appointment

As soon as you get a positive result (or only suspect pregnancy), call your gynecologist and arrange your first prenatal appointment. You will typically get to visit their office when you’re in your eighth week. At the appointment, the doctor will confirm the results, take a bunch of different tests, perform a head-to-toe assessment and answer any questions you may have.

If you have a history of previous pregnancy loss, complications like pain or bleeding, the doctor may want to see you sooner.

Also important to note: call your doctor immediately if you have a chronic health condition or if you notice any adverse symptoms, such as. 910

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Excessive headaches and nausea
  • High fever
  • Pain during urination
  • Sudden swelling

Prepare for pregnancy symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms are not a sure-fire sign that you’re in fact pregnant. Some of you may never experience morning sickness, for example, but you are just as pregnant as those who do. There’s a lot going on in your uterus to help you prepare to host a baby – and different bodies can react in different ways.

But still, keep an eye on any of the signs that typically occur early in the pregnancy. For example: 1112

  • Sore breasts
  • Morning sickness
  • You want to pee more often
  • Tiredness
  • Appetite changes
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Nasal congestion

Eat healthy food and stay hydrated

Eating healthy food and just having a balanced diet is absolutely vital both for you and your baby. A pregnancy diet isn’t that different from a typical healthy diet either. It contains lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats. These are all good choices.

On the other hand, be sure to avoid foods that can carry harmful bacteria such as cold cuts, unpasteurized cheese and undercooked meat. Also avoid fish that contain mercury, such as swordfish and tuna. If you haven’t already, ditch smoking and drinking alcohol. And for all coffee lovers – try to limit the intake to no more than 200 mg a day or one bigger cup. 13

Speaking of liquids, don’t forget to increase the water intake – it’s important to stay well hydrated as fluids help your body produce more blood volume, build new tissue and prevent hemorrhoids and constipation.

An important clarification here: if you’re battling morning sickness or other early pregnancy woes, don’t force yourself with eating something that you can’t even look at, let alone have it in your mouth. Be gentle to yourself and forget about diets until you feel better.

Start exercising

Exercising during pregnancy is important for maintaining good condition. It helps you manage a healthy weight gain and prepares the body for the burdens of carrying and delivering a baby. You’ll need that stamina and muscle power for the life after childbirth, too!

There are plenty of ways to stay fit safely. Think walking, swimming, indoor cycling and prenatal yoga. But whatever you do, try not to strain yourself too much. There’s no need to push yourself to the limit. If you feel any kind of pain, stop immediately. You’ll also want to avoid lying flat on your back for long periods, taking part in contact sports and, in general, exercising in poorly ventilated spaces. A good measure of intensity within limits is that you are still able to hold a conversation after the exercise.

Plan budget

In most European countries your insurance covers all doctor visits, labour and delivery costs. Most maternity hospitals and health centres also offer antenatal tests for free.

But pregnancy of course comes with certain expenses. It’s always good to start planning them early and think about where you can save some money and where you don’t want to bargain. Here are some of the things you should consider when coming up with a budget for the next nine months (and beyond):

  • Extra lab tests
  • Pregnancy clothes
  • Childbirth education
  • Groceries
  • Prenatal nutrients
  • Prenatal exercises
  • Crib
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Car seat
  • Baby clothes

Share the news

And finally, one of the most exciting tasks after you learn about pregnancy is sharing the big news with your loved ones. Some wait until the first ultrasound or until the prenatal test results come back but there isn’t a right or a wrong way to do it. Go for the type and timing that you feel most comfortable with.

If you want to delay the announcement for any reason, you’ll have some weeks before that baby bump becomes almost impossible to hide any longer.

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940
  2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/false-positive-pregnancy-test/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235217/
  4. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/nutrition-during-pregnancy
  5. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/104/2/325/62434/Folic-Acid-for-the-Prevention-of-Neural-Tube?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4933077/
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486472/
  9. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-signs-and-symptoms
  10. https://www.gponline.com/pregnancy-red-flag-symptoms/womens-health/article/1398533
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
  12. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-signs-and-symptoms
  13. https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/caffeine-in-pregnancy.aspx
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