Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov Expecting Baby

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Dancing with the Stars crowned a new champion on Monday, but the DWTS family will grow even more this spring.

PEOPLE can exclusively reveal that DWTS pros Daniella Karagach and Pasha Pashkov are expecting their first baby in May.

“We’ve wanted a family ever since we’ve gotten married and we’ve been married for eight and a half years, so we are more than ready to have a baby,” Karagach, 30, tells PEOPLE. “We wanted to start planning this year and it just so happened that the timing was absolutely perfect. I actually found out I was pregnant on [DWTS season 31’s] premiere day.”

Karagach — who tied the knot with Pashkov, 36, in 2014 — says her season 31 partner Joseph Baena didn’t know about her pregnancy, but “he’s a sweetheart and he really was super gentle with me, although he didn’t know.”

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Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach.
Eric McCandless/abc

The New York City native experienced “no nausea since day one” and only found herself being a little bit more aware of her body while competing during her first trimester.

“My body is just so used to dancing and being active that if I kind of go the other way, it’s too much of an extreme for my body,” Karagach says. “My doctor was like, ‘The fact that you keep dancing is actually healthy for the baby.’ That was refreshing to hear.”

Karagach and Pashkov informed their DWTS castmates about the baby news before Monday’s finale, and she says NBA star Iman Shumpert, her partner with whom she won the Mirrorball Trophy in 2021, had the “funniest” reaction.

“I can’t wait to bring in a baby to the Dancing with the Stars family,” Karagach says. “They’re all so loving and supportive, so to share that news with them was so, so special.”

Fellow pro Witney Carson announced her pregnancy earlier this month and Val Chmerkovskiy‘s wife Jenna Johnson sat out season 31 due to her pregnancy, so Karagach has plenty of friends going through similar journeys alongside her.

“I’m definitely going to be reaching out to a lot of my friends on the show,” she says. “We need all the help that we can get!”

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Karagach and Pashkov plan to find out the baby’s sex over Thanksgiving. “Pasha and I really want a girl, but as long as the baby’s healthy, that’s all we really care about,” Karagach says.

But the couple goes back and forth on what they think the baby’s sex might actually be. “Sometimes we subconsciously talk about the baby as a ‘he,’ sometimes a ‘she,’ so every day it feels different,” Pashkov explains. “When we told our family, everybody’s having different guesses.”

Karagach feels at ease heading into parenthood. “I feel like it’ll come second nature to us,” she says. “I cannot wait to watch Pasha become a dad because he is unreal with kids. There’s no anxiety, there’s no stress. I feel a sense of calmness. The baby is going to change our life only for the better.”

Unique Nicole/Getty

Along with welcoming a child, Karagach and Pashkov also plan to celebrate another big life moment in the near future: buying a house.

“We want to settle down and finally buy a house and start our new chapter,” Karagach says. “And then hopefully three months after I give birth, we go right back on the show. We have our plans for the future. Hopefully everything runs smooth.”

The parents-to-be won’t be participating in the upcoming DWTS tour in favor of spending time readying for these upcoming changes.

“On one hand, we cannot wait already to meet this baby, but on the other hand, we want to enjoy this journey,” Pashkov says. “The baby’s going to be born into so much love and care.”

Karagach agrees. “We’re probably going to suffocate the kid with love and they’re going to be so annoyed with us kissing them all the time,” she quips. “There’s just so much love to give and I cannot wait to finally give it to a little baby.”

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