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A woman’s body undergoes various physiological and psychological changes during the first trimester of pregnancy. A lot of your energy will be drained as your body begins to create a home for your baby where they will reside for the next nine months. Not just that, but your baby’s vital organs also develop during this time.
Video: Pregnancy First Trimester – Your Essential To-Do List
You become a mother the moment you are pregnant, and it is every mother’s responsibility to ensure the health and safety of her child. What you do during your first trimester, in particular, is very important as it can affect the health of your child. Lately, it has come to be seen that in-utero nutrition can affect the child’s health even after they are out of the womb! How you take care of yourself, what you put in your body and what you allow yourself to be exposed to can all affect your baby.
20 Things to Do in the First Trimester of Pregnancy
As a mum, there are some things that you should do right from your first trimester to start taking care of your baby. Special care should be taken, and precautions must be looked into and taken very seriously to avoid future complications. If you are a new mom and do not know what to do in the first month of pregnancy, here are 20 tips to help you:
A woman’s menstrual cycle ensures that her period is due two weeks after ovulation. If you suspect you are pregnant because you have missed your period, get a home pregnancy test. These can effectively tell if you are pregnant a week after your period is due.
2. Start Prenatal Multivitamins
These consist of different vitamins and minerals that will ensure your baby develops healthily. It is very important for you to get enough folic acid while trying to conceive and during your first trimester. Folic acids help in the prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTD), serious birth defects in the spinal cord or the brain. A mother needs a higher quantity of iron and calcium as well, and if it cannot be added to the diet, then taking them in the form of multivitamins can be very helpful. However, iron is usually started after the first trimester.
3. Investigate Health Insurance
Pregnant women need lots of check-ups and will require a good amount of money to spend on everything from prenatal care, right up to delivery and post-delivery care for both mama and child. Make sure that your health insurance covers all these costs. This will prevent a lot of stress in the future as well as ensure you will be able to get all the care you need.
4. Consult a Health Care Provider
There is a lot of care to be taken in the first month of pregnancy. Find a medical professional that you are comfortable with and trust. Yours and your baby’s health depend on it. Avoid changing doctors and stick to one. Your physician will need to be updated on your medical history and any other problems that may affect the baby. Things will flow smoothly for you if you do not have to keep explaining your situation to different doctors. Only consult another doctor in a special case or if you are in need of a second opinion.
5. Schedule Prenatal Appointments
Make sure to schedule your appointments in advance. Note down the day of your last period so that your doctor can help you determine your due date. Care during the first three months of pregnancy will determine how smoothly your pregnancy will flow, as this is the most important stage in your baby’s development.
6. Consult About Any Current Medication
Most drugs, whether prescribed, over the counter or any other kind, are not safe during pregnancy. Discuss any medication you are on with your doctor, including multivitamins, supplements and herbs.
7. Quit Smoking
A lot of women smoke these days, so if you are one of them, it is best to quit. Smoking results in miscarriages, placental problems and preterm birth. It slows down foetal growth and raises the chances of stillbirths and infant death.
8. Quit Drinking
As little as one drink can affect your baby, so be careful about never consuming alcohol while pregnant! Alcohol causes low birth weight in babies and increases their chances of having problems with learning speech and language, while also giving them a higher chance to develop ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
9. Cut Down Caffeine
Coffee lover beware! High consumption of caffeine increases your blood pressure, heart rate and can cause dehydration as it makes you want to urinate more, all of which are unhealthy during pregnancy. It is also capable of crossing the placental barrier if you are used to drinking a lot of coffee. As a result, your baby will not be able to handle it. Caffeine is found in tea, soda and chocolate as well as coffee.
10. Beware of Workplace Hazards
Mothers who work in medical fields, research facilities and even those who do a lot of cleaning need to be very careful. Anyone who is exposed to chemicals and other harmful substances needs to make some immediate changes. Mention your daily routine to your doctor and come up with a way you can work safely, keeping your baby’s health in mind.
11. Keep a Balanced Diet
Your diet should be discussed with your doctor in case you have any allergic reaction to any particular foods, but for the most part, you need to stick to a balanced diet. Be vigilant about checking the expiry dates on any products that you may want to consume, though it is best to always eat and prepare fresh food. Have lots of fruits and vegetables as they are the safest and healthiest way to keep your baby growing strong.
12. Prepare for Morning Sickness
Morning sickness can start as early as six weeks into pregnancy and usually peaks around the eighth or ninth weeks. For some women, it eventually stops, but for others, it lasts throughout the whole pregnancy. In the same vein, some women are sick all day while others, only for a few hours a day or if they haven’t gotten enough rest. Keep yourself hydrated and find foods that your stomach can handle. You can even speak to your doctor about taking a B6 vitamin for nausea.
13. Rest Well
Your body is going through a lot at this point and getting enough rest is very important for you. Research even indicated that women who get less than six hours of sleep per night experience labour that lasts ten times longer than those who slept for a minimum of seven hours. There is a reason that one of the most common pregnancy care first trimester rules is to get proper rest!
14. Schedule Prenatal Tests
Do not skip the prenatal tests suggested by your doctor as they play an important role in helping you identify and prepare for problems such as Downs Syndrome and other birth defects. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is done between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy and can detect any genetic or chromosomal problems in your baby. If you do have a special needs baby, or if there are any problems with your pregnancy, you will have to make many changes in your life. These include prenatal care which will have to be more intensive than in a normal case.
15. Learn to Identify Signs of Pregnancy Problems
Though you have already developed aches and pains in your body due to the changes it is going through, some of these may actually be indicators of more serious problems. You must keep yourself abreast of the different problems that could arise and how to look out for any of the signs. Run anything you find suspicious past your doctor so that you can rule out anything that may be troubling you.
16. Talk to Your Partner
The first three months of pregnancy are the most delicate for your baby as the vital organs and placenta are still developing. During this time, focus more on finding out everything you can about how your baby is developing and if there will be any special needs you and your partner will have to handle. The two of you can also decide on other important things such as if you are to continue working and so on before breaking the news to everyone.
17. Join a Birth Club
It is always nice to have someone who understands what you are going through and who is going through the same. If you join a birth club, you can make friends with other expectant mothers and even indulge in some pregnancy friendly activities. Not only will you form a special bond, but you are ensuring your baby has future playmates of the same age and you will always have company for your child-rearing activities.
18. Make a Baby Budget
It goes without saying that a new baby will come with a lot of expenses. It will benefit you and your partner to sit down and talk about your finances so that you can incorporate all the new ones, you are about to incur.
19. Go Shopping
One of the things you need to invest in is a new maternity wardrobe. Your normal clothes will just not cut it during your pregnancy as your body is going to be growing fast. Not only that, you need to have clothes that you will be comfortable nursing your child in when the time comes. Do not forget to buy new undergarments with all this in mind as well.
20. Exercise Daily
Even though you may be afraid that every little move you make may hurt your baby, you need to exercise. Exercise during pregnancy can help you to regulate your weight gain and also prepare you for childbirth. Look up some good exercise plans or join an exercise program that is pregnancy-friendly. Run it by your physician before you actually get into it so that you can be aware of any of the exercises that you may not be able to do if you have any issues during your pregnancy.
Though a woman’s body was designed to create and sustain life, the changes that it has on the body are sometimes difficult to cope with. Having good support from family and friends throughout your pregnancy can make everything much easier for you. You would inevitably go through physical and emotional changes. You will even have to also make a lot of sacrifices and lifestyle changes. However, if you stick to it and make sure to follow all the 1st trimester of pregnancy dos and don’ts, there is no reason you should not have a smooth pregnancy. Your baby needs you to remain healthy and fit so that he or she, in turn, can grow and develop into a healthy child.