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Pregnancy is an exciting phase of a woman’s life, especially if it is her first pregnancy. If you are pregnant, the thought of nurturing a life can overwhelm you. But pregnancy can also turn you into a worrywart, especially when you start thinking about everything you put in your mouth and wonder whether or not it’s safe for your baby. A little ignorance on your part such as drinking alcohol or indulging in unhealthy lifestyle habits can lead to massive repercussions. And you’d want to avoid them at all cost.
The first trimester of pregnancy is an important phase. This is the time when the foetus develops rapidly and is at its most vulnerable, which is why care must be taken to ensure its proper growth and development. Here are a few precautions that a pregnant woman must take in the early stages of her pregnancy to avoid miscarriage and lower the chances of birth defects in the first trimester.
Precautions to Take During the First Three Months of Pregnancy
Here are some things you need to keep in mind and follow in the first three months of pregnancy. Trust us, these precautions will help you have a healthy pregnancy.
1. Avoid Smoking
If you are pregnant and smoke, it’s time to quit. Smoking during pregnancy can increase the chances of miscarriage, premature labour, and ectopic pregnancy. The smoke inhaled can hamper the development of the foetus and ruin your chances of a healthy delivery. So say ‘no’ to cigars and embrace tobacco-free living if you want a healthy pregnancy.
2. Say ‘No’ to Alcohol
There is no study to prove that a specific quantity of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, hence it is best avoided. Alcohol is linked to learning disorders and can interfere with the brain development of the foetus. Furthermore, drinking alcohol in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can also cause miscarriage, so it is best not included in the first trimester of pregnancy diet and perhaps, even later. So steer clear of alcohol while pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.
3. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
If you are a coffee person, the thought of giving it up completely can make you sick, but here’s a piece of good news for you: you don’t have to give it up cold turkey or at all – you can still enjoy a cup of coffee while pregnant, but make sure that you stick to just 1 cup. Taking too much caffeine can also lead to premature births and may cause birth defects. Stick to 1 cup, i.e.,less than 200 mg of caffeine a day, and you and your baby should be fine. The best option would be consulting a doctor regarding the amount of caffeine that safe for consumption during pregnancy and playing it safe!
4. Avoid Sauna and Hot Baths
High temperatures are not good for foetal development. So avoid taking hot showers at all costs. If you have back pain and joint pain, consider using heating pads wrapped in a towel. But do remember that the temperature of the heating pad should not exceed 100°F or 37°C.
5. Take Herbal Supplements and Painkillers With Caution
Painkillers and herbal supplements must be taken with caution. Your doctor will prescribe you certain medicines, and if you’re taking supplements or are on medication, you must consult her since these may interact with your existing medicines. Furthermore, overuse of painkillers can be harmful for the health of the foetus as certain chemicals may pass through the placenta into the bloodstream.
6. Avoid Seafood
Although seafood is a healthy source of protein and fats, some fish such as shark, swordfish, and marlin have been known to contain toxic substances and high levels of mercury. Eating these fish during pregnancy can be harmful for the health of the baby. Hence, it is suggested that you avoid seafood during the first trimester of your pregnancy or better yet throughout your pregnancy. However, if you still wish to incorporate fish in your diet, consult a doctor.
7. Stop Eating Unhealthy Foods
If you are already within the healthy weight range, you will probably need to up your calorie intake by at least 300 during the first trimester of your pregnancy and be expected to pack on 1 pound (0.4 kg) a week during each week of your first trimester. However, make sure you have a balanced diet and avoid unhealthy foods.
8. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods contain food additives and substances that are harmful to the development of the foetus. Food additives contain sodium nitrate traces and cancer-causing substances which can be harmful to your health as well as your baby’s health. Additionally, pesticides may creep in with such foods, which is why we recommend that you stick to organic sources of foods and avoid processed or packaged food items. And make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables and peel them before eating them.
9. Take Folic Acid Supplements
Your doctor must have prescribed you folic acid supplements – take them regularly. Add nuts to your food groups and increase your intake of Omega-3s as your baby will need these for the proper development of eyes, brains, and nerves. Vitamin D intake is also important. You can get this from egg yolks, fortified milk, and by exposing yourself to sunlight every morning.
Some More Tips to Take Care of Yourself During the First Trimester of Your Pregnancy
Here’s what you can do to ensure a healthy transition into the second and third trimesters and to ensure that you have no complications during delivery:
Load Up on Veggies – Veggies are always healthy, and more so during pregnancy. So while pregnant, increase your intake of vegetables and delicious organic goodies, and make way for a healthy pregnancy.
Exercise – Practising yoga and light exercises will keep you healthy during pregnancy. You can start practising yoga and pranayama just to be safe since certain exercises can lead to preterm labour in expecting women. You can also take up some light exercises – these will keep you active and your metabolism working. However, do consult your doctor or healthcare provider before you decide to take up any exercises. And avoid strenuous exercises at all cost!
Take Prenatal Vitamins – Follow up with your doctor regarding the intake of prenatal vitamins. Take the vitamins prescribed by your doctor regularly as they will provide you with necessary nutrients required during the first trimester and also help your baby grow.
Talk to Your Doctor If You Are Not Well – If you experience pain or do not feel good after taking certain medications, foods, or supplements, consult with your healthcare provider and stop taking those immediately until you find out what’s wrong and how it’s affecting your well-being. You may be allergic to certain foods or medications, or maybe those medicines might be interacting with your existing medical conditions, so check with your doctor at the earliest.
Watch Your Weight – A woman should lead an active lifestyle and have a healthy BMI if she is planning to get pregnant. Obesity poses a risk towards a healthy pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, you can take up light exercises and eat healthily to have a healthy pregnancy. If you gain too much weight during the first trimester and upcoming weeks, you may have complications in pregnancy. So watch your calorie intake; eat calorie-dense foods in less proportion, and consult with your dietitian or nutritionist if needed.
Try Natural Remedies – Avoid taking painkillers if the pain is not severe. Try relaxation exercises, meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques to feel better. Ask your partner to give you a massage, and sleep in an inclined position, if needed, to relieve back pain, if you have it. Whatever the case, try natural ways or remedies of pain relief rather than taking drugs or artificial substances.
During pregnancy, taking the necessary precautions can increase your chances of having a healthy and normal delivery. So eat healthily, avoid stress, be happy, and take care of yourself and your baby.
Also Read: 20 Health Tips for Pregnant Women