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Pregnancy is an exciting time of your life when you get butterflies in your stomach at the very thought of the life growing inside you. However, pregnancy also turns you into a worrywart as you start thinking about everything you put inside your body and whether or not it’s harming your baby. Even a little ignorance such as taking alcohol or indulging in unhealthy lifestyle habits can cause massive repercussions.
The first trimester of pregnancy is an important phase. This is when the foetus rapidly develops 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 during early pregnancy to avoid miscarriage and birth defects in the first trimester.
Precautions During the First Three Months of Pregnancy
Here are some things you need to steer clear of during the first three months of pregnancy.
From low-birth weight to increased infant mortality, smoking ruins your chances of a healthy delivery and hampers the development of the foetus. Say no to those cigars and embrace tobacco-free living if you want a healthy pregnancy.
2. Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
Alcohol is linked to learning disorders and interferes with the development of cognitive functions in the foetus. Taking too much caffeine can also lead to premature births and may cause birth defects. Steer clear of consuming alcohol and excessive caffeine when pregnant.
3. Sauna and Hot Baths
High temperatures are not good for foetal development. Avoid sauna and hot baths at all costs. If you’re desperate to relieve backaches and joint pains, consider using heating pads wrapped in a towel under 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
4. Herbal Supplements and Painkillers
Painkillers and herbal supplements must be taken with extreme caution. Your doctor will prescribe you certain meds, and if you’re taking supplements or additional medications, you must consult him/her since these may interact with your existing medications. Furthermore, overuse of painkillers causes harmful side effects to the foetus as certain chemicals can pass through the placenta into the bloodstream.
5. Sea Food
Although seafood is a healthy source of proteins and fats, some fish such as shark, swordfish and marlin have been known to contain toxic substances and high levels of mercury. These are harmful for your baby. It is a good idea to avoid seafood during the first trimester of your pregnancy and consult your doctor before incorporating any fish in your diet.
6. Unhealthy Foods
If you’re 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 every week of your pregnancy. However, make sure you eat a balanced diet and steer clear of unhealthy foods such as junk/fried food. Don’t forget to take your folic acid and iron supplements. Add nuts to your food groups and increase your intake of Omega-3s since babies need this 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.
7. Processed Foods
Processed foods contain food additives and substances harmful to the development of the foetus. Food additives contain sodium nitrate traces and cancer-causing substances which are harmful to both you and your baby. Additionally, pesticides may creep in with such foods, which is why we recommend you to stick to organic sources and avoid processed or packaged food items. Make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables and peel them before eating to avoid taking in pesticides mixed with them.
Other Tips and Care to Take During the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Here’s what you can do to ensure a healthy transition into the second and third trimesters to a seamless baby delivery:
- Load Up on Veggies – Veggies are your best friend, and by upping your intake of vegetables and delicious organic goodies, you will be on the fast-lane to a successful pregnancy.
- Exercise – Avoid strenuous exercise. Light exercising is recommended to keep you active and your metabolism working. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before you decide to take up Yoga and Pranayama just to be safe since certain exercises lead to preterm labour in expecting mothers.
- Prenatal Vitamins and Painkillers – Follow up with your doctor regarding taking painkiller medications and prenatal vitamins. See whether these interact with one another. When using painkillers, always read the warning label and double-check the dosage and frequency of usage instructions. Some brands provide additional info on their label for pregnant mothers including when or during which trimester to be taken. A painkiller which is safe during the first trimester may be unsafe during the second or third, and vice versa.
- Ask Your Doctor – If you feel pain, unwell, or out of the ordinary when 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 have allergies to certain foods or medications, or maybe they are interacting with your existing medical conditions.
- Watch Your Weight – Try to lead an active lifestyle and ensure a healthy BMI (Body mass index) before getting pregnant. Obesity poses a risk towards a healthy pregnancy. You’re also at risk if you suddenly start gaining too much weight during the first trimester and upcoming weeks. Watch your calories, eat calorie-dense foods in less proportion, and consult with your dietitian or nutritionist if needed.
- Natural Remedies – For every pain and ache you face, try to avoid reaching out for your painkiller meds every time. Try relaxation exercises, meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques for relieving pain symptoms. Ask your partner to give you a massage, and sleep in an inclined position, if needed, to relieve back aches. Whatever the case, try to adapt to natural ways or remedies of pain relief rather than ingesting drugs or artificial substances.
As a mother, a healthy foetus and its proper development is your primary concern. When you take these precautions in early pregnancy into consideration, you’re ensuring your chances of success towards a healthy delivery. Eat healthily, avoid stress, be happy, and take care of yourself and your baby.
Also Read: 20 Health Tips for Pregnant Women