Navigating through the experiences and wonders of pregnancy can be an uplifting experience. There’s a lot you need to know, if you’re first time pregnant, though. You need to discuss things with the doctor as well. Gear up for an amazing journey and know the most important things about pregnancy.
Things to Consider When You Are Pregnant
#1 Know the Signs of Pregnancy
Once one misses out on periods, there are symptoms like mild back pain, nausea, mood swings, swollen or tender breasts and cravings for certain kind of foods, and you can then get tested for pregnancy. But do remember that sometimes symptoms can be a source of confusion. One way to confirm the pregnancy is by conducting a home-based test using kits in the market. Learn the vital signs of pregnancy and you’ll be right on the mark.
#2 Visit the Doctor for Prenatal Care
A lot of couples visit the doctor even before a baby is planned just to ensure the first time pregnancy is devoid of complications and healthy. Once the pregnancy has been confirmed, it is important to visit doctors on a regular basis. Choose the best gynecological specialist and never skip monthly checkups. This helps in gauging the health of babies and mothers. It is also necessary to curb developmental disorders at earlier stages.
#3 Understanding Family Medical History
This is one of the most crucial to remember at the time of pregnancy. Once a baby is conceived, there is a good idea to discuss pregnancy for mothers, grandmothers or aunts. This helps one to learn about birth abnormalities and genetic disorders in the family line. This kind of information prepares one for potential problems and preventative action can be taken if needed.
#4 Check Up on Vaccinations
With each antenatal appointment, doctors can check up on vaccination shots and take it to the next level. It is important to take regular tetanus or flu shot, taking shots without fail. Vaccinations can prevent a person from falling sick. Illness in mothers during pregnancy impairs the mental and physical health of fetal development. So staying safe is important, as is staying sure.
There is a myth that vaccination of pregnant mothers can cause a health risk to babies. There is no evidence for this. However, live attenuated virus and live bacterial vaccines are not suggested. The benefits outweigh the risks.
#5 Learn More About the Stages of Pregnancy
Pregnancy is divided into 3 stages comprising three months known as the first, second and third trimester. With each trimester, there are physiological changes in the body in terms of hormonal changes, breathing, metabolism and blood pressure. One needs to monitor these changes from the start of the pregnancy and understand the stages as one progresses through them. Know your delivery date, which is based on the last menstrual cycle date. Normal delivery takes place any time between 37 to 40 weeks.
#6 Bleeding is Possible During Pregnancy
The first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. But some women bleed during the initial stages of pregnancy as well. This type of bleeding takes place when eggs travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. This then implants into the uterine lining, leading to implantation bleeding or spotting.
The best indicator is the color. It is often brownish or pinkish in contrast to the red color of menstrual blood. While it is not a disturbing factor, it is important to consider a doctor.
#7 Weight Gain is Normal
Most women worry about weight gain at the time of pregnancy for the first time. They are also eager to lose weight during the post pregnancy period. Weight gain, however, is based on the body mass index prior to conception. If one is overweight when conceiving, fewer calories should be consumed than someone of normal weight. However, the fetus should get the necessary nutrients to grow and have a healthy development. Make sure you consult the doctor because understanding the needs of babies and eating the right meal is important.
#8 Be Clear About Dietary Plans
Along with a regular dose of health supplements and vitamin, one needs to have a wholesome, nutritious and balanced diet. Doctors, however, provide a proper diet chart as per the unique requirements. Take frequent, small meals. Also, stay away from caffeine and alcohol products as they raise the chances of premature delivery, congenital disabilities and underweight in babies.
#9 Mild Exercises are a Must
Everyday exercise routines need to ensure smooth functioning of the body. Childbirth is a labor filled process that needs a lot of energy. Once there is a healthy body in place, going through the various stages of labor is easy. Exercises help in the alleviation of usual discomforts one experiences in pregnancy. They strengthen the muscles to endure pain. The right workout approved by your doctor supports the baby’s entire system.
#10 Avoid Discomfort During Pregnancy
Being pregnant is not that easy, as there are discomforts experienced during the period. Activities, like standing or even sitting for longer duration than indulging in earlier, would be forbidden now or one may find them difficult to do. Issues like vomiting and constipation can drain energy. Eating healthy and getting the right amount of rest reduces discomforts.
#11 Be Cautious While Traveling During Pregnancy
Traveling is easy in the initial stages, but it could be riskier as the due date comes nearer. A lot of airlines, for example, don’t permit women travelers who are more than thirty-six weeks pregnant. If travel is not avoidable, you need to consult the doctor and take precautions. A medical certificate would also be required for travel.
If you face any of these problems, it’s best to avoid traveling during pregnancy:
- History of miscarriage or premature labor
- Excessive blood pressure.
- Abnormalities in the placenta
- Diabetes that is gestational
- Cervical problems
- Multiple pregnancies like triplets, twins, quadruplets or more.
- History of bleeding at the time of pregnancy
- History of ectopic pregnancy/preeclampsia
When these complications do not exist, doctors can permit one to travel. Most doctors permit to travel in the second trimester, but not the third or first trimester.
#12 Cultivate a Positive Attitude
It is important to be positive always. The right approach can make one strong enough to face challenges at every stage of the pregnancy. Psychologists reinforce that sounds can impact fetal development. So listening to relaxing music or having pleasant thoughts can impact the delivery.
#13 Keep Career Worries on On Side
One may be worried about the career status, once the baby arrives. Pushing the career roles as a mother can be tough. Instead, opt for a vocation that meshes with your maternal duties. Prepare for everything. A study in the Journal of Labor Economics found pregnant women who worked till their 8th month had half a pound lighter babies than those stopping to work earlier. Pregnancy can take a toll on the body, so it is important to not to stress yourself with a job. Take breaks in between if one cannot afford to take a break from work.
#14 Understand Labor Pain
When the due date comes closer, one goes into labor pain. It is vital to consult the doctor and understand what going to labor means. It is important to know how to handle the labor with zero difficulties. A quick sign of labor is painful contractions which rise in intensity with time. Walking is recommended during the early stages of labor because it makes the delivery easier.
#15 Don’t Fear Childbirth
Women who fear childbirth spend 1.5 hours longer than those who do not fear giving birth. Fear and anxiety increase the hormonal blood concentration of catecholamines, which weakened the uterus’s ability to contract. Poor communication between oneself and one’s doctor prolongs the labor. Go for prenatal breathing classes as well.
#16 Shop for Your Pregnancy Beforehand
Another thing to watch out during pregnancy is a last-minute rush to buy pregnancy items. Clothes, baby mats, warm clothes, blankers and feeding equipment should be purchased in advance. Once the shopping is enjoyed, it enhances the connection with the baby.
#17 Learn and Understand Childcare and Parenting
Post the delivery, childcare, and parenting can be difficult for many women. Talk to doctors, relatives, friends and read up on pregnancy and childcare.
#18 Pregnancy Boosts Memory
University of Western Ontario researchers says pregnancy supercharges the gray matter of the brain rather than turning it into mush, to face maternal challenges. A study also found pregnant moms score better on memory tests than women without babies.
#19 Morning Sickness Is Common
As soon as one scores a positive sign on the pregnancy test, one probably envisions oneself with a round bump. But the chances are that one will gain a few pounds only during the first twelve weeks. Morning sickness can be a problem. It is tough to stock up on calories when you have trouble keeping the food down. Certain foods and smells may bother you or you may lose the appetite. Skipping high-calorie items like soft cheese, alcohol can be tough to maintain.
#20 Due Dates Are Tentative
When one is confused about how short the first few months will be, due date requires some amount of adjustment. Figuring out the date can be tougher than one thinks. Even doctors can get your due date wrong. Tacking on 40 weeks does not add up to the due date always. Instead, add forty weeks to the day of the last period or 38 weeks to when one did the deed. Keep in mind that no matter what the date is, the baby will arrive on her or his own time.
#21 Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages
It is vital to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. But there are some foods which are also off limits. While it’s important to stock up on calcium-rich goods, be certain that you cannot eat products made with unpasteurized dairy products, which can have pregnancy harming bacteria like listeria. So, avoid soft cheeses like feta, goat cheese, and brie. The same holds true for unpasteurized juices. More items to avoid include deli meat, hot dogs as these can also contain listeria. Processed meats like hot dogs contain nitrites and nitrates as well. Raw sprouts could have salmonella or E.coli, so go for spinach instead. Avoid raw foods, like raw eggs, Ceaser dressings, hollandaise sauce, undercooked meat, raw sushi, and sashimi. Fish needs to be avoided as well because seafood like mackerel and tilefish contain a lot of mercury.
#22 Pregnancy Brings Bodily Changes
One could start snoring during pregnancy. This is because membranes in the nose swell up when pregnant and cause snoring even if one has never had it before. Avoid wearing regular underwire bras as one could restrict the growth of milk glands in the breast. If one needs a support shop for low-gauge wire support bras, opt for the maternity variety. Fluid retention is also an issue. There are some things you can try such as resting with the feet at a higher level, reflexology and much more. Always hydrate and drink plenty of water, too.
Hot flashes may also occur, as pregnancy hormones speed up the metabolic rate, making one feel sweaty and flushed. Pregnant stomachs also itch as the skin gets stretched. But remember that intense itching everywhere could be a sign of disorders like Increased Intracranial Pressure (ICP).
#23 Be Positive
It’s important not to worry and to remain happy. Researchers in the US have found mothers-to-be who look on the brighter side of life sleep better, stay slimmer, have easier and quicker labor and give birth to stronger babies.
#24 Your Shoe Size Might Change
In the second trimester, extra fluids can sometimes cause feet to swell slightly, so your shoe size might change a little. However, if your hands and face become too puffy, check with a doctor to rule out pre-eclampsia.
#25 Stretch Marks Could Develop
One is either genetically disposed to stretch marks or one is not. Always be certain that you stay well moisturized and read up on pregnancy and skin conditions as well as how to look after the skin.
#26 Eat Prenatal Vitamins
When you are trying to conceive, it is essential to start taking prenatal vitamins. The baby’s neural cord, which turns into the brain plus spinal cord, develops in the first month of pregnancy. So, it is essential to get important nutrients like folic acid, iron or calcium from the start. Prenatal vitamins are a good choice, so check with your doctor regarding this.
#27 It is Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy
Staying active is important for general well being. It can also reduce stress, improve circulation, boost the mood, lead to better sleep and control the weight. Take pregnancy exercise classes or walk at least 15 to 20 minutes per day at a moderate speed, in cool areas or indoors. While Pilates, swimming, yoga, and walking are wonderful for pregnancy, be sure to check with your doctors and healthcare team before proceeding to exercise.
#28 Chart Out a Birth Plan
If you want to focus on epidurals or specific requirements during pregnancy, birth plans are the key. As per the American Pregnancy Association, here’s what you need to consider in terms of a birth plan:
- Who you want to present, including your friends and family members.
- Procedures you want to avoid.
- What positions one seeks for delivery and labor
- Special clothing or apparel one would like to wear
- Focus on music or a special focal point
- Study whether you want pain medicines
- Be clear about what to do when complications come.
Even if this is not your first child, attending a childbirth class can prepare you for deliveries. Not only does one have a chance to learn more about infant care and childbirth, but one can also ask questions and voice critical concerns. Brush up on the medical history of your family and be clear about any cases of birth defects or conception issues.
#29 Practice Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscle, supporting the bowels, bladder, and uterus. Carried out correctly, this exercise makes it easier to manage delivery and prevent issues with incontinence.
#30 Track Weight Gain
Another thing to remember is that while you’re eating for two, packing on the extra pounds makes it harder to lose later. Not gaining enough weight can place a baby at risk for low birth weight, however, and can be a major reason for developmental issues. Institute of Medicine has issued guidelines for ideal body weight:
- Underweight- 28 to 40 pounds
- Normal Weight- 25 to 35 pounds
- Overweight- 15 to 25 pounds
- Obese – 11 to 20 pounds
You also need to check in with the doctor regarding weight gain.
#31 Avoid Getting Overheated
Pregnancy is a time for pampering yourself, but you need to take care. Avoid saunas, as these can overheat your body and have negative repercussions for you. As per the American Pregnancy Association, it takes 10 to 20 minutes of sitting in one position in a sauna to reach 102 degrees F, nearly the limit of what is considered safest for pregnant ladies. Certain massage oils can also induce uterine contractions, especially during the first and second trimester. Always check with the massage therapist and avoid juniper oil, rosemary oil, and clary sage oil. Give OTV medicines a break too, and don’t go in for supplements with herbal remedies before consulting your doctor.
#32 Eat Folate-Rich Foods
Along with drinking 8 to 10 glasses of H20 per day, eat 5-6 balanced meals with folate-rich foods like fortified cereals, lentils, asparagus, wheat germ, and oranges/ orange juice. Folic acid is crucial for the proper development of the neural tube of the baby. It is vital for the creation of new RBC or red blood cells.
#33 Eat Fruits
Many doctors recommend limited caffeine during pregnancy and motherhood. So if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, try fruits. Fruits like bananas and apples contain natural sugars and life energy levels.
#34 Try Sunscreen
Being pregnant makes skins sensitive to sunlight. Because of this reason, one is prone to sunburn and chloasma, dark and blotchy spots that come onto the face. Applying a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more is essential. Most brands offer chemical-free formulas. Hats and sunglasses are vital too. Avoid tanning beds, though. The American Pregnancy Association has in fact advised against tanning beds.
#35 Be Clear About When to Call the Doctor
Being pregnant is a time of confusion for some, especially if it is their first time. How does one know when to call the doctor? According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, one should call a doctor if there are symptoms like pain, strong cramps, contractions at 20-minute periods, leaking of fluid or vaginal bleeding, fainting or dizziness, shortness of the breath, heartbeat palpitations, constant vomiting and nausea, edema, trouble walking and decreased baby activities.
#36 Get Regular Medical Exams Done
One of the best and easiest ways to avoid issues and complications during pregnancy is to get regular medical exams for midwives or doctors. Monitor the immunity and recommended daily allowance for folic acid as well.
#37 Eat a Lot of Protein
The recommended daily allowance of protein for pregnant women is 75gms, but 100gms is often recommended. Adequate protein is also essential for the baby’s development. It helps to protect against pre-eclampsia.
#38 Get Enough Healthy Fat
Fat and cholesterol can be a no-no if they are bad unhealthy fats. But healthy fats are vital for absorption of vitamins K, D, A and E and for stretchability of the skin. Fat is essential for the development of the brain and spinal cord for your baby. Around two tablespoons of fat per day is needed for pregnant ladies. Certain types of fat are also important.
Doctors are there to facilitate your pregnancy, but you need to be equally involved in the process for a healthy delivery. This is why being aware of how the pregnancy will proceed, do’s and don’t and other important facts should be clear to you. So be alert, aware and focus on what is best for your baby and you. A healthy pregnancy is important for a healthy baby. Make sure you take all the precautions and ensure a smooth, hassle-free delivery so you can experience the joys of motherhood without any worries.