What a feeling to be pregnant for the first time! Is there anything more exciting? Is there anything more terrifying?
It requires great bravery to face that rather unknown journey ahead, for no one else before has had a pregnancy exactly like the one currently progressing.
It can be overwhelming, to say the least. Many people are completely oblivious to the dietary restrictions advised by doctors and government health departments, alike.
Plus, even if a gal’s really done her homework, there are bound to be surprises along the way. From what’s okay (or not) to use on her skin to what to buy right away – and what not to – there’s a lot of this stuff that women normally have to just sort of learn as they go.
But never fear, dear readers, because there is an experienced mom (who’s been pregnant twice in the last three years) who’s read and thought about all of this quite a lot – and who now spends most of her free time writing about it.
Making its way now from my laptop to your face are 15 mistakes women make during the first month of pregnancy – so that you can learn from and avoid them.
15 Getting Too Harsh With Skincare
Even if you’ve read and researched, even if you have a whole gaggle of mommy friends dishing every detail of their past pregnancies to you, and even if you know the ins and outs of diet, health, and more during pregnancy, you might be surprised to learn this one.
It’s not okay to use a certain set of skincare products during pregnancy.
Many acne washes (such as that bright orange one that comes in a little pump bottle and is now commonly available in a grapefruit scent) and makeups intended for acne-prone skin contain this ingredient.
Many products marketed to combat wrinkles include it, as well. It’s called salicylic acid, and it helps the skin to slough its top layers more quickly than it naturally would.
The problem is it can cause dangerous complications for the unborn fetus – so skip it!
14 Eating A Dangerous Diet
Check out the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) site for guidelines on what to eat – and what not to eat – when pregnant. Better yet, consult with your doctor and see what pregnancy books s/he recommends.
Because there’s a list of stuff it’s commonly considered a rather bad idea to eat while you’re carrying a baby, largely because these foods commonly cause foodborne illness that can be really dangerous for the fetus (if only slightly unpleasant or not even noticeable for mom). The big offender is called listeria.
Eating cold deli meats is a big one. And man, I love deli sandwiches, so though I adored being pregnant, I sure did miss eating those during my two pregnancies so far.
Sushi and certain high-mercury fishes are two others at the top of the list.
13 Mistaking Symptoms For Sickness
Even though my husband and I had been actively “trying” (granted not for very long at all), this one happened, in real life, to me.
I woke up one morning with a really terrible cold, like bad enough to make me question if my flu shot had worked at all that year. And as soon as I got to an upright position at the edge of my bed, I felt incredibly nauseas. Man, I thought, is it even possible to have two types of flu at the same time?
Then, after a trip to the bathroom, it hit me: It was already time to take that pregnancy test!
Though morning sickness is often a telltale sign of pregnancy, it’s easy to mistake it for something else during that first month – especially if you’ve never been pregnant before.
12 Shouting It From The Rooftops
Some of my family were surprised that I waited “so long” with both of my pregnancies before sharing the news – with ANYONE (except for my doctor and my husband, of course). But I was surprised that they were shocked to not hear the big news until week 13, because that’s a really common time for women to start spreading the word.
The likelihood of miscarriage decreases after this point, so that’s one main factor. I’ve read before that you might consider not sharing news of a pregnancy in the first few months with anyone you would not feel would be adequately understanding and supportive if something were to unexpectedly change.
I’d say go with whatever makes you comfortable, but it’s a lot of fun (and perhaps easier) to keep it a little secret in the first month or so.
11 Bump Shopping Too Early
Are you the sort who’s been eying the beautiful maternity dresses in that adorable boutique downtown since before you were even “trying”? Is your online shopping cart already filled to the brim with stretchy-waist jeans, adorable tanks to flatter that future bump, and more?
Well sure, you’ll want to have pants that fit properly as soon as you start to outgrow your old ones, but it would probably be a mistake to purchase an entire maternity wardrobe during the very first month. It likely won’t be until some time during the second trimester that you begin to actually show. And weight gain won’t likely be noticeable until later on either (some even lose a bit during the first trimester, amid all the morning sickness and everything).
The problem is that if you buy clothes in the size you wear currently, they’ll almost certainly be too small when you actually need them.
10 Problems Peeing On That Stick
I know peeing on a stick doesn’t sound complicated. But there are a couple factors that make it so that taking a pregnancy test is commonly done wrong.
First of all, each brand is different. You have to carefully read the expiration date, to start with, the instructions… and then be sure to properly interpret that line or half line or color code. (Or, in some cases, simply the word “pregnant” or the words “not pregnant.”) So I suspect these variables are related to more user errors than you might think.
The other main deal here, though, is that sometimes gals take pregnancy tests too early. If the human growth hormone hasn’t had time to escalate to sufficient levels in the mother’s body, there may be a false negative: Basically, mom pees on the stick, it says she’s not preg, but she really is!
9 Not Considering Caffeine
This one may spark very strong opinions on both sides. Was it Pink who was recently criticized online for drinking coffee during pregnancy? I can’t even keep track any more, amid all the judgment and criticism being tossed around (and made into “news”) these days.
In any case, it would perhaps be a mistake to not at least consider your current caffeine intake during the first month of pregnancy (and onward, too).
What to do? Talk to you doctor! But here are some considerations. Low levels of caffeine intake are often considered perfectly safe. And some women suffer terrible headaches if they, say, abruptly stop caffeine intake altogether.
On the other hand, if mamas don’t want to have to carefully track how much they’ve had, or worry about it at all, it can make more sense to just abstain.
8 Overdoing Intake
Many women don’t even gain any weight during the first month – it’s more like the second trimester where it’s considered healthy to start packing on something like a pound each and every week (your doctor will be able to talk you through a weight-gain goal to aim for based on your BMI [or body mass index] at your first prenatal [or pre-conception] appointment).
It would be a mistake to assume right off the bat that you should literally eat for two. Throughout pregnancy, it’s true that hundreds of additional calories are needed each day, but even when eating nutritious foods, this is quickly and easily achieved. Maybe you eat some nuts with that apple for your afternoon snack, and have a glass of nonfat milk with a meal or two each day when you would have previously sipped some water.
7 Not Popping Pills
One really simple step pregnant women can take to protect themselves and their babies is one that’s sometimes neglected…
I’ve been taking a pill every morning with breakfast for the last, say, four or more years. See, as soon as I got the notion that I was pretty set on this whole baby thing, I started buying big ole bottles of prenatal vitamins at Costco. (They’re super affordable, and the chalkier ones provided for free at the pharmacy through health insurance didn’t seem like they’d be quite as friendly to my tummy.)
Definitely if you are in your first month of pregnancy (and probably also if you plan to become pregnant sometime soon), it would be a big mistake not to take a daily prenatal vitamin.
Why do I take them still two pregnancies later? I know the benefits to my bod and my babe while nursing.
6 Rushing To The Doctor’s
It would be a mistake to think that you must rush to the doctor’s office as soon as you suspect, or even know, that you are pregnant.
The most common scenario probably plays out something like this: A woman realizes something’s up (say she has tender breasts, a missed period, nausea, another symptom, or likely some combination thereof). She goes to the drugstore, buys a test or two, takes a test or two at home, and gets a positive result – she’s pregnant!
She, being a responsible gal, calls her OB/GYN to confirm the pregnancy and begin that all-important prenatal care. But they don’t say, “Come in tomorrow!” or even, “Great, see ya next week!” Instead it’s more like, okay, we’ll see you at this appointment scheduled for when the fetus will be big enough to date the pregnancy during an ultrasound.
5 Putting Off Calling A Practitioner
Now note that we said it would be a mistake to think you actually GO to the doctor right away. It is by no means a mistake to call and make that appointment right away, especially if you live somewhere that appointments fill up quickly – or, say, if you want to see a midwife or doctor that is in very high demand.
In fact, it would be a mistake not to go ahead and schedule that first appointment. That way you’ll have a clear path forward, ensure that you’ll receive prenatal care at the time that you need it, and be all set to call into the office in the time between now and the actual day of the visit should you have any concerns or questions.
The office where many women go in my small city also then ushered expectant moms into a sort of pregnancy orientation course one evening to give them a lay of the land as far as what to expect and what to do when (think preregistering at the hospital, knowing childbirth class options, and so on).
4 Spending So Soon
We know it’s tempting, especially if you’ve been sort of pining to be pregnant for any amount of time, to rush right out to the store (or hop right onto the ole World Wide Web) and buy (at last!) a bunch of those itty-bitty, cutey-wooty little newborn baby clothes! They are quite irresistible!
Not to be depressing, but I’ll start off with the bummer one here… What if the pregnancy doesn’t last? Okay, that’s over with, so let’s just get practical with it. Do you know what the gender is yet? Not during the first month, you don’t. Okay, and are you really so confident that your baby will ever even wear that newborn size? Mine didn’t! And even if they do, it’s for maybe a week?
Save your money! And don’t make the mistake of buying a bunch of clothes as soon as you’ve peed on that stick.
3 Partaking In Partying
Ask around, and you might be surprised at just how many moms accidentally kept having cocktails (or beer or wine) in the early weeks or even months of their pregnancy – before they discovered that they were with child.
It happens even to smart, capable professionals who use birth control. Because – for better or worse – using this drug called alcohol is such a common and socially acceptable behavior that it can easily become a regular part of everyday life for people.
So they carry on with their normal routine, not knowing they are pregnant at all until that telltale missed period, nausea in the morning, or some other sign that makes them pause and say, “Uh-oh.”
The women I’ve known who have experienced this have (I believe) been honest with their doctors about the circumstance and at least in one case found out everything was fine after all.
But we know of course that consuming alcohol while pregnant is no-no numero uno.
2 Lacking In Calories
It can take a bit of time and practice to figure out how your diet needs to change during pregnancy. And it can also be somewhat of a moving target.
Many women find that during the early months of pregnancy, or for whichever period of time they are experiencing morning sickness, they have to eat more carbohydrates to keep their tummies happy – and eat smaller, more frequent meals (that’s actually a good tactic throughout pregnancy, in many cases, so that your blood sugar never drops drastically, heartburn isn’t aggravated, and you don’t get overly hungry and overeat).
But one thing it would be a mistake to do during the first month, specifically, is to not eat enough. Perhaps a gal doesn’t know she’s pregnant yet and so doesn’t increase her intake. Or maybe she’s feeling ill because her stomach is too often left empty.
1 Turning Lives Upside-Down
We don’t want to say it’s bad to be prepared. The time truly can fly.
But at the same time, 9+ months (40 weeks total) is not a short period of time. So it would in all likelihood be a mistake to completely rearrange your life, work arrangement, or home within the very first month of pregnancy.
See how it goes. Find out the gender at that magical 20-week ultrasound. Make yourself a checklist and read a handful of pregnancy and parenting books if you just cannot sit idle (okay, maybe do that no matter what).
But do you need to take apart your home office to make way for that nursery at week 3 of pregnancy? Nah. Is it time to call in and quit your job? Probably not – especially if you’ll be able to take advantage of Pregnancy Disability Leave and / or Paid Family Leave later on.
Source: BabyCenter.com, YouTube.com