So, you've peed on the stick and you got the big fat positive. Congratulations! You're on your way to becoming a parent. The excitement of the big news can be overwhelming, especially if you're a first time mom or dad to be. You probably have a few ideas about pregnancy; you've hit Google checking out symptoms and you've been around a few newborns but have you considered what should be done during your first trimester, before it's too late? Don't fret, we're here to help!
9 Decide if You'd Like to Use a Doctor or a Midwife
Now that you're expecting you will need to decide if you would like to consult with a Doctor or a Midwife during the duration of your pregnancy and up until your six week postpartum check up. Many women who choose to go with Midwife are swayed by the abundance of care they will receive.
Generally an appointment with a Midwife will be 30-60 minutes in length versus 10-15 minutes at your family Doctor. A Midwife is more likely to help you achieve a more natural birth and are able to provide you with the same medical care as a Physician. They're medically trained professionals that can work alongside hospital staff during your labor and delivery or support you through a home birth if you choose.
Some women prefer the comfort of their Doctor due to the relationship they've already established. Your family Physician is already aware of your previous medical history and has earned your trust. If you've got a great Doctor that provides you with excellent care, you may choose to stick with him or her. Pregnancy is an intimate experience and you'll want to trust and be comfortable with the person putting you in stirrups and lifting your gown when the time comes.
8 Book Your First Prenatal Exam
Now that you have considered which healthcare provider best suits your needs, you will need to book your first prenatal appointment. If you have yet to make a decision on a Doctor or Midwife you will still need to seek prenatal care as soon as possible.
You can switch healthcare providers at any time during your pregnancy if you feel you are not building a trusting and comfortable relationship with your chosen provider. Your first prenatal exam will be extensive. You will be expected to provide the following information:
During this initial exam you will be weighed and will need to provide a urine sample. Your medical provider may be able to give you an estimated due date based on the information you provide, however this date may change as your pregnancy progresses. Some women are given a dating scan right away to determine how far a long they are. This is likely if you have or have a history of an irregular menstrual cycle.
7 Prenatal Vitamins
Your body is now on double duty, supporting you and your growing baby. It is important that you are both receiving all the nutrients you need to be healthy and to give your baby the best head start at development. Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of pregnancy, they give your baby an extra boost of Iron, Calcium and Folic Acid.
Even though you may eat a healthy, rounded diet, it is unlikely you're getting as many nutrients as you can get from a good prenatal vitamin. Taking these supplements should go hand in hand with healthy eating, they are not a free pass to a poor diet. You can ask your practitioner or pharmacist to recommend a trusted brand if you are unsure of which to purchase.
These will make sure you get the nutrients yo need in your daily diet
Look for a brand that contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy brain development for your growing bundle. If you find the vitamins are making you feel ill during the day, try taking them at night just before bed. The high dose of Iron can cause an upset stomach and constipation. If these symptoms continue, speak with your health care provider to discuss some options.
6 Consider Your View on Prenatal Screening
There are many tests that will come along during your pregnancy. Many are routine and should not cause concern. You will have regular urine tests with your practitioner to monitor sugar, protein and ketone levels and to watch for blood cells and bacteria. You will also have ultrasound scans to monitor the development of your baby and to keep an eye on your placenta and fluid levels.
The amount of scans you have can differ between health care providers and vary based on your specific circumstances.
Between the 15th and 20th week of your pregnancy you will be offered a Quad Marker Test. This test looks for four substances and helps your health care provider determine the risk level of your baby being born with a genetic disorder, such as Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. You are able to decline testing if you choose.
Some opt out due to religious beliefs or simply because they are comfortable with the outcome no matter what the risk level may be. If you are on the fence about testing, speak with your health care provider, they may have some suggestions based on your circumstances.
5 Nix the Bad Habits
Smoking: If you're a smoker, now is the time to quit! Your new baby is the best reason and motivator for you. The adverse effects of smoking have been crammed down your throat, even the package tells you how terrible it is for your health.
Smoking during your pregnancy can lead to a lower birth weight, preterm labor and increases the possibility of having a stillborn. It also increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Cigarettes are packed with more than 4000 chemicals and the nicotine and carbon monoxide work hand in hand to lower the supply of oxygen to your growing baby.
No medication or vitamin will reverse or prevent the effects of smoking, quitting is your best option.
Time to put down the wine glass and start upping your water intake. Alcohol travels through your bloodstream and crosses the placenta, entering our baby's bloodstream. Your baby's little liver cannot process the alcohol as quickly as yours, leading to a much higher blood alcohol level.
Babies who have been exposed to alcohol in the womb are at higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, along with a higher probability that they will suffer from impaired learning, language, speech and attention span as they develop. They may also have physical deformities such as a smaller head circumference, smaller eye openings and flattened cheek bones.
These are all symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). If a child displays these symptoms to a lesser degree it is referred to as Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE).
The adverse effects of illegal drugs is not well known but it is safe to say that no use is the best. Many drugs are able to pass through the placenta, making way to the baby's bloodstream. They can cause the baby to get less oxygen in the womb, affecting the baby's development. Illegal drugs can also break down the placenta. Remember, the placenta is your baby's life line and is necessary for his survival in the womb.
Caffeine is a stimulant that causes increased heart rate and blood pressure in your body, both symptoms you should be avoiding during pregnancy. It is also a diuretic which causes you to urinate more, leaving you susceptible to dehydration. Many physicians have agreed that 150mg to 300mg of caffeine per day is okay during pregnancy, so you can still enjoy the odd cup of coffee just be aware of how much caffeine you are consuming. Remember that caffeine is not just in coffee but also chocolate, brewed tea, some sodas and many other sources.
4 Beware of Warning Signs
The first trimester can be a scary time. You're probably aware of the risk of having a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, along with coping with morning sickness and the new increase in hormones, it can be hard to enjoy. Try to relax and enjoy this exciting time while being aware of possible red flags that something may be wrong. Signs to watch for are:
3 Rest Up!
You may feel your energy level plummet during the first trimester, this is due to your body working hard to grow a healthy baby and placenta, along with all the hormonal changes that are taking you on a wild ride of emotions.
Not every woman will experience this exhaustion to the same degree but most will notice a change from their normal energy level.
If you feel tired, just get the rest you need
Cope with this new feeling by taking some extra time to have a nap, get some help around the house, maintain a healthy diet and eat small meals more frequently to keep your blood sugar up. Many women find that the second trimester brings renewed energy; the end is in sight!
2 Belly Pics
Alright, this one is more fun. Your body is taking a major journey over the next 9 months, so take some time to enjoy it and celebrate it as you go along. It is amazing to see your body change and what it is truly capable of.
Take a picture every month or every week, if you like. Have fun with it and make notes of how many weeks you are, what you're craving and how big the baby is.
Who doesn't like a belly pic?
After you've delivered your beautiful bundle of joy, it will be hard to fathom how big that belly really was and you may even miss it some days.
These photos make for a great keepsake and will be fun to look back at later on.
1 Talk Parenting with Your Partner
Becoming a parent is a life changing experience, with many emotions involved. You may assume your partner shares the same parenting values and beliefs that you do because you work so well together every day but that may not be the case.
Our own up-bringing helps to mold what we believe is the “right” way to parent. Have an open dialogue about parenting topics that you feel strongly about and be receptive and open to discuss your partner's views as well. Chat about your own childhood, things that stood out as important to you, your positive and negative experiences that have really stuck with you over time.
Keep the positivity up throughout your pregnancy
New parenthood can be as overwhelming as it is exciting, make sure you and your partner are on the same page and are able to support each other in this journey.