Healthy advice for your first pregnancy
The big news that you’re expecting a baby is always overwhelming at first, it comes with mixed emotions of excitement and fear especially for first-time parents. Followed by a downpour of unsolicited advice from family and friends. Everyone seems to have something to say, even google information can end up being frustrating instead of helpful.
First of all, it’s usually advised not to announce the pregnancy to everyone until the end of the first trimester. This gives you and your partner the time to adjust to the idea of parenthood and to make the necessary lifestyle changes that come with a new baby. So to help you navigate this labyrinth of information and to get you started on what-what really matters, we’ve come up with some important tips on how to cope with your first pregnancy like a pro.
Tips on coping with your pregnancy in the first trimester
The best part about the first trimester is that you’re not showing yet, so it gives you room to plan quietly and take everything in. This is when you slowly get used to the idea of becoming a mom or a dad. Here’s what to consider during your first trimester:
1. Choose a healthcare provider
Talk to relative, friends and other providers to recommend someone, do your homework and find the doctor or midwife you like best. Check out the providers under your insurance plan and find what suits your needs then make a prenatal appointment. Most of them will prefer to see you when you’re about 6-8 weeks pregnant, so book an appointment well before then. Before your appointment, make a note of your last period date as well as a summary of your family history from both sides. This will help the doctor determine your due date and anticipate any genetic abnormalities that run in your family.
2. Take prenatal vitamins
Start taking prenatal vitamins as early on as you can, it’s crucial to get folic acid during the first trimester as this will greatly reduce the risk of your baby developing birth defects. Also, watch out for any other medication you’re taking until you’ve asked your practitioner for the green light. Medications even over the counter ones that seem harmless are sometimes not safe during pregnancy, especially at this early and delicate stage. Even supplements, herbs, vitamins and natural medicine. List out each and everyone for your doctor to check one by one.
3. Adopt a Healthy Diet
Try as much as possible to eat well, this can be a challenge during the first trimester because of morning sickness (nausea) that lasts all day sometimes. The secret to eating well is to get rid of junk food and stock your kitchen with healthy food. Let your fridge, freezer, and pantry be filled with fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and yogurt. You’ll need to cut carbs, avoid foods with toxins that may contain bacteria or parasites like undercooked meat and fish, sushi, oysters, seafood, hot dogs, ham, luncheon meats, raw eggs, and sprouts.
Also, stay away from alcohol, even a sip can expose your baby to the risk of low birth weight, learning, speech, attention span, hyperactivity and lots of other developmental problems. Doctors can’t stress enough on how harmful alcohol is to your baby’s development, so do yourself a favor and skip the booze altogether.
Cut down on caffeine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sets the limit of caffeine intake for future moms at less than 200 mg per day. And if you smoke now’s the time to quit, or risk having a miscarriage or a baby with growth defects, stillborn or infant death.
4. Keep a record
Trust me you’d want to document your pregnancy journey, take belly shots on how your belly is growing, keep a journal or write short notes on your progress, jot down major milestones or have your partner shoot videos. This will be awesome when you look at them several years down the line and tell your child the story. Such memories are priceless, you’ll thank us later.
What should you take note for first-time moms
5. You’re bound to gain weight
This is the time you start to notice a little weight gain, and to be honest this is when most women freak out about their weight. No matter what you do you’re gonna gain weight so the sooner you come to terms with it the better. Prepare yourself for your body to ‘’grow’’ in places you never imagined, like your hands and feet, no kidding. Even you eat only fruits and veggies for the whole 9 months(which is totally not healthy) you’ll still put on some weight. To spend your time worrying about your weight and cellulite is a complete waste of time. Your body will never be the same again, you just have to accept it. There are days you’ll feel like a whale, a house, an elephant or even a potato but don’t worry, you’ll get over it.
6. Prepare to purchase two sets of maternity clothes
Know that you’ll have to shop for maternity clothes in at least 2 phases.
The clothes you purchase during your second trimester will no longer fit you during the third trimester. This is why you shouldn’t try to buy too many clothes at the beginning of your pregnancy. Even your bras will let you down more than once as you progress. If you don’t want to look like Hulk in a dress or an inflated balloon, make sure you purchase your maternity clothes as you advance in your pregnancy.
7. Get Active
Pick a recreational activity or exercise routine you enjoy, talk to your doctor about it, if you get the green light then go for it. It could be yoga, a pregnancy exercise program, swimming or frequent walks in the park, stay away from contact sports and extreme activities like deep sea diving, paragliding etc. This will help you cope with fatigue, body aches, insomnia and many other uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. It will also strengthen your body for labor and prepare you for the smooth delivery of a healthy baby.
8. Don’t be afraid to have sex
Unless you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires you to do otherwise, you’re allowed to have sex like you normally would. Rest assured you’re not going to poke your baby’s eye with a penis or cause any damage no matter how hard you go at it. It’s understandable not to feel sexy at this point or to lose interest because of all the backache, joint pain and morning sickness you’ll be experiencing, but if you can get past all these then you’ll be just fine.
What should you take note for first-time dads
When it comes to pregnancy, men always complain they feel useless and left out. But it doesn’t have to be this way, dads need to get involved early on and take part in every stage in order not to feel left out. Here are a few things to take note of for first-time dads.
9. Be ready to make lifestyle changes
As a first time dad, you have to be ready for the fact that your life as you know it is about to change. Your sports car will change to a family car, your home and personal space will give way to a crib, car seat, high chair, toys and so much more. Your routine will change as your partner will not be able to do all the things she used to do so you’ll have to step up. Your sleep habits will change as well as your partner's mood and needs, just keep an open mind and you’ll be good.
10. Prenatal Visits with the Expectant Father
In this day and age, dads are encouraged to go to prenatal appointments, workout classes and coaching sessions with their partners to provide support. Usually, there are 15 routine prenatal visits before delivery, expecting moms will appreciate it if you make time to go with them for their visits. Especially for the first visit, the prenatal ultrasound exam and the gender reveal. You do not have to go to all the appointments (but we're sure your wife will appreciate the effort), focus on the major milestones and you’ll be okay.
To coin it all, having a baby is a breathtaking experience, as scary as it may seem, it usually works out just fine, as long as you resist the urge of Googling your symptoms. Take a step back relax and enjoy the journey as much as you can. For first time moms, remember that for you to take care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself first. And as for dads, 90% of being with a pregnant woman is reassuring her that she will be a great mother, that she’s not that fat and to run to the bakery in the middle of the night to fulfill her cravings.