PREGNANCY – Activities for Your First Trimester: Do’s and Don’ts - Volume 3
March 15, 2017
The first three months of your pregnancy is very important. During this stage, your infant's major organs develop and your body experiences a great deal of physiological changes to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and a smooth labour, in the end.
An expectant mother can be vulnerable to miscarriage during this time and the well-being of your infant is exclusively subject to maternal health, behaviours and habits. You can ensure both fetal and maternal well-being by simply following these essential dos and don’ts during your first trimester.
1. Be regular with prenatal appointments
Your prenatal check-ups are your window into the womb and they help detect any issues early and can be corrected in most cases. Blood tests and ultrasonography are routinely done during pregnancy.
2. Be regular with iron and folic acid supplements
Folic acid also known as Folate, is an essential nutrient during the pre-conception and early pregnancy phase because this is when the fetus develops. Folic acid nutrient protects your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida. Before pregnancy and during pregnancy, you need atleast 400mcg of folic acid daily. You can also take a pregnancy multivitamin if you like, but eating a balanced diet should help you get all the vitamin and minerals you need.
The recommended dietary allowance for iron in normal adult women is 21 mg/day and during pregnancy it is 35 mg/day. Iron is required for making baby’s blood as well as for maintaining iron levels in mother.
3. Get calcium from food sources
Apart from having your calcium supplement, ensure that you consume foods that are rich in calcium. Calcium is important for nerve and muscle development and also boosts teeth and bone formation in your baby. It also helps prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy.
4. Check with your doctor before taking medicines
When you are pregnant, you need to be very careful about taking medicines. They maybe harmful to your unborn baby. Always ask your doctor or midwife about any prescription medicines you are taking for advice.
5. Increase your fluid intake
Blood volume increases during pregnancy to facilitate oxygen and nutrient delivery to both you and your baby. Drinking more fluids during pregnancy is essential. So always remember to drink plenty of fluids. It can also prevent dehydration and constipation.
6. Go to bed early
In early pregnancy, you may be more exhausted than you ever imagined you could be. Most women experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, heartburn and a constant need to pee during this time of pregnancy. Hormonal changes also make you fell worn out. So, make it a point to get few naps whenever possible. Try to get more rest by going to bed in early – even if it makes you feel like a grandma.
7. Exercise regularly
Women who undertake brisk walk in particular, thrice a week could reduce their risk of having a heavy infant by half. However, avoid strenuous exercises. Always discus with your doctor before starting any new activity.
8. Learn what to eat and what not to eat
A healthy, balanced diet will make sure that you get all the nutrients you and your unborn baby needs. It may surprise you to know that you don’t need extra calories in your first trimester or second trimester. But you will need to avoid certain foods in pregnancy, because they may contain bacteria, parasites or toxins that could harm your baby. This includes some cheese and unpasteurised dairy products, raw or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, liver and liver products, and raw shellfish or any other fish that contain high levels of mercury. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods.
9. Eat frequent, small meals
Due to various hormonal and physiological changes, food gets digested more slowly during pregnancy. The baby needs to be fed constantly, so eat small frequent meals every two to three hours instead of three large. Small mini-meals can also help to prevent common pregnancy complaints like acidity, nausea and that bloated feeling.
10. Cut down on caffeine intake
You can still enjoy a cup of coffee during your pregnancy. It is best to cut down or skip caffeinated drinks altogether. Large amounts of caffeine consumption could increase your risk of miscarriage.
11. Stop drinking alcohol
As little as one drink a day can raise the odds of low birth weight as well as your child’s risk of problems with learning, speech, attention span, language, and hyperactivity.
There is no way to know for sure exactly how harmful even the smallest amount of alcohol may be to a developing baby during pregnancy. That is why it is advisable you cut out alcohol completely while you’re expecting.
12. Quit Smoking, if you smoke
Your unborn baby gets affected by chemicals from cigarette when you smoke. Smoking raises your risk of a host of problems, which includes miscarriage, placental problems, and preterm birth. It has also been found that new-borns whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have the same nicotine levels in their bloodstream as adults who smoke. The child goes through withdrawal symptoms from the first day of life, just like an adult would.
It’s never too late to quit or cut back. Every cigarette you don’t light gives your baby a better chance of being healthy.
The ultimate pregnancy to-do list: First trimester