Pregnancy is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life. but, it has lot of challenges too.
However, there are lot of things that you can do right from the start of your pregnancy to make the 9 months and child birth healthy and joyful. The first trimester is quite an important period as your baby is growing fast, heartbeat can be heard by around 6 weeks and by the end of the first trimester, your baby’s bones, muscles and organs are formed. There will be lot of changes in your body too, some of them being morning sickness, breast tenderness, mood changes, anxiety etc.
During this time of mixed emotions, there are lot of things to consider and plan. Here are some key things to help you in your first trimester for a safe and healthy pregnancy:
1. Be active: Walking is a very good way of staying active and causes no strain on your body. It also helps with your mental well- being. Being active now will help you to move into a regular exercise routine as you move into your second trimester. Pregnancy specific Yoga and other prenatal exercises are great options too. Some of the benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:
• Exercise can ease and prevent aches and pains of pregnancy including constipation, varicose veins, backaches and exhaustion.
• Active women seem to be better prepared for labor and delivery and recover more quickly.
• Exercise may lower the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
• Fit women have an easier time getting back to a healthy weight after delivery.
• Regular exercise may improve sleep during pregnancy.
• Staying active can protect your emotional health. Pregnant women who exercise seem to have better self-esteem and a lower risk of depression and anxiety
If you have any medical condition/complications, consult your doctor before starting any physical activity.
2. Eat Nutritious and balanced diet: It is very important to have a well balanced diet for the optimum growth of your baby. Eating large quantity is not the main thing, but eating the right food is very important. Have 6 small meals rather than 3 large meals. It will help you with morning sickness, heartburn/gas, bloating etc. It is very important to eat food with high fibre content as it will help you to avoid constipation.
3. Stay Hydrated: Drink Plenty of water and try to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. This has great benefits and will also help you with constipation. You can try drinking coconut water, gruel ,soups, fruit/vegetable infused water etc.
4. Maintain good hygiene, specially vaginal hygiene. Always keep the area washed and dry with a tissue or towel. Avoid wearing synthetic panties.
5. Massage with Ayurvedic oils has great long term benefits, which includes:
• If daily massage is done starting from early days of pregnancy, stretch marks in pregnancy can easily be avoided.
• Avoiding itching sensation and dark skin discoloration
• Relieves body aches and pains
• Increases blood circulation and better lubrication of joints
• Improves mental alertness, energy and stamina
• Better ability to relax and sleep
• Improves skin radiance and softness.
6. Wear comfortable clothes, especially cotton fabrics and avoid high heels.
7. Avoid long distance travel, especially if its on a bumpy road.
8. Avoid lifting heavy weights and cleaning products that use strong chemicals.
9. Avoid Junk food and limit intake of coffee and tea.
10. Avoid alcohol and smoking
11. Avoid taking any over the counter medications. However, don’t forget to regularly take folic acid and other supplements prescribed by your doctor.
12. It is good to start wearing a maternity bra, if you have uncomfortable feeling in your breast or with the current bra.
13. Having adequate rest in also important. So, have a good night sleep, listen to music, read a book, have a massage or whatever helps you to relax.
14. Have a good understanding of the tests /investigations that you have to undergo. Some of the test include:
Early Pregnancy 6-10 weeks:
• Dating and viability Scan- To look if the position of your baby is correct, rule out any issues if you have bleeding or spotting, due date, look at the heartbeat of the baby etc.
• Blood test: to identify the blood group, iron levels, immunity to Rubella, thyroid function, infections etc
• Urine Test: to look at protein levels, any infections etc
• Nuchal Translucency Scan (NT scan) to screen for Down’s Syndrome in the baby
Remember-If you notice any signs like cramping with bleeding, fever, chills, severe abdominal pain, swelling of leg or face, severe headache etc, you should contact your doctor for prompt medical attention.
Pregnancy is different for every woman and so are the first trimester symptoms, with some experiencing all known symptoms and others only a few. During the first trimester, the fetus is most susceptible to damage from substances, like alcohol, drugs and certain medicines, and illnesses, like Rubella. So, remember to take good care of your health for a healthy pregnancy and baby.