Dos and Don’ts for Your First Trimester

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What is the First Trimester?

There are many dos and don’ts for your first trimester, but what exactly is it? The first trimester is the first of three phases of pregnancy. Your first trimester begins on week one and ends on week twelve, thus starting the second trimester. During the first trimester, there are several things to implement into your day-to-day and others to avoid. This is a critical stage in your pregnancy and the development of your baby.

Although it may not seem like a whole lot is going on during this time,  a lot is happening for both you and your baby. For you, first trimester symptoms may occur as early as a few days to weeks after conception. During the first trimester, you can begin to experience discomforts or changes such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Tender Breasts/ soreness in the chest area
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Cramping
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Food aversion or cravings
  • Change in sexual desire

While all first trimester symptoms are temporary for everyone, they can vary from mild to severe across individuals. Continue reading to learn some of the dos and don’ts for your first trimester.

The Dos

Food is Fuel

As with most things, you will need to fuel your body first, thus fueling your babies. Without proper nutrition in the first trimester, this could lead to poor fetal development. However, eating is not just about quantity; it is also important to focus on the quality of food and ensure that all needed nutrients are consumed.

Folic Acid Supplements

Folic acid is a nutrient that you should take during the first trimester. This vitamin helps to produce and maintain new cells and prevent changes in the DNA. There are many things folic acid does for your body, such as:

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Prenatal Vitamins

In addition to folic acid supplements, one should take prenatal vitamins daily. Prenatal vitamins contain specific nutrients for fetal development and help to replace the nutrients needed during the first trimester. These nutrients include calcium, iron, zinc, as well as omega-3 fats which help the baby’s brain development.

Proper Sleep and Exercise 

During your first trimester, your body is experiencing extreme changes which can play a big role in how tired you are. Your hormones and emotions are on a rollercoaster which can take a toll on expecting mothers. That being said, proper sleep, as well as frequent naps throughout the day, are essential. Your body needs between eight to nine hours of sleep each night.

When it comes to exercise, if you are someone who exercises regularly pre-pregnancy, keep it up! A regular exercise routine can help with hormone changes and restlessness. Before continuing your regular workout routine, check with your health care provider for the green light, or other options to move your body.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for you and your baby’s health, as well as helping to prevent preterm labor. Keeping your body hydrated with water as well as vegetables helps to prevent headaches, kidney stones, and dizziness.

Choose a Doctor or Midwife

Choosing the perfect healthcare provider can seem like a stressful task because you want the best for yourself and your baby. You’ll want to find someone in a timely manner to ensure booking your first prenatal appointment. However, do your research and find someone whose beliefs and practices line up with yours and someone you can trust.

The Don’ts

No Smoking or Drinking

It is important to avoid smoking during pregnancy because women who smoke during pregnancy are more at risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, your baby is at greater risk for birth defects if you are smoking while pregnant. As for alcohol, there is no amount that is safe during pregnancy, it is important to stay away from it. Consuming alcohol while pregnant can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and behavioral, as well as intellectual, disabilities.

No Raw Meat

Eating raw or undercooked meat and eggs is a big no-no during the first trimester. Consuming raw foods puts you at a higher risk of contracting listeriosis which can lead to miscarriage and life-threatening illness. Furthermore, toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can easily become life-threatening as well as cause severe birth defects if not treated.

Avoid Caffeine

Although this may seem like an impossible task because of how tired you feel during your first trimester, try avoiding caffeine as best as you can.  Caffeine, although not always consumed by drinking coffee, is often found in chocolate as well as soda drinks. Caffeine does cross the placenta and can affect your growing baby’s heart rate. Some caffeine is safe in the first trimester and expecting mothers can consume up to 200 milligrams a day. However, this should not be exceeded.

Saunas and Hot Tubs are a No

Hot tubs, saunas, as well as steam rooms are out of the question during your first trimester. You should avoid these areas because it increases the risk of overheating, dehydration and fainting. A significant rise in your core temperature can affect your baby’s development.

Ask The Experts at Midwife360 about The Dos and Don’ts for Your First Trimester

If you need more information or are looking for a trusted midwife with years of experience, contact Midwife360. Opening the doors in 2014, Midwife360 quickly became a staple to women’s care in South Florida. Founder, P. Fedwah Halaby CNM, created Midwife360 as a holistic evidence-based practice for all midwifery services. This includes routine women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, as well as home and water birthing.

Contact South Florida’s trusted midwives today to set up an appointment!

What to Expect in Your First Trimester

You’ll have a virtually invisible but amazing transformation during your first trimester. Knowing what emotional and physical changes are in store during this early time in your pregnancy can help you face them head-on. Above all, your first trimester is a time to celebrate and feel incredible.

Physical Changes

A missed period is usually the first sign that you’re pregnant, but you can experience several other physical changes coming quickly in the next few weeks of your first trimester. They include:

  • Constipation – Having higher levels of progesterone in your system will slow down how quickly food makes its way through your digestive tract, and this can cause constipation. You should add fiber to your diet to help prevent constipation, and you’ll want to drink a lot of fluid.
  • Fatigue – During your first trimester, your normal progesterone levels will spike. This will cause fatigue, and adding light exercise to a healthy diet can help minimize it. Be sure to rest as much as you can too.
  • Food Aversions or Cravings – You may develop sensitivities to certain odors and your tastes might change. You could find yourself craving odd combinations of food or not being able to tolerate things you usually love.
  • Heartburn – Hormones will cause the valve between your esophagus and stomach to relax, and this lets stomach acid get into your esophagus. As a result, you may experience heartburn. Eating frequent and small meals while avoiding fried or spicy foods can help lower the risk.
  • Nausea and Vomiting – Morning sickness usually starts the month after you become pregnant. This can be with or without vomiting. You want to drink plenty of fluids and avoid having an empty stomach to reduce how nauseous you feel.
  • Swollen, Tender Breasts – Your breasts may become sensitive or sore within the first month or two. The discomfort levels usually go down after a few weeks.
  • Urinary Frequency – You could find yourself running to the bathroom more frequently. Your blood levels increase when you’re pregnant, and the kidneys will filter extra fluid into your bladder to cause you to have to go to the bathroom more.

Emotional Changes During the First Trimester

Being pregnant can make you feel anxious, delighted, exhausted, and exhilarated. Sometimes, it may be all at one time. Emotional stress is very common with pregnant women, and it typically starts right away. You might worry about the financial impacts of a baby, your baby’s health, and how you’ll adjust to parenthood. If you currently work, you could worry about how you’ll balance your career and your family. Mood swings are very common. If your mood swings get very intense or severe, it’s a good idea to contact your health care provider.

Prenatal Care

The first visit to your doctor will focus on looking for risk factors, assessing your health, and finding out your baby’s gestational age. Your doctor will ask you specific questions about your history. You want to be honest, and your doctor will tell you about screening for chromosomal abnormalities. In conclusion, your doctor will most likely recommend check ups once every four weeks for the first 32 weeks of your pregnancy.

For a deeper level of care, education, and planning throughout your pregnancy process, contact Midwife 360. We are here to support you.