Pregnancy truly is the blessing of God. You get to experience the awe-inspiring magic of growing a little person within you and you really cannot think of anything more amazing!! Finding out you’re pregnant is a life-changing moment that comes with its fair share of surging emotions: excitement, joy, relief, panic and maybe all at the same time. Pregnancy is not easy and no one ever told, it was! But hey, good things never come easy! Morning sickness, back pain, food aversion, the newly discovered acid reflux — all symptoms of pregnancy we’d like to ignore for now. Despite the downsides, there are still tons of perks to being pregnant – all the outbursts you have will not be an issue because it’s the hormones, guilt-free eating, everyone around you treats you like a princess, clear skin and of all, you are growing a baby – your life inside you. The ups and downs of pregnancy can take many couples by surprise. Before becoming completely overwhelmed by this whole pregnancy thing, expectant moms should relax first and rest everything will be fine. No worries..Please! And while every woman and every pregnancy is different (trust me), I am here to tell you some helpful tips and things to do once you find out you are pregnant, with a hope to make your pregnancy journey easy.
Make sure you are really pregnant: There are some early pregnancy symptoms like you could feel nauseous, have a back pain, mood swings, suffer from tender or swollen breasts, have cravings for some particular food or food aversions, and of course, you miss your periods. Symptoms of pregnancy could vary from person to person. And many times, false symptoms lead to confusion. Best way to confirm your pregnancy is to have a home-based urine test using the kits easily available in the market or visit a doctor to be assured. You should see the doctor early soon after your home pregnancy test is positive. Your first prenatal visit will generally be around 8-10 weeks after your last menstrual period. If this applies to you, you should schedule a prenatal visit as soon as you know you are pregnant. Also, consult your doctor before taking any new medication as some medicines are unsafe during pregnancy.
Check with your insurance company: Having a good maternity coverage insurance is very important. Hospitals bills, doctor visits, lab tests, and all the medical charges can be very heavy on your pocket without a good insurance coverage. Also, depending on the insurance provider, you may get many products for free ( car seat, breast pump etc). Insurance plans are all quite different. So you’ll want to give your insurance company a call or visit their website to check their coverage plan for the hospital, doctors, and midwives you’re considering as well as care for your new baby.
Choose a healthcare provider: If you already have a doctor or midwife you love, you’re all set. If not, you’ve got some research to do. Check out the preferred healthcare providers under your health insurance plan, talk to friends or relatives and ask for some recommendation for a good doctor. Since it can take a while to get the first prenatal appointment (8 weeks), it’s better to start the process of finding your doctor or midwife soon, as the appointments fill up fast and also finding the best takes time.
Take your prenatal vitamin: Prenatal vitamins contain two crucial nutrients – folic acid and iron. It consists of a variety of vitamins and minerals that help your baby get the nutrients that are essential for healthy development. It’s quite hard to get all the nutrients you and your baby need, from food alone even if you eat a wide variety of food, including meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. So its very important to take prenatal supplements every day during pregnancy and even post-pregnancy if you plan to breastfeed… Prenatal vitamins work better when you are eating a healthy diet.
* Folic acid present in prenatal vitamins, greatly reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects. Iron is important for the delivery of oxygen to the baby and prevents anemia in the mom.
Understanding your family medical history: It is a good idea to discuss your mother’s, grandmother’s, or aunts’ pregnancies and also be aware of any genetic disorders or birth abnormalities in the family line. You will anyways be asked about it in your first prenatal visit. Information like this will prepare you for any potential problems and take preventive actions if required
Do your best to eat well and stay hydrated: If there’s room for improvement in your diet, eating highly nutritious meals is one of the best things you can do for you and your baby’s health. But eating better doesn’t mean eating a lot. Avoid making processed foods, packaged snacks, and sugary desserts the mainstay of your diet. Poor eating habits and excess weight gain may increase the risk of gestational diabetes and complications during pregnancy or childbirth. So choosing healthy, nutritious foods will help ensure the health of you and your baby. It will also make it a lot easier to lose the pregnancy weight after you’ve given birth. It doesn’t mean, you don’t have to give up all your favorite foods or snacks just because you’re pregnant. The occasional cookie or piece of cake won’t do any harm. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Further, having dairy products, especially yogurt, are a great choice for pregnant women. Dairy products help meet increased protein and calcium needs during pregnancy.
Skip unsafe foods and habits: During pregnancy, it’s very important to avoid certain foods – undercooked meat, unpasteurized soft cheeses, anything that contains raw eggs, sushi made with raw fish, raw oysters and other shellfish, fish that’s high in mercury, and raw sprouts. It’s necessary to limit your intake of caffeine – tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and coffee ice cream. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause physical defects, learning disabilities, and emotional problems in children. It is advised to avoid alcohol for your entire pregnancy and quit smoking. Have a pregnancy-safe exercise routine, and try to get proper rest and plenty of sleep.
No dieting please!: Weight gain is one of the most positive signs of a healthy pregnancy. Women who eat well and gain the appropriate amount of weight are more likely to have healthy babies. Your weight gain depends on your BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy. If you are overweight when you conceive, then you are advised to put on fewer calories than someone who is of normal weight. So eating the right meal and understanding the needs of the baby(growth and development) is a priority. So if you’re eating wholesome foods and slowly adding pounds, everything will be on track.
Eat small meals frequently: Nausea, food aversions, heartburn, or indigestion can make eating full-size meals quite impossible, it’s good to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. As your pregnancy progresses, your baby grows inside and you’ll have less space in your body for big meals anyway.
Avoid raising your body temperature: There is a potential danger to the developing baby if your body temperature rises above 102 degrees. Exercising too strenuously, working outside on hot summer days, getting a high fever, using hot tubs or hot baths have a tendency to raise your body temperature and therefore are to be avoided
Be prepared for early pregnancy symptoms: Each pregnancy is different and not every pregnancy symptom will happen to every woman. But, it’s good to prepare yourself (mentally) ahead of time. You might experience nausea and vomiting, overtiredness, food cravings, food aversions, sore breasts, and frequent bathroom trips. You might also notice a few body and skin changes, too. Things like thicker hair, darkened skin, acne breakouts, could be experienced. Few people are lucky to get glowing skin and might not get any of those early symptoms in pregnancy. Also later in pregnancy, you might get swollen ankles, stretch marks, varicose veins, and few more discomforting symptoms(will talk about it in a different post). Pregnancy affects every woman differently, but knowing what might happen can help you in dealing with it more easily.
For working women, it can get difficult to cope with all those symptoms when you also have other tasks on the pile. Try to carry some healthy snacks to binge on, medicines if any recommended by the doctor and try to be relaxed.
Avoid to just google everything: It’s nearly impossible not to want to look up for every symptom you think you have and also see exactly what stage of development your baby is undergoing. Of course! you’ll want to study up on the basics, but try to resist the urge to find out about every little complication that could arise during your pregnancy. Its good to be informed but having the right information is equally important. You’ll get plenty of pregnancy advice from books, Internet search and from your doctor. But, you should also talk to the real pros – the women who’ve been there. Get to know new parents in your neighborhood, hook up with moms in your exercise class, or chat online. There are so many good pregnancy apps and groups, you could join. Parents will be eager to offer tips on everything from curbing morning sickness to shopping for maternity clothes.
Start shopping for maternity clothes: Maternity shopping can be exciting and also exhausting. It’s better to shop for the set of clothes that fit in the first half of your pregnancy and gradually shop for more when you outgrow them in the second half. You can be creative and save money by purchasing items that can be mixed, matched, and layered, even with non-maternity sweaters and leggings. Shopping maternity collections also can get boring over time so you can look for large sizes of clothes in the section of your choice. Loose clothes are anyways more comfortable to wear in pregnancy. Also, avoid wearing underwire bras as they can restrict the breast changes. Look for bras with thickened flat straps, which can cover your breasts completely and provide good support. Avoid wearing high heels and go for cushioned, comfortable shoes.
*Try to be happy and avoid getting stressed out. Happy mom delivers happy babies.
*First three months of pregnancy is a very crucial phase and you need to be very careful with your body, activities you will be doing and be aware of any alarming change or symptom you notice. Never ignore anything you feel is not normal and if that being a case consult your doctor immediately.
*Few women(about one-third of pregnant women) might experience bleeding during early pregnancy(Implantation bleeding). It occurs at a similar time to that of a period, many women get confused whether it is a possible pregnancy or a period. Implantation bleeding happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus in order to begin growing. It is completely normal(early pregnancy sign) and does not need any medical treatment.
*Pregnancy hormones can make you vulnerable sometimes so having someone dear to you, who you can talk about anything and also can understand your emotions will be a great advantage.
*During pregnancy, you get extreme hunger pangs all the time. The best way to get over it is by eating food on time. Do not keep your stomach empty; eat small meals at regular time intervals. An empty stomach will make you feel nauseated more and that’s not good.
So this is all about today’s post. How was your pregnancy journey? If you are expecting mom then I would be pleased to know about your experience so far. Please let me know in the comment section below.
My first-trimester experience during pregnancy was not that good. I hardly could eat anything and always would feel nauseated even at the very thought of foods. Will be doing more posts on pregnancy. Will also share my pregnancy journey and more in coming posts. So stay tuned.
Keep calm and be positive.