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Pregnancy is one of those things that’s hard to understand until you’ve been through it. You may worry about what’s going on with your body, how your life is going to change, and how you’re going to be able to take care of a new baby. This article is a helpful guide to what to expect in the first three months of pregnancy. It has tips for what to do, what to wear, what to eat, and what to expect.
Everything you need to know about pregnancy during the first trimester:
- Buy an at home pregnancy test and see if you are indeed pregnant, or have your primary care physician order a blood test to check for pregnancy
- Celebrate this amazing moment in your life by sharing your joy with your spouse or partner and telling them the news
- Schedule an appointment to see an OB-GYN for your very first prenatal visit
- Look into your health insurance carrier’s policies and coverage on prenatal care check-ups, labwork, and testing for your upcoming prenatal visits and childbirth
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as your body is doing a lot of hard work right now – it’s building a little human inside you
- Get adequate rest and listen to your body when it gets tired
- Somewhere around 6 weeks into pregnancy, you may notice your breasts and nipples are becoming swollen, tender and sensitive or even painful to the touch – even your bra, clothing, or water from the shower can irritate them as they start to expand and stretch while the milk sacks develop and prepare for feeding your future little one upon arrival at the end of the third trimester
- Some other symptoms of pregnancy during the first trimester can include bouts of morning sickness, exhaustion, unusual heartburn, a metallic taste in the mouth or swelling of the roof of the mouth, occasional abdominal or uterine cramping, obvious food aversions or cravings, constipation (gotta stay hydrated – the baby making machine part of your body is sucking the water right out of you!), pregnancy weight gain (or loss) of around 3-4 pounds in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, headaches, lower back ache and other mild to moderate symptoms
- Evaluate your personal routine and choices and talk to your doctor about stopping any potentially concerning habits to cut back or eliminate things that may endanger the growing baby inside you such as quitting smoking, vaping, alcohol consumption, drug use and weaning off or cutting back on caffeine intake (sorry, you shouldn’t really have that 3rd cup of coffee)
- If you aren’t already, start eating nutritious, healthy small meals and light snacks throughout the day (remember you are eating for two and your body needs the power energy from healthy foods to grow this cute little baby effectively)
- Start planning ahead for the financial burden of having a baby and prepare a savings plan keeping in mind the various expenses you will encounter along the way during the pregnancy (medical copays, maternity clothing, baby nursery bedding, furniture and equipment for the first year, diapers etc.)
- Estimate maternity leave time-frame (know your employer’s conditions for taking maternity leave and length of time allowed) then calculate how much you’ll need to save to prepare for those weeks, plus who you’ll want with you to help around the house or to take turns caring for the baby while you rest and recover from childbirth
- At about 8 weeks gestation, you’ll go to your prenatal checkup for the first time, so be prepared with a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor
- Find out from your doctor what upcoming tests you need to consider taking over the next month or so in your pregnancy (such as the Nuchal Translucency Screening or Nuchal Fold Scan to check for possible Down’s Syndrome which is normally given at about 10-12 weeks gestation, and a 1st Trimester Screening around weeks 11-14)
- Around the end of the First Trimester, it will be about time to think about going shopping for some maternity pants that have the comfort waistband, or pick up some yoga style pants that fold over the waist to help you stay comfortable and not put a strain on the waistline where your growing uterus is starting to pooch out from over the next few weeks
- Stay active and have fun with light sports to keep up stamina and endurance, but be smart about what types of activity you do as to not endanger yourself or the special bundle you are carrying inside you
- Opt for things like Yoga, swimming, walking, hiking, bike riding, light weights and other similar exercise routines which should be able to take you far into the second or third trimester without any trouble, so be sure to pick your favorites and get that body moving to stay fit and in tip top shape to go through delivery and childbirth by the end of the third trimester
- Your baby’s first ultrasound will most likely be scheduled during the first trimester and you will probably get to hear its heartbeat
Symptoms Requiring a Call to the Doctor or a Trip to the ER:
Understanding what the different symptoms and aches and pains are that your body is going through can be a challenge early on in pregnancy as all the hormones are on a rampage as the body adjusts to the ever-changing baby forming inside you which is growing at an increasingly fast rate. Keeping an eye out for the following symptoms is important as these should be a cause for concern and a quick call to the doctor to make sure things are alright. If you cannot reach your doctor or their office is closed, it is recommended to go to the ER or urgent care as soon as possible as a precaution.
Be on the lookout for: signs of intense abdominal pain, rather heavy vaginal bleeding, difficult urination causing pain or extreme discomfort, excessive swelling in the hands or face, unusual blurry vision or other unexplained vision disturbances, sudden thirst, or developing a fever over 101.5 F with chills and/or sore back. Take these symptoms seriously and call your doctor if you are concerned you might be experiencing any of them.
As you can see, the first trimester of pregnancy can be a whirlwind of excitement and emotions as your body is growing and changing and you dream of that sweet little one you will be meeting not very long from now. These first 3 months are going to fly by as you experience your body reshaping to hold the growing baby, eat healthy options like bananas, avocados and other nutrient-rich foods, take prenatal vitamins (ask your doctor for his recommendation), and traverse all kinds of other eventful things like doctor visits and testing to sleeping off morning sickness. Whatever tomorrow brings, you know you have a handy checklist here at Joyful Messes to help guide you through some of these first milestones in your pregnancy adventure.