Your first ride on the pregnancy rodeo is often fraught with distress.
You are probably worried about your and your baby’s health. You are also worried about weight gain, labor pain, and a plethora of pregnancy complications.
It is normal to have pregnancy and childbirth fears. Research has found that 80% of pregnant women have pregnancy-related fears.
The best way to overcome such fears and have a healthy pregnancy is to equip yourself with the right information.
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you have come to the right place. We will go over the tips you need for smooth sailing through all three trimesters.
First Trimester (Week 1-13)
Most women become aware of their pregnancy during the first trimester.
Your body will go through rapid changes to accommodate a rapidly growing fetus.
Here are some of the best tips for your first trimester:
Take Prenatal Supplements
As soon as you learn that you’re pregnant, you should start taking prenatal supplements.
Your baby needs minerals and vitamins right from conception.
Folic acid is especially important in the first trimester. This is because it helps in the formation of the neural cord. The neural cord develops into the brain and spinal cord.
If you are trying to conceive, start taking prenatal supplements even before conception.
This boosts your chances of getting pregnant. It will also help you have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The right level of folic acid in your body reduces the risk of the baby developing neural tube defects by up to 70%.
Extra Tip: Do prenatal supplements make you queasy? Try taking them at night or with a light snack. You can also try chewing gum or sucking on a piece of candy.
Attend Antenatal Appointments
Most women in the US discover their pregnancies between 5 and 6 weeks.
However, some women postpone their first doctor’s appointment until later.
It is recommended that you make your first antenatal appointment as soon as you are aware of a pregnancy.
At the first visit they will:
- Take your medical history
- Check your vital signs
- Perform certain blood and urine tests
- Address your pregnancy-related concerns
- Prescribe prenatal vitamins
- Perform the first scan to date the pregnancy
After the first prenatal visit, attend subsequent appointments as directed.
This will enable your health care provider to catch any potential complications.
If this is your first pregnancy and you have no complications, you will have about 8 to 10 appointments.
For subsequent pregnancies, if you don’t have a history of complications, you will have about 7-9 appointments.
Second Trimester (Week 14-26)
The second trimester often brings relief from annoying early pregnancy symptoms. You are less likely to have nausea, breast tenderness, or mood swings.
During this period, your baby is fully formed and growing.
You might feel surprisingly energetic and more up to the challenge of pregnancy.
Here are some of the best tip for the second trimester:
Don’t Stop Exercising
During pregnancy, you will often feel too lazy, tired, bloated, or moody to exercise.
But do your best to maintain a moderate exercise regimen.
Regular exercise during pregnancy can:
- Improve your heart health
- Boost mood
- Increase energy levels and decrease fatigue
- Enhance sleep
- Improve muscle strength needed for childbirth
- Prevent excessive weight gain often associated with pregnancy
- Reduce the risk of back pain
- Shorten the labor process
- Boost the chances of an unmedicated birth
- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension
- Decrease the risk of preterm labor and birth
Exercise is also beneficial to your unborn baby. Babies whose mothers exercise during pregnancy may have lower heart rates.
With regular exercise, your newborn is likely to have a healthier birth weight.
For these reasons, try to keep up with exercise throughout your pregnancy.
If you didn’t exercise regularly before pregnancy, don’t go for strenuous exercise. Ease your way into moderate, low-impact exercises.
If you had a regular exercise regimen before pregnancy, you should be able to continue in moderation.
Don’t try to be at your pre-pregnancy level of exercise. Instead, do what feels most comfortable. Consult your healthcare provider when in doubt.
If you’re a competitive athlete while pregnant, you should be closely monitored by an obstetrician.
Some of the best exercise routines for pregnant women include brisk walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates.
You might notice that your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight as your pregnancy progresses.
Pregnancy hormones cause your body to produce more melanin. This can lead to blotchy patches of darker skin. This condition is known as melasma or chloasma.
The darker patches usually show up on your cheekbones, forehead, and around your upper lip. This is why it is often referred to as the mask of pregnancy.
Other areas that are exposed to the sun, such as your arms, might also look unusually dark. Skin which is already dark - such as nipples, freckles, scars, or skin around your genitals - might be even darker during pregnancy.
To prevent this darkening, make sure to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Opt for a sunscreen formula that is chemical-free. When going outside during the day, wear a hat and sunglasses.
Extra Tip: While there’s no proof that tanning beds are harmful during pregnancy, it is best to avoid them while you’re pregnant.
Third Trimester (Week 27-40)
The third trimester, which starts from the 7th month through to delivery, means that the end is in sight!
At this time, you’re probably doing the bulk of shopping as you wait for delivery.
Here are some tips for you:
Start Wearing a Maternity Bra
A pregnancy tip that is often overlooked is wearing a well-fitting maternity bra.
Over the three trimesters of pregnancy, your body will grow through many changes. These changes include expanding diaphragm and breasts.
Your regular bra isn’t designed to accommodate these changes. Regular bras are often made of stiff material and have underwires for support. They might feel tight and uncomfortable when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
A good-quality maternity bra is made of soft, flexible material and has no underwires.
Don’t wait till after delivering your baby to shop for a maternity bra.
The best time to shop for and start wearing a maternity bra is in the third trimester - at around 36 weeks pregnant.
From that point till a couple of months postpartum, your breasts are unlikely to drastically fluctuate in shape and size.
However, you should switch to maternity bras as soon as your regular bras don’t fit correctly and no longer feel comfortable.
New Bloom’s Everyday Maternity Bra is a great choice for any pregnant woman.
New Bloom maternity bras are designed with the innovative UGrow Technology. This allows the bra to accommodate your changing body.
Simply put, you can wear New Bloom bras from your first trimester to the end of your breastfeeding journey!
Write a Birth Plan
The third trimester means you are closer to holding your baby in your arms!
But it also intensifies your childbirth fears. Writing a detailed birth plan can help alleviate these fears.
During the heat of labor and delivery, you won’t have the time or energy to make some decisions.
A detailed birth plan helps you communicate your childbirth-related wishes to everyone involved with the delivery.
Here are a few details to include in your birth plan:
- Who you want present during childbirth (including spouse, family, and others).
- Procedures you’d like to avoid - such as an episiotomy, amniotomy, and forceps or vacuum extraction.
- Whether you want medications and what kind you prefer (such as an epidural).
- What to do in case of complications.
- Any special requests (such as when and who to cut the umbilical cord).
- The positions you prefer for labor and delivery.
If you don’t know where to start, you can download a birth plan template online.
You’re Not Alone
Pregnancy is definitely a challenging period, especially for first-time mothers.
The journey throughout pregnancy and childbirth is easier when you have a credible source of information you can rely on.
New Bloom is with you throughout your pregnancy and after. Check our blog for informative articles on pregnancy and motherhood.
In addition, browse the New Bloom online store for:
- Maternity bras
- Breast pumps
- Maternity leggings
- Other maternity essentials.
The best time to shop is now from the comfort of your home.
Feature Image: Senivpetro