Surviving the First Trimester
During this trimester, your baby will grow faster than at any other stage of the pregnancy. By six weeks, a heartbeat can be heard and by the end of week 12, your baby's organs have all formed as well as his/her bones and muscles. Your baby will already be looking like a tiny human being and the medical name for your baby at this stage is ‘foetus/ fetus’ During this early stage of your pregnancy there are 10 points for surviving the First Trimester.
1. Know what’s happening to your bodyBeing pregnant – especially for the first time- is a very new experience. You will be noticing numerous changes in your body and your emotions will be changing rapidly as your hormones leap around. Knowing what is happening to your body and learning about how your baby is developing inside you during your pregnancy and what to expect is exciting and will give you confidence that all is well. Buy yourself one good book or choose a good website and stick with it, because there is so much conflicting information out there.
2. Beware of morning sickness!Dealing with morning sickness can be tricky. It can strike at any time of day and can be triggered by the sight of food or preparing food. Don’t suffer in silence. Try wearing travel sickness wrist bands and sucking ginger tablets or sipping ginger tea as these all can help, taking Vitamin B6 can also help (check what dosage you should take with your doctor) Smelling aromatherapy oils straight from the bottle can work well too – lavender, chamomile, ginger and peppermint are all good to try.
Morning sickness can be exacerbated because your sense of smell is sharpened during pregnancy. If you feel really bad with morning sickness, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor as there are medications available that can ease things.
3. Keep well hydratedTricky if you are suffering with morning sickness, but even more important if you are. Keeping well hydrated throughout your pregnancy is necessary to carry nutrients to your baby, keep the amniotic fluid at the correct levels and to generally help build the tiny new life that is developing inside you.
Water is the best drink, but it can be a little boring so flavour it with some lemon juice. Herbal teas and soups are good too. Alcohol should be avoided. A good indicator that you are drinking enough, is the colour of your urine – really pale gold colour, like straw, shows all is good.
4. Eat wellThe old saying ‘eat for two’ is definitely one to bin! If you are suffering with morning sickness, you may find that eating dry foods like a cracker or biscuit helps. When you can eat, a healthy, balanced diet is optimum with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Calcium is important for you and your baby and if you don’t like drinking milk, yogurt and cheese are both good sources. Your tastes could change at this early stage and you may find you prefer savoury to sweet, but strange cravings usually occur later in the pregnancy.
5. Get plenty of sleep and rest.Your body is working hard to create the new baby inside you especially in the First Trimester – and you will notice that you tire more easily. Be kind to yourself and try and get a good work/ life balance which means cutting down on overtime at work and probably late night TV too. At weekends give yourself the chance to enjoy some extra sleep and whenever you can, sit down and rest awhile. If this is not your first pregnancy, see if your family or friends can take care of your other children for a couple of hours to give you this opportunity.
6. Don’t push yourself too hardThe First Trimester of your pregnancy is very important because your body is changing as your pregnancy becomes established. Sadly, it is when most miscarriages occur so it is important to take care of yourself and not to push yourself physically. It is quite common to experience very mild stomach cramps during this stage, but severe cramps or spotting is not usual and it is important to contact your doctor to check all is well.
To continue exercising during your pregnancy is good and walking and swimming are both beneficial. Check with your doctor whether you can continue running or working out as you usually do.
7. Establish a good support networkThis can be tricky, if (like many couples) you do not want to announce your pregnancy until you have passed the 12 week point. If you can get family or friends to help you with physical jobs or to support you mentally this will make a big difference.
8. Build a rapport with your doctorWhilst you are pregnant, you will be seeing your doctor regularly and it is good to get to know them to establish a rapport. Ask how you contact them out of hours as will bring you peace of mind.
9. Wear comfortable clothesDuring this stage of pregnancy, you may well find that your breasts are already changing and feeling tender. A comfortable bra that is soft and supportive is perfect. Choose comfortable clothes to wear that are not tight and restrictive to wear.
10. Enjoy the moment!Although your pregnancy has begun with some challenges, it is nevertheless a very special time as you have a very special and unique tiny person developing inside you. If you are not feeling so good, you will wake up one morning and suddenly feel really great. Ensure that you have frequent ‘just for me’ moments when you can relax and enjoy this very special moment in your life.