In pregnancy, the first trimester is of paramount importance for you and your baby. In the first trimester, the baby’s major organs start to develop and at the same time, your body goes through different physiological and psychological changes. To avoid medical complications at this stage of pregnancy, you should take some precautions for the sake of your health and that of the baby. In this article, am going to share how you can take care of yourself and your baby during the first trimester.
Never miss a prenatal checkup
Prenatal checkups allow you to stay informed about the developments in your womb and allow for detection of potential complications. At this stage, most potential complications can be corrected.
Stay away from medication unless absolutely necessary
Nowadays, we self-medicate for almost everything, and while that may have been working for you pre-pregnancy, you should stay away from medicines once pregnant. The medication you take can pass through the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. Due to this risk, it’s important that you know all information regarding any medicine you take during pregnancy and always consult a doctor.
Be choosy when it comes to meals
During the first trimester, don’t be too adventurous when it comes to food. In particular, avoid foods high in sugar, salt, and white flour. Also, stay away from undercooked or uncooked meat, unpasteurized milk, soft cheese, seafood, and raw eggs as they can introduce bacteria and parasites into your body leading to infection, and an infection for you is an infection for the baby too. Indulge in eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, tofu, pulses and legumes, and well-cooked meat and eggs.
Eat enough food
While being choosy on what you eat, it’s important, for the growth of the fetus, to eat enough. At this stage, the baby needs to be continuously fed so eat smaller but frequent meals within every two or three hours.
While alcohol is discouraged throughout pregnancy, alcohol intake during the first trimester affects the mental and physical development of the baby at a crucial stage, a condition known as foetal alcohol syndrome. This syndrome is as a result of alcohol passing through the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream.
Both passive and active smoking have been linked to infant mortality by numerous studies. At the very least, smoking increases the risk of health and behavioral problems for the baby. Since it is not easy to quit smocking, it is better to quit before you become pregnant.
Stay away from bath tubs and Saunas
While it can be fun for you, it poses a grave threat to the baby as it raises your overall body temperature. Warm water is also an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Avoid environmental pollutants
Exposure to high level of smog (Ozone Air Pollution) can result in increased risk of complications like premature birth and preeclampsia. While the pollution may not affect you significantly, it affects the baby as its immune system is still developing thus more sensitive. In some cases, prenatal exposure to pesticides leads to immune dysfunctions later in life.
Avoid stress and depression
Excess stress increases the risk of miscarriage. Stress and depression during pregnancy can be inflamed by challenging life situations and can be triggered by factors such as relationship issues, history of depression and abuse among others. If possible, avoid activities that are very mentally exhausting.
During the first trimester, gentle exercises will help you deal with back pain experienced during pregnancy, and in general, deal better with the physiological changes. Sometimes, these activities help avoid the back pain completely during the first trimester.
Take a lot of fluid
The fluid in your body is the primary way through which food and nutrients are distributed to your body and your baby. Staying hydrated helps avoid preterm labor because when you are dehydrated, the body makes a hormone which stimulates contractions. Also, taking a lot of fluid helps avoid frequents headaches, dizziness, constipation, and hemorrhoids which are all common during pregnancy.
Get enough sleep
In the first trimester, your body undergoes through various hormonal changes which make you feel tired most times. To deal with this feeling of being worn out, you should take a nap whenever possible.
Take prenatal vitamins
At this stage of your pregnancy, it’s important to be getting enough folic acid for proper development of the baby. The folic acid contained in prenatal vitamins significantly reduces the risk of the baby developing neural tube congenital disabilities like spina bifida.
Don’t take any chance with the health of your baby as taking care during first trimester will set the tone for the proper development of the baby.