Congratulations, you’re pregnant! So said your doctor. You’re pregnant! You’re going to welcome a new life into your world in less than a year’s time – what should you do now that you know you’re pregnant? Let’s run through a list of things you might want to take note of and kickstart your pregnancy with!
I’m pregnant, now what?: Things to do
What are the things you should do once you find out you’re pregnant? You might have started pondering over what it means to be a mother even since you received the news of your pregnancy. Is the stress getting to you already? You might be thinking of becoming the best mom you can be, so what can you start off by doing?
If you smoke, it’s time to part ways with your cigarettes and lighter. The nicotine in cigarettes are bad for you and your baby, and can increase the risk of a miscarriage or a preterm birth.
The nicotine robs your baby of the oxygen and nutrients needed for growth, so your baby might be born a low weight baby, with developmental retardation. You, on the other hand, face an increased risk of abnormal bleeding, and premature rupture of membranes. Second-hand smoke also contains harmful substances, so be on the alert for that, too.
If you drink when you’re pregnant, the alcohol molecules aren’t filtered out and they go to the fetus directly through the placenta. As a result, the development of the fetal brain slows down, and the fetus has problems with cognitive development.
Some researchers believe that 1 cup of alcohol is considered the maximum amount that pregnant women should drink, while other researchers support a no-alcohol position. As there aren’t any studies which state the safe amount of alcohol for pregnant women to consume, you might want to play it safe. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol completely.
Be careful about what medicine you take
Even in the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the embryo’s organs start forming and developing, medicine can have an effect on the growth of the embryo. Refrain from taking over-the-counter medicine or medicine you prescribe for yourself. Ask your practitioner or doctor for medical advice.
Taking things easy
The early stage of pregnancy is the period of time in which a miscarriage can easily occur. A miscarriage at this point is usually caused by chromosomal anomalies in the fetus and cannot be prevented.
However, don’t do strenuous exercise or travel until you’re well into the second trimester. Also, refrain from carrying heavy objects to avoid putting a burden on your belly, and swap your high heels with walking shoes to prevent falling over.
Deciding on the type of practice
Who would you like to help guide you through pregnancy? An obstetrician? Midwife or doula? Or a practitioner?
There are many different types of practices out there and they might add up to different costs, different experiences and different services. It’s best to start doing some research now and knowing more before you make your choice.
Telling related parties
Who do you tell your pregnancy? The partner, family members, friends, colleagues…the list goes on. And when do you tell them? Don’t fret so much, though. If there is no need to inform everyone, you can keep mum until much later when you’re comfortable sharing the news with others.
I’m pregnant, now what?: Changes in the body
In the early stages of pregnancy, your hormone levels change drastically and can cause you to feel unwell or a little out of sorts. What kind of changes might you see or feel?
Nutrient supply to your baby, and the increase in blood volume during pregnancy can cause your blood to thin and as a result, you might become anemic. If you had premenstrual anemia before pregnancy, you tend to keep suffering from anemia during pregnancy too.
So make sure you watch your diet more carefully and talk to your doctor about what you can do for you and your baby.
Skin troubles are caused by the increase in progesterone secretion: Acne, pimples, oily or dry skin, itchiness, spots and more. Changes in hormone levels can easily cause skin condition to change.
As the uterus becomes bigger bit by bit, and its increasing weight on the bladder decreases the storage space for urine, trips to the restroom become more frequent. This symptom usually lasts until around Month 4 of pregnancy.
Constipation and farting
The increased progesterone secretion in early pregnancy slows down bowel movement, and makes you constipated or fart. Also, if morning sickness makes you lose your appetite and you’re unable to eat much, your body has nothing much to pass out and becomes constipated. Drink and eat enough fluids and fiber to support a healthy bowel movement.
If the function of your digestive system decreases due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, this could give you diarrhea.
Also, morning sickness could make you feel nauseated and want to eat cold foods to get rid of the feeling. This could make your body cold, resulting in diarrhea. Try to avoid cold foods and keep your body warm.
Belching, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain
Nausea, heartburn, stomach pain and belching are all symptoms associated with morning sickness. They become the most severe around Month 2 and 3, and subside gradually after entering the second trimester!
The cause of morning sickness cannot yet be explained scientifically, but try to deal with your morning sickness as well as you can!
Abdominal bloating in the early stages of pregnancy is a sign that the muscles of your uterus are increasing, expanding and the blood flow to the uterus is also increasing. At that time, ligaments supporting the uterus may be pulled and you might feel pain.
However, as bloating is also a sign of a miscarriage, there is a need to be extra careful. If your abdomen seems to tighten up and you have symptoms such as continual pain and bleeding, you should go to the hospital right away.
Edema is caused by the increase in blood volume – which is in turn, a result of the estrogen secretion in one’s body. Particularly your hands and feet swell up easily. Fight edema by taking in less salt and keeping your body warm.
Brown discharge and bleeding
Brown discharge shows the color of oxidized blood and is a sign that the blood capillaries in the uterus have been cut due to the growing baby. In the very early stages of pregnancy, implantation of a fertilized egg can cause bleeding.
What you should take note of is bleeding of fresh blood, tightness or cramp-like sensations in your stomach as these are one of the indications of a miscarriage and a threatened premature labor. If such signs are present, go to the hospital immediately.
I’m pregnant, now what?: Enjoy your pregnancy life!
There are many things you might need to start reading up about once you find out you’re pregnant, especially if you’re treading uncharted waters and are a first-time mom.
Although the list of things to note might give you stress, there isn’t a need to be too strict on yourself and stress yourself out further. What you can do is to seek support from people around you and chill out. Tell yourself, all is well!