Pregnancy tips are applicable rules, guidelines, and pieces of information, needed during pregnancy.
If you wish to have a healthy and safer pregnancy, especially as a first-time mom, you need to follow some rules and guidelines.
Things To Know When Pregnant For The First Time
Are pregnant for the first time? I know you may be feeling a bit nervous and unsure of how the pregnancy journey will be.
Here are some pregnancy tips to guide you on the right track:
- Plan a visit with a doctor, preferably an Obstetrics and gynecologist (Obgyn).
- You will likely experience symptoms like cramps, breasts tenderness, and itching, similar to menstrual periods.
- Prepare yourself with morning sickness remedies (check them out on the post How to deal with morning sickness).
- Pregnancy comes with different symptoms, and these symptoms may change by trimester. Educate yourself so you know what to expect and how to manage them.
- Plan to attend a birth class.
- Pregnancy has its high and low moments. Take every day as it comes.
- Do exercises to keep fit and help strengthen your muscles for labor.
- You may put on some extra weight, especially when your cravings start. Ensure you maintain the ideal weight by eating right. Check the post, how to have a belly-only pregnancy for tips.
- You will need some new things(bras, shoes, clothes, etc.). Read through the post, pregnancy must-haves, to give you insights on the things to get.
You will get lots and lots of solicited and unsolicited advice from people. Though some are good, not all are important. So you have to be careful and sift through what people say, and the things you hear or see and pick out the essential tips from the unimportant ones.
How would you know which tips are helpful and are not? Well, here is a guide. Below are some essential pregnancy tips you do not want to miss in your pregnancy journey.
1. Establish Healthcare With An Obgyn Early
It would be best not to miss this, whether you were trying to conceive or didn’t even plan the pregnancy. I consider this one of the first pregnancy tips you should note, especially if you are a first-time mom.
Seeking medical care from an obgyn at the start of pregnancy is very important because there could be complications that the woman is unaware of.
If these complications are not addressed on time, it could cause more significant problems for the Mother and Child. Also, the risk of miscarriage(read about miscarriage in pregnancy here) is higher in early pregnancy.
So it is wise to see a doctor early in pregnancy so that you can avoid any risks that could cause miscarriage or other complications.
2. Prenatal Vitamins
These are a must-have for pregnancy. Before pregnancy, it is advised to take vitamins to build up the body’s immune system and help prevent deficiency.
It is also helpful for women who are trying to conceive. It would help if you did not miss out on taking prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins are formulated with essential vitamins and minerals needed for the mother and child. In the first trimester, the neural tube, which later develops into the spinal cord, brain, skull.
Deficiency of vital vitamins like folic acid can cause poor growth and development in the growing fetus, leading to risks of congenital malformations.
If you combine prenatal vitamins with a balanced diet, you are assured of a healthier pregnancy and lower chances of nutrient deficiency. There are lots of prenatal vitamins brand out there.
Before buying any, read the content and ensure it contains the vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, folic acid, zinc, calcium, Vit. B12, etc.
Since it is pretty easy to get queasy in the first trimester, taking the vitamins may sometimes seem complicated, but here are some tips that could help you out.
Sample different brands to find the type you seem to tolerate more. It is better than buying so many of one brand at once. You may also take prenatal vitamins at night, so you do not have the awful taste in your mouth throughout the day.
You can take your prenatal vitamins while eating or pop a candy in your mouth after taking them.
3. Eat An Adequate Diet
This is an essential pregnancy tip that you shouldn’t miss. If you want to have a pregnancy with a lesser risk of complications, and congenital malformations, and healthier pregnancy, then you should eat adequate meals. The food you eat will determine the nutrients you will get.
Make no mistakes; even if you take the best and most expensive prenatal vitamins in the market, it won’t do you good if you do not regularly eat an adequate diet.
Pregnancy is not a time to practice a weight loss program for those scared of overeating because they do not want to gain excessive weight.
Instead, check the post on how to have a belly only pregnancy for tips to maintain your pregnancy weight.
Your diet should contain the six nutrients, carbohydrates, protein oils, fats, vitamins, and minerals, and take lots of fluids. Always eat varieties, beans and fish, egg, pasta, rice, and lots of fruit and vegetables.
Please take note, while you should eat lots of food, there are some foods you should avoid during pregnancy because they are risky for you and the child. Read the post, Pregnancy foods to avoid to learn more.
In the first trimester, morning sickness can make it challenging to eat well because of nausea, loss of appetite, etc. The post How to deal with morning sickness can give you tips to help combat morning sickness.
Exercising regularly in pregnancy is a vital pregnancy tip to utilize because it helps you have an easier labor and avoid unwanted pregnancy complications like a miscarriage.
By exercising, I do not mean you should go about skydiving or planning to become a heavyweight champion of the world’s best female boxer.
Exercise in pregnancy means staying active and maintaining the ideal weight, which is BMI18.5 to 24. 9. Trust me; it is easy to get overwhelmed with the pregnancy signs and symptoms that you may want to stay in bed all day but always try to be active every day in pregnancy.
Resist the lure to stay in bed or lie down and sleep all the time. Yes, rest is essential, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to become lazy.
Plan and maintain an exercise schedule that can keep you active and fit. Go out for a walk, prepare your favorite dish, bake some cookies, do some light and less strenuous chores around the home.
Also, try practicing yoga, swimming, and Kegel exercises. These are some appropriate pregnancy exercises you can try out to help you keep fit.
If you are into sports and are pregnant, you should ask your doctor which exercises are safe during pregnancy so you can avoid those strenuous and unsafe sports.
Sports like scuba diving, sky diving, surfing, biking, boxing, etc., should be avoided. Safe exercises that can help you keep fit are dancing, riding a stationary bike, low-impact sports, low-impact aerobics, etc.
5. Keep A Pregnancy Journal
Every pregnancy is unique and different, and each moment is memorable. Recording those big and small events that happened throughout your pregnancy is worth it.
The highs and the lows, the happy times and the sad times, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them, all these can be recorded in your pregnancy journal.
Writing about your pregnancy can help you prepare better for your subsequent pregnancies. It can also help other women.
For example, the records you have penned down in your journal can be a reference when you share your pregnancy experiences with people. You may even plan to start up a pregnancy blog sharing your unique birth story to women.
Having a pregnancy journal is also important to keep track of your essential milestones in pregnancy.
You can keep track of your weight, the baby’s growth and health, how you are working within your budget, your exercise schedule, and how much effort you have made in achieving them.
Keeping a pregnancy journal is a pregnancy tip many women do not utilize because it seems like it is not essential. I did not own a journal during my pregnancy, and I wish I had, for there are so many important things I didn’t pen down about my pregnancy.
A pregnancy journal is also helpful for women who experience depression or fear in pregnancy (check the post on how to overcome the fear of pregnancy to learn more about this).
It could be a way for the woman to express her feelings, especially if she finds it hard to share them with anyone. It is beneficial for treatment.
6. Learn/Educate Yourself About Pregnancy
Whether it is your first child, last child, or second child, you need to continuously educate yourself about the pregnancy. Reading and familiarizing yourself will open your eyes to so many things and will guide you on the right path.
When I was pregnant, I made sure to fill up my knowledge bank as much as possible. I was always researching pregnancy stuff. Trimester by trimester, I studied what and what not to expect. In my second trimester, I started craving lots of food.
In no time, I was eating non-stop, barely able to control my hunger. I got worried at some point because I didn’t want to get overweight.
I had to research again, finding tips on how to eat right in pregnancy, prevent overweight, and have a belly-only pregnancy.
There was hardly anything I didn’t study or read about, things to buy for my baby and mama shopping, the pregnancy must-haves, things to put in the hospital bag (the post-hospital bag checklist will give you a guide for this).
I also watched many YouTube videos on how the fetus develops in the womb. During the last trimester, as I got closer to my due date, I became pretty scared.
I had to watch lots of YouTube videos about the four stages of labor, read about pain management in labor, the success rate of vaginal delivery, and many women’s success stories.
I also asked lots and lots of questions. All these allayed my fears a bit. Knowledge can never be too much. Whether you are a first, second, or third time mom, please ensure to get pregnancy books and do a lot of research.
Ask questions, get tips from friends and older women. Find hacks that can help you throughout pregnancy.
While sourcing for the right pregnancy books to buy, you can ask your friends for references on good pregnancy books. You can also buy used books from your friends or library or, better still, download free online books. More importantly, talk to your doctor to get the best advice about your pregnancy.
7. Attend Birth Classes
A great and practical way to get first-hand knowledge about pregnancy is through a prenatal class. Sometimes if you read and research on your own, you may not fully grasp everything but taking birth classes is a practical approach to learn about pregnancy.
Birth classes or prenatal classes are specifically organized to guide women through the pregnancy journey. In addition to educating yourself and seeing a doctor, this is a valuable pregnancy tip that will help during pregnancy.
At birth classes, you are taught about the different aspects of pregnancy, trimester by trimester. You learn more about labor; you get tips on managing the pregnancy symptoms and lots more. What is unique about birth classes is that learning is practical.
The team of midwives, doctors, and nurses engage the women on what is taught. They could give projects, assignments, seminars, etc., all in a bid to strengthen and perfect learning.
You also learn from other women’s experiences, valuable tips, and hacks to help you in pregnancy. You are free to ask any questions bordering you, and as a bonus, you can socialize and connect with other pregnant women.
8. Review Your Medications
It is an essential pregnancy tip you should not fail to overlook, especially if you were on any medication before pregnancy. For women with conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, etc.,
it is essential to talk about this with your doctor when you go for the first prenatal check-up.
Some drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy and can pose risks of miscarriage and congenital abnormalities in the Unborn child. Your doctor will be in the best position to prescribe pregnancy-safe drugs for you.
Taking drugs without a prescription isn’t advisable in pregnancy. Whether it is an over-the-counter drug made of natural supplements or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, it is a complete No-No.
However, should you have any complaints or sickness when pregnant, seek your doctor’s advice on the right medicine to take.
Women who take steroids in sports should discontinue the use immediately they find out they are pregnant because it can affect the baby.
Some drugs to avoid in pregnancy include chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, primaquine, sulphonamide, steroids, codeine, cocaine, warfarin lorazepam, clonazepam, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), nicotine.
It is pretty safe to take these drugs during pregnancy, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever, penicillin, asthma drugs, some allergy medicines like lorazepam, etc.
9. Avoid Exposure To Toxins
Once you are pregnant, you should be extra cautious because of your health and the growth and development of your unborn child. Please do well to take these pregnancy tips seriously.
Minimize exposure to poisonous substances like strong disinfectants, harsh chemicals, bug sprays, pesticides, repellent, varnish, hairsprays, etc. Since the baby does not breathe on its own till, after delivery, it will depend solely on the mother for oxygen.
These toxic substances contain chemicals that, when inhaled, can pass through the bloodstream and cross the placental barrier and get to the fetus.
Risks like spina bifida, congenital heart disease, developmental delays, brain damage, and many other defects are risks for the unborn child if the mother inhales these toxic substances. These toxins or chemicals can also affect the skin of the mother, causing skin problems.
10. Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, And Smoking
Alcohol should be avoided entirely in pregnancy. It is a pregnancy tip you should not miss. Taking even little sips is not advisable as no amount is safe during pregnancy. Alcohol contains toxins that could be harmful to the baby.
These chemicals can get to the baby because some can pass through the placental barrier and because the baby organs haven’t fully developed yet, it may seriously affect the baby.
It can affect the organ like the liver because the baby’s liver is not set, and the body cannot break down the chemicals yet. When alcohol chemicals build up in the body, it causes more chances of complications.
The threat that alcohol poses to an unborn child includes miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, developmental problems, premature birth. Caffeine also poses risks to the unborn child.
Caffeine can cross the placental barrier and cause issues like fertility problems in the infant and stillbirth. And dizziness and diarrhea in the mother.
It is best to limit the coffee intake to 1 cup a day because coffee contains the highest amount of caffeine instead of caffeine; instead of taking coffee, you can pay for a decaffeinated coffee rather.
Smoking or inhaling smoke is also risky for you and the unborn child because the chemical nicotine can get to the unborn child and cause harm.
Those who find it hard to quit smoking or drinking should see the doctor for appropriate advice and support during pregnancy number.
11. Switch Jobs And Chores
Once you are pregnant, it is essential to change some chores that may be risky, put strain on the baby bump, or expose you to chemicals or toxins.
If your job requires you to stand for a long time, bend down frequently, climb the stairs, or lift heavy loads, you should consider stopping for now or changing things because it is risky to the baby and may cause miscarriage.
Jobs like a painting that involve climbing ladders and inhaling toxic fumes should also be avoided.
If you are a fire woman consider stopping for a time because it is hazardous to you and the baby. Other jobs like fuel attendants that expose fumes from the fuel and smoke from the car should be stopped during pregnancy because it is hazardous.
A Traffic warden job exposes you to smoke and makes you stand for a long time should also be stopped. You may talk to your employer so that you can switch job roles, but if there are no other options, you may have to quit for the time being.
Household chores like bending, scrubbing, spending a long time in the hot kitchen, changing the litter box of kittens should be stopped.
12. Take Lots Of Fluids
The blood volume increases up to 50% in pregnancy because many processes and activities are going on in the body. Transport of nutrients, production, and transportation of hormones, building up new body cells, excretion of waste, etc.
The body will require more fluid to function optimally at this time, so you should aim to take up to 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.
To achieve this, drink milk, juices, drink tea, eat watery fruits like cucumber, watermelon, oranges, keep a water bottle handy, so you can always take sips at intervals.
Taking sufficient fluids helps you avoid constipation, extreme dehydration, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections, heartburn, etc. If you find it challenging to drink water, add few dashes of lemon in your cup or water bottle.
You can also try to add mint leaves or rosemary leaves to impact flavor. Or, add few dashes of your favorite drink (no alcohol, please) to your water bottle to sweeten it a bit, and try taking water if Iced cold helps.
13. Practice Hygiene
It is a pregnancy tip that you do not want to miss because it is essential to achieve a risk-free pregnancy. Good hygiene starts from frequent hand-washing.
Always aim to wash your hands as often as possible, especially when you go out, use the toilet, go to a crowded place or visit the hospital; anytime you see the opportunity to wash your hands, do not miss it.
You can carry a portable alcohol-based hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands. It is also helpful, especially where there is no water source.
Washing your hands frequently prevent pregnant women from the risk of pathogens like toxoplasmosis, Group B streptococcus, cytomegalovirus, and even the widespread Covid virus. Another good hygiene practice is to wash food, especially fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running water before eating.
This food could have contacted pathogens from where they were grown, stored, or transported, and washing them would help significantly to prevent the risk of food poisoning and genetic risks. Pathogens like listeria and Toxoplasma gondii can cause severe issues in the infant.
Good hygiene is also essential in your household and environment. For example, the toilet and bathroom should always be clean so that you prevent vaginal infections.
14. Write A Birth Plan
Labor sometimes does not go as expected, but with a birth plan, it is closer to your expectations.
Writing a birth plan is essential because it helps you prepare your mind and envisage labor. It also enables you to prepare the hospital for your unique requests during pregnancy.
For example, if you want no formulas during birth, the people you wish to in the labor room, the kind of pain management techniques you prefer, if you will need a doula at your bedside, no circumcision, etc.
It will make it easier for the hospital to handle your unique needs during labor. It also prepares you ahead for delivery. Going to delivery without a birth plan isn’t advisable.
15. Enjoy Each Moment Of Your Pregnancy
Every pregnancy isn’t the same. Some are tasking, others more manageable. Whatever the case, you should make sure you enjoy each day of your pregnancy.
If you have severe morning sickness as I did, you may see no point in going out or having fun. But do it anyway. Once nausea has abated, try to stand up and go out or do something you enjoy.
Also, plan activities that you can do to make the pregnancy a memorable one. Go for a girl’s night out with your friends, a babymoon with your partner, travel, go for sightseeing, spa, massage, and anything you feel up to that would boost your spirits.
Host a baby shower (check out the 15 baby registry checklist that would give you a guide on what you would need for your baby shower), read books, go to the cinema, make every moment count. This pregnancy tip will help you make pregnancy more fun.
Wishing you an awesome pregnancy Journey.