Nothing can beat the joy of pregnancy for women but it also makes them the most nervous. After all, every woman wants things to be perfect for her child. As the pregnancy progresses you may often find yourself panicking and clueless as the journey is going to be long. Moreover it may not be as smooth as you anticipated.
The first trimester of pregnancy will determine a lot about the progression of your pregnancy into later phases and the health of your child. Although, this joyful ride is going to be the best journey of your life, you need to prepare yourself for the pregnancy. With preparation including precautions during early pregnancy you will be able to control your pregnancy and avoid any complications. Taking precautions during pregnancy will keep several problems at bay.
The precaution during pregnancy not only include about alcohol, drugs and medication, it helps you improve the complete experience itself. You will be able to avoid complications so that you can spend more time on looking after yourself. Pregnancy precautions can make the first trimester a stress free as it could have been very stressful otherwise. Following are the common early pregnancy precautions for your first trimester.
The changes in the body during the onset of pregnancy increase the fluid requirement in the body. It may even lead to dehydration in the first trimester which increases the risk of miscarriage. Drink plenty of water, fresh fruit juices, smoothies and also eating vegetables such as cucumber that are high on water content to stay hydrated. You need to drink more fluid during pregnancy as your blood volume needs to increase during pregnancy to support better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
It’s time to look after yourself and switch to healthier lifestyle. Although you should follow a healthy lifestyle throughout your life, there is no scope for alcohol, smoking and drug during pregnancy. Consuming alcohol during the first trimester may cause fetal alcohol syndrome which affects the mental well being and facial features of the child.
On the other hand smoking significantly increases the risk of complications including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have premature labour and babies of low birth-weight. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is also higher in households where someone smokes. Make sure to be careful about passive smoking as well as it can also be harmful for your child.
Some experts believe that more than 150mg intake of caffeine a day during the first trimester poses higher risk of miscarriage. Limit your caffeine intake by avoiding drinks such as green and black tea, colas and sodas as well as chocolates that contain caffeine.
Healthy eating is a primary prerequisite to pregnancy; however, there are certain items that are best avoided. Certain fish such as tuna, king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish do contain high amounts of mercury that may harm the developing brain of your unborn child. The American Pregnancy Association says, "Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. Certain types of sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury."
The American Pregnancy Association advises that you avoid raw eggs while you’re pregnant because raw eggs are exposed to salmonella bacteria that can be deleterious to the foetus’s health. The National Health Service warns “Don’t eat mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chevre (a type of goats' cheese) and others with a similar rind. You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue or gorgonzola. These are made with mould and they can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby. Although infection with listeria (listeriosis) is rare, it is important to take special precautions in pregnancy because even a mild form of the illness in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.”
Also avoid soft unpasteurised cheeses, raw eggs and foods containing raw eggs such as mousse, salad dressings, raw fish, processed meats such as sausages and also meat spreads as a precautionary measure during the first trimester. These foods need to be avoided because they can contain bacteria that may lead to disorders such as salmonella, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. These illnesses can cause birth defects in the child or in extreme cases, may also lead to miscarriage. Also make sure that you stay away from uncooked meat and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
You need to look after yourself even more carefully during the first trimester. Make sure that you regularly perform some gentle exercises that can help prevent back pain, boost your energy and build stamina. Hormonal changes during the pregnancy can leave you feeling worn out. So make sure that you get naps as and when needed. Also make sure that you get ample uninterrupted sleep every night. Since your baby needs to be fed constantly, eat light and frequent meals every two to three hours. Don’t rely on your favourite foods or dishes; instead get the required calories from all food groups. Include healthy amounts of foods such as whole grains, milk, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, pulses, legumes and nuts in your diet.
If you have got a pet at home, you should also limit contact with the animal. Your pet may carry toxoplasma gondii, a harmful parasite that can cause long-term damage to the baby by attacking her brain. It may also cause severe eye defects and poor growth in the baby. Animal dander may also cause trigger allergic reactions. To avoid such problems limit your contact with animals.
Some herbs such as saw palmetto, passion flower, pennyroyal and black cohosh have been linked to high risk of miscarriage, preterm labour and intense uterine contractions. You should ask your gynaecologist about all medicines available over-the-counter that you should avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy. By taking the necessary precautions in the first trimester of pregnancy, you can save yourself from a lot of pregnancy complications that often lead to dire consequences in the early months of pregnancy. Also, monitor your condition vigilantly i.e. under the supervision of your health care provider.
Several women experience an increased sense of smell during the first trimester of their pregnancy which can often cause symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea. If you experience such symptoms after smelling something, make sure you avoid such triggers. Stay away from strong smells to keep the symptoms of increased sense of smell at bay.
Always take your prenatal vitamins on time as prescribed by the doctor. The first trimester is a crucial time for you and your baby. Make sure you get all the required vitamins and minerals. A pregnant woman must have at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day. Folic acid is important because it prevents birth defects such as neural tube defects in the unborn baby. Never miss the iron and folic acid supplements.
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