Preparing for your first baby can be an equally exciting and overwhelming time. There is enough information out there to make a mom-to-be’s head spin. What care should be taken during early pregnancy?
We’ll explore some tips to help make both early pregnancy and the later months go as smoothly as possible.
Truly one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself during pregnancy – at any stage – is to get enough rest. It’s not always easy to do later, when you may be more physically uncomfortable or dealing with insomnia, so the more you can rest during early pregnancy the better. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen to it. It’s doing a lot of work right now, even if you can’t see it!
The first trimester is a time of rapid development for the growing baby, so it’s crucial to be sure you’re taking in a variety of nutrients. If you weren’t already taking a prenatal vitamin, you’ll want to add that to your daily routine. And while vitamins are the most direct way to get the necessary nutrients, balanced nutrition is important too. Think as many leafy greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables as your palate will allow, dairy for extra protein and calcium, nuts for minerals, legumes for more scarce nutrients like folate, and 2-3 servings of fish, especially salmon, per week. And what foods should be avoided in the first trimester? Primarily raw or unpasteurized foods, which increase the risk of Listeria, E. Coli and other harmful bacteria that could infect you or the baby.
Another healthy habit to either continue or establish during pregnancy is regular movement. Whether it’s making appropriate adjustments to a current exercise routine (talk to your doctor about the best way to do that) or starting some pregnancy-approved walking, swimming or light weights, your body will thank you for the activity. Not only can it make the later months of pregnancy a bit more comfortable, but it can also actually help labor and delivery go more smoothly. Worth it!
Mentally preparing for your new little roommate may help ease the transition. Books can be helpful if you learn best by filing away suggestions and tidbits of information. Anything from a childbirth class, which will help you prepare by creating a general birth plan, to a first aid class, where you can learn safety basics and even become certified in infant CPR, can also help you feel more ready for what’s to come.
The final months of pregnancy are often marked with an urge to “nest,” which means organizing (and reorganizing) your home and everything in it. Use this time to your advantage by getting your home and baby’s needs in order; revisit the basics like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, plus consider baby proofing and be sure to properly install the baby’s car seat. This is also the time to pack your hospital bag.
How long do first-time moms stay pregnant? As it turns out, it’s often longer than the anticipated nine months! It’s often said a pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is actually ten months. WebMD has found that the average pregnancy is actually 39 weeks, so you can anticipate anywhere between nine to ten months – sometimes even a little longer. Use that time to relax as best you can; you’ll be focused on your newborn soon enough! And since you’ve spent the past several months learning, organizing and preparing, it’s necessary to take the last few weeks to rest and pamper yourself.