Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be an emotional journey. You are likely feeling a mixture of confusion, fear, and uncertainty. The many changes going on in your body and questions in your head can be overwhelming. Whether you’re considering adoption or parenting, it’s important to understand some of the pregnancy basics so you know what to expect in the coming months.
Visit the Doctor
Once your find out you are pregnant, you should immediately make an appointment with a doctor. The doctor will give you an approximate due date for your baby and provide recommendations for ensuring a healthy pregnancy. The doctor will advise you to begin taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Inform them of any medications that you currently take and ask about common over-the-counter medications, such as certain pain relievers, cough syrups, and cold medicine, that are harmful in pregnancy.
Kick the Bad Habits
Smoking, drinking, and drug use are all extremely harmful for your unborn baby. Even if you use these items only occasionally, it is essential that you refrain from them during your pregnancy. Avoid being around other people who are smoking to prevent secondhand smoke exposure.
The Fine Print
Unpleasant pregnancy symptoms are not the same for all women. The hormonal changes are probably making you feel as though you are riding an emotional roller coaster. You may have already experienced morning sickness. Though it is called morning sickness, it doesn’t always occur in the morning. Sometimes, it sticks around throughout the day. The good news is most women no longer experience morning sickness after 12–14 weeks. Women often struggle with fatigue at various stages in their pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Other women report a higher level of energy during pregnancy. Other common complaints include breast tenderness, food cravings and repulsions, sciatica, lack of sleep, and increased urination. At various times in your pregnancy, you will feel discomfort, particularly in the third trimester.
Nutrition and Exercise
Many women think pregnancy is an excuse to eat whatever you want. Though you should not “diet” during pregnancy, it is important that you stick with healthy, nutrient-rich foods. If you make a habit of eating unhealthy, you may be at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Ask your doctor how many pounds are recommend for you to gain in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Don’t worry, it is alright to indulge in a treat occasionally, just not daily!
You can find extensive lists of foods to avoid when you’re pregnant, but if you followed every list, you would likely go hungry. The most important foods to avoid are undercooked or raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs; deli meat; hotdogs; and consuming more than six ounces of canned tuna per week. Limit your coffee intake to less than 12 ounces per day or to try to avoid it all together.
A key area of pregnancy basics is regular exercise. Low-impact exercises like walking and prenatal yoga are great options, just do not over exert yourself. Exercising will help you feel more energetic and help combat moodiness. Prior to doing any exercise program, it is best to consult your physician for approval.
Pregnancy is a unique time in your life and your body is going through changes daily. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to medical professionals or seasoned mothers. There are many outstanding books available to help you understand what is going on in your body and how you can take good care of yourself during pregnancy. Contact us to ask about resources available to educate you on all the pregnancy basics!