Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time or just found out you got pregnant spontaneously, there are a lot of adjustments to make in the first trimester.
Take Your Vitamins
If you haven’t been taking a prenatal vitamin, it’s time to start. Prenatals contain the essential vitamins and minerals your baby needs for proper development. All the baby’s body systems form in the first trimester, so it’s crucial that baby has access to these essential nutrients so their systems will develop properly. Not only that, but you may have some deficiencies in some of these nutrients without knowing it.
For example, here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s common to be low in vitamin D, but that could have implications for placental functioning and fetal bone growth. There is also a link between vitamin D deficiency and miscarriage. If you have difficulty keeping your prenatal vitamin down during the first trimester, check with your prenatal provider about switching to a gummy vitamin.
Make Time for Rest
Some people experience exhaustion in the first trimester. It’s ok to take naps. If you can, try to set up your work schedule so you have time to rest in the middle of the day (especially if you work from home!). Sleep as much as you need to. Trust me, you are not being lazy, you are making another human, and that takes a lot of energy!
Find Your Obstetrician or Midwife
Schedule your first appointment with your Obstetrician or midwife as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Many prenatal providers have very full practices, so it’s best to plan ahead and get on their schedule. In the meantime, check in with your primary care provider about any medications you have been taking to ensure they are pregnancy-safe. It’s better if you are able to plan ahead and check about this before you get pregnant, but not everybody has that opportunity.
Review Your Diet
Learn about pregnancy-safe foods and which foods to avoid. Focus on a whole-foods diet, and avoid high-mercury fish, unpasteurized dairy or juice, green tea, raw or undercooked meat, trans-fats and processed foods with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. To avoid nausea, eating a high protein snack or meal every 2 hours can be your best approach. If nausea is really impacting your life, talk to your provider about short-term, safe medication options that can help.
Resources for Tracking Development
If you’re interested, there are many books, websites, and apps where you can read up on fetal development and the changes to your body during pregnancy. Here you can learn about common first-trimester symptoms, like breast tenderness, fatigue, headache, nausea or vomiting, and food cravings. It’s also important to know the red flags in pregnancy. Consult with your primary care provider if you experience any of the following in your first trimester:
- vaginal bleeding
- abdominal or low back pain
- painful or burning urination
- foul-smelling discharge
- severe nausea or vomiting
- a feeling that something isn’t right
Be prepared for lots and lots of tests. You will likely have blood taken to test for certain conditions and a urinalysis. You may opt for non-invasive prenatal testing, which is when a sample of blood is taken and scanned for placental cells, this can screen for certain genetic conditions in the baby. You may also have genetic carrier bloodwork done to see if you are a carrier of inheritable conditions. You might have a nuchal translucency ultrasound to check for certain markers that may indicate genetic abnormalities.
Check Your Insurance
Don’t forget to look into your health insurance benefits so you can plan ahead for the birth of your baby. You’ll want to know your deductible amount as well as your out of pocket maximum. While you’re looking it up, check to see if you have acupuncture benefits. Many insurance companies cover acupuncture for symptoms during pregnancy, like nausea or low back pain. Acupuncture can be great adjunct care during pregnancy, and is very safe during pregnancy. Seek out an acupuncturist who has experience treating pregnant people, and enjoy the relaxing rest time while you connect with your growing baby!
We’re happy to help guide you toward the best things you can do to help you get pregnant! To learn more about how we can help, email us.