Pregnancy Dos and Donts

Pregnancy is the most anticipated things for couples that want to start a family. A double line showing on a pregnancy test is the most wonderful thing for those who are waiting for baby. Pregnant women will take care of themselves carefully for their baby’s health. Knowing dos and don’ts will help them have a healthy baby and prevent any unwanted complications.

There are several things to do before pregnancy that are important for a healthy pregnancy.  These include visiting your Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OBGYN) for a check up, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding unhealthy behaviors (don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, don’t drink alcohol, limit your caffeine intake) and eating healthy foods.

Pregnancy has three phases known as the first trimester (zero to twelve weeks), second trimester (thirteen to twenty-five weeks) and third trimester (twenty-six to forty weeks). Week numbers are counted from your last period before pregnancy. Each trimester has different emotional and physical happenings that make pregnancy unique. Accordingly, there are different dos and don’ts for each trimester.

First trimester

The first trimester is the most fragile period, when all the fetus’s major organs and systems are formed. A healthy first trimester is very important to the normal development of the baby. Folic acid intake is the most beneficial during the first twenty-eight days after conception, as that is when most neural tube defects can occur. You can find folic acid in some green, leafy vegetables, most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, and vitamin supplements. Start to take more calcium for both you and your baby’s bones and teeth. You can find calcium in cheeses, sardines, and broccoli, or in your prenatal vitamins. If you hadn’t already, it would be wise to stop smoking and drinking alcohol now.

In this phase also (during weeks four and five), the amniotic cavity (a water-tight, fluid-filled sac that helps cushion the growing baby) and the placenta (which will bring oxygen and nutrients to nourish your baby) form within your uterus. Trying to eat healthfully and drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is highly recommended.

You might feel various symptoms during this phase. Perhaps most well known is a nauseous feeling, usually called morning sickness, though you can feel it at any time of day. Don’t let your stomach get completely empty (snacks and little meals that are bland and provide protein can help). Another common symptom is soreness in your breasts and darkening of your nipples. Change your bra with a supportive bra to help you feel more comfortable and prevent future sagging. You may urinate more often; don’t hold it and reduce your caffeine intake, as that can stimulate you more. Feeling more tired than usual is normal; be sure that you are getting enough iron. Food cravings and aversions can be heeded, just satisfy them with foods that are healthy and low in calories. It’s a good idea not to lie down right after eating, and you should avoid greasy, spicy, and acidic foods to reduce your chance of heartburn.

Exercise during pregnancy is a good way to help you improve your posture, decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue, prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery. Please consult with your doctor and health care provider first before you start do exercise.

Second trimester

The second trimester is the easiest three months of pregnancy for many women; the morning sickness and fatigue should be fading, letting you feel more energetic. During this phase, your baby will be growing quickly and you will feel changes in your body, and you’ll need to know how to deal with this discomfort.

Rapidly gaining weight can give you a backache, so try to sit up straight and use a chair with good back support. Sleep on your side with a pillow tucked between your legs. Don’t pick or carry heavy things. Wear low-heeled and comfortable shoes.

You may notice that your hair grows thicker on your head, and in some places you wouldn’t normally expect, but avoid laser hair removal, electrolysis, waxing, or depilatories during pregnancy. It’s wise to avoid self-medication for headaches too; aspirin and ibuprofen shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy, but if you really feel uncomfortable, check with your doctor and you can probably take acetaminophen.

You may find that the veins in your legs become swollen and blue or purple, a condition called varicose veins. To prevent them from worsening, try getting up and moving throughout the day, propping up your legs on a stool when sitting for long periods of time and wearing support hose for extra support. Varicose veins should improve within three months after delivery. 

You may get leg and foot cramping. To reduce it, increase your intake of calcium and potassium by having a glass of milk before bedtime or by snacking on potassium-rich foods (grapefruits, oranges and bananas)

As your skin continues to stretch, it may become dry and itchy. Keeping it moist with lotions or cream can help reduce these symptoms.

Third trimester

In this final phase of your pregnancy, you have only a few weeks before becoming a mom. This last trimester is the most challenging phase. You might have mild swelling in this phase; your rings become tighter and your ankle and face look bloated. You can ease this by putting your feet up on a stool or box when you sit, and elevating your feet while you sleep.

Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: sudden onset of swelling, contractions that make your face red and leave you out of breath – especially if they’re coming regularly, bleeding, pain or burning during urination, and of course if your water breaks.

These are the things that you can experience and what to do during your pregnancy, but the most important things that you should remember are always get your healthy foods, make sure you take enough vitamins and minerals that you and the baby need, take part in recommended exercise for pregnant women, avoid harmful substances (nicotine, drugs, alcohol, and chemical odors) and ask your doctor first before you take any medical treatment.

It’s a privilege for women to feel this wonderful experience that men can never feel. Each moment of pregnancy will bring excitement and joy for you, even though you might feel discomfort from all the symptoms. Those minor hurdles won’t stop you, because being a mom is the greatest occupation in your life with a huge responsibility that starts from conception and lasts until after your kids have grown up.