Now that you’re getting used to the fact that your new name is ‘Mom’, *shudders*, let’s talk a bit about the first trimester.
Pregnancy is a beautimous and scary FORTY week period. That’s right. FORTY, 4-0 weeks. Nine months, 280 days, I won’t even get into the hours and minutes of it. Let that sink in! Sounds like an absolute lifetime! It technically is the life forming period for your LO.
Forty weeks of discomfort, 40 weeks of gross ass changes of your body, 40 weeks of feeling FAT! But that cute little baby at the end is worth it right? *chuckles nervously*
Your first trimester probably started something like, missed period, taking a test, that ‘oh shit’ or ‘oh yay’ moment, nerves, telling your partner, rejoicing, then carrying around this HUGE secret until the first trimester is over and it’s ‘safe’ to tell other people.
In my last post I spoke about some symptoms of pregnancy. I may have exaggerated a bit. So let me start by saying everyone is different, and my experience may be totally different from yours. Now that that’s out of the way, my pregnancy has been pretty easy. THANKFULLY! I love being pregnant! I had no morning sickness and no cravings (until much later on and it still wasn’t anything crazy). I did have everything else I mentioned in the post, which included mood swings, breast tenderness, fatigue AND flatulence!! #ThanksBabyBoy
This brings me to my next topic. What is the first trimester? Well like I mentioned pregnancy is made up of forty weeks(doesn’t sound any less frightening the more I type it) and these forty weeks are divided into three trimesters (DUH! TRI-mester).
The first trimester typically starts on the first day of your last period and continues until week 12/13. The baby building phase if you will. Most people(unless you’re OCD like me and found out when you’re literally three weeks in) usually find out they’re pregnant at about weeks six to eight.
During this phase, baby grows the most rapidly and is the phase of organogenesis (fancy word for ‘organs are forming’). And here my friends is where anyone who comes to the hospital who just found out they’re pregnant, is where I’d rattle off my speech:
“Congratulations on your pregnancy. Now that you’re pregnant, you have a few things you should and shouldn’t do…”
BOOKING BLOODS – most importantly!
1) A full blood count
2) Group and Rh (finding out your blood type)
3) Sickle cell test
4) VDRL (test for syphillis)
6) Hep B (not routine)
7)OGTT at 24-28 weeks (more on that later)
8)Ultrasound scan! Your first ultrasound is most accurate in terms of dating your pregnancy and calculating your due date
Prenatal vitamins – folic acid is a must, must, must. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects (spina bifida). A complete prenatal such as Materna or Natele is best but if for some reason is unavailable, iron and folic acid tablets are appropriate.(Be cautious with the iron tablets because they’re known to cause constipation and matte black stool). Of course additional medication such as aspirin, and calcium may be given if mom has conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. (More on these later).
A lot of women ask if exercise during pregnancy is ok and the answer is YES, YES, YES! Normal physical exercise is encouraged , especially if you had an exercise routine prior to pregnancy. Strenuous activity and weight lifting should be avoided.
Some things that we may think are obvious, aren’t obvious to everyone.
DO NOT SMOKE DURING PREGNANCY! Not one, not half, not a puff of your Tanty’s cigarette. DO NOT SMOKE. This includes smoking of any illicit drugs.
Alcohol is a tricky subject. Personally, I advise patients to stay away from alcohol for the entire pregnancy. There have been studies that are still inconclusive about allowing a glass of wine and while maybe one or two glasses may be acceptable, at least wait until the second trimester to test this theory.
There are some foods that it is advisable to stay away from, these include soft cheeses such as Camembert or Brie. This is because these mouldy cheeses typically carry listeria monocytogenes which is a bacterial infection that can have some serious effects on your developing popo. (Can also cause miscarriage, stillbirth, uterine infection and meningitis after baby is born).
Avoid liver and liver products due to the risk of developing vitamin A toxicity (causes malformations of the eyes, skull, lungs and heart).
Avoid raw or uncooked eggs and food. Sayonara sushi!
Those are the biggest NO, NOs in pregnancy. Of course there are like 10000000 other old wives tales that say you can and can’t do or eat certain things. ALWAYS consult with your doctor first.
Some fun facts about the first trimester! Baby’s sense of taste, brain, heart, eyesight, sense of touch, bones, hair and nails, and digestive system are all developing! Isn’t your body wonderful?! You’re literally growing life, growing a person.
Kudos to you. And although you may not look pregnant just yet, you sure as hell do feel it. You can’t get enough sleep, your acid reflux is WACK, you’re gassy, moody, cranky and SORE! Ick! It gets better, I promise… sort of.
Remember to make time for you, do things that make you feel good and beautiful! You’re important too! And healthy mama = healthy baba!
Stay tuned for my next post on first trimester symptoms and red flag symptoms. When should you go to the ER?