Finding out that you are pregnant is both exciting and scary – with a baby growing inside you, is there anything you shouldn’t be doing? Can you still play sports, have sex, eat anything and are there certain things you should be doing? Here’s a guide to a healthy first trimester with all the dos and don’ts you need to know!
Don’ts in the First Trimester
Don’t take medication without first checking with your doctor. The medicine can enter the bloodstream to your baby so be extra careful with what medicine you take, in particular, during the first trimester.
If you have the symptoms such as cramps with vaginal bleeding, excessive discharge, severe nausea and vomiting or severe leg pain, do not delay seeing your doctor.
Reduce the number of coffees you drink as caffeine had been linked with miscarriages. The amount of caffeine is about 200mg per day but that can vary in terms of cups, which depend on the type of coffee that you drink. Espresso/ brewed coffee will have higher caffeine (one cup) but if you opt for instant 3-in-1 coffee with lower caffeine content (two cups), be wary of the sugar and hydrogenated fats in the packet. Other sources of caffeine to reduce will be soda and energy drinks, which are to be reduced even if one is not pregnant!
Sushi and other raw meat, unpasteurized food
Sushi, raw meat, seafood, raw eggs, unpasteurized diary may contain harmful bacteria, toxin or parasite that will affect your pregnancy. Also avoid high mercury foods like swordfish, tile fish, shark and king mackerel. Reduce or not eat ham, oysters, shellfish
and luncheon/smoked meat.
Don’t diet! There’s so much pressure to be slim that some women are tempted to diet to reduce the weight gain. Unless you’re seriously overeating pre-pregnancy, you shouldn’t be dieting. Instead choose to eat wisely.
If you are living in a place with ongoing renovation, it may be best to move out and return only when the renovation is done and all the chemicals have been ‘aired’. Air pollutants had been associated with pregnancy complications like premature birth and preeclampsia.
Quit smoking – smoking has been linked to several health conditions in the baby, including respiratory problems, low birth weight, infant death, cleft lip/palate. Smoking also increases the likelihood of miscarriage and premature birth.
There are different recommendations on what is acceptable alcohol limit but it is important not to drink alcohol in the first trimester. The alcohol is able to pass to your baby’s bloodstream. Excessive drinking has been linked to impede mental and physical growth of the baby, low birth weight and increases risk of behavioral and learning issues.
Stress during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight, preterm birth and increases likelihood of miscarriage. Having a baby will change your life much and pregnancy may be a good time to reduce workload and say ‘no’ to certain people or work so that you can free up time to rest and later, to care for your baby.
This may sound relaxing but being in a sauna or hot tub can increase your body temperature and has been linked to birth defects. Opt for a warm bath, massage or meditation if you want to relax.
If you feel up for it and don’t have any medical condition that increases pregnancy risk, having sex will not hurt your baby. The amniotic sac, uterus muscle and the mucus plug that seals your cervix are able to give your baby safe.
There is never a better time than pregnancy to tell your spouse you can’t do chores – apart from feeling tired, you don’t want to go near chemicals and that includes cleaning products and pesticides. Air your home after cleaning and also during cooking.
The first trimester is likely the time when you find yourself searching for answers to deal with your changing body; apply healthy living
principles and enjoy your pregnancy.