Every First-Time-Mom’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

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Congratulations, you’re going to be a parent! Pregnancy is an exciting, nerve-wracking journey, full of twists and turns, especially for first-time moms. In the first three months, there are the usual symptoms that no woman is ever prepared for, no matter how informed she is. Then there are the new changes happening to your body, the food aversion, weight gain, inexplicable aches, to name a few.

There are pains that you will experience such as sciatic nerve pain. But don’t worry as there are tips on how to get rid of sciatic nerve pain while pregnant that are effective. There may also be some remedies for the other changes you will experience during pregnancy.

Along with adjusting to these changes, soon-to-be moms also must fulfill an enormously important responsibility—that is, to ensure a healthy pregnancy. From finding a health-care provider to changing your diet, here are some steps every pregnant woman must take to keep themselves and their unborn babies healthy.

Confirm Your Pregnancy

Many women use a urine pregnancy test to determine if they’ve successfully conceived. These tests are about 99 percent accurate, but sometimes, women may get different results if they did the test too early after they missed their period. In this case, the best course of action is to wait another week before taking another pregnancy test or see a doctor to run a blood test to confirm the pregnancy.

Rare cases of false positives also happen. False positives can occur due to chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, medications, or user error. Again, it’s best to see a doctor who can do a more thorough pregnancy screening, like an ultrasound exam (attached with a specialized ultrasound transducer) to check the gestational sac and determine if the pregnancy is real.

Choose Your Health-Care Provider

 Your health-care provider during your pregnancy will play a huge role in your life for the next months. They will be your doctor, guide, supporter, and go-to expert for all pregnancy-related things. For that reason, it’s vital to find a health-care provider whom you are compatible with and whose beliefs and philosophies on pregnancy, pain management, and natal care match your own.

You should be able to talk about any pregnancy concerns (no matter how simple) to your doctor or midwife without getting judged or brushed off. Your health-care provider should respect your wishes and expectations (provided that they don’t put you and the baby in danger) regarding your pregnancy and childbirth.

Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins help ensure the healthy development of your unborn baby, so you should start taking them early in your pregnancy. Folic acid, in particular, is crucial to prevent the development of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in the baby. Pregnant women in their first trimester and women who are trying to conceive should start taking folic-acid supplements right away.

Schedule Your First Prenatal Visit

You will be seeing your ob-gyn or midwife several times during your pregnancy, which is one compelling reason you should choose someone you’re compatible and comfortable with. Excluding the time you visited a doctor to confirm your pregnancy, your first actual prenatal appointment won’t happen until you’re eight weeks along.

If the pregnancy is healthy and normal, you will visit the doctor this frequently:

  • Once a month from weeks 4 to 28
  • Once every two weeks from weeks 28 to 36
  • Once a week from weeks 36 to 40

During these visits, the doctor will recommend several tests, including a fetal ultrasound, blood test, urine test, and genetic screening, to monitor the development and health of the baby.

Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs

Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs pose many risks for the unborn baby and the pregnant mother. Tobacco is linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as low birth weight and mouth and lip defects in babies.

Drinking alcohol, even in small doses, during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and permanent mental and physical disabilities in the baby. Exposure to narcotics in their mother’s stomach can cause babies to develop congenital and mental disabilities, developmental delays, and drug dependency.

Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are also generally not recommended for pregnant women to take. Always consult your doctor first before taking any medication.

Eat a More Nutritious Diet

Your body is growing another human being, which requires plenty of energy and nutrients to do. As such, you should be eating enough food and getting ample essential nutrients needed to support the development of the baby.

Maintain a healthy diet of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, and avoid chemical-laden food. Although you’re eating for yourself and the baby, it’s important to control how much you eat to prevent gestational diabetes as a result of being overweight.

Ask your doctor about what you can and cannot eat while pregnant. Most doctors will tell you to avoid raw meats, unwashed fruits and vegetables, fish with mercury, and caffeinated food and beverages.

Get Informed

As a first-time mom, you must get accurate information about what you can expect and what you need to do when you’re pregnant. There will be many changes that will occur in your body and new responsibilities to take on.

Having the assurance that these changes are normal and knowing what you’re supposed to do will greatly help you in reducing your worries and anxiety. These things will help you adjust to your new norm for the next nine months.