Being pregnant usually seems like a giant, almost year-long to-do list. Or, more accurately, a to-don't list. Aside from all of the preparing you have to do to get ready for the arrival of your newest family member, you have to take care of you and your unborn baby while you're at it. That is why knowing the major precautions to take during the first three months of pregnancy can help you stay on top of said to-don't list and — hopefully — avoid many of the dangers or ailments associated with pregnancy.
Many of these precautions are somewhat intuitive, but some will be news to you, especially if you've never been pregnant before. Don't fret though, because with the help of your OB-GYN, your health and the health of your little one will be your main focus of the next nine months. Eventually, these healthy steps will become routine to you. Until they do, don't worry if you need to write "take prenatal" on a Post-It note and hang it on your bathroom mirror. I'd be lying if I said I didn't do the same with my own pregnancies. Post-It note or not, you'll be glad you did too.
1. Take A Prenatal Vitamin
One of the simplest ways you can stay on top of your pregnancy health is to take a daily prenatal vitamin. According to Baby Center, it's difficult for pregnant women to get all the required nutrients for themselves and their baby, even if they eat a wide variety of foods.
Prenatal vitamins are packed with nutrients, but there are two that OBs are most concerned about: iron and folic acid. These two nutrients are particularly hard to get enough of and taking a vitamin ensures that you do.
2. Quit Cigarettes, Alcohol, Or Other Drugs
Although many moms worry about the cigarettes they smoked or the alcohol they consumed before finding out about their pregnancy, Baby Center noted that stopping once you realize you are pregnant is the best thing you can do for your baby's health. Similarly, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote that there is no known safe level of alcohol for a pregnant woman to consume, so it's a good idea to stop drinking as well when you get pregnant.
3. Ask Your OB-GYN About Any Current Medications
At your first doctor appointment, double check with your OB about any medications you're taking to make sure they're safe for baby. Parents noted that, although some medications are safe to take while pregnant, many aren't and it's best to double check before continuing use.
4. Cut Back On The Caffeine
Since caffeine is a stimulant that increases your blood pressure and heart rate, experts recommend cutting back while pregnant. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), about one 12 ounce cup of coffee is fine, but pregnant women should avoid consuming more caffeine (via coffee or other caffeinated drinks) than is recommended.
5. Eat As Healthy As Possible
Even though you may be dealing with morning sickness during the first few months of your pregnancy, it's still important to eat as healthy as you can. According to Mom Junction, pregnant women should consume an additional 500 calories per day and eat a diet packed with healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
6. Stay Active
Working out might be the last thing on your pregnant mind, but staying active is part of staying healthy during pregnancy. According to Fit Pregnancy, even a simple daily walk or yoga practice can help your labor run smoothly and keep you feeling better throughout your pregnancy.
7. Rest Whenever You Need To
You might think that sleeping will be all you'll do while pregnant — and it might be all you want to do. In reality, however, resting enough might be harder than you expected it to be. Establish good habits early on by sleeping as often as you can (and want to) during your first trimester, because Kids Health noted that later on in your pregnancy, rest can be more difficult.