If you’re anything like me, your first three months of pregnancy are stressful. You want to do everything right, but it's hard when pregnancy advice is confusing and seems to conflict with conventional wisdom or common sense. Worse, pregnancy rules and guidelines are totally different now than they were when your mom was pregnant, and possibly even when you were previously pregnant. Fortunately, there are some pregnancy precautions in the first three months that you probably shouldn't ignore, according to experts in the know.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), it's important to eat a balanced diet during pregnancy. You might have to forgo some of your favorite foods and drinks for the time being, though, as they pose a risk of illness, pregnancy complications, or birth defects. On the bright side, according to the same site, a little caffeine is OK, as long as you don't overdo it.
On the health front, you might already know you need to find an obstetrics provider and make an appointment for a prenatal visit during your first three months of pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), these visits can be crucial for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth, and give you an opportunity to ask questions about pregnancy dos and don'ts. According to Mayo Clinic, your provider will likely recommend you get tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) during your first trimester, and talk to you about whether or not you should actually use condoms to reduce your risk.
For more information on these and other precautions every pregnant woman should take in their first three months of pregnancy, read on:
Try To Stay Cool
It's important that pregnant women try to stay cool — not only for their comfort, but for a healthy pregnancy, too. According to BabyCenter, the summer heat can make common first-trimester pregnancy issues, like morning sickness, worse. Dr. Sara DuMond tells Parents.com that it's super important to avoid dehydration during pregnancy, too, which can be hard when you are throwing up all day and it's hot outside. To beat the heat, she suggests that moms-to-be crank up the air conditioner or fan, try to avoid being outside, drink plenty of fluids, and dress for the weather.
Stay On Your Meds Until Talking To Your Doctor
It might seem like a good idea to stop taking all medications as soon as you get pregnant. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should check with your doctor first. While it's definitely true that all medications are not safe for the first trimester of pregnancy, the risks associated with stopping them cold turkey might actually be greater than continuing to take them. The CDC recommends that pregnant women not change or stop medications without talking to their doctor or midwife about their treatment options and safety during pregnancy, first.
Start Ordering Mocktails
Most health care providers recommend that pregnant women not drink alcohol during pregnancy. This is particularly important in the first trimester, due to increased risks to your baby developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even goes one step further, and recommends that all women of childbearing age who aren't on birth control not drink, just in case they get pregnant.
If you did drink alcohol before you found out you were pregnant, you might be relieved to learn that Harvard Health Publishing reports that several studies show that it probably won't hurt your forming fetus. However, since there's no way to know how much alcohol it takes to cause a problem, once you know you're pregnant it's probably best to avoid alcohol entirely.
Cut Down On Caffeine
Contrary to the rude comments you might hear from baristas at Starbucks, getting pregnant doesn't mean that you have to give up caffeine entirely. According to the APA, you may want to cut back, though, especially in your first trimester. Too much caffeine has been shown in some studies to increase miscarriage risk. They recommend limiting caffeine to 200 mg a day, or a single cup of coffee per day.
Avoid Certain Foods
According to the APA, you might have to change up your diet during pregnancy. For the most part, if you eat a relatively healthy diet, the fetus should get what it needs to grow and develop. However, certain foods, like unpasteurized dairy, raw eggs and meat, and some types of fish, are not recommended during pregnancy, because they are more likely to carry bacteria and toxins which can be dangerous for you, the fetus, and your pregnancy.
Take Your Vitamins
According to ACOG, even if you eat healthy, you should definitely add a prenatal vitamin containing folate or folic acid to your daily routine during your first trimester of pregnancy, or even before you get pregnant. This can help prevent a group of birth defects and ensure that your fetus gets what they need for brain and spine development.
See A Doctor Or Midwife
According to ACOG, it’s super important to see qualified obstetrics provider, like an OB-GYN or certified nurse midwife, for regular prenatal care. During your first three months of pregnancy, you’ll probably only see them a couple of times, but those appointments will include important exams, screenings, and information that you need to stay healthy during pregnancy.
Protect Yourself From The Zika Virus
One question that might come up during your first prenatal visit is whether or not you've traveled to or live in an area with the Zika virus. If you are at risk, the CDC recommends taking precautions to prevent Zika transmission, including using bug repellent, but also using condoms if you have sex, as the virus can be sexually transmitted.
Get Screened For STDs
According to the Mayo Clinic, health care providers now recommend that pregnant women be tested for STDs and HIV early in their pregnancies, as they can impact your health, your pregnancy, and the fetus's health, too. This is another reason why pregnant people might consider using condoms if they have a new partner or are otherwise at risk for contracting an STD.
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