Planning Ahead and Other Things To Do While Pregnant

Planning Ahead and Other Things To Do While Pregnant
You just found out that you’re pregnant, and can't wait to share the news! The rush of the initial excitement continues as you make your “we’re expecting” announcements online and in person for family and friends. The excitement and anticipation are far from over, but with nine months ahead of you, you might be asking yourself, now what? Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a person’s life, but it can also feel overwhelming or even scary for first-time parents. Although there isn’t an official instruction manual on preparing for a newborn, there are plenty of books, blogs, and other resources that can be of great help to new parents. Today, we will be providing you with some helpful information, tips, and other things to do while pregnant with your first child.

The First Trimester

During the first trimester, you will begin to notice changes in your body almost immediately. Pregnancy is different for everyone, and for some women, the first trimester it is common to feel symptoms such as fatigue and nausea. However, other women won’t experience these same symptoms until much later on. Either way, it’s important to find a doctor or midwife, for your first prenatal appointment or checkup. Prenatal care is considered preventative healthcare and includes regular checkups to ensure the health and safety of you and your unborn child. You may be asking yourself why prenatal care is so critical anyway. Although it is not one hundred percent necessary, it is strongly recommended. Some women opt for only one or two prenatal visits before delivery and still have a successful pregnancy. Others prefer to go once a month. Regular checkups are a great way to watch the development of the fetus as it becomes a baby. It is also a great time to discuss any symptoms or discomfort you may have. Most of the major lifestyle changes that you will have to make will have to start during the first trimester. Aside from the obvious lifestyle changes that you may have to make (no drinking, no smoking), there are other things that your doctor may suggest if you have certain conditions. Here are some other things to do (and NOT do) during the first trimester:
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin and folic acid (this helps with the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord)
  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Eliminate alcohol, nicotine, and any other substances that are dangerous for your baby
  • Eat foods rich in folate, calcium, and fiber foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Start to financially prepare for the baby (talking to your employer about maternity leave)

The Second Trimester

Your baby bump is on full display, and you’ve likely had to start wearing bigger clothes or even maternity outfits. The second trimester starts at week 13 of pregnancy and lasts until the 27th week of pregnancy. Women who experienced body aches, nausea, and other symptoms during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, usually report less symptoms during this trimester. In fact, it is considered the most “comfortable” trimester during pregnancy. During this time, you have likely gotten used to some of the new lifestyle changes that come with pregnancy. The beginning of this trimester is a great time to start planning ahead for some of the more exciting things that come with having a baby. This is usually when families begin to plan gender reveals or baby showers (because they can take about a month to plan). Things to do while pregnant during the second trimester:
  • Continue screening tests and checkups with your doctor
  • Go to the dentist (sounds strange, but even if you have healthy gums and teeth, hormonal changes and calcium levels can affect your oral hygiene and overall health)
  • Continue eating a balanced diet
  • Continue getting regular exercise (you may have to adjust movements based on your growing belly)
  • Have sex! Seriously. It should still be comfortable and enjoyable during this phase of pregnancy and can help ease some stress

The Third Trimester

Ahh, the third trimester seems to go the fastest, according to some first-time moms. It’s the final stretch before you deliver, and as exciting as that can be, it can also be uncomfortable with the extra weight that your body is carrying. The third trimester officially begins around the 28th week of pregnancy and lasts until your baby is delivered (usually around the 40th week). Unlike the second trimester, mothers tend to report nausea, discomfort, irritability, abdominal pain, acid reflux, headaches, and more as the weeks progress during the final trimester. Okay, so now is the time (preferably before the undesirable symptoms come along) to start thinking about a birth plan for the day of delivery. For example, do you want to give birth at a hospital or at home? Do you plan to preserve your baby’s cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue? If so, have you contacted a newborn stem cell bank? It’s important to have these discussions ahead of time so the hospital staff can make arrangements for collection. Here are other things to do while pregnant in the third trimester:
  • Keep moving! A nice walk can make a world of difference and even help with getting your blood moving. Be sure to get your physician's approval beforehand.
  • Schedule a third-trimester checkup
  • Choose your baby’s pediatrician (because a checkup will be necessary shortly after delivery)
  • Practice breathing exercises that will help you prepare for labor
  • Talk to your doctor or midwife about managing your pain during labor (birthing tub at home, epidural at the hospital, etc.)
  • Make arrangements with a newborn stem cell bank, like AlphaCord, if you decide to preserve your baby’s cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue
  • Have a hospital bag packed and ready to go
A growing family is a blessing, but it also comes with a ton of responsibilities that requires planning for the future. Nine months may seem like a long time, but there are a lot of things to do while you wait for your little bundle of joy.