Welcome to your first trimester! A lot happens in the first trimester. Your body is already going through a lot of changes, and the fetus is rapidly developing, too. The first trimester begins at conception and lasts for 3 months, or 13 weeks.
Here are some considerations for your first trimester:
Start taking a prenatal vitamin (with folic acid)
Take prenatal vitamins daily, as directed by your healthcare provider. Folic acid is an important addition. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is crucial in the development of the fetus. It can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, and fortified cereals; however, many women are low in folic acid because they don’t eat these foods regularly. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid and are recommended for all pregnant women.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious birth defects of the brain or spine. The neural tube closes by the 28th day after conception and folic acid is needed to help prevent these defects.
If your prenatal vitamins are making you feel unwell, talk to your doctor about other options. The most common reason prenatal vitamins make you feel sick is excess iron. Try a vitamin that doesn’t include iron, something that is available at most drugstores. Sometimes the cause of that feeling of nausea after taking your vitamin is something else. Experiment with different types of them: look for folate instead of folic acid, gummies instead of a pill (or vice versa), or try adding a probiotic!
Review any medications you’re taking with your doctor.
While some medications may be fine to continue, other medications may not be. This includes over-the-counter medications. If you suspect a medication is not safe to take while pregnant, call your doctor’s office before your first prenatal appointment. Always consult with the doctor who prescribed you the medication before discontinuing use. They might change the brand or the dosage, or may reiterate why the medication is still important while you’re pregnant. If you’re still concerned after speaking to your prescribing physician, make an appointment with a genetic counselor to discuss medication’s effects on pregnancy.
Review your nutrition habits.
- Eat plenty of nutrient-rich food. During your first trimester of pregnancy, you’ll want to focus on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats.
- Eat small meals throughout the day. While pregnant women should avoid skipping meals altogether, they can keep their energy up by making sure they eat regularly throughout the day—and not just 3 big square meals! Try eating smaller portions every two to three hours instead.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar or fat content
- Limit caffeine
- Avoid certain foods (see list below)
It is vital that you stay hydrated. It is recommended that women consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day while they are pregnant. Drinking plenty of water helps your body flush out toxins, keep the digestive system regular, and maintain the proper hydration levels in your body.
Get plenty of rest.
Your body is working overtime and adequate sleep is crucial while pregnant. Aim for 8+ hours of sleep per night. It’s most important to check in with your body and rest when you feel that you need to.
Know what to avoid.
- Tobacco products
- Recreational drugs
- Raw fish and raw eggs
- Undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood
- Unpasteurized milk or juice
- Soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk (such as feta cheese). Soft cheeses are made from pasteurized milk but have been aged less than 60 days to allow for fermentation—which can cause food poisoning if the product isn’t handled or stored properly between production and consumption.
- Deli meats. Deli meats often contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that is responsible for causing listeriosis.
Schedule your first prenatal appointment with your provider.
Your first prenatal appointment usually happens anywhere between the first 6-12 weeks of pregnancy. You can call to schedule your appointment with your obstetric provider once you’ve received a positive pregnancy test result.
You can prepare for your first appointment by gathering:
- Personal medical history (mental health, gynecological, obstetrical, etc.)
- Medications you are currently on
- Any questions or concerns
At Lescale Maternal-Fetal Medicine, we work with patients from pre-conception through the third trimester. We provide our patients and families access to the latest in Maternal-Fetal Medicine care and offer state-of-the-art perinatal services in a private and comfortable setting. For more information, call one of our four convenient office locations today.