The first trimester can be a strange and exciting time for many women. This can also be a time when many women experience challenging physical symptoms. Knowing how to manage these symptoms and focus on self-care can help you enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Take Naps and Get Extra Sleep
Fatigue is one of the most common physical symptoms that women experience in the first trimester. This occurs because the body must work hard to produce more blood to carry to the baby and because of hormonal changes occurring in the body.
If possible, take a nap when you start to feel tired. If you’re at work, take a break and rest in your car. Get to bed early at night to give yourself more time to sleep at night. Some hormonal changes can make sleeping more difficult, so go to bed early to accommodate for this loss of sleep.
Eating right is important in the first trimester. Pregnant women need about 300 extra calories per day. Those calories need to come from foods high in protein and vitamins and low in sugar. You may feel nauseous as well, which can make eating difficult.
Snack lightly throughout the day to keep the calorie count up. Eat foods when you want, and know what foods to avoid. Pregnant women should stay away from certain types of foods that carry a low risk of certain types of bacteria. These foods include:
- Unpasteurized cheese and milk
- Undercooked meat
- Fish high in mercury
- Raw sprouts
Eating these foods can lead to a higher risk of illness, which can hurt you and the baby. For a full list of foods you should not eat during pregnancy, speak with your doctor.
Cut Back the Caffeine
Studies conflict as to whether or not caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy. To be on the safe side, people in the medical field often recommend that pregnant women limit the amount of caffeine they consume daily.
One 12-ounce cup of coffee per day is generally believed to be safe. If you love to drink coffee, switching to decaf can help. However, still limit your consumption to around two cups a day.
Get Light Exercise
Exercise can help make your first trimester better in many ways. Exercise makes you tired, which can help you sleep at night. It also reduces stress, which you might feel during your first trimester.
If you’re not used to exercising, work up to it gradually. Walking and yoga are excellent activities for newly pregnant women. If you want to join a yoga class, join a prenatal group if possible.
Prenatal yoga groups engage in the type of activities that are safe for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy. In addition, prenatal yoga instructors have the training to help pregnant mothers do yoga safely.
In the months following your first trimester, you’ll experience many physical symptoms that could make some types of relaxation difficult. As the baby gets larger, many positions will become uncomfortable, and your body will often be achy. Sleeping will be harder, sitting comfortably will become harder, and even some recreational activities could become difficult as well.
This is the time to pamper yourself. Spend as much time relaxing as you can. Take a warm bath, put on aromatherapy, listen to your favorite music, or spend time relaxing with your friends and family.
Work With Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you map out a self-care plan for your first trimester. If you’re newly pregnant and have questions about how to care for yourself, contact Rappahannock Women’s Health Center. We’ll be happy to give you information to help you through the first months of pregnancy.