Navigating the First Trimester

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Congratulations, you are pregnant!  The first trimester can be a very exciting time as you relish in the thought that you will soon be bringing a child into the world.  The hardest decisions for you right now likely will be choosing a care provider and deciding when to tell your family.  Pregnancy monitoring during the first trimester is pretty laid back; you generally only go in about once a month for checkups at this point.  At 8 weeks, most expectant mothers will have an ultrasound to check the fetus for viability and determine a more accurate due date.

Choose your provider

When you choose your care provider, take your time.  You want to make sure that you will be on the same page throughout your pregnancy and during the birth process.  You will also need to have a good idea of what kind of birth you want; many OB’s will not attend home births and most states have rather specific laws about what midwives can and can’t do in hospitals.  If you want a natural birth, ask your care provider how he or she feels about letting you labor at home, the necessity of common interventions like breaking your water and also check his or her C-Section rate.  High cesarean rates don’t necessarily mean that your care provider won’t support a natural birth, but they do mean that your care provider’s experience and training are more geared in that direction.

Planning ahead

You don’t have to be ready for birth right now, but you will probably want to consider what type of birth and postpartum experience are important to you.  You can consult pregnancy books to learn a little bit about different birth plans.  For your postpartum, you may want to start thinking about how you will find the support you need to breastfeed (a doula is a great choice!) and make it through those first sleep-deprived weeks.

Tips, tricks, and favorite products:

Morning sickness

For morning sickness, nothing really worked for me.  Everyone suggested I eat saltines, but they only made me more sick.  What worked for me?  Ginger beer (with real ginger bits), sour patch kids and Preggie Pops.  Apparently sour things (and cheese) were the only things that agreed with me. I also was a big fan of tea, and Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a great Morning Wellness tea if you are into that.  And remember that your body is pre-programmed to feed your baby first, so he or she will be fine even if you have days where the eating is at a minimum.

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Fitness

It is important to keep exercising while you are pregnant.  In fact, if you are currently running or cycling regularly, you don’t even have to stop with your normal routine. You’ll probably not be up to a brisk jog in your final month, but for now, keep it up.  The exercise will help your baby grow and keep morning sickness and exhaustion to a minimum.  You might be tired, but make a point to get up off the couch once a day to take care of your changing body.

Books

For starters, let me state that I never got into entire line of “What to Expect” books.  They aren’t bad, but they aren’t really the best resource you can have at your fingertips.  When you go to select your pregnancy book, take some time to look at the entire shelf.  I have personally found that the Dr. Sears pregnancy book and the Great Expectations pregnancy book are my two favorites: they present all of the information you need in a balanced way that makes you feel empowered during your pregnancy.

Your body

You may not look pregnant yet, but your body is already starting to change, and you need to start preparing now.  First, invest in a large stainless steel or BPA-free plastic water bottle.  Trust me, you will be dying of thirst until the day you stop nursing, so just invest in the prettiest, coolest water bottle you can so that you always have plenty to drink no matter where you are.  Second, find a way to unwind–whether that is through a daily yoga DVD or a monthly prenatal massage, it’s time to relax and prepare your mind and body to support this baby!

Finally, now is the time to start moisturizing that belly so your stretch marks don’t stick around for the rest of your life.  Let me clarify: every woman gets stretch marks.  But good moisturization and hydration during and after pregnancy will help them disappear to practically nothing. Personally, I loved the Mama Bee Belly Cream, made by Burt’s Bees and the Earth Mama Angel Baby belly oil.

Now, it’s your turn: What worked for you in the first trimester??????

See also:

Navigating the Second Trimester

Navigating the Third Trimester