Did you just find out you are pregnant? Congratulations! Pregnancy is such a joyous experience. Whether you are on cloud-nine or feeling overwhelmed (or both) – take a deep breath, you are in the right place.
- Let your doctor or midwife know! They will want to schedule a visit, do some blood work and other tests, talk about prenatal vitamins and nutrition, and answer any questions you may have. Every provider has a different protocol, but don’t be surprised if they want to schedule the appointment for when you are 8 to 12 weeks along, this is normal. This will allow them to check the baby’s heart rate and gestational age. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have before that appointment. If you don’t have a doctor or midwife, look into finding one soon!
- Know what foods and beverages to avoid. Cut out all alcohol and any substance use, including tobacco use. There is no safe limit for pregnancy. Need help quitting? Contact your provider’s office for help. Limit caffeine to no more than 200 mg per day, this is about the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee. Other foods to avoid are soft cheeses, anything unpasteurized, undercooked or raw eggs, meat, fish, and seafood, pre-prepared or unwashed fruits and vegetables, soft-serve ice cream, and deli meat that has not been heated to steaming. The reason to avoid these foods is the risk of listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Typically, a healthy adult’s immune system can handle this risk, but these bacteria and parasites can cause devastating effects to a developing fetus.
- Focus on nutrition. Morning sickness can be rough and doesn’t just happen in the morning during pregnancy. If you can, try to limit processed foods and focus on a variety of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. Some pregnant people find that eating small meals throughout the day can help with morning sickness. If you are struggling with morning sickness, be sure to let your provider know. If your morning sickness is extreme or persistent, it could be Hyperemesis Gravidarum which can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances.
- Discuss medications with your provider. Let your provider know about any medications, supplements, vitamins, skincare, or even household products you are taking or using. Even OTC items, skincare, and household products can be harmful when pregnant.
- Stay active. Exercise has amazing benefits for both mom and baby, though certain exercises should be limited or avoided during pregnancy. Typically, exercises that carry a high risk for falling or abdominal injury or include jumping, bouncing, or jerking motions should be avoided during pregnancy. Hot yoga or exercising in extreme temperatures should also be avoided. Any activity or environment that raises your body temperature 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit or more should be avoided, including saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs. Check with your provider to see what exercises are considered safe for you.
Don’t worry mama, you’ve got this. This is also a great time to sign up for weekly baby notification apps like BabyCenter. It is so fun to see how big your little one is growing each week and what is happening with their development. If you ever have any questions or if something feels off, always check with your provider. Let us know what you think is important to do when you first find out you are pregnant!