Seeing as I’m currently attempting to procrastinate making my shopping list for freezer meals, you are in for a treat. I’ve finally sat down to write those posts I’ve talked about! Well…at least one of them, anyway.
Class, today’s lesson is related to pregnancy, specifically the First Trimester. This is geared more toward first-timers, but I suppose it’ll work for everyone. Oh…and dads TOTALLY need to read this. Possibly.
When you first find out you’re expecting, even if you were trying, your reaction will be “HOLYSHITOMGWTFDOIDONOW?!”. Doubt that? All three times I’ve been pregnant I’ve had that reaction and I can assure you that not all of those were products of “trying”.
So…congrats! You have just discovered your egg met a nice sperm and they’ve decided to make a life together. Mazel Tov! Once you’ve stopped freaking out about the fact that you can barely commit to a facewash for more than 6 months-so how the heck are you going to raise a child?; here’s an overview of what to expect this trimester, things you’ve got to do/decide, and some fun stuff for shiggles. Enjoy!
(Note: All views expressed are my own. Experiences may vary.)
Medical Tests to Expect: At least two blood draws- The first to confirm the pregnancy & the second to test you for a whole list of things (STDs, hormone levels, blood counts, iron count, your quad screen, etc).
Also included in this trimester is a sonogram, usually around 9wks. The reason it’s later in the trimester is due to several factors, but the main one is that the heartbeat isn’t usually seen on a sonogram before then. Since the rate of miscarriage is rather high (1 in 5 pregnancies) in the first trimester, the sonogram is a useful tool in determining everything is going well with the pregnancy.
What You’ll Really Feel Like: If you’re lucky, you’ll only be a little tired and have to pee a lot. More often than not you’ll feel like you’re a hungover narcoleptic. Hold on to the knowledge that usually this is a good sign of a solid pregnancy and that this phase DOES pass. The constant urination, aches, nausea, & exhaustion do ease up for most a few weeks into the second trimester.
Mommy’s Little Helpers: For exhaustion-throw in a nap if you can, or try going to bed earlier. Consider it training for the life you’ll lead for at least the first 2 years of your kid’s life. For nausea-peppermint candies work very well, as does anything ginger. You can buy “preggy drops” which are basically ginger candies that are sour flavored. For aches-try a few warm baths (warm not HOT) with epsom salts to draw out the ache. Some advise against this, but logically speaking your cervix is closed up tight so a bath will not endanger the fetus. For peeing all the time-just suck it up and know you’ll have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of buildings all across town due to your unique condition.
Diet: Contrary to popular belief, you’re not “eating for two”. I mean, you are, but that baby isn’t bigger than a grain of rice so put the tub of Ben and Jerry’s down! Pregnant women don’t need more than 300 extra calories a day, and that’s if you were on a regular 2000 calorie diet in the first place. Really look at what you’re eating. Now is a GREAT time to revamp your diet. The best diet while pregnant is one with portion control, lots of lean protein, & low sodium. Make sure you are drinking TONS of water, too. Your pee should look like run off from an iceberg. Not only will eating right and drinking more help your pregnancy, but it’ll also give you a little more energy as well. Oh, and this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy donuts/cupcakes/ice cream, just pay attention to the portion size and frequency-MODERATION is your friend!
As a diet recommendation, look into the Dr. Brewer plan. It actually can help prevent pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), which is a concern in the third trimester & warrant emergency induction/delivery, but it’s super healthy. Here’s a link: Dr. Brewer Diet
To Do: Other than cope with the fact that you are now growing a tiny person inside of you, you have a bit of a To-Do list for this trimester.
- Watch “The Business of Being Born”. It’s available on Netflix Instant. I like it because it gives a thorough overview of how pregnancy and birth are viewed/handled in this country compared to others. It also serves to empower you that you do have a say in your medical care and encourages you to dialogue with your provider. It also will hopefully inspire you to get educated more about birth and not fear it. 🙂
- Choosing a provider- Midwife or OB? Below are the differences. You’ll need to choose a provider soon and begin setting up your care appointments. You can totally interview and change providers as well-you’re not stuck with who you first meet!
– Midwife: Highly skilled and extensively trained practitioner who specializes in pregnancy/birth. Midwives aren’t the hippy-Birkenstock-wearin folk you’re envisioning. Often a midwife is required to assist in 50-100 births before they’re even allowed to sit for their boards. That’s AFTER years of schooling. There are two types of Midwives: Certified Nurse Midwives typically have hospital rights and can write scripts for medications (they can also order pain management meds, such as epidurals, while in labor); Certified Professional Midwives typically attend home births, but some have hospital rights. Both are highly skilled. Most of the time your midwife will be the person attending your birth. All Midwives have OB backups ready to rock should a c-section become warranted.
– OB: If you’re a high risk patient, this is the route you’ll likely go. If you’re a normal, low-risk pregnancy, there’s really no need. Most OBs have never witnessed a normal, non-medicated birth, which means they’re more likely to push interventions, as they see them as “normal”. I don’t say this to scare you, it’s just fact. OBs are skilled surgeons, and thank goodness for that because they have saved lives with their skills. It just seems excessive to be seeing a surgeon if you’re carrying a low-risk pregnancy. Most OBs are part of a practice with multiple practitioners, which means you could get any one of them for your delivery. Because of this, it’ll serve you best to either build a good relationship with your OB or get to know all the providers in the office.
- Deciding when to tell family/friends. This is a hot debate on pregnancy boards online. Honestly? It’s your choice when you tell. Some are superstitious or cite the high miscarriage rate (again, it’s 1 in 5) as reasons to wait till the trimester are over. Some are fine with telling everyone right off the bat. Both ways are totally fine! Just know that the advice from everyone-and-their-mother begins the moment this little information is leaked.
-On Advice: Know that advice folks are pouring out to you are their attempts to help, not hinder you. Take it all with a grain of salt, research if needs be, and do what you feel is best for you. All advice, even mine, should be treated this way.
Fun: While you won’t need maternity clothing yet (more on that next post), you could treat yourself to a belly band or loop a hair tie to help keep the top of your pants closed if you start bloating. Really, there’s not much “fun” to be had this trimester outside of naps. If you have a spouse/partner, you might want to enjoy a few dates together and try not to talk about the baby all the time. This is really overwhelming for them, too, and the lovely time out with you is relaxing for both of you. Enjoy it. 🙂
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd that’s a wrap for the first trimester! Did I miss anything?
On to the next…trimester!