Pregnancy is the most blessed phase of every woman’s life but many of us can not enjoy it completely as we fail to cope up with the physical, mental and emotional changes that our body goes through during this 9 months stretch. As a result many prenatal issues surface and take a toll on the mother’s health as well as her baby’s growth and development. There is no way you can avoid these changes in your body; however being aware and prepared about them in advance will surely save you from pressing the panic button and let you deal with them more level-headedly.
It is customary to divide full term (40 weeks) of pregnancy into three trimesters; where 0-13 weeks is considered as 1st trimester, 14-26 weeks as 2nd trimester and 27-40 weeks as 3rd trimester. Certainly every pregnancy is unique, but these 3 trimesters in each pregnancy follow a specific pattern in terms of fetal development and various hormonal & physiological changes a mother goes through. Also the risk factors in all three trimesters vary from one another. Here we are going to share with you few useful health tips for each of these three trimesters. These can help you overcome and minimize many pregnancy troubles and make the child bearing experience an enjoyable and cherished one.
First Trimester Pregnancy Tips:
- Fatigue Control
First trimester of pregnancy is generally exhaustive for mothers. Fatigue is a common nag during this period. Slow down and take plenty of rest. Your work can take a back seat for a while. Taking one or two short naps, in between your work can refill your energy levels. A good night sleep should be the topmost priority.
- Overcome Nausea
Vomiting or nausea is the most annoying pregnancy trouble for all expectant mothers. You may manage it by having several small meals instead of having a fuller one. Avoid spicy and fatty foods and focus more on having bland foods, for a while. Keep some protein snacks handy always as hunger too can be a reason for nausea. Acupuncture wristband and vitamin B6 can also help you in triumphing over your morning sickness.
- Dietary Regimen
Fill up your plate with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, walnuts, yogurt and foods that are rich in protein. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake. Avoid under cooked food and unpasteurized dairy products as they may cause harm to the foetus. This trimester is the right time to include folic acid, omega 3 supplements and prenatal vitamins into your diet plan, so ask your healthcare provider for the same. Drink lots of water throughout the day and always remain mindful of the fact that you only need 300 extra calories so DO NOT over eat.
- Exercise Regularly
Moderate exercises like walking, swimming or gardening are encouraged by the experts during these initial weeks. Just 15-30 minutes of daily exercise routine can benefit you in many ways. It is great way to restore your energy levels, overcome issues like morning sickness and fatigue. However, be cautious of overheating your body and stay hydrated.
- Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is vital for the health of mother and baby. It is best to consult a good Gynaecologist from the initial stages of pregnancy. Do a good research to choose your best option.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Tips
- Dietary Habits
With the beginning of 2nd trimester the morning sickness usually goes away allowing your appetite to return. You will also start to develop strong cravings for certain types of food. It’s recommended to make smart and healthy food choices to satisfy your food cravings. Picking a fresh fruit instead of chocolates/ ice creams is always better. Go for a diet that is rich in protein, fibre and anti-oxidants.
- Prenatal workout
If you haven’t started any prenatal workout during the 1st trimester, now is the perfect time to get moving. By 14th week into the pregnancy, you will notice a significant increase in your energy levels. Use this renewed energy to up your fitness game. Moderate intensity workouts can help a lot in avoiding many complications during pregnancy and are good for the health of your foetus too. At this stage you must start doing Kegel exercises too.
- Go for shopping
Invest your time and money in buying some essential maternity goodies. As you will start to look preggers by now, loose fitting clothes will provide you more comfort. Buying a maternity belt is a wise decision. It will provide good support to your back during the prenatal as well as postpartum stages. Pregnancy pillow can be of great help in getting a comfortable sleep; so get one for yourself. Look for few pairs of pregnancy jeans and trousers, a good, flat, larger and comfortable pair of shoes, and a few pieces of nursing bras.
- Cosmetic changes
As the hormone levels start to rise during this trimester some mothers struggle with the appearance of “mask of pregnancy”. Although it disappears with birth of the child, it is important to wear a good sunscreen every time you step out until then. You must start moisturizing your belly, breast, hips and thighs regularly to minimize the appearance of stretch marks and get relief from itching as well.
- Keep yourself happy
Do things you enjoy doing the most; soon you will have to focus your attention and efforts on the little bundle of joy. This is the perfect time to plan a trip with your partner as you won’t be able manage one in near future. Try spending some baby free time with each other. Keep yourself happy in every possible way; it’s important for you and your baby both.
Third Trimester Pregnancy Tips
- Regular checkups
Antenatal appointments are important in this trimester to keep tab on baby’s growth. Your health care provider will call you every week. Talk out with your Gynea /midwife regarding the difference between false contractions and labor. You should also keep a regular check on the pattern of your baby’s movements and should inform your doctor if you notice any change in it.
- Stay active
Staying physically active is very important in these last few weeks, albeit all the difficulties. Doing simple exercises regularly can benefit you in mood swings, weight gain, cardiovascular fitness, fewer complications and labor pains. Walking is the best way to have shorter and easier labor and it will enhance the chances of normal delivery too. Swimming can also be a good reprieve for you from continuous weight bearing. Ask your health care provider to know about other low intensity prenatal exercises that are recommended in this trimester.
Taking lot of fluid diet is even encouraged towards the end of pregnancy. In addition to plenty of water, you should also include drinks like fresh fruit juices, milk and coconut water in your diet plan. Continue taking several smaller meals throughout the day to reduce the acid reflux. Try to boost your iron, potassium, calcium, folate, protein and fibre content through a nourishing diet plan to fulfill the needs of your body and to ensure a healthy weight gain in your baby.
With the enormous weight gain your body needs more and more rest. Sleeping becomes difficult in this trimester so try out other ways to relax yourself like soaking in water, body massages, pedicure, having chamomile tea and listening to your favourite music. Always keep your feet elevated while resting to reduce swelling and sleep on your left side to increase the blood flow and nutrient supply to the placenta. Spend time with your friends and family and most importantly talk to your baby; he is listeningJ.
- Pack your bags
It is wise to keep a bag ready with all the things you need for labour as you never know when you will go into labour. Make sure to save all important phone numbers in your phone. Arrange some help to take care of your elder children and pets in advance.
I hope these easy to follow health tips will contribute significantly to your health during prenatal and postnatal stages and make this whole experience a cherished one for you. If you have any more suggestions, please share them in the comment section below. Also any sort of queries would be entertained ASAP. So, keep commenting and keep sharing these health tips to your friends and family.
Aafiya is a health and wellness enthusiast. She utilizes her spare time to contribute insightful articles around day to day lifestyle challenges and their remedies, that all can relate to.
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