Pregnancy, although a joyous occasion, can be equally stressful for would-be mothers. After all, the health of their unborn child is their biggest concern. What many mothers might not know, however, is that the first three months of the pregnancy are the most important in terms of delivering a healthy child.
Why are the first 3 months of pregnancy important?
The first trimester, which lasts from the point of conception to 12 weeks into the pregnancy, is an especially vulnerable time for the unborn child. This is the period where your child will grow at a rapid pace in your womb, leading to common symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, the dreaded morning sickness and general fatigue. Therefore, to help with its development and to prevent any complications, it’s fundamental to be extra cautious during the first three months.
So, if you are worried about the health of your bundle of joy, then following some pregnancy-related precautions is non-negotiable. Here are 5 such pieces of advice that you can implement right away.
5 important precautions to take during the first 3 months of pregnancy
1. Stay Hydrated
While this might seem like a no-brainer at first, you would be surprised with the amount of fluids your body needs at this time. As mentioned above, since this is the time for maximum development of the child, a lot of fluids and nutrients are required to pump more blood and oxygen to the baby. You are literally building new tissue, and amniotic fluid and removing all waste products of the unborn child. And to meet such intense demands, it is pretty natural that your body will require more fluid for the task at hand.
Make regular hydration a part of your routine, even if you don’t feel particularly parched. If drinking a lot of water sounds unsavory, you can go for more palatable substitutes such as fruit juices and smoothies, which offer hydration as well as required nutrients. Caffeine is the only exception here, as its daily intake should be minimized to 200 milligrams, as excessive consumption can lead to premature delivery.
2. Do Not Miss Prenatal OB/GYN Visits
As you get involved in the medical side of things, one of the most important things to do is locking down an OB/GYN. The OB/GYN will be your anchor and guide throughout the pregnancy. Specialized in this field, these medical professionals can help you navigate the small obstacles and worries you might face during pregnancy. They are necessary to ensure a safe pregnancy as they will first assess your health condition before offering any recommendations.
You can choose the right fit for you by analyzing the doctor’s approach to prenatal care such as getting a prenatal DNA test or even a prenatal paternity test, as well as examining your health care coverage and your proximity from the doctor’s office. Once you lockdown an obstetrician, start going for regular appointments, and if possible, never miss a session, as they need to constantly monitor your progress to check for any potential medical complications for you or the baby.
3. Quit Smoking And Alcohol
Smoking and consuming alcohol during pregnancy have always been demonized, and with good reason. While it isn’t a healthy habit by itself, the effects on the unborn child can be disastrous. Smoking during pregnancy has been directly linked to a host of problems such as low immunity, below average weight at birth and even ectopic pregnancy, a condition where the egg is attached outside the uterus. In this condition, the child can’t be brought to term, and it might even endanger the life of the expectant mother due to its potential to damage other organs. Lastly, there is also a possibility of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an awful and avoidable situation which is pretty self-explanatory.
Coming to alcohol, while the effects may not be downright fatal, it can still be very debilitating for the newborn. Children born to mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy can suffer from learning disabilities and problems related to cognitive functioning. Therefore, it is best to quit these two habits for good before you try to conceive.
4. Take Prenatal Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are the important micronutrients that most people don’t pay much attention to. As a result, most are deficient in some vitamin or the other. While this scenario is not ideal, it is manageable before conceiving, but now it isn’t a luxury you can afford. Prenatal vitamins are a fundamental part of the first trimester, and your obstetrician will most definitely recommend some to you, such as folic acid. Folic acid aids both expectant mothers and the unborn child. While it prevents anemic conditions in the mothers, it also protects the unborn from birth defects.
Apart from the essential folic acid, you can also add plenty of nuts to your diet, as they are rich in Omega-3, which has been linked to increased development of the brain, eyes and nerves in the child. Lastly, don’t forget to also get adequate Vitamin D by soaking in some sunshine or consuming eggs.
5. Avoid Strong Smells
Although it doesn’t lead to any major health complications, strong smells can make the first trimester extremely stressful and frustrating for expectant mothers. A lot of anecdotal evidence backs the fact that certain strong smells can trigger nausea or can even exaggerate morning sickness. And most mothers know the ordeal of facing morning sickness every day. So there’s no rational reason to subject yourself to more of it by being exposed to strong smells.
However, in spite of your best efforts, you might find certain smells and foods to be triggering. These might even include foods you once found palatable. This occurs due to a massive influx of hormones in your system, particularly estrogen. Therefore, while it might not be possible to entirely avoid it, you can go off of past experiences to make better choices in terms of food and the environment. Fortunately, most of these symptoms will reduce or subside during the second trimester, when the hormone levels become more even.
In conclusion, if you recently got pregnant and are looking to provide the best, most nurturing environment for your child, then you would do well to take these precautions to heart and to follow them diligently. Ultimately, with some careful planning and changes in lifestyle choices, you can positively impact the health of the baby and ensure a safe, enjoyable pregnancy.
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works as a brand consultant and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write about marketing, healthcare, finance & home decor.