By Hannah Schenker
The first trimester really seems to rocket by (though perhaps not when you’re in the throes of morning sickness). You likely have lots on your mind – booking appointments, thinking ahead, checking out pregnancy books from the library… You are possibly even feeling a little overwhelmed by what’s to come. So how should you take care of you and your tiny baby in these early stages?
- Take a prenatal vitamin. If you were planning your pregnancy you might already be switched on to these, but if not – start taking them ASAP. It’s all about that Folic Acid and Iodine for us NZ mamas, not to mention all the other goodies in there to help both you and baby. Eating healthily is of course the best way to get those nutrients in, but some things we just can’t get through diet. If it’s making you gag, try taking it at night instead.
- See your Doctor and start to think about a midwife. It’s a good idea to confirm your positive home pregnancy test with a blood test and then get an appointment to see your GP. You will need regular medical care during the whole pregnancy, though your first scan isn’t usually until around 12 weeks. Before that, your Doc will be wanting to check you out – giving you a physical and referring you on to a midwife. Take your time choosing your midwife – you want someone who you really click with, and who will support your choices. Read more about that HERE.
- Deep breaths. Whether it was planned or not, pregnancy is a big deal and can bring up all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Your partner may be on a similar wavelength to you or feeling completely differently. It’s a good idea to give yourself some breathing space – time out to sit and meditate or reflect. Meditation has been found to have a positive influence on baby’s health, and we all know that it’s good for us adults too. Insight Timer is a great app for your phone with thousands of audio meditations to choose from. You may also find journalling or talking to someone you trust can help with any niggly thoughts.
- Healthy eats. Now that you are growing an extra human inside your own, you will need to be eating as healthily as you can – though nausea and food aversions may mean you have to survive on what you can keep down. In the early weeks (usually from around week 5), morning sickness may mean you can only get down some toast or crackers – just do whatever works for you, but make sure you stay hydrated. You may find you have food cravings or aversions – follow them as long as overall your diet is relatively healthy (that is, try not to exist solely on sausage rolls if that’s what you’re craving). From now on you also need to be aware of what foods to avoid – see this food safety guide.
- You’ve got to move it, move it! When you’re having a hard time keeping any food in your belly and you’re bone-weary, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But moving your body when you can will help to boost your energy, your mood, help with sleep, and is great for baby too. Avoid any twisting, heavy lifting and extreme heat – keep it gentle and simple, like walking or swimming. But if your body is telling you to rest – do that. Embrace the naps. When you start to feel better and your energy picks up, then you can think about regular exercise.