Regardless if it is your first child or seventh, pregnancy never fails to surprise you! Though a pregnancy brings joyous times, it can also be confusing! So, to your rescue here is a stage-wise brief on how things progress during pregnancy and tips on how to take care of yourself.
First Trimester (Week 1-12)
In the first trimester, your body undergoes several changes. Rapid hormonal modifications change nearly everything in your body. As a result, there are symptoms right from the first week, when you don’t even know that you are pregnant. Besides the missed period, other changes may include:
- Excessive fatigue
- Sore breasts
- Unsettled stomach with or without vomiting (morning sickness)
- Cravings or aversions
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
- Select an Obstetrician- Always take a recommendation from friends and family. Go for experts like Dr. Rahul Sen, who are experienced and make you feel comfortable.
- Have your prenatal vitamins especially Folic acid as it is critical for baby’s brain development
- Eat smaller meals as they help with the heartburn
- Avoid cheese made from unpasteurized milk
- Too much heat could be harmful, so avoid sauna and hot baths
- Because of hormonal changes if you cannot sleep at night take a nap whenever you can.
- Use a moisturizer as your skin gets itchy.
Second Trimester (Week 13-28)
The second trimester is the easiest time for most women as symptoms like queasiness and tiredness mostly vanish. This is the time when your baby bump starts showing as the baby is growing and will start moving soon. Here are few changes most women go through:
- Backache and abdominal pain
- Stretch marks on the abdomen, breasts, thighs, or hips
- Darkening of areolas
- Most women develop a marking running from their belly button to pubic hairline
- Patchy skin and dark spots on the cheeks and neck
- Itching on the stomach, palms, and soles.
- Swollen ankles and fingers.
- Continue your vitamins
- Exercise regularly but avoid strenuous exercise or strength training.
- Have a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fibre.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Restrict caffeine to one to two cups a day and increase your water intake.
- Avoid raw fish or smoked seafood and cut down on shark, swordfish, mackerel, or white snapper as they have high mercury content
- Eat 300 calories more than what you usually eat
- Watch out for the loss of appetite and jaundice combined with itching. Call your doctor as these could be signs of a rare liver condition (Obstetric Cholestasis). In Australia, OC affects less than one in 100 mums-to-be.
Third Trimester (Week 29-40)
Time might seem to go slow, but you are at the home stretch now. As your baby is getting ready to come out, it is getting bigger and so is your discomfort. Women may experience the following changes during this time:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face.
- Hemorrhoids- swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum. 8% of pregnant women experience external hemorrhoids in the last 3 months of pregnancy
- Tender breasts with watery discharge as you get ready to nurse the baby
- Your belly button may pop out
- False labor contractions
- Continue your vitamins
- Try to stay active and take a little walk after your meals but avoid any strenuous exercises
- Work out your pelvic floor (Kegel exercise)
- Do not eat for two- a 300 calorie surplus per day is still ideal
- Drink lots of water and stay away from caffeine
- Take care of your teeth as dental problems are common during this time.
- Get lots of rest and sleep whenever you can
- Avoid long car trips and flights after 34 weeks.
- Going to work is good, try to stretch your legs and walk around at least every hour or two.
- In case of extreme swelling call your doctor right away.