When a woman becomes pregnant it is expected that she will have a lot of questions– commonly about current and future changes in her body, how to keep the baby healthy in utero, and what to expect during birth. You’re likely thinking far beyond what you’re experiencing now, and beyond the remainder of your pregnancy. Here are some questions we often hear during a woman’s first trimester, relating to when they first get the big news, through their expectations for delivery.
What symptoms should I expect during my first trimester?
While pregnancy is an exciting time, the symptoms often start before you even miss a period. Hormonal changes will cause your breasts to become tender and swollen as early as two weeks after conception, which is also when some women begin to experience nausea. The hormonal changes can also cause mild headaches, and trigger mood swings. By the time women come into our office they have most likely began experiencing these symptoms, but have questions about what will happen over the course of the trimester.
Even if you’re not normally a napper, you may find yourself wanting an afternoon snooze in the early days of your pregnancy. Changing hormones can cause fatigue, so you should rest as much as you can. Healthy eating and light exercise can also help boost your energy.
Hormones and your growing uterus will also cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax, resulting in heartburn. Beyond taking an antacid, you can prevent this by eating smaller, more frequent meals, and avoiding chocolate, citrus, and spicy and fried foods. Taking walks after meals and remaining upright will also help, as will wearing loose clothing.
The hormones are also the culprit of constipation, as high levels of progesterone slows your digestion. Drinking water and prune juice, and maintaining a high-fiber diet, will help to keep things moving.
Can I prevent stretch marks?
Throughout your pregnancy you will notice your abdomen growing, and you may also see growth in your thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Many women who learn they are expecting often ask if they can prevent themselves from developing stretch marks. The best way to prevent stretch marks is to keep your skin hydrated. Choose a moisturizer that’s high in vitamins A and E, such as cocoa butter, and massage it into your skin daily to hydrate, and to improve circulation and tissue repair. Increasing your intake of vitamins E, C, A and zinc will also help nourish your skin reduce stretch marks.
How can I safely exercise during my first trimester?
Staying fit during your pregnancy is great for both you and your baby. However, it is important that you take a break if you begin to feel nauseated, too hot, dehydrated, or have any vaginal discharge or pain. If you like to run you can continue to do so throughout your first trimester, but will need to slow it down later on. Low to moderate strength training twice a week is also safe and healthy during the first trimester, but avoid holding any weights over your abdomen or lying on your back. If you enjoy spinning you can continue to do so as well, but may notice that balance becomes difficult as your center of gravity changes.
Exercise methods recommended during early pregnancy include swimming, yoga, and pilates. Swimming is low-impact, and doesn’t require any balance! As you should in general, the only thing to avoid is twisting your middle too much. Pilates can help you improve balance and strengthen your back muscles to reduce pain. Again, you should avoid twisting your middle excessively and lying on your back.
Yoga is especially great for you during pregnancy, as you build strength, improve balance, reduce blood pressure, and learn breathing exercises that will help during delivery. Any amount of yoga is safe, as long as you don’t feel overexerted. You do have to be more careful than normal, and avoid backbends, poses that require twisting your middle, positions where your feet are over your head, lying on your back, and bikram yoga.
You probably have a million more questions about your first trimester, and the rest of your pregnancy. At Comprehensive Women’s Health, we have over thirty years of experience delivering happy, healthy babies in the Gainesville community. Give us a call at (352) 332- 7222 to schedule an appointment, and we’ll make sure to get all of your questions answered.