If you are a first-time mom, a pregnancy can be scary, and very confusing. You’re going to experience things that you’ve probably never had to deal with. Your body is going to change as it accommodates your growing baby, and you will more than likely be confused as to what is normal and what should be considered as warning signs. Your doctor is likely eager to help you with the entirety of your questions and concerns, but here is some general advice for first time mothers, by trimester.
The first trimester is the most volatile stage of your pregnancy, it is important that you seek prenatal care as soon as you discover your pregnancy and take the prenatal vitamins. The first three months are the most likely time to miscarriage, so it is important to arrange for a doctor right away. You’re probably bursting with excitement and eager to tell someone your good new, but you may want to wait to inform people of your pregnancy. Typically, women wait until the second trimester to reveal their pregnancy to friends and family. This is mostly due to the chance of miscarriage, but also because it gives you and your significant other time to make decisions regarding the pregnancy, the baby, and what will come after. Your friends and family will have a lot of questions and it will be convenient if you already have answers for them.
Prepare to be exhausted and possibly nauseous, that is completely normal. It is also normal for some women to spot, or bleed, lightly, during the first trimester of their pregnancy. The nausea can’t be helped much, you can try to eat smaller meals and avoid spicy food. However, you can help with the exhaustion by incorporating a nap into your day, preferably in the afternoon. If you do spot, it could be a sign of stress, or you might be over extending yourself. Try to relax and slow down. Many women cut their work hours, or stop working all together during their pregnancy. It’s okay to give yourself a break; it takes a lot of energy to carry a baby, plus you’re probably carrying some extra weight at this point, that you may not be used to.
Start considering the number of hours or if you’re going to work throughout your pregnancy and make the necessary preparations. It would be helpful to invest in some pregnancy, or parenting books, as well as some maternity clothes. Your clothes will likely start feeling uncomfortable by the end of the trimester and you quit working it will be nice to have books to read and give you some insight.
The second trimester is perhaps, the easiest one. You start to gain energy and you are most likely, no longer feeling nauseous, or dealing with morning sickness. Your baby bump will begin to show, but is not yet uncomfortable. It may also be the most exciting months of your pregnancy. During this time, you will learn the sex of your baby, and finally tell your friends and family the good news, without worry, there is little chance you will miscarry at this point.
During the fourth and through sixth month of your pregnancy, you will see a lot of physical changes. Try not to worry too much about your weight. Doctors will give you an estimated weight gain, but it’s different for every woman. Remember that this is a natural process, the weight gain is normal and necessary for your baby’s health. Many women develop stretch marks, this is also normal and hard to avoid. There are lotions meant specifically for preventing stretch marks, but they work relatively the same as any other lotion.
If you a runner, you will probably need to substitute it with power walking for the duration of your pregnancy and even the following weeks after giving birth. It puts a lot of strain on your stomach and will cause excessive bouncing. After having your baby, you will have to hold off on running for about six weeks. Your doctor will inform you exactly when you should quit running and off some alternative solutions to exercise.
Around the same time, your doctor will begin to ask if you want to take various prenatal tests. The tests allow you to learn if there is a possibility of your baby having an abnormal issue. These tests are helpful, in a sense that they give you time to prepare, before-hand, for what you can do if there is a complication. They are not required, and it’s a personal decision, but it can prevent surprises and allow you to be prepared.
The second trimester is also the best time to sign up for child birthing classes. Lamaze and pain management classes are available. These classes will help in providing a smooth delivery and will even prepare you for what to expect when you go in to give birth.
Your third trimester will feel the longest, you’re beginning to feel uncomfortable and your belly is probably getting huge. You’ve spent the last four to six months thinking about your baby and waiting for the due date to come. Your doctor is going to increase the number of monthly visits, this is normal, to monitor your cervix and watch for dilation. Inform yourself of the signs that you are going in to labor and have a plan ready, to prevent the rushing and disorganization of heading to the hospital at last minute.
The last three months of your pregnancy is an incredibly good time to do something for you or with your significant other. After you have the baby you won’t really feel up to doing anything for a couple of weeks, and the following months will be devoted to caring for your newborn. Do something fun, go see a movie or set up a spa appointment. Plan a special date with your significant other. After the baby comes you will both be tired and probably won’t have much alone time, while your awake. Take these last three months to indulge in each other.
You’re probably doing a lot of exciting things at this point, between the baby shower and preparing the nursery, maybe you haven’t decided on a name, but it’s time to narrow the list down and pick one. Your baby will be here soon and he will love you no matter what name you give him. If you really can’t decide, choose a classic name, a name that you can picture saying repeatedly throughout your life, because you will.
Make the preparations for your baby’s birth. Complete the admissions paperwork at the hospital and maybe tour the maternity wing. Install your baby’s car seat as your due date approaches, the hospital won’t let the baby leave without one. Properly inform yourself on the different birthing processes and make decisions, such as if you want the epidural. You may want to prepare your birth plan and give a copy to your doctor, sometimes in the moment, things are forgotten.
If you work, you may want to start looking for a day care provider, or work something out with a family member. You may also need to ensure your insurance company is informed of the coming baby, usually they will go back and cover your baby from their birth date, but you will want things in place in case of complications. You will also want to have your hospital bag prepared. This insures that you will be ready to go and have everything you need when the time comes.
Don’t forget to relax, your baby is coming. You are so eager to meet the little guy who has been kicking you and moving around for months, but enjoy yourself. There are a million tricks on the internet to ensure your baby comes quickly, but they don’t work, and some are even dangerous. The best way to spend this time is to talk to your baby, it will comfort him and he will welcome the familiar sound of your voice.
When you’ve been pregnant for nine months, you are likely ready to have your baby, but sometimes due dates are wrong. Your baby will come when he’s ready and your doctor will likely set up an induction when he thinks it’s the proper time. Babies gain most of their birth weight in the third trimester, so you can expect that if your overdue, you’re going to have a healthy baby with decent weight. Remember that the reason for your pregnancy is to allow your baby time to develop, just consider this time extra development.
You’ve made it and the baby is finally coming. Don’t forget to breath and remember your birthing classes. Labor may take several hours, but at the end of all the contractions and pushing, you will have your sweet and beautiful, newborn baby in your arms.