The first trimester of pregnancy is a critical time for your baby’s development. Although you may not be showing yet, your body is undergoing vast changes as it prepares itself to carry your baby. The fetus is most susceptible at this time to damage from drugs, alcohol, some medications and illnesses, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center. By the end of your first trimester, all your baby’s functions have started to form. Your baby has a heartbeat and has arm, legs, fingers, toes and hair.
Eat nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains or enriched breads and cereals, low-fat or non-fat dairy products and proteins. Also, take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid. While you are pregnant, you will need 300 more calories a day than you normally eat, according to the Student Care Center at the University of Chicago. Many women have morning sickness during the first trimester, which makes getting enough calories difficult. Try eating smaller meals more frequently during this time.
Because your body is undergoing many changes, you will probably feel exhausted during your first trimester. Don’t fight it. Take a nap during the afternoon; go to bed earlier at night. You will need the extra rest during this time.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you may consider harmless may be harmful to a developing fetus. You should not use aspirin, ibuprofen or feminine hygiene products during your pregnancy. You may be able to take acetaminophen, according to the Student Care Center at the University of Chicago, but check with your doctor first.
Caffeine, Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco
You may be able to tolerate a small amount of caffeine, such as two cups or fewer per day, but you should avoid all alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and smoking. All these substances affect your developing baby negatively.
As soon as you know you are pregnant, get prenatal care. Your first appointment will be the longest one. Your health care provider will take down your complete medical history, give you a physical exam and conduct certain tests to assess your health and your baby’s health. After the first visit, you will have a prenatal exam every month until your final month where you will go every week.
If you exercised before you became pregnant, you should be able to continue with your exercise program. Avoid exercises where you could fall, such as skiing or horseback riding, or contact sports, like soccer. Running, walking, swimming and using an elliptical machine are good exercises. Exercise for 30 minutes a day to keep your body in shape. If you experience dizziness or begin to feel bad, stop exercising. Avoid exercising in the extreme heat. You should not get your body temperature too high, because that could cause damage to the baby.
Chemicals and Hot Tubs
Avoid cleaning solvents, pesticides, X-rays and painting the house during this time. Wear gloves if you change your cat’s litter box or do any gardening to reduce the chance of contracting the toxoplasmosis parasite. Do not sit in the hot tub or take long, hot baths because they raise your body temperature too much.
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