Release the balloons: you're pregnant! Whether it's been a work in progress or an unexpected surprise, your first pregnancy can be joyous, overwhelming and a bit scary. But fret not, Mama -- we've been there and live to tell about it...with happy, healthy children in tow.
Five actions to prioritize in your first trimester
Yay, you're pregnant! Now what?
1. See your doctor or midwife. Whether choosing a midwife or OB/GYN, find a care provider who respects you and your right to informed consent. Keep in mind you don't have to do it alone. Bringing your partner to prenatal appointments can help him feel more involved throughout the pregnancy and provide you support as well.
2. Eat for two. This is probably one of the biggest perks of pregnancy, but despite popular belief, "eating for two" doesn't mean doubling your calories. According to the NICHD, pregnant women only need to increase their caloric intake by about 300 a day! To make those calories count, choose nutrient-dense foods that will serve you and your baby. Here are some must-eat foods for your first trimester.
3. Get off your booty. Keeping fit through pregnancy is basically a win-win for you and baby. Not only will it help you bounce back to your pre-pregnancy bod, it has benefits associated with a healthier pregnancy outcome and even shorter labor. Before you continue with your previous exercise routine or begin a new one, discuss the changes with your doctor or midwife.
4. Take care of your skin. Unless you're blessed with amazing genes (in which case, go thank your mother right now!), you'll probably have to deal with one or more of the following pregnancy skincare issues: hormonal acne, melasma (aka "the mask of pregnancy"), itchy skin and stretch marks. Especially with stretch mark prevention, it's never too early to begin hydrating and adding elasticity to your developing bump. No matter your concerns, choose organic pregnancy skincare that's safe for you and baby.
By its very nature, pregnancy is stressful; however, don't let that affect the health of your baby.
5. Chill out. It's natural to feel overwhelmed, but stress can negatively affect you and your growing babe. According to Calvin Hobel, MD, vice chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles:
"What many women don't realize is that, in and of itself, pregnancy is a stressful event. Your heart rate increases, your blood volume increases, your weight increases, there is additional stress on ligaments and bones. So just the physical aspects of pregnancy can add to your load."
Stress can increase the risk of low birth weight and premature birth, so give yourself permission to check out and kick back.