Frequently Asked Questions During the First Trimester

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Every soon-to-be mother only wants the best for her child. This already starts during pregnancy. The more informed you are as a mother on how you can help your baby during the pregnancy, the less likely your child will have problems growing up. The first trimester of pregnancy is from Week 0 to Week 13. There are a few dietary and exercise changes that you would need to make to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.


Should I Take Supplements During the First Trimester?

Taking the right supplements during your pregnancy is very important for the development of your baby. Supplements can even be taken months before you conceive a baby. Folic acid is one of the most important supplements to take, this is necessary for the cells which are dividing rapidly. Taking folic acid before pregnancy can help prevent neural defects such as spina bifida. Vitamins B-complex helps with normal red blood cell formation. Iron assists with red blood cell function. Calcium contributes to healthy and strong bones and teeth. Vitamin A assists with the cell differentiation process. 


What Foods Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

A balanced diet is very important for a healthy pregnancy. Your diet should include foods from all the essential groups such as proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Proteins are important, especially in the second and third trimesters. Examples of animal proteins are fish, chicken, milk, and eggs. Examples of plant proteins are peas, beans, lentils, and nuts. Carbohydrates are found in bread and pasta. Whole-grain carbohydrates contain fibre which assists with digestion and prevents constipation. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals which are important during your pregnancy. Fats and sugars can be eaten in small amounts. This will provide you with energy and transport fat-soluble vitamins. 


What Food Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

Some foods contain bacterial toxins which can be transported to your baby. You should avoid raw meats, deli meats, fish with high mercury levels such as shark and swordfish, smoked meats, raw shellfish, raw eggs, cheese that are made with unpasteurised milk, pate, and unpasteurised milk. 


What Are Beneficial Exercises During Pregnancy?

It can be beneficial to exercise for 20 minutes, 3-4 days a week. Exercise can reduce back pain, improve your mood, promote muscle tone, and improve sleep. Pelvic exercises can help prepare your body for birth. Swimming, walking, and yoga are safe exercises during pregnancy. Consult with your healthcare provider if you want to continue cycling or runnung during pregnancy. 


How Much Weight Will I Gain During Pregnancy?

If you are an average height and weight, you will most likely gain 10-15k during your pregnancy. Your weight gain is made up of the following:

Baby                                                                               3.2-3.6 kg
Placenta                                                                        0.7 kg
Amniotic Fluid                                                            0.9 kg
Fat Stores                                                                      2.7-3.6 kg
Increased Blood Volume                                                   1.4-1.8 kg                                
Increased Fluid                                                             0.9-1.4 kg
Breasts                                                                 0.45-1.4 kg
Uterus Growth                                                                 1 kg

How Does The Baby Develop in The First 13 Weeks?

During the first trimester, your baby will start to develop from just a few cells. During this time, the organs will start to develop. Your baby will still start to get form, the head will look too big in comparison with the rest of their body. The brain and nervous system will also start to develop. The first trimester is the most important trimester as this is where the baby will start to develop all of the important body parts, organs, and systems such as the nervous system. 


What Should I NOT Do During My First Trimester?

You will be asked to stop using recreational drugs and if you are on chronic medication, it will be advised that you speak to your healthcare advisor to see if it is safe for the baby. Some drugs can cause complications and increase the risk of having a miscarriage. It is recommended that you stop consuming caffeine such as coffee. This can increase your blood pressure and heart rate which is not recommended during pregnancy. You will be advised to stop using alcohol as this can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome. You are encouraged to avoid tanning and sauna. 


What Are the Most Common Symptoms Experienced During The First Trimester?

The most common symptoms during the first trimester will be fatigue, breast tenderness, and nausea. These symptoms are caused by hormonal fluctuations but will get better after the first trimester. 


Any Tips For Nausea During The First Trimester?

You might prevent morning sickness by eating something small when you wake up. You can also eat small meals throughout the day to avoid nausea. Some people find that ginger tea helps for nausea, if your nausea does not go away there are certain medications that you can use. You can talk to your healthcare provider about these medications. 

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