Pregnancy is an exciting and scary journey. Your body is experiencing a myriad of changes, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of it and to know whether you are doing everything you're supposed to for yourself and your baby. While there are plenty of books to help guide you through the next 9 months, it can be difficult to weed through all of the information and get down to the most important parts. Here are a few ways to help keep you healthy and ease your mind during this new adventure.
Find a Doctor
The first step you should take once you find out you are pregnant is to call your doctor to confirm the pregnancy. Although your general practitioner can help with this part, you'll want to start seeing an obstetrician or midwife. If you don't already have someone, your family doctor can provide you with a referral. The OBGYN will typically schedule your first appointment for when you are around 8 weeks along. Your first visit may include an ultrasound and bloodwork, and it's where you'll start establishing a relationship with your physician and providing him with information about your medical history. Be sure to find someone you are comfortable with as this is likely the person who will be delivering your baby.
Get Your Nutrients
Food cravings are something that many pregnant women experience. Unfortunately, they aren't usually for healthy foods, such as broccoli. It can be hard to get all the nutrients your body needs while growing a baby when the only thing you want to eat is ice cream. However, it is essential to get the nutrients you need for both you and the new life growing inside of you. If you are craving sweets, try eating fruit instead of cookies or candy. You can also find healthier versions of unhealthy foods to make. You can also slip vegetables into pasta dishes and other comfort meals without really noticing them. It's also vital that you are taking a good prenatal vitamin. You can get these over-the-counter, or your physician may prescribe you one. Taking it every day can help ensure that your body and your baby are getting the nutrients they need.
Many women forget to think about the fourth trimester. This is the time right after your baby is born where you are adjusting to life postpartum. Your hormones may be all over the place at this time, and many women experience some form of postpartum depression. If you are worried about what life will be like once your baby arrives, it may be a good idea to start seeking counseling now. This can be especially helpful if you plan to give up a baby for adoption as this brings on a whole new set of emotions. Meditating, trying prenatal yoga and finding suitable reading materials for your situation can be very beneficial. If you are experiencing any sort of prenatal depression or are unsure of whether you are ready to become a parent at this time, talk to your doctor to find out what resources are available to you.
Pregnancy can be exhausting. After all, you are growing an entire human, which takes some serious work. The last thing you may want to do is exercise, but it's important to stay active throughout your pregnancy. Of course, now is not the time to start training for a marathon, but it's a good idea to go for walks or find other forms of light exercise that you enjoy. You should always listen to your body though. If you experience any cramping or discomfort, it's a good idea to slow down and rest.
Although these tips are a great way to get started, you should continue to attend your prenatal appointments and seek advice from medical professionals whenever necessary. Pregnancy is not always easy, but it's important to make the most of it. Time flies and before you know it, you'll have your new baby in your arms.
By Paisley Hansen
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