You’ve just discovered you’re expecting!
Congratulations! Your head is, no doubt, spinning. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or your second, third or fourth—there’s so much to think about, so much to do. Where do you begin?
Call your doctor
Your doctor will probably want to see you soon—to confirm your expected delivery date, check your overall health, and get you started on prenatal vitamins. You will continue to see your doctor frequently—about once a month for the first six months, then about every two weeks; at about eight months, you’ll probably begin to see your doctor once a week, until the baby arrives.
Gather the Resources You Need and Want
Every woman is different. And your approach to pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a mother should be guided by what your own instincts tell you will be right for you. Luckily, with the Internet and social networking sites, information is easier than ever to come by. And there are countless excellent books on pregnancy, childcare and parenting. The very abundance of information can be overwhelming. Trust yourself. Check out your options. Talk to friends. You’ll find yourself zeroing in on one or two (or a few) books and sites that you like best.
In addition, especially if you are a first-time mom, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the prenatal classes most hospitals offer. If you are planning on breastfeeding, a breast feeding class is also a good idea. In addition, you may want to look into the possibility of working with a child birth educator or doula, to help coach you through childbirth and the post partum period or a lactation consultant to help you and your baby become a successful breastfeeding couple.
Eat Right, Exercise & Rest
Your body will be going through a lot of changes in the weeks and months to come. It’s important to listen to what your body is telling you – eat healthy, exercise, and rest when you are tired.
No matter what your routine was before you were pregnant, you should try to fit in some form of exercise every day. For beginners, this could include going for a walk or starting a prenatal yoga class. If you are used to more rigorous workouts, talk to your doctor about what adjustments, if any, you should make to your regular routine.
Your body is now hard at work 24/7 creating the miracle that will be your baby. It only makes sense that you will probably need more sleep than you’re used to. If your schedule allows, take an afternoon nap. If not, try going to bed a little earlier than usual; and, when you can, allow yourself to sleep in on weekends.
Say Good-Bye to Bad Habits
Smoking and drinking, even in moderation, can be harmful to your baby. And use of recreational drugs (or misuse of prescription drugs) can cause serious and permanent damage to your unborn child. Be honest with yourself about these risks. If you need, help speak frankly with your doctor. And never hesitate to ask for support from those around you.
Enjoy your Pregnancy
Make it a point to celebrate this remarkable time in your life. Plan a maternity photo shoot so you’ll have a visual record of just how beautiful you were with that baby bump! Keep a journal about the whirlwind of thoughts and feelings you are experiencing—what it was like when you first heard your baby’s heartbeat, saw him in an ultrasound, or felt her move. Share the ups and downs of it all with others through a blog, or a mothers group—either online or in person. Enjoy!
What to eat
Start taking care of your baby before she is even born—and take better care of yourself, too—by eating a well-balanced diet of healthy foods throughout your pregnancy: fresh fruits and vegetables; wholesome meats, fish, dairy products and eggs; protein-rich nuts and legumes; whole grains, and beneficial fats.
Be sure to take the prenatal vitamins prescribed for you; they ensure consistent intake of vital nutrients. Some of these (folic acid, for example) help protect your baby against preventable birth defects.
What to avoid
Take extra precautions to reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses, which can be harmful to your baby. Wash your hands before cooking and eating. Clean all cooking surfaces well. Also, avoid foods with high risk of foodborne illnesses such as:
* Raw seafood
* Raw or undercooked fish, meat, or eggs
* Unpasteurized milk and milk products (including soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk)
* Hot dogs
* Deli meats
Be sure to stay away from seafood known for high mercury content (such as swordfish), and limit your intake of seafood with low levels of mercury (such as tuna fish).
You should also avoid drinking alcohol and reduce the amount of caffeine you consume to just 8 oz. of coffee, tea, or a soft drink. Remember that chocolate contains caffeine and that sugar, candy, and desserts deliver empty calories with little or no nutritional value. Many healthcare professionals recommend that pregnant women avoid artificial sweeteners and snacks that have a high salt content.
Be certain to speak to your doctor whenever you have questions or concerns about your diet .
For information about diet during pregnancy, we like the following sites: