Precautions During Pregnancy: All About First, Second & Third Trimester
Pregnancy is a magical journey which turns a woman into a mother. When a woman is pregnant, she loves, cares, nurtures and worries about the life that is growing inside of her. In these crucial moments, every woman should know what precautions she must take to protect her baby and keep herself healthy throughout her pregnancy.
Ignorance isn't a bliss, especially when you're pregnant.
Leading an unhealthy lifestyle and indulging in unhealthy activities such as consuming wrong food, alcohol or smoking once in a while during pregnancy might seem like a small and insignificant thing to some people, but all of these things can have big repercussions in the long run.
In order to avoid any complication, it's important to know about the absolute don'ts during pregnancy. So here are some things you should absolutely avoid if you're pregnant:
Precautions To Be Taken During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
The first trimester of pregnancy is the most sensitive and crucial time of foetal development.
It begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12.
In the first trimester, foetal heartbeat can be heard by the 6th week and at the end of the 12th week the muscles, bones and organs are almost formed shaping the baby into a tiny human being.
You will have to make some healthy lifestyle changes as you are pregnant.
Here are some things you should steer clear of during the first trimester of your pregnancy:
#1. Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can harm the developing foetus. There is no safe limit of alcohol consumption during pregnancy so avoid it completely.
Alcohol consumption is dangerous during pregnancy as it can lead to FAS or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Babies which are exposed to alcohol in the womb during development can suffer from serious physical and mental retardation.
Babies born with FAS have abnormal facial features, small head size, low birth weight, poor memory, short stature, poor coordination and lack of focus.
There is no cure for FAS, only supportive treatment can be provided depending on the symptom to ease and lengthen the lifespan of a baby.
You can make sure to,
- Avoid alcohol consumption throughout the pregnancy.
- Alcohol-based beverages should be avoided completely.
- Medications that contain alcohol must not be taken without the doctor's advice.
- If you have addiction issues visit your doctor for help.
You can also make it a habit to read the label of every food item, beverage and medication before consuming it in order to prevent the chances of alcohol exposure completely.
If you have a drinking habit, it is better to cut down alcohol completely.
#2. Some Fish & Sea Food Is Good To Avoid
Fish and other seafood options might look very tempting and healthy choice during pregnancy since they are a good source of protein.
However, in spite of having a high nutritive value avoiding seafood is considered safe during pregnancy because it can also contain high levels of Mercury which may lead to malformation of the foetus in the womb and cause improper physical and mental development of the baby.
In order to avoid sea-food during pregnancy, you can,
- Avoid eating swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish.
- Limit tuna consumption.
- Don't consume fish which isn't tested for mercury levels and is caught from an unknown source.
- Consume less than 12 ounces or 340 gms of cooked fish in a week.
- Check in your local food safety department about the safety of the fish before consuming.
Try to avoid seafood completely in order to prevent any chance of mercury exposure.
#3. Cigarettes Are Injurious To Pregnancy Health
Smoking is injurious to health, this phrase gives out a clear message that cigarette isn’t a biased killer. So, pregnant or not, smoking will eventually risk your life.
Women who smoke during pregnancy, not only risk their own health but they also give birth to low weight babies who are found to have development issues. These babies are more prone to infections, they can have breathing or feeding issues and are at a greater risk of SIDS.
Getting exposed to cigarette smoke or becoming a passive smoker can also impart serious health risks to the pregnancy.
You can ensure that:
- If you smoke, you should stop smoking and cut it down completely.
- Avoid sitting with other people who are smoking and also avoid smoking areas.
- If you have addiction issues, you can visit your doctor for help.
#4. Sauna and Hot Tubs
Sauna bath, Jacuzzis, steam rooms and hot tubs should be avoided as they have high temperatures.
They can cause overheating of the body which can risk the development of the baby.
They can also cause dehydration and fainting.
Hot baths and saunas can cause a significant rise in core body temperature which can affect the baby's development adversely.
Ensure that you are taking normal to warm baths that don't raise the temperature of your body significantly.
You can read more about what to eat during pregnancy.
#5. Self Medication May Be Dangerous
Self-medication should be completely avoided during pregnancy.
The medicines or herbs which you take during this time should always be prescribed by a doctor.
Be cautious regarding what you're consuming while you're pregnant even if it's a natural and organic substitute for synthetic medication.
Consuming medication in proper prescribed dosage is very important, taking more than the recommended dosage of any medication can bring complications in the pregnancy.
Ask your healthcare provider, questions regarding the medication you're taking.
Get a clear picture of the dosage amount which you need to take and inquire about any possible side effects which the medication can cause.
#6. Avoid Caffeine During Pregnancy
Caffeine is a potent stimulant which should be avoided during pregnancy. It can cause anxiety, irritability, nervousness and can even alter your sleep cycle.
Make sure that you,
- Avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea or cola.
- Read food labels before consuming anything.
- If you have a habit of consuming caffeine every day, try to cut the consumption down.
#7. Watch What You Eat
In order to have an overall healthy pregnancy, you will have to make healthy food choices, especially during the first trimester. You can monitor whatever you are eating and keep a check on what goes into your body.
To be healthy, you can avoid eating and minimise the consumption of,
- Processed food items which contain a large amount of Sodium.
- Anything with too many added preservatives and synthetic colours.
- Always wash your fruits and vegetables properly.
- Raw fish or sushi.
- Raw meat and raw eggs.
Get Good Prenatal Care
You should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you suspect or find out that you're pregnant. You should find a Gynaecologist with whom you can share and rectify your doubts regarding your pregnancy.
Prenatal checkup of a pregnant woman is important during the first trimester of pregnancy as it helps the doctor find out more about her health and the baby's development.
During a prenatal checkup, the weight, body measurements and blood pressure of the mother are taken. Several other tests such as blood and urine examination are done to rule out the presence of any infections or STDs. Blood sugar level is also tested.
Your doctor will also ask questions related to your medical history such as your previous illnesses or if you are taking any medication in the long term. Be open and honest with your doctor regarding the facts you provide. A brief family history will also be taken.
Always schedule prenatal visits with your doctor so that they can monitor your health as well as the baby's growth during the course of your pregnancy.
Take all the necessary supplements provided by your doctor to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Communicate with your doctor and maintain a constant contact with your healthcare providers.
In case if you are experiencing any kind of discomfort or pain visit your doctor immediately for a checkup.
Precautions To Be Taken In The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
Now that you've successfully passed your first trimester of the pregnancy it's time to deal with the next one.
The second trimester is usually known as the honeymoon period of pregnancy. Most of the morning sickness and other discomforting symptoms subside by the time a woman enters in her second trimester. The baby now peacefully grow and floats in the amniotic fluid while it's brain and body develops rapidly.
However, entering the second trimester doesn't mean that you can be less cautious now. In fact, the second trimester adds some more cautions into the list of cautions to be taken during the first trimester.
Here are some things that you should totally avoid in the second trimester -
#8. Taking unnecessary supplements
Take only those supplements which are provided and prescribed by your doctor. Don't try and add on more supplements to this list. Stick to only what your doctor prescribes.
#9. Sleeping on your tummy
Never sleep on your tummy as it can exert pressure and even suffocate your baby. Prefer sleeping on your left side so that the blood circulation remains smooth and there are no problems.
#10. Monitor your medication intake
In case you catch a cold, avoid taking any antibiotics. Try using safe herbal methods to relieve the symptoms. Contact or meet the doctor to get a checkup done as soon as you experience any kind of discomfort.
#11. Avoid high heels
Wearing high heels can increase the pressure on your back, ankle and knees. It also increases the chances of losing balance, tripping over and falling.
#12. Avoid tight dresses
Your baby needs space to grow so your tummy needs to be comfortable not constricted. Wear light clothing to ensure that no extra pressure is exerted on your baby bump.
#13. Don't lift heavy weights
Heavyweight lifting and long strenuous exercises should not be done. Try doing yoga and breathing exercises instead.
#14. Don't sit idly
Don't sit in the same position for hours. Get up and get moving. Take a walk and then rest again.
Along with all these precautions keep on exercising the precautions taken in the first trimester of pregnancy. Smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming processed food is still a strict no in your second trimester of pregnancy.
Attend all the scheduled visits to your doctor's office. Visit your doctor immediately in case you feel any kind of discomfort, pain or bleeding during your second trimester.
Precautions To Be Taken In the Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
You've now entered the finale of your pregnancy. Not much time is left to welcome the young life you've been protecting all this while.
#15. Monitor your baby's movements
As your baby is now growing his movements may increase or change. If you feel something unusual about your baby's movements, contact your doctor or midwife immediately.
#16. Don't miss your doctor appointments
Your third trimester is the time when you mentally prepare yourself for labour and childbirth. Your doctor will also measure your bump and check the growth of the baby by scheduling an ultrasound.
#17. Be aware of preeclampsia
If you're experiencing high blood pressure, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, swollen hands and feet call your doctor immediately.
#18. Get to know about your contractions
You may begin to feel slight contractions towards the end of your pregnancy. The muscles of your womb may tighten from time to time during these contractions. Make it a point to meet your doctor or midwife who can explain and help you understand the difference between what true and false contractions feel like.
#19. Stay in touch
In order to avoid any complications during labour and childbirth, maintain constant communication with your healthcare provider and family members who can help you out when the labour begins. If you begin to feel strong contractions during the third trimester, inform your family and call your doctor immediately.
The third trimester is very crucial time for both the mother and the baby. Having the constant support of the family, paying regular visits to the doctor and taking precautions is important this time.
Eating a well balanced healthy diet, taking pregnancy supplements, learning about labour and contractions etc are essential during the third trimester. Strictly stay away from any kind of substance abuse or intoxication throughout your third trimester.
You should call your doctor and seek help immediately if you feel any kind of discomfort, pain or if you suspect a labour.
Pregnancy is not an easy thing to deal with if you don't know about the precautions that should be taken during this sensitive period.
Precautions that are taken during pregnancy safeguards the life of both the mother and the developing child.
Staying aware of your body changes during pregnancy and discussing them with a doctor can help you understand a great deal about how your body changes during the pregnancy.
A constant support from your loved ones and regular visits to your doctor can ensure that your baby's growth is being monitored properly.
Steer clear of any kind of intoxication. It is seen that using alcohol, tobacco or drugs can cause serious damage to both mother and the child.
It is now in your hand to protect the life growing inside of you by taking good care of yourself.
L*****Very helpful article....I m 4 months pregnant but on bed rest....can u suggest me what should I do bcoz its quite depressing to be on bed all d time.