Congratulations! You’ve just found out you’re PREGNANT! Now what?
Whether this pregnancy was planned or a bit of a surprise, all the emotions swirling through your body have your brain spinning and you are probably already wondering what’s next. Here are some helpful things to know about your first trimester, even before that first doctor’s visit, and some tips from a seasoned mom…me!
Tips for a smooth first trimester
First things first, make an appointment with an obstetrician (OB) (the doctor who will provide your pregnancy care and deliver your baby!) You need to go ahead and get yourself on their schedule. Maybe you don’t currently have an OB? I’d suggest asking your friends and family for recommendations, reading online reviews, and also choosing the hospital where you want to deliver (and make sure the OB you pick has privileges to deliver babies at this hospital). It may also be helpful to research area hospitals.
One popular hospital with Charleston-area moms and expectant mothers is Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, located in West Ashley. This facility is certified as a “baby-friendly” hospital, meaning they are certified through a national program and have the highest standards of care for both mothers and babies. Make sure to ask about hospital virtual tours and maternity classes too! These classes are often offered to expectant mothers even if you aren’t delivering at their hospital, and they are jam-packed with helpful information. Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital also has a Level II Intensive Care Nursery on-site and for mothers who need a special level of care, there is the Perinatal Center.
You’ll also want to make sure you are taking your vitamins! Prenatal vitamins are available over-the-counter so you do not need a prescription to get them. Even if you are only thinking about becoming pregnant, but have not yet conceived, it’s a great idea to start taking a prenatal vitamin so that when you do become pregnant, your developing embryo is already getting all the nutrients it needs for development. Sometimes women find their prenatal vitamin makes them feel nauseous, so making sure you take your vitamin with food can lessen the chance of an upset stomach. You can also opt to take the vitamin before bed which sometimes helps beat nausea associated with prenatal vitamins. Have questions about your specific dietary needs during pregnancy? Roper St. Francis Healthcare has registered dietitians that you can speak with.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, you are experiencing a lot of new things, and your body is going through many changes. It is important to listen to what your body needs! Some of these physical changes may feel harder than others, like morning sickness. While not all women experience this queasiness, for others it may last all day. If you do experience morning sickness, here are some quick tips that may help:
- Make sure you always keep something in your stomach.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Keep crackers or a small snack in your purse so you can hopefully combat pangs of nausea quickly.
- Keep peppermints or ginger candy in your purse or at your desk.
- If your nausea is debilitating, you can always talk with your OB about safe prescription medication while you are pregnant.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare offers a wealth of services and education for new mothers, from the earliest days of finding out you are pregnant through labor and delivery. They have a team of specialists available 24/7 in the Obstetrics Emergency Department, in addition to their in-house neonatology support, in-house maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and registered dietitians, as well as on-site genetic counseling, mental health counseling, and substance abuse counseling. During times that may be difficult to attend in-person classes, they also offer online resources, eBooks, and virtual classes that help you learn at your own pace.
I personally found the ‘My RSFH Baby’ app to be extremely helpful during pregnancy. The app covers everything from what to pack to a contraction counter. It’s a great resource to have on your phone for a quick answer to one of the (many) questions you will have!
Last, don’t hesitate to call your OB with questions! Knowing that someone is on call 24/7 to take your phone call and address your concerns, whether it is your own OB or another doctor in the same practice, will give you much-needed peace of mind. You know your body best, and if you think something has changed or potentially wrong, it never hurts to place a phone call and ease your concerns and fears.
Thinking about the bigger picture
While the first trimester might be a challenge at times, it is also important to remind yourself of the precious life you are growing. You may have absolutely no symptoms at all, or you may experience EVERY symptom in the book. Either way, learning to accept help from family and friends during this new and exciting stage of your life is so important! Allow your body time to rest and recuperate. Remember that it’s growing a tiny human, which is A LOT of work!
Every woman experiences pregnancy differently and every woman has different pregnancy and birth stories to share. This first trimester is the beginning of YOUR story! Embrace it and get excited about this tiny life you have created and about the miracle that is happening inside your body!
Connect with Roper St. Francis Healthcare