According to the National Center for Health Statistics, prime conception season in the United States occurs in fall and winter. Meaning January is often not just a new year, but also the time when many women will first find out they are pregnant. If that is you, congratulations, and welcome to the first trimester. If this is your first pregnancy, it can be a time of excitement, discovery, and a few potential challenges.
Things You Should Start Thinking About
Find a Practitioner
This might seem like a very obvious step but is also a daunting task. The kind of practitioner will depend on a lot of things, but the first and most obvious question is to ask yourself if you would like to try and give birth at home, in a hospital, or perhaps at a birth center. From there, ask friends, read local reviews, and double-check your insurance coverage. Remember that you are free to change your mind and provider at any time.
Begin Prenatal Supplements
Your healthcare provider will likely recommend prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, iron, and other essential nutrients. However, it’s highly recommended you start taking a prenatal as soon as possible, likely even before your first appointment, to help avoid depletion for both yourself and your growing baby. Folate, in particular, is very important early on to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. It might take a few tries to get it right, which is why at Needed we have several prenatal options.
Schedule Your First Prenatal Appointment
Once you have worked out which practitioner you’d like to start your journey with, set up an appointment as soon as possible, as early prenatal care is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will then confirm your pregnancy and establish a baseline for your health and the baby's development.
Embrace Nutrient-Rich Foods
Morning sickness and fatigue can make eating a bit challenging during the first trimester. However, focus on incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet. Small, frequent meals can help manage nausea, as well as supplements like collagen, and don't forget to stay hydrated.
Listen to Your Body
We know that it’s easier said than done, but try to give yourself a little grace. The first trimester often comes with a rollercoaster of emotions and physical changes. Pay attention to your body's signals and take things easy when needed. Adequate rest and relaxation are crucial during this time, so don't hesitate to give yourself permission to slow down where possible. If you have any concerns like intense sickness or extreme tiredness, please reach out to your provider.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
Fatigue is a common companion during the first trimester, and getting quality sleep becomes even more crucial. Create as comfortable a sleep environment as possible, establish a bedtime routine, no blue light an hour before bedtime, and consider investing in a pregnancy pillow for added support, which you might not need much in the first few months but by the third trimester, it might be your new best friend.
Explore Prenatal Exercise Options
While high-intensity workouts might need to take a backseat, staying active during the first trimester is essential. Explore prenatal exercise options such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga. Your body will thank you for it as it continues to grow.
Address Emotional Well-being
The hormonal changes during the first trimester can influence your emotions. It's normal to experience a mix of joy, anxiety, and even mood swings. Establish a support system, consider mindfulness practices, and if you are with a partner, try to communicate openly with them about your feelings, as it is often a big emotional adjustment for a partner too, and keeping the conversation going can help you both feel more connected and supported.
Take the time to educate yourself about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Attend prenatal classes or talk to other parents, read books, and perhaps find a doula who can help answer your questions. Knowledge is empowering, and being well-informed will help you navigate the upcoming months with confidence.
The Bottom Line
Remember that each pregnancy is unique. Trust your instincts, lean on your support system, and cherish the incredible journey you are on. With these steps in mind, you're well-equipped to embrace the new year and the exciting adventure of pregnancy.