You Are Pregnant. What’s Next?
You just found out that you are pregnant! This is the beginning of an incredible journey in becoming a mum.
In these 9 months, you’re going to experience many exciting changes – both emotionally and physically. There might be times when you simply feel overwhelmed, tired, worried, and stressed, but there will be countless of moments when you’re full of joy and energy too. There are usually plenty of questions at this stage such as what are the things you can or cannot do or what are the foods you should avoid and the list goes on. To be able to provide the best for your growing baby, you must take care of your own health first.
Changes In Mother’s Body And Health
You tend to feel very tired easily. Listen to your body and rest whenever you have the chance. During the 1st month of pregnancy, most women tend to have a poor appetite. If you are experiencing ‘morning sickness’ during the first few months of pregnancy, your appetite can be affected. Morning sickness usually last the whole day and evenings are usually the worst. Epigastric discomfort is very common too. Try to take small but regular meals – that would help alleviate some of those symptoms.
Urinary frequency is also a common complaint, especially at night when it disturbs your sleep. This is due to the expanding womb pressing on the bladder. Continue to stay hydrated, but reduce water intake after dinner.
During the first month, the blastocyst (a ball of cells) reaches the womb and implants itself into the uterine lining. Some women may experience slight spotting at this stage, which is termed as implantation bleeding. After a week, the cells start to differentiate into the different organs and the external features are starting to form (embryonic stage). This is a crucial stage as the fetus is very susceptible to damage from the consumption of unsuitable medications, illegal drug use, smoking and getting infections like rubella.
The fetus’ limb buds, which look like paddles, are beginning to form. The jaw bones and the fetus’ heart start to form. Even the neural tube which will eventually become the baby’s brain and spine, has started to develop. In the later part of the month, the umbilical cord will be formed, leading to the placenta. The size of the baby is about 1.5cm at this stage.
Diet in pregnancy should not vary much from before pregnancy, such as a sensible diet that is low in fats and sugar. There are certain foods that should be avoided or taken in limited quantities throughout your pregnancy and that includes:
- Raw or half cooked foods (sahimi, half boiled eggs). Make sure food is cooked thoroughly to ensure that pathogens are killed
- Soft unripened cheese
- Intake of caffeinated drinks. Limit coffee to a maximum of 2 cups a day or 3 cups of tea
- Reduce intake of liver products due to the high level of retinol content that may affect the fetus
- Reduce intake of deep sea fish like tuna, deep Atlantic cod fish, swordfish as these contain a high level of mercury. Vitamin A (tretinoin) and mercury have been associated with fetal deformities.
Can I exercise when I am pregnant?
Exercise is safe during pregnancy. However, as most women tend to feel very tired and possibly ‘sick’ in the first trimester, it can be tough to stick to an exercise regime. Start slowly and consistently. Rest if unwell.
It may be hard to believe right now that you’re really pregnant (after all, your belly isn’t showing yet), but as your baby grows and your body changes more each month, this reality will be easier to wrap your mind around. In the meantime, embrace the start of this miraculous journey.
Dr Choo Wan Ling is experienced in antenatal and gynaecological scans, antenatal care and risk assessment, prenatal screening, vaginal, assisted and caesarean delivery. She is an advocator of natural birth and breastfeeding. Being a mother to 2 girls herself, she is familiar with the difficulties some mothers-to-be go through during the pregnancy and after.
Read more about her
Dr. Choo Wan Ling
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
SOG – Choo Wan Ling Clinic for Women