No doubt, you’ll have plenty of time over the next 40-or-so weeks to read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” plus the plethora of other literature out there related to development, health and exercise, as well as daily journals, organizers, and month-by-month and even day-by-day guides.
But if you’re looking for a quick fix now, we’ve pulled together this trimester-by-trimester guide.
So you’ve found out you’re pregnant. Now what?
Well, for the first 12 to 13 weeks of pregnancy, expect to deal with fatigue, bouts of nausea, acid reflux, and potentially some vomiting, according to Dr. Kevin Andrews of Coastal Women’s Healthcare in Scarborough.
To help to counteract some of these maladies, Andrews suggests sticking to a bland diet – that is, steer away from things that are spicy or overly acidic – and get into more of a “grazing” mode, eating smaller meals throughout the day, which can help cut down on acid secretion. Also, stay well hydrated, as pregnancy can predispose women to dehydration. And, Andrews said, it’s OK to have one cup of coffee a day throughout your pregnancy.
If you do experience nausea, ginger can help, as can Vitamin B6 and Doxylamine, Andrews said. For acid reflux, meanwhile, over-the-counter antacids are perfectly safe, he said.
Meanwhile, be sure to start taking a multi-vitamin or a pre-natal vitamin every day – folic acid is particularly important because it’s been shown to decrease certain birth defects – and try to remain active through lower-impact activities such as brisk walking or swimming.
Typically, you’ll have your first medical appointment between six and eight weeks, Andrews said, in which you’ll go over your detailed medical and genetic history, and discuss any risk factors (such as diabetes, hypertension or advanced age). You’ll also have your first ultrasound to confirm the baby’s gestational age and to estimate a due date.
At 12 weeks, you’ll see your doctor again for a full examination, Andrews said, including a second ultrasound, blood tests, and typically a screening for Down Syndrome.
By the time the second trimester ticks around, you should be sleeping better and feeling more energetic, Andrews said, and your nausea and/or vomiting should decrease and eventually stop.
The second trimester is “probably the trimester where women feel the best,” Andrews said.
At 16 weeks, you’ll get a second blood test, Between 18 and 20 weeks, you’ll have a routine screening ultrasound to inspect the baby’s organs and anatomy (and this is when you can find out the gender, if you want). Another visit will follow at 20 weeks, Andrews said, as well as at 24 weeks, with a glucose test for gestational diabetes.
Ultimately, women will gain the majority of weight in the second half of their pregnancy. The ideal, Andrews said, should be about 30 pounds total: 10 in the first 20 weeks, and 20 in the last 20 weeks.
Finally, in the third trimester, doctor visits will become more frequent – every two weeks from 28 to 36 weeks, and every week from 36 weeks until delivery, according to Andrews.
The last trimester is when women can tend to become uncomfortable due to weight gain, swelling of arms and legs, and increased urination, he said.
“It’s much more difficult to walk, to get into a position to sleep,” he said, noting that insomnia can occur.
Similarly, because the hormones of pregnancy cause relaxation of ligaments, the result can be an unstable pelvis, leading to pelvic pain.
And when it comes down to the final days, you can work right until the day you deliver – but it’s all dependent on how you feel, he said.
Ultimately, the main things to remember throughout your pregnancy are: exercise and eat healthy (fruits, vegetables, whole grain, protein through meat or nuts and beans). In the end, it can help maintain your weight and the baby’s weight, help prevent gestational diabetes, and help ensure a better labor.
Also, Andrews stressed, your due date isn’t hard and fast. Roughly 80 percent of women deliver two weeks before or two weeks after that date.
“Don’t fixate on it too much,” he said.