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The Battle Plan: Getting Through The 1st Trimester

Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar

2 min read

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According to gynecologists, for many women the first three months are no less than a minefield that tests their caution and survival instincts, which isn’t made easier by the ever-constant fatigue, sore breasts and day-long morning sickness. While these symptoms will disappear, or at least lessen in the 13th week, the following tips might help you manage them while ensuring the safety of you and your baby:

1- Handling Fatigue:

The sudden rise in progesterone hormone levels and large amounts of energy drainage to aid the growing baby can cause a day-long sedating effect. Since it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down, don’t stress over unfinished housework or being unable to continue your exercise regime like before; 20 minutes of mild to moderate exercise a day-with your doctor’s permission-will suffice to increase your energy levels. Also, nap whenever you feel like it.

2- Dealing With Morning Sickness (that lasts all day)

High estrogen levels during early pregnancy not only trigger the brain to induce nausea and vomiting, but also relax the smooth GI (gastrointestinal) tract muscles; resulting in sluggish digestion and an upset stomach. Eat small, frequent meals, as they stabilize the blood sugar levels and keep nausea at bay. You can also try drinking ginger tea, or sucking on lemon or peppermint candy, along with plentiful proteins via meat, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. However, if these measures aren’t effective, consider prescription-grade Vitamin B6 or anti-nausea medications after consulting with your Gynecologist.

3- A Loose Bladder:

This can be attributed to the doubled rate of blood production, and, consequentially, extra fluid processing by the kidney, which naturally collects in the bladder. Moreover, pressure applied by the growing uterus on the bladder is also a common cause of frequent urination. However, do not reduce your fluid intake in an effort to avoid urinating frequently, as large amounts of water are required to retain increased blood levels and amniotic fluid.

Which brings us to our next point:

4- Hydration Levels:

Drink 10 glasses of water instead of the usual 8 glasses a day to avoid bloating and nausea caused by the elevated levels of progesterone and relaxing hormones; and to promote the necessary vitamin, mineral and hormone absorption and supply to your baby. If plain water tastes nauseating, drink milk or coconut water, which can also provide you with the required calcium or potassium and electrolytes, respectively. Alternatively, add watery foods to your diet, such as soups, oranges, watermelons, cucumber and spinach.

5- Breast Issues:

The increased breast size in preparation for producing, and retaining milk, post-delivery is often accompanied by sore and swollen nipples in the 1st trimester. To soothe the pain, rub coconut oil over the nipples;it will also help with stretch marks and strengthening the baby’s immune system later on. Also, invest in soft, flexible, cotton bras-with wide, padded straps for those with sizes larger than D-cup, and avoid underwires.

6- Indulge Your Cravings:

Since food choices are limited during the first trimester, owing to the nausea-inducing, overly sensitive senses of smell and taste that make it difficult to ingest even favorite foods, do not worry about losing the pregnancy-weight after delivery, and eat whatever you crave-in moderate amounts, of course; especially if you have started your pregnancy underweight.

7- Try Tai Chi:

For those looking for a more interesting exercise option, instead of the commonly recommended swimming and walking, this ancient, gentle and easy-to-learn Chinese martial arts form not only improves balance, coordination, body posture and blood pressure, but also reduces lower back pain, depression, anxiety and builds arm and leg strength, along with various other benefits.

8- Take Your Prenatal Vitamin:

These vitamins must be taken daily to ensure the recommended nutrient intake, particularly if you experience persistent nausea that inhibits you from eating appropriately. They also contain folic acid, which reduces the risk of early delivery and neural tube birth defects. Also, if you are on any medication, discuss its continued use and alternatives, if required, with your doctor.

9- Choose Reading Material Wisely:

Be advised that the available pregnancy-related information is wide-ranged and can be highly conflicting, and might add to your confusion. Avoid the stress by opting for books targeted towards the emotional and physical aspects of the first trimester, instead of ones focusing on the issues yet to come, including labor. When in doubt, ask your Gynecologist.

Since the 1st trimester is a sensitive time, consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet and medication, or starting a new exercise plan. You can book an appointment with a top Gynecologist in Karachi,  Faisalabad and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your gestational needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar - Author Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar Saifee is a Gynecologist and Obstetrician. She has a M.B.B.S. and F.C.P.S. (Gynecologist & Obstetrician) degree along with an experience of 18 years. She is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar Saifee practices as a Gynecologist at Precious Days Hospital and Online Video Consultation and charges 1500 and 1500 respectively.
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