Less than one month into the marriage, and all you get to hear is, ‘When are we getting the good news?’ Such is the pressure that all talks start with the advice about the benefits of having a baby early in the marriage and end on the same note.
While not many women want to step into motherhood early in their life, there are some who have no problem in it. But that’s a different discussion altogether.
For all the first-time mothers, motherhood can be a daunting, yet beautiful task. And the struggle starts right from identifying the early signs of pregnancy. While many know they are pregnant just when they have missed their periods, others may dismiss it as PCOD or thyroid.
Dr. Ritu Sethi, Senior Consultant, Gynaecologist, Cloud Nine Hospital, Gurugram and Apex Clinic, Gurugram, agrees and tells you that sometimes the symptoms of pregnancy may be missed out by most women. Here is something that may help them.
“The earliest symptom of pregnancy is the missed period but again in hormonal conditions like thyroid or PCOD, menses may be missed. Tenderness in the breasts, mood swings and feeling of extreme tiredness are the symptoms of early pregnancy. Apart from this, morning sickness with extreme nausea usually appears later and so does aversion to certain smells and foods. Usually, patients tend to have these symptoms in the evening and thus the term morning sickness is a misnomer,” says Sethi.
Extreme tiredness and loss of energy levels are the other symptoms of early pregnancy which disappear in most women after 3 months.
Dr Akta Bajaj, Senior Consultant and Head, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, says that apart from the above-mentioned signs there is weight gain. “Weight gain is very variable during pregnancy, and in the first trimester, there could be weight loss as well. The reason being that the lady doesn’t feel like eating due to nausea and vomiting. Then there are changes in the breast. Breasts grow in the first trimester, and when they become large, there may be pigmentation of nipples,” Bajaj tells you.
Apart from this, there might be some milk discharge, which is very normal. There could be abdominal extension, and pigmentation on the abdominal wall as well. “Add to it, the postural changes and the pain that follows,” says Bajaj.
Why is the first trimester risky?
If you are wondering why the first trimester is often said to be a risky period, Bajaj tells you that it is because maximum abortions, spontaneous abortion and miscarriages occur during this time.
“Usually, first trimester miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities. About 75 to 80 percent of the cases of abortion in the first trimester are due to chromosomal abnormalities. However, there may be some other causes as well. There could be ectopic pregnancy, too. It is a pregnancy that is not in the uterus, but outside it. The most common site of ectopic pregnancy is tubal pregnancy and in that condition. There is another condition, molar pregnancy. In this pregnancy there is no normal foetal development because the placenta is abnormal. This happens due to the growth of abnormal cells which cannot support the foetus, and, in this case, we have to do suction and evacuation and clear the uterus,” explains Bajaj.
Precautions to be taken during early pregnancy
Precautions to be taken in the early stages of pregnancy are that women should avoid certain medications which they have been taking for high blood pressure or diabetes and switch to safer alternatives after consultation with their gynaecologist.
“Investigations to rule out thyroid or any other problems which may impact the growing foetus should be done. Heavy impact exercises should be avoided at all costs. Certain foodstuffs like caffeine, sugary drinks. foods containing preservatives, undercooked or uncooked foods should be avoided at all costs,” advises Sethi.
However, exercise during pregnancy in the form of moderate physical activity is encouraged after proper medical advice. This includes a daily walk of 45 to 50 minutes at moderate speed provided no other risk factors are there. Swimming is safe during the first and second trimester of pregnancy,” opines Sethi.
Bajaj adds and says that for the couples who are planning pregnancy, they should start folic acid 3 months before conception. “Three months of folic acid course is a must before planning pregnancy, and folic acid is continued in the first three months of the pregnancy as well. And it is very important to prevent a condition called neural tube defect. A pregnant lady should avoid smoking, and alcohol consumption. Proper sleep, healthy diet and regular exercise is a must,” says Bajaj.
In case of bleeding, one should always get in touch with a doctor. “At times, slight bleeding is normal in pregnancy, but you never know. Because bleeding could be a sign of miscarriage, too,” says Bajaj.
Foods to eat
Fresh fruits and vegetables.
Plenty of juices.
A thing to keep in mind is to not eat any food that you are probably allergic to. If you develop any complications, it is imperative to get in touch with your doctor at the earliest. Also, make your doctor your best friend during your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Go for regular check-ups, keep your doctor posted about everything, and try to avoid indulging in activities that you haven’t done before. Take ample rest, stay stress-free and listen to good music. If your stress levels are keeping high, do yoga and meditation, and isolate yourself from the situations that trigger it. If that doesn’t help, get in touch with an expert.
Since this is a time when you will be getting plenty of advice, both logical and illogical, hence it is important to make a note of not following everything that you get to hear, see, or read, since all your Internet freak friends will be forwarding several links to you. Don’t fall for myths and remember a happy mother means a happy and healthy child.
Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Mother’s diary: Expert lists foods that new mothers should eat and avoid