Liya had never been happier than when she heard her ten-week-old baby’s first heartbeat. The health practitioner, who checked her through the fetal monitor, assured her that the baby is healthy. And, the next few months of Liya’s life were just filled with planning for the baby, nurturing herself and the baby in the womb. It was the loveliest time of a pregnant mom’s life. There may be a few hurdles too. But aren’t there hurdles everywhere?
MomJunction helps you navigate through the wonders and experiences which lie ahead in pregnancy. There is a lot you need to know, especially if you are first time pregnant. Of course, you need to discuss quite a few things with your doctor as well. So, gear up for the wonderful journey ahead.
Important Things About First Time Pregnancy
Here is the list of 20 imperative things to know about pregnancy, especially if you happen to be a first time mom. Following the safety measures will make pregnancy the most enjoyable and memorable part of life.
1. Signs that confirm you are pregnant:
In the excitement of conceiving a baby, many times, false symptoms lead to confusion. Understand that there are some solid signs which indicate that you are pregnant. One way to confirm your pregnancy is to conduct a home-based urine test using the kits available in the market. You could also get a pregnancy test done by a doctor. Secondly, there are some typical first-time pregnancy symptoms, which can ratify your pregnancy. You could feel nauseous, have a back pain, have mood swings, suffer from tender or swollen breasts, have cravings for some particular food, and of course, you miss your periods.
Being sure that you are pregnant is vital. If the home pregnancy tests show vague results, you should go to the ob-gyn to confirm your pregnancy.
2. Visits to doctor for prenatal care are important:
Many couples visit a doctor even before planning a baby just to make sure that their first time pregnancy is healthy and devoid of complications. Once you confirm your pregnancy, it is important to visit your doctor regularly. Choose the best gynecologist and never skip monthly check-ups. This helps in gauging both the mother’s and the baby’s health. Moreover, it is also necessary to curb any developmental disorders at an earlier stage itself.
3. Understanding the family medical history:
This is one of the most crucial things to remember during pregnancy. Once you conceive, it is a good idea to discuss your mother’s, grandmother’s, or aunts’ pregnancies. It helps you learn about any genetic disorders or birth abnormalities in the family line. Information like this will prepare you for any potential problems and take preventive actions if required.
4. Vaccinations are important:
With every antenatal appointment, your doctor will inform you of the vaccination shots you will have to take next. Be it a regular tetanus or flu shot, take the shots without fail. Vaccinations will prevent you from falling sick. Remember, some illnesses in newly pregnant mothers can seriously impair the physical and mental health of the fetus. So, stay safe, stay sure.
There is a myth that vaccinating pregnant mothers can cause a health risk to the baby. There is, however, no evidence to prove this. Live attenuated virus and live bacterial vaccines are not suggested during pregnancy. The benefits of vaccinating pregnant women outside the potential risk.
- Hepatitis B vaccine – Contains non-infectious HbsAG; unlikely to cause risk to the fetus
- Hepatitis A – Inactivated vaccine similar to Hepatitis B; Recommended in high risk conditions
- Inactivated influenza vaccine – Should be given before the flu season begins
- Tdap or Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis – Given between 27 to 36 weeks of gestation
- Meningococcal (MenACWY and MPSV4)
- Vaccinations not recommended –
- Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR)
- Polio (IPV) Vaccine
5. Finding your gestational age:
Pregnancy is divided into three stages, each consisting of three months, called trimesters. With each passing stage, physiological changes occur in your body in the form of hormonal changes, blood pressure volatility, breathing, and metabolism. One should monitor such changes from the beginning of pregnancy to understand the other stages and your progress through them. It is also necessary to know your delivery due date, which is mostly determined from the date of your last menstrual cycle. A normal delivery can happen anywhere between 37 and 40 weeks.
6. Bleeding can occur during pregnancy:
Typically the first sign of pregnancy is considered to be missed periods. However, some women bleed in the initial stages of pregnancy, creating confusion if it menstrual bleeding.
This kind of bleeding occurs when the egg travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it implants into the uterine lining (implantation bleeding or spotting). The best way to recognize it is from its color. It is often in brown or pink color in contrast to the usual red color of the menstrual blood. Though it is not a disturbing factor, it is good to consult a doctor.