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5 things to do when you find out you’re pregnant

You just got pregnant? Well, congratulations! The moment you find out that you are pregnant,it could easily be one of the most joyous moments of your life. Few experiences are more magical than creating new life in your own body and then watching it grow. Pregnancy is also a time of transformation and deep questioning for you. A pregnant woman’s inner life is powerful, private, and often disturbing. After pregnancy, nothing is ever the same. More the awareness, less anxious you will be and in a better position to deal with various situations. Educating oneself about pregnancy and one’s body will certainly help as you move through the different phases of pregnancy.

Here are the top 5 things to you must do right after you discover that you are pregnant.

#1 Choose a doctor

Now that you know you are pregnant, you should choose a doctor and make your first appointment. Proper care is the key to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy. During the course of your pregnancy, you will frequently be seeing your family physician, midwife, doula, obstetrician, and so on, depending on where you live and your family practices.
It becomes even more important if one is suffering from diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or genetically-linked conditions.

#2 Trimesters – stages of pregnancy

First and foremost, make yourself aware about the different stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, which is counted from the first day of your last normal period. These 40 weeks are further grouped into stages known as trimesters. So, there are three trimesters in a normal pregnancy.

First Trimester

The first trimester begins at week 1 and lasts up to week 12. During this stage, thebody goes through many physiological changes and the symptoms may begin to appear in the first week itself. You may experience extreme tiredness, heartburn, mood swings, cravings or distaste for certain foods, tender or swollen breasts, weight gain or less, and so on.

These symptoms may or may not be prominent as it varies with every woman. As the pregnancy advances, these symptoms are likely to go away.

Second Trimester

The second trimester lasts between week 13 and week 28. It is quite likely that trimester 2 will be easier than the first one as the symptoms associated with the same are likely to disappear. Nausea and fatigue are expected to disappear. However, noticeable changes in the body are likely to appear.

As the baby begins to grow, during this phase, abdomen begins to increase in size, due to which, one may experience back pain, pain in the joints, etc., stretch marks around the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and thighs, swelling of the face, feet, and other body parts, numbness, and so on. As you inch towards the third trimester, you may also feel your baby move.

Third Trimester

The third trimester begins at week 29 and lasts until you deliver the baby, which is around week 40. Few of the symptoms experienced during trimester 2 might continue into the third one. During this phase, baby’s growth is a rapid pace, which will put some stress on your internal organs leading tocertain symptoms like frequent urination, mild difficulty in breathing, heartburn, swelling of various body parts, hemorrhoids, tender breasts, nipples leaking liquid, contractions, sleep trouble to mention a few.

#3 Few Basics to consider

Calculating the due date

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, calculate your due date, which can be done either by simply keeping a count of the days or through due date calculators available online. Online calculators give you a personalized calendar telling you exactly what to expect and when.

Sorting out your financials

While you have already developed unconditional love for your unborn child, do remember to keep the practical bit as well, which is that having a baby does cost money. Do arrange for finances to support your pregnancy.

Announcing the big news

As they say “Happiness doubles when you share” and sharing the news of the entry of a new life and member in your family always brings joy and excitement and reasons to celebrate, which, these days, couples prefer to throw a party which is often named as “Baby Shower”. Few wish to keep it a secret, for reasons which could be superstitious or personal.

#4 Healthy habits you must start

Needless to say, you must start living healthy which includes eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of liquid, regular exercisingas recommended by your physician, and so on. Your doctor may prescribe you supplements such as vitamins to provide the additional nutrition needed for your baby’s healthy growth.

Consult a certified dietician to know what foods to eat, which will be most beneficial for the mother and the baby. Depending on the state of the pregnancy, your doctor may ask you to move around, keep yourself active or take complete bed rest.

#5 Unhealthy habits you must quit

This goes without saying that you need to reevaluate your lifestyle, more importantly, examine the things that you consume and the way you live. If you are a smoker then you need to quit smoking right away. The chemicals in cigarettes such as tar, nicotine, etc. can reduce the blood flow in your body and result in pregnancy complications. Similarly, alcohol is known to interfere with the baby’s mental and physical development when consumed in excess.

It is also not recommended to eat too much junk and undercooked foods, especially meat. There can be harmful bacteria in meat that is not properly cooked. These bacteria can lead to serious brain damage to the child. Foods that have high levels of salt, sugar and fat are also to be avoided. You should stay away from doing strenuous physical tasks that can be detrimental to the baby. In case you take medicines for any pre-existing condition, it is best to check with a doctor immediately.

The more you are aware of what you should consume and what you should not, the better it is for you and your baby.

Dr. Raghuram Mallaiah, Neonatologist and consultant with Philips Avent

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