Ask Tori, RN®


Many of my readers have been requesting a simple breakdown of things you should do during each trimester. This week’s checklist is for the first trimester—through your 12th week of pregnancy. Although it may seem early, there are plenty of things to get started on.

– If you have not been taking vitamins, you’ll want to start on a prenatal vitamin now. They contain at least 400mcg. of folic acid which is important in preventing birth defects in your baby.

– Your doctor or midwife will want you to schedule your first prenatal visit when you’re about nine weeks’ along. Plan on seeing your practitioner every four weeks.

– Avoid using alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. Your baby is affected by all of these. Check with your practitioner regarding any prescription medications that you may be taking such as, antidepressants or blood pressure medication. Your practitioner may want you to stay on your medication, switch to another or stop during your pregnancy.

– Begin your new regimen of increasing your fluid intake, especially water. Six to eight glasses every day is recommended.

– Try to eat healthy foods and snacks. Foods that are naturally high in folic acid and iron, such as, oranges, melons, dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans, raisons and nuts are great.

– You will feel better if your blood sugar level is elevated. High-protein and high carbohydrate foods such as breads, brown rice, potatoes and cheese can help minimize nausea and dizziness. Both are common complaints of this first trimester and tend to be worse when your blood sugar is low.

– If you are experiencing “morning sickness”  (which is not limited to just the morning), the most important thing is to maintain your caloric intake. Try to keep up with your fluids and eat whatever tastes good to you, even if it may not seem especially healthy. Ninety percent of the time this passes and you can then concentrate on eating a healthier diet.

– Exercise according to your abilities. If you are active and your pregnancy is fine, go ahead and continue with your regimen. Now is not the time, however, to begin a new exercise regimen. If you are not physically active try to take a nice walk every day. You can then increase your efforts, as you feel comfortable. Always be cautious about overheating - take frequent breaks, do not “push” yourself and drink plenty of water.

– If you’re a coffee drinker, try to cut back or switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea.

– If your family has a history of genetic disorders or you are over 35, you may want to discuss prenatal testing with your doctor or midwife.

– Try to refrain from getting perms, dyes and other hair treatments that can contain strong chemicals.

You may wish to buy one or two pregnancy books to use as a reference. I encourage you take from books what makes sense to you and leave the rest. There are many varied “philosophies” and mindsets about pregnancy. I have found that this can be confusing and cause you to needlessly worry. This is a time to enjoy the wonderful baby growing inside of you. tkrn