What To Expect: 12-Step Pregnancy Trimester Essentials

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What To Expect: 12-Step Pregnancy Trimester Essentials

Having a baby is one of the greatest and most rewarding joys in life. But the stuff that comes before your baby's first, beautiful smile can be challenging.

It is best to be fully prepared for this huge act of responsibility and make your pregnancy process as smooth as possible. Read on for a breakdown of the pregnancy gear essentials specified to each trimester of your pregnancy timeline.

Preconception/First Trimester

1. Have You Visited The Doctor For A Preconception Checkup?

Before you begin the process of conceiving a child, visit your doctor for a checkup. It is important to check on your own health as a preemptive measure of keeping your future baby healthy and safe. Upon request, your doctor can thoroughly examine your medical history, gynecological history, obstetric history, medication history, genetic history vaccination history and even social and emotional history.

Although this may seem a little excessive, it’s vital to determine if you are ready to become pregnant and have a baby. For example, many forms of medication are dangerous during pregnancy. Even if you are only taking them prior to becoming pregnant, they may become trapped in fat and harm you during pregnancy. Another one (of many) reasons for a preconception checkup is to make sure all of your immunizations are up to date, as pregnant women are more susceptible to illness.

2. Do You Practice An Overall Healthy Lifestyle?

A healthy mother makes for a healthy baby. An aspiring mother should not be drinking any alcohol, smoking or doing drugs. Instead, she should be exercising regularly, such as practicing yoga, and eating a healthy and nutritious diet. You want your body to be tip top shape. After all, you will be carrying extra and weight of a growing baby already, without the help of laziness or too many slices of chocolate cake!

3. Have You Done Your Research?

As a first-time expectant mother, it is vital to perform some research about your forthcoming experience. Be as well-informed as possible. You will be responsible for your body, in addition to the body and life of your son or daughter. Check out a pregnancy book from your local library or purchase a copy online, such as the “Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.” Once your research is underway, stay organized with a helpful planner or nine-month journal to keep track of every stage of pregnancy.  

4. Are You Taking Your Vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are vitamin supplements to take prior to and during pregnancy. According to SymptomFind, these vitamins “fill in the gaps in the diets of pregnant woman so that their babies have the nutrients they need to develop properly.” They also cater to a pregnant woman’s amplified needs of particular vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin D and folic acid. The most important component of your prenatal vitamins is the folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9—at least 400 mcg needs to be consumed each day. Folic acid is critical when the body grows rapidly during pregnancy and helps to prevent neural tube defects that affect the spinal cord and brain.

Multi-vitamins and single dose prenatal vitamins are recommended for an easy daily intake.  Make sure your vitamins are dissolvable, and if you can’t stomach swallowing or chewing your vitamins, look for a liquid option. During your preconception checkup, you may be prescribed specialized vitamins, and you can always ask your doctor for other recommendations.

5. Is Your Skin Dry And Itchy?

Once you do become pregnant, your skin may begin to feel dry and itchy due to rapidly increasing hormones. Relieve your irritated skin by generously applying a deep-moisturizing lotion or belly butter made especially for pregnant women. Some belly butters even contain all-natural and hypoallergenic oils and extracts to prevent stretch marks during and after pregnancy.

Steer clear of any products with overpowering fragrances and stick with unscented items. Your sense of smell will be heightened during pregnancy, making it easy to become nauseous.

Second Trimester

6. Do You Want To Extend The Use Of Pre-Maternal And Maternal Clothes?

By the second trimester and at about 12 weeks, your body will begin to expand. Instead of squishing your growing body in too-small clothing, stay comfortable with maternity specific gear.

A maternity belly band is the first stop for maternity clothing shopping. The BellaBand is a popular choice, made of seamless nylon and spandex to hold up loose clothing and unbuttoned waistbands. It’s a smart way to extend the time of wearing your regular clothing, such as pre-maternal jeans unzipped or unbuttoned, as well as wearing the maternity clothes you don’t fit into quite yet.

7. Are You Constantly On Your Feet?

Besides obtaining loose-fitting maternity clothing, you should also ditch the heels, wedges and uncomfortable shoes in general. Your body now has the addition of unfamiliar weight, making it difficult to stay centered and balanced when on your feet. Shoes with heels will not only disturb your balance, but also your posture. Stick to flat shoes that won’t make you trip and can withstand possible foot sweating and swelling. Walking shoes and comfortable shoes like penny loafers are your best bet.

8. Have Your Breasts Increased In Cup Size?

Thanks to hormones, breasts will continue to grow throughout your pregnancy. Besides of the bigger size, which will typically be at least one cup size, your breasts may feel swollen, sensitive and sore. Purchase new bras to support these changes. Look for bras that will fit comfortably and have soft fabric; avoid any painful underwire or itchy lace. Many maternity bras also can double as nursery bras post-pregnancy. Moreover, a sleep bra offers additional support while you drift into dreamland and is easy to wear and clean. The smartest option would be paying an in-person visit to a specialized bra shop and get professional help in finding your new bra size.

9. Are You Experiencing Heartburn And Nausea?

Antacid tablets are good to have readily available during pregnancy. This form of above-the-counter medicine helps soothe heartburn and nausea pains, which can grow to be quite severe. Like with any medication during pregnancy, check with your doctor first before consuming any antacid tablets, such as Mylanta or Tums.

10. Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?

As your belly grows, it can be difficult to sleep comfortably at night. Keep from tossing and turning with a pregnancy pillow as extra support for your belly, hips and back. Pregnancy pillows are said to help prevent lower back problems and heartburn with their “C”-letter contoured design.

Third Trimester

11. Do You Ache From Your Belly’s Weight?

Near the end of your pregnancy, your belly has expanded to its near full potential. A prenatal cradle helps to carry your baby’s weight, giving you extra support to stay on your feet and ease leg, ankle and foot swelling. It also improves posture and soothes backaches.

12. Are You Prepared For The Special Day?

Your baby’s birthday may come sooner than expected. Start preparing early so you will be 100 percent ready when the time comes. For the ride home from the hospital, make sure your vehicle is equipped with a suitable infant car seat and extra head and body support for your precious cargo. Have a packed hospital bag or suitcase ready to grab in a moment’s notice. It should contain items for your time at the hospital, such as nursing bras, music, magazines, camera with video functionality, shampoo/conditioner, soap, bottle supplies if you do not plan on breast-feeding, changes of clothing and your baby’s very first outfit.

Other basic and essential items to prepare are diapers, baby clothing, soft towels and washcloths. Have a crib or some other place for the baby to sleep set up and ready for use when your baby returns home to the hospital.

With the above guide of pregnancy gear essentials in mind, be entirely ready for your nine months of pregnancy and your baby’s special birthday. You will be able to focus on the positive aspects of pregnancy and make the less appealing factors easy to handle.

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