Published on 10 January, 2020 and Updated on 23 January, 2020
It’s happening. The pregnancy test has shown positive and just like that, this is your first pregnancy. Are you ready to be a mom? What are you going to name her? Wait, is she going to be a she… or he?
Being pregnant for the first time comes with a lot of questions. People will tell first-time moms that pregnancy is the most rewarding 9 months of their lives—which they will be, of course. But they will also be some of the most confusing and challenging. That’s life, isn’t it?
The best pregnancy advice we have for first-timers is to become as knowledgeable as possible about this journey you’re about to embark on. To help ease your mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top nine pregnancy tips for first-time moms to help prepare you physically and mentally for this miraculous adventure. From adjusting your diet to taking a gender prediction test, we’ve got you covered below on all you need to know about this journey to motherhood.
1. Eat Right… For Two
Everyone knows that a healthy diet is key to a happy body, and this applies double-time during pregnancy. It is essential for every mama-to-be to develop healthy eating habits as soon as possible.
Here are some healthy suggestions for the next 9 months:
- Start your day with a balanced and nutrient-rich breakfast. If you suffer from morning sickness, it’s important to replenish the nutrients you lose. Try to eat something bland without strong aromas, like whole-wheat bread or toast.
- If you are hungry between meals, don’t worry about your weight. Have a healthy, protein-rich snack. It is essential that you eat when you and your baby are hungry.
- Go straight to the source. Switch processed foods in your diet for whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and meat are the sources of nutrients that you and your growing baby need.
- Get fishy with it. Both cooked and raw fish are high-quality proteins full of omega-3 fatty acids and essential B- and D-vitamins. Lean towards types that are low in mercury like salmon, catfish, or shrimp.
- Eat enough fiber. Trust us on this one; fiber will help to avoid uncomfortable digestive issues during your pregnancy.
- Eat foods that are high in folic acid, as this nutrient is essential to your baby’s development. Some great options are legumes, asparagus, eggs, beets, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, citrus fruits, nuts, and seeds.
- Can you eat too much folic acid? Yes, in most cases, you should try not to exceed 1,000 micrograms per day. However, this only applies to man-made products like fortified cereals and multivitamins. You can’t get too much from natural whole foods.
As for the old’ adage: “You’re eating for two now”—don’t let this be an excuse to overeat. During your first trimester, you, realistically, only need to eat 100 additional calories per day, and 300 additional calories per day during your second and third trimesters. You can use tools like a pregnancy weight gain calculator to find and match your target weight range on a weekly basis.
Treat Yourself to Pregnancy Cravings
One final thought on healthy eating: Let’s talk about pregnancy cravings. You may or may not want to dip your pickles in ketchup straight from the jar. Your craving might include an occasional drive-thru run at your local fast food joint. Healthy eating doesn’t mean restricting your indulgences. It’s just something to be mindful of as a daily practice.
You’re pregnant. Indulge every now and again! (And embrace it.)
2. Supplement Your Diet with Essential Vitamins and Minerals
To ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrients they need for healthy development, you may supplement your diet with essential prenatal vitamins and minerals. This doesn’t mean drive to the nearest GNC and do a shopping cart dance down the aisles. No, taking supplements and prenatal vitamins, first and foremost, should be a conversation with your doctor, who can help you determine the best course of action for prenatal care. Be sure to schedule specific times to check up and consult with your doctor throughout your pregnancy. After all, staying in contact with your doctor is a must for any pregnancy checklist, whether you’re a new mom or not.
3. Pregnancy Isn’t an Excuse to Skip the Gym
There’s an idea out there that as soon as a woman becomes pregnant, she must stick to light cardio exercises and yoga. This isn’t true at all. Take the case of Amy Keil, who finished the Boston Marathon while 7½ months pregnant. Or Lizette Perez, who finished the same marathon one month and five days prior to her due date.
This isn’t to say you should start running twenty miles every day and be pumping the iron between childbirth classes, but it does go to show that pregnant women are tough. According to the American Pregnancy Association:
“Typically, the first rule of thumb is if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your healthcare provider will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.”
Above all else, it’s important to listen to your body when exercising. Keil and Perez took more water breaks, snack breaks, and potty breaks than they otherwise would have—and their times definitely suffered…
But they still finished.
Body Specific Exercises
Getting in a good sweat will not only make you feel better physically and mentally, but exercise also helps to remove unwanted toxins from your body. As your pregnancy progresses, your exercise plan may be modified. You might find that you have heartburn while doing burpees, or that your belly gets in the way of crow pose.
If you were inactive before becoming pregnant, now is a great time to enjoy light- to medium-level cardio exercises. Shoot for at least 30 minutes each day, with activities such as:
- Light jogging or hiking
- Water aerobics
You may want to consider joining an exercise class, like prenatal yoga, that’s focused on soon-to-be moms. These courses will help you stay healthy and prepare your body for childbirth, while also allowing you to bond with other women going through the same journey.
4. Enroll in a Childbirth Class
Enrolling in a childbirth class will provide a deeper understanding of pregnancy. It will also be a safe place to address the often unspoken aspects of childbirth:
- Common fears about pregnancy
- Stages of labor and delivery
- Handling pain
- Managing postpartum depression
- Parenting advice
- Preparing for newborn care
- Overall comprehensive advice for first-time pregnant moms
Plus, just like a pregnancy-focused exercise class, childbirth classes will allow you to bond with other soon-to-be moms.
5. Know More About Your Baby Sooner With an Early Gender Test
Many parents cannot wait to know the gender of their new baby. And with how modern technology has progressed, now there’s no reason you have to wait. The SneakPeek early gender blood test offers new moms the ability to know their baby’s gender at 8 weeks. Plus, studies have shown SneakPeek to be 99.1% accurate.
The best part? The test can be taken from the comfort of your home.
So, if you’re eager to start planning your gender reveal, or just want to know for yourself, why not take an early gender test? Knowing your baby’s gender early will give you plenty of time to prepare for anything you would need before their birth.
6. Pre-shopping For You and Your Baby
It’s well understood how costly it is to raise children. And those expenses start rolling in almost immediately.
During your first trimester, you might need some essentials, such as:
- Prenatal vitamins, heartburn medication, Tylenol
- Pregnancy books
- Good moisturizer
In the second trimester, consider these shopping needs:
- Comfortable sneakers
- Maternity clothes
- Body pillow
Finally, as the special moment approaches, during your third trimester you might consider buying:
- Car seat
- Newborn care equipment (diapers, bottles, layette, onesies, etc.)
- Crib and mobile
- Breast pump, breast pump bra, and breastfeeding pillow
- Parenting books
And these are just the basic necessities of things to do before the baby arrives. This doesn’t include the treat-your-self shopping that all new mothers deserve.
7. Namaste Right Here
Meditation has become a popular tool for navigating stressful and challenging times. It’s a practice that is thousands of years old and helps people center themselves when times are good or bad.
Because pregnancy will be an emotional rollercoaster—one filled with the highest of highs and their counterparts—it’s important to be prepared mentally so that you are ready for the baby.
Meditation can be a grounding practice to include for your mental health in your journey. With pregnancy apps like Mind The Bump, you can find guided meditation specifically catered to soon-to-be-moms.
8. Protect Your Skin
As your body goes through changes, it’s important to remember your largest organ—your skin. Be sure to never go anywhere without these two essential skin protectors:
- Moisturizing lotion – As your midsection expands, your skin will stretch to meet your growing baby’s demands and stretch marks will naturally appear. Having a moisturizing lotion on hand can help keep your skin smooth and flexible during the entire pregnancy.
- Sunscreen – Your skin will also be more sensitive during this period of your life. Be sure to always use sunscreen to avoid excessive radiation from the sun.
Also, try to find moisturizers and sunscreens that are made with natural ingredients (instead of harsh chemicals).
9. Rest and Relaxation
You’re pregnant now. This comes with a free get-out-of-heavy-lifting card. It also means you should avoid working long, stressful hours. Shoot for 8-10 hours of sleep each night and try to set a daily routine and stick to it.
And of course, rest and relaxation also include the occasional pamper time. There’s never been a better excuse for a massage and facial. (Seriously, paint your toenails while you can still reach them.)
Ahem, it’s good for the baby.
Breathe. Enjoy the Experience
This could very well be the tenth tip on this list. During the hectic and exciting times of life, people often forget to take a step back and soak in the moment. You’re pregnant! This is beautiful news worth celebrating.
So breathe. Complain when you have to complain. Blow off steam when you have to blow off steam. Treat yourself to a professional pampering every now and again, and yes, eat that extra slice of pizza.
Enjoy the first-time mom pregnancy experience. These 9 months will be truly unforgettable.
Healthline. 15 Healthy Foods That Are High in Folate (Folic Acid). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-folate-folic-acid#section8
Stanford Children’s Health. Folic Acid for a Healthy Baby. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=folic-acid-for-a-healthy-baby-134-2
Office On Women’s Health. Folic Acid. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/folic-acid
Baby Center. Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator. https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy-weight-gain-estimator
WebMD. Eating for 2 — but Not Too Much. https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/eating-for-2-not-too-much#1
American Pregnancy Association. Prenatal Vitamins. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/prenatal-vitamins/
ABC. Boyle Heights woman finishes Boston Marathon while 8 months pregnant. https://abc7.com/community-events/la-woman-finishes-marathon-8-months-pregnant/5279213/
Medicine Net. 7 Tips to Eating Healthy During Pregnancy. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=155877
MedCrave. Accurate fetal sex determination from maternal blood at 8 weeks gestation. https://medcraveonline.com/IPCB/IPCB-05-00164
Parents. 23 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pregnancy-health/healthy-pregnancy-tips/