Whether you're feeling overwhelmed, delighted, nervous, exhausted or all of the above, congratulations! Bringing a child into the world is one of God's greatest and most gracious gifts. But beyond the initial excitement of carrying, you're likely also dealing with feelings of anxiousness and other common symptoms that can make accomplishing typical daily tasks more difficult than they were before. That's why we recommend shaping up your lifestyle habits as soon as you find out you're pregnant.
Additionally, during the first trimester, your fetus is most susceptible to damage from certain substances, such as medication, alcohol, drugs and tobacco. Dropping unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol will not only benefit you but also your baby and aid his or her development.
The first trimester can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to ease through it. Here are some of our suggestions:
1. Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin
Your baby needs an abundance of nutrients for proper development, which makes taking essential vitamins critical during the first trimester and beyond. A prenatal vitamin ensures you're getting the necessary folic acid, iron and other vitamin and minerals even when you're following a nutrient-rich diet.
2. Add in Supplements for Brain Development
While your prenatal vitamin covers many critical vitamins and minerals, you need higher levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine and DHA for proper development of your baby's brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is needed to grow the myelin sheath around nerves. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders. Iodine is critical for intelligence and is depleted during consecutive pregnancies. DHA is the main structural fat in the brain. You need these nutrients for an intelligent, happy and normally energetic child.
"Exercising can reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling."
3. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity might seem like the last thing on your mind when you're dealing with nausea and fatigue, but exercising regularly during your pregnancy can reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, swelling and more. It can even help you cope with labor pain down the road, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Plus, getting into the habit of exercising now will get you on the right track after you've had your baby, helping you get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight.
4. Learn to Manage Your Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common symptom for pregnant women during the first trimester, but there are a few ways to curb the bad feelings. For starters, look to mint and ginger as they're both great at easing an upset stomach. Take them as tea or include them in your fresh juices and foods. Hunger can sometimes trigger nausea, so keep healthy snacks on hand at all time, such as raw nuts, organic whole grain crackers or seeds. Some women have successfully managed their pregnancy sickness by sipping fresh vegetable juice throughout the morning.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
Your body is working even harder now that you're carrying a little one, which means you're going to be more tired than usual. To ensure you and your baby get adequate rest, try taking naps throughout the day, on the weekends or as soon as you get home from work. Listen to your body and know when it's time to sit back and relax.
6. Prioritize Skin Care
Between the hormonal changes and the first signs of the baby bump, your skin may react negatively to your pregnancy. To reduce acne caused by increased hormones, prioritize a morning and nightly skin care regimen that involves cleansing and moisturizing. To keep the rest of your body smooth and supple, start moisturizing after the shower with shea, coconut oil and coconut butter. This combination can soothe your skin and may even help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
7. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is always important, but it's even more critical when you're carrying. Drinking plenty of water and fluids like fresh vegetable juice throughout the day will keep you from becoming dehydrated, which is often linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness and cramps. It can also help you maintain a clearer complexion and reduce your risk of contracting a urinary tract infection, according to lifestyle blog A Natural Birth. Start drinking more water and cutting out sugary beverages during the first few months of your pregnancy to set yourself up for success in the long run.
8. Eat Well
Pregnancy cravings are bound to occur. You might feel more inclined to eat sugary, fatty foods than you did before, or perhaps a type of food that never seemed appealing to you is all you can think about. These feelings are natural, but it's important to fight the bad cravings as much as you can. Eating poorly throughout your pregnancy, even as early as the first trimester, can lead to bad eating habits that debilitate your baby, causing you to develop high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. You need to focus on following a healthy eating regimen, one that prioritizes all of the essential nutrients your baby needs for proper development.
The Hallelujah Diet ensures you and your child will be properly nourished throughout your entire pregnancy. Some mothers worry that a diet without meat or dairy products won't allow the baby to receive essential iron, protein and calcium, but that's simply not true. Our primarily-raw, plant-based diet focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, organic whole grains, nuts and seeds that are loaded with those essential vitamins and minerals.
Plus, we have plenty of smart yet sweet recipes you can try that'll curb those sugar cravings without the guilt! For more information on easing through your pregnancy, subscribe to our emails and continue reading our "Science of Her" blogs every Wednesday.