8 Easy Ways to Survive the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Survive the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Ama Agyeiwaa recently found out that she is pregnant and she is extremely excited.
“Kwasi and I have been married for the past 10 years. We struggled to have a baby for nine years. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I am pregnant now. You can imagine the joy in my heart!
However, I am filled with apprehension. I wonder if I can make it through. I don’t know if this is because I’m pregnant. I’ve heard that if I can survive the first trimester, it’s very likely things will be cool.
What should I expect in the early months? What are some of the things that may happen to me? How can I survive the first trimester of pregnancy?” she asks, with an anxious expression written on her face.
If you are also wondering how you can survive this period, here are some pregnancy tips to help you go through your first trimester.
Let’s jump right in!
You sometimes find it difficult to move your bowels, right? Yes, constipation is one of the changes you may see in your body during this period.
You’re wondering why this is happening, right?
Why You Constipate
- There are two kinds of muscles in your body. One group of muscles is known as the voluntary striped muscles, and the other group is called the involuntary smooth muscles.
- The striped muscles are found in the muscles of your arms and legs, while the smooth muscles are found in the muscles of your heart, your alimentary canal (gut), and your womb.
- The tone (or movement) of the smooth muscles is lowered in some women in the first three months of pregnancy and that can make it more difficult for a woman to move her bowels.
How to Deal With the Constipation
If constipation bothers you during this period, you can deal with it naturally in the following ways:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Additionally, increase your intake of soups.
- Doctors recommend eating at least 2 tablespoonsful of coarse bran every day.
- Eat bran bread or whole meal bread instead of white bread, butter bread, or tea bread.
- Consume a lot of green leafy veggies such as cabbage, lettuce, kontomire (taro leaves), spinach, watercress, leaves of cassava (bankye) and so on.
The measures above will help stimulate the movement of your gut, as well as make your stool bulkier, and you’ll find it easier to poop.
Hemorrhoids (piles) is another problem some women have to deal with in the first three months of pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are varicose (swollen) veins in the anus and rectum.
So what causes hemorrhoids in pregnant women?
Causes of the Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids in pregnancy occur when a pregnant woman does things which make her exert pressure on the tissues of her anus and rectum.
Some of these things are:
- straining during defecation;
- sitting for long hours without walking around;
- failure to control your weight; and
- lifting heavy objects.
How To Know You Have Hemorrhoids
- You may feel the presence of a tender lump when you’re using toilet paper to clean yourself.
- You may feel pain around your anus or just inside your rectum.
- You may bleed during defecation.
Dealing With the Hemorrhoids
- Avoid constipation. In addition to the tips given above, consume a lot of natural fruits which contain a lot of fiber. Examples of such fruits are: apples, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits.
- Chew these fruits thoroughly and ingest the fiber, instead of just sucking the liquid and discarding the rest of the fruit. The fiber will stimulate the movement of your gut and you will find it easier to move your bowels.
- Manage your weight. Cut down on your consumption of fatty foods, reduce your consumption of sugary foods and drinks, and exercise regularly.
You sometimes get a burning sensation in the upper part of your abdomen, right? And this normally occurs late at night, right? It’s very annoying and irritating, right?
So, what causes it?
- Some of the contents of your stomach pass into the lower part of your food tube (known as the esophagus) which leads from your mouth to your stomach.
“But why should this be happening now? I did not experience this in the early stages of my pregnancy?” you may be asking yourself.
Well, this is what happens in your body as the pregnancy progresses:
- The valve guarding the entrance to your stomach relaxes. And because your womb is getting bigger and bigger, your womb pushes up against your stomach and that makes some of the contents of your stomach move back into your food canal.
How to Deal With the Heartburn
Here are a few tips to help you manage the situation:
- Eat small meals frequently throughout the day instead of eating large amounts of food at once.
- When you are going to bed at night, take along a bottle of milk. Sip this milk whenever you experience heartburn.
- Obstetrician and Gynecologist Professor Derek Llewellyn Jones also recommends sleeping propped up on two extra pillows.
Urinary Tract Infection(UTI)
Some women have a hidden infection in their urinary tract which causes them no trouble. However, when they get pregnant, the infection gives them problems.
Why does this happen?
Why UTI Causes Problems During Pregnancy
When a woman is pregnant, the hormone progesterone makes all the muscles in her body to relax. Consequently, two things happen:
- The area in the kidneys that collect urine become larger.
- The tube which connects the kidneys to the urinary bladder (known as the ureters) also become larger.
Because of these two changes, urine tends to stagnate in the urinary bladder and the urine can easily become infected.
The Danger of UTI for a Pregnant Woman
Urinary tract infection has serious implications for a pregnant woman:
- It can make you develop anemia.
- It can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension.
- It can make your kidneys become inflamed.
How to Know You Have UTI
How can you tell you have UTI? Here are symptoms that will tell you that you have UTI:
- You will experience pain in your loins;
- You may develop a fever and shiver;
- You may experience sweating; and
- You will feel pain when you urinate.
If you see any of the above signs in the first three months of your pregnancy, see your doctor immediately.
Your legs sometimes feel heavy, right? And they sometimes feel painful, or they get swollen, right?
And when you look at your legs you see worm-like tubes under your skin, right? Or, you see veins which look like a spider’s web around your ankles or under your knees, right?
Those are varicose veins. For women who are predisposed to getting varicose veins, these veins may reappear when you get pregnant.
How to Deal With the Problem
If these veins cause a lot of discomfort, obstetricians recommend keeping your feet up as much as possible.
- Prop up your feet when you sleep at night (pile 3 pillows and put your feet on them).
- Sleep on a mattress on the floor of your bedroom and prop up your feet on your bed when you want to have an afternoon nap.
- Prop your back with pillows and prop your legs too when you want to watch TV.
- Additionally, wearing lightly elasticated stockings can help to support the veins of your leg and make you feel better.
Care Of Your Feet
Taking great care of your feet is absolutely essential for a pregnant woman: as the pregnancy progresses, they will have an extra burden to carry. Therefore, you have to ensure that they are strong and have good arches.
An Exercise to Help You Have Strong Feet
Here are two exercises that some Obstetricians recommend:
- Remove your shoes.
- Rise on tiptoe.
- Sink slowly.
- Repeat 20 times.
- Take a good walk every day.
- When you are cooking for your family, for example when you are cleaning veggies or making biscuits, sit down whenever possible and rest your feet on a kitchen stool.
Feet Care for a Pregnant Woman
- fill a small bath-tub or basin with hot water;
- add bath salts or soda crystals to the water;
- soak your feet in the water for 20 minutes;
- then, dry your feet;
- subsequently, massage your feet and toes yourself, or let your husband massage them for you; and
- after the loving massage, dust in between your toes with powder.
The growth of the fetus in your womb can make you feel tense and tired during this period of pregnancy.
To deal with these problems, here are some exercises that Dr. Winifred de Kok, former assistant county doctor of Essex, recommends for pregnant women during this period:
- Hold on to the back of a chair.
- Stand erect.
- Raise yourself on your toes.
- Tighten the muscles of your whole body.
- Lower your body into a squatting position with your knees wide apart. Keep your head and back erect.
- Rock back on your heels, bend your head forward, arch your back, and straighten your knees until you are in the starting position. Straighten your back and lastly your head.
- Then, sit on the floor with your knees bent outwards and the sole of your feet touching.
- Grasp your ankles with your hands, with your arms between your knees.
- Then, press your knees outwards and down towards the floor with your elbows. Remain in this position for 20 seconds.
- Relax. Repeat 10 more times.
Some women develop anxiety early on in pregnancy because so many questions arise in their minds.
Will I keep this pregnancy until I give birth? Will I have a miscarriage? Will I give birth to a healthy baby?
These questions and others can run through the mind of a pregnant woman regardless of the psychological support she receives from her husband and the medical personnel caring for her.
If you are prone to anxiety, this is how to get through the first trimester without worrying:
- Read Bible Verses
- Pray Often
Read These Bible Verses
God’s word has comforted millions of pregnant women throughout the ages in times of anxiety and His word will encourage you and give you peace.
- Psalm 23: This verse talks about the fact that God’s goodness and mercies shall keep you from experiencing any failure or defeat.
- Psalm 27: This verse will assure you that you have nothing to fear because God is good all the time and He will make good things happen to you.
- Psalm 55: Encourages you to give your worries and cares to God and you will have peace.
Turn your worries into prayers and take them to the throne of grace and you will experience inner calmness (Philippians 4:6).
For example, when you start thinking, “Will I be able to keep this pregnancy for nine months?” immediately intone a prayer such as this one: “Father, you are good all the time. You were good to me yesterday. You are showing goodness to me today. LORD, I know You will be good to me during these nine months. You are omniscient and omnipotent. You know what tomorrow holds and You are able to do all things. I give my cares and burdens to You. Please keep me. Please give me inner peace. Amen.”
Points To Remember
Wrapping it all up, don’t forget that to survive the first trimester of pregnancy:
- you can deal with constipation by eating lots of fruits and foods containing whole meal;
- you can conquer heartburn by eating small portions of food and by drinking milk at night; and
- never forget that the LORD is with you and He will help you to have a healthy and safe delivery. And so you do not need to be anxious.
Other Tips to Checkout
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio