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Friday, November 23, 2018

Pregnancy Tips for Surviving the First Trimester

Before I move on, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on stepping into another new phase of life. Whether it is planned or unplanned (like us!), acknowledge that this is a great gift from God. Although the journey of being pregnant and beyond is going to be tough, it will be one that's gonna be the most rewarding.

What to expect during your first trimester
So, you are pregnant. What now? Chances are that you are starting to feel bodily changes in your body, largely due to the increased secretion of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) a.k.a pregnancy hormone. 

Disclaimer: Tips provided are based on our own personal experience. It may work for some, but not others. We are not medical professionals. If symptoms aggravate or persist, please seek a trained doctor.

#1. Morning sickness
The bad news is that hCG positively correlates (ugh, such academic terms) - the higher hCG levels in your body, the more you may nauseate. As shown in the graph below, hCG peaks at the 9th week of pregnancy. 

The good news is that hCG is essential for fetal development - you wouldn't want it another way, right? Although most mummies will feel nausea, the spectrum ranges from vomiting a hell lot to not vomiting at all. Throughout the pregnancy, my wife did not vomit even once, so it really depends.

Tried and tested:
- Seaband: Provides a fast-relief for nausea by stimulating an acupuncture point on both wrists. We got the normal Seaband (doesn't have to be specifically Seaband Mama) at Guardian for about SGD$18.
- Ginger: Take water boiled with ginger in the morning to alleviate nausea symptoms. According to traditional Chinese medicine practice, do not take ginger at night.
- Red dates: Highly nutritious food that provides energy and circulates blood flow, while preventing anaemia and constipation.
- When you're nauseating, you become hypersensitive to certain foods. Plain crackers and hard-boiled eggs are perfect in filling mummy's tummy while providing nutrients to the fetus.

#2. Backaches and stomach cramps
According to my wife, you would feel discomfort all over your body during the first trimester, and two of the greatest culprits are backaches and stomach cramps. After all, you are growing another human being inside you! As your womb expands in size to accommodate your baby boss, your organs gotta make way and in the process, you'll have aches and cramps here and there.

Tried and tested:
- Warm compress: What's nicer than a back massage (hubby's job) accompanied by a warm compress? The normal bottle bag may do the job, but my handy-dandy Tupperware bottle did just the trick. You could even roll it against your back for a comfortable massage. I'm not joking.

Important note: I would like to emphasise that it must be WARM, and NOT HOT. In case of accidental spillage or if you fall asleep on the bottle, warm water is fine, but extended exposure to hot water on your tummy poses risks of birth defects.
#3. Tender and swollen breasts
You may feel tenderness and slight pain in your breasts, but you know what? Something amazing is happening inside those boobies as they are prepping for breastfeeding. As our antenatal course teacher, the brilliant Dr Wong Boh Boi, puts it, "nature is amazing, pregnancy is like a second puberty." That is, to have them upsized.

Tried and tested:
- Wear a wireless bra: Leave those underwire bras in your cabinet (heck, your boobies might not even fit after pregnancy) and get a fitting wireless bra or a maternity bra to fit those babies.

#4. Mood swings and tiredness
This is completely normal. Come on, hormones are raging and adjusting themselves as they signal your body to form a baby, of course, you will feel tired. Alongside with the occasional desire to bite the head off your partner. Just kidding. Only female praying mantis does that.

Tried and tested:
- Get support: Talk to your loved ones, share your worries, especially to your husband. I mean, after all, it's their responsibility that you have these mood swings now.
- Snooze: Take some deep breaths, breathe, relax girl. Do some light exercises, and sleep. Even if you're working, let your supervisor know, if they are understandable, wonderful and nice people, they might let you take a quick snooze.

Image result for sleep asian

What else you should do
I'm gonna cover tips that are not in the previous post, so if you have not checked out those 6 tips, be sure to click here to read "What You Should Do After Finding Out You're Pregnant".

#1. Get a prenatal vitamin with folic acid ASAP
There are a heck lot of prenatal vitamins in the market. After researching for two days and nights, we came to the conclusion that we are gonna get New Obimin (available in Guardian, Watsons, Unity etc.). It's packed with the basic vitamins and nutrients you will need to craft your baby. Folic acid is pivotal in its role to prevent birth defects. It is also found in food such as leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.), fruits (bananas, avocados, etc.), grains and nuts.

#2. Take pictures and keep a journal
Take pictures of your baby bump, do a scrapbook, paste pictures of your ultrasound scans and write letters to your baby. Years down the road, you gotta show the little one that he or she should show some gratitude and appreciation cos' giving birth ain't no easy task, honey.

#3. Plan when to announce your pregnancy
First thing first. Your husband must know that you are pregnant. Second, have a discussion on when you would like to announce it to your family and friends. 

#5. Plan a babymoon (optional)
If you have some spare cash in your budget, why not plan a babymoon in your second trimester? My wife and I went for two - a road-trip in New Zealand, which is supposed to be our honeymoon at the start of the second trimester. We had to drop our plans to skydive, glacier hike, and bungee jump though. At the end of the same trimester, we travelled to Taiwan. For the record, metal detectors and flights are safe for the babies. Do you know the radiation from your cellphones and laptops are even higher than the detectors in airports? Yup.

Here's the last tip to end this post.

#6. Relax
I know it's easier said than done, since you probably have heard that your fetus, during its first trimester, is unstable and the chance of miscarriage is high. There are a lot of superstitions and whatever, but let me tell you what, girl. Your worrying and stress ain't helping. Do you know that your little one could sense your emotions? So let nature takes its beautiful course. Do what you should do, sit back, and take a chill pill. Trust in God, and let Him handle the rest. Just like you, you are bearing your little warrior(s) inside your tummy. If I can speak to you right now, I'd say: 

"Look into my eyes, YOU are a strong, powerful, and amazing woman. YOU can do it."