I'm pregnant! Now what?

Now that I’ve taken the steps to get pregnant and I’m expecting a baby, can you tell me the top 5 things to focus on? 

First off, congratulations on this new chapter! There are so many things you can do to set you and your baby up for success during pregnancy, and a list of the top priorities might be helpful as you wrap your head around this next step in your journey: 

  1. Schedule your first prenatal appointment 
  2. Start taking a high quality prenatal vitamin ASAP 
  3. Talk with your doctor about current medications or supplements you may be taking 
  4. Consider adjusting some lifestyle habits around smoking, alcohol and drug use, and diet 
  5. Improve or tweak your exercise routines as needed, while also focusing on rest

Now that we’ve listed them out, let’s talk about these in a bit more detail.

How do I prepare for my first prenatal appointment? 

Scheduling your prenatal appointment is a good first step once you find out you’re pregnant. At this appointment, your provider will confirm your pregnancy and together you will take some time to review your current health, medications, and the plan for the next several months. Before going to this appointment, consider making a list of thoughts and questions for discussion with your doctor so that you are well-prepared for this conversation. It can feel a bit overwhelming when thinking about how to care for yourself and your baby during this time, so going to your appointment with a list might be helpful. Our Frame coaches can help you with this step too. 

Ideally, reviewing your medications when considering conception is best, but if you haven’t done this and are pregnant, just be sure to reach out to your provider about what you are currently taking. When you first get pregnant, you’ll want to make sure that all of your current medications and supplements are safe for pregnancy. Discuss your list of medications, both prescribed and over the counter, and all supplements with your healthcare provider either at or before your first prenatal appointment. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor first before discontinuing any medications. 

When should I start taking prenatal vitamins and does it really matter? 

Yes absolutely! The sooner you start the better. Ideally, you should start prenatals when you begin discussing conception. Early in the first trimester is when some of the most important organ development occurs for the baby. Your body needs about 800 mcg daily of folic acid during pregnancy. It is important to be sure your prenatal has at least 800 mcg of folic acid daily, in addition to natural dietary folic acid. ACOG also recommends at least 200mg of DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) daily. Here at Frame, we can provide you with some recommendations for good quality prenatal vitamins at a discount. 

Now that I’m pregnant, help me understand what else I should be thinking about in terms of diet and other habits? 

As you begin your pregnancy, it’s important to think through your current habits and focus on improving your overall health if you haven’t already. This is not only to ensure a healthy pregnancy but is also important for the development of your baby. 

During pregnancy, a well balanced diet is key for the baby’s development and your health. Having a diet that is well balanced includes:

  • Healthy sources of protein
  • Plant based sources like beans, nuts, seeds, and lentils
  • Animal based sources like chicken, fish, and lean cuts of red meat. 
  • Healthy sources of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, quinoa, and fiber-rich foods. Limit added sugars and sweets. 
  • Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, fish, and olive oil. Limit processed and fried foods. 
  • Consider vegan options like tofu, seitan, legumes and tempeh.
  • Limit caffeine intake to one cup of coffee (12 oz) a day or less than 200mg per day. 
  • Additional vitamins and minerals as discussed with your doctor.

On the topic of nutrition and diet, it’s important to know that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to be infected with listeria, a bacteria found in food, which can pass to the fetus. Because of this, it is especially important to avoid deli meats and premade meals, sushi or undercooked meats, raw sprouts, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice. Also avoid high mercury fish like swordfish and tuna during pregnancy. 

During pregnancy, it is recommended not to use tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs. These increase the chances of premature birth, low birth weight, developmental delays, and miscarriage. This may not be a big deal for some pregnant women, but for others it can be more challenging. If you feel that you need additional support with these lifestyle changes, know that you are not alone. We are here to help! 

I know exercise is important, but what should that look like during my pregnancy?

Physical activity can really benefit you and your baby during pregnancy, which we will talk about a bit more. As you consider making this a priority over the next several months, it’s good practice to discuss your exercise regimen with your OBGYN at your prenatal appointment, especially as you discuss your overall pregnancy health. While there are certain conditions that do make exercise unsafe during pregnancy, many women can continue with their same exercise regimen. Exercises to consider include brisk walking, yoga, biking, and swimming. Avoid any activities that are high risk for falling or impact to your abdomen. And the bottom line is, always listen to your body! If it doesn’t feel right, stop and talk to your doctor. 

Overall, exercise can have wonderful benefits such as:

  • Improving blood sugar regulation and reducing risk for gestational diabetes
  • Reducing risk for preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure
  • Improving bowel regulation 
  • Helping to sustain healthy weight gain during pregnancy 
  • Helping to manage any mental stress throughout pregnancy 

How can Frame help me throughout my pregnancy?

The Frame team is here to support you no matter where you are on your journey! Our Frame Coaches can help identify key health topics to discuss with your providers whether before, during, or after pregnancy. We can also provide you with helpful resources throughout your journey such as prenatal vitamins, mental health support, and healthy meal delivery recommendations. We are here to help you navigate questions as they come up and are available to talk through text, phone call, or email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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