You’ve only been pregnant for five minutes and your brain is already buzzing with questions. Here are the answers to your gotta-know-right-now pregnancy questions.
What Do I Need to Change About My Lifestyle Right Away?
That depends on how many changes you made when you started trying to conceive. If you started playing the part of mama-to-be even before you conceived (always your best option, by the way), you may not have much lifestyle tweaking left to do.
If, however, you hit the reproductive jackpot a little sooner than you’d anticipated, you’ll want to make some lifestyle changes right away. “There are so many things you don’t have any control over when you’re pregnant,” says Arlene Cullum, M.P.H., director of regional programs with the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California. “It only makes sense to zero in on those areas where you can make a difference when it comes to maximizing your chances of having a healthy baby.”
- Kick the Habits
Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and using any street drugs. (To find out why and to get tips on kicking your vices, visit www.marchofdimes.com.)
- Mind Your Medicines
Check with your doctor about the safety of any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you use on a regular basis. Ditto for any herbal medications or supplements. Find out more from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
- Fortify With Folic Acid
Start taking a folic acid supplement (or a prenatal vitamin that’s fortified with folic acid, if that’s what your healthcare provider recommends) so that you can reduce your risk of miscarriage and of giving birth to a baby with a brain or spinal defect.
- Check Your Job Security
Find out if you’re being exposed to any substances on the job that could be dangerous to your developing baby. If so, you’ll want to talk to your employer about switching to less risky work while you’re pregnant. Learn more about reproductive health issues from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety.
- Start Eating for Two
Find out which foods are off limits for moms-to-be. These include foods that may contain bacteria that can be harmful to the developing baby, certain types of fish that could be high in mercury, and foods that may trigger a food allergy in babies born to parents with a history of food allergies. Visit www.nutrition.gov for more information.
How Soon Will I Notice My Body Changing?
It depends on your body shape and size, how tuned in you are to bodily changes, and how form-fitting your regular wardrobe is. You’ll probably find that you start to feel “puffy” around the eight-week mark (imagine the worst case of premenstrual fluid retention ever) and you’ll no longer want to wear anything that is tight around your waist. If you’ve got some loose-fitting pants in your closet, you’ll probably be able to make it into the second trimester without having to go on a maternity shopping blitz—unless, of course, you start popping the buttons on your blouses before then. According to the March of Dimes, your breasts can grow as much as a full cup size by the time you’re six weeks’ pregnant!
If I’m Going To Have Trouble With Nausea, How Soon Will It Happen?
According to John R. Sussman, M.D., an ob/gyn in private practice in New Milford, Connecticut, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), nausea typically rears its queasy head around six to eight weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period. The green feeling can range from mild dizziness to such severe vomiting that a woman has to be hospitalized. This so-called “morning sickness” (which can happen at any time) is generally gone by week ten to twelve.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2006 issue.