First of all, congratulations! Whether you’re feeling excited or shocked (or maybe somewhere in between!), I’m here to offer support and healthy living advice to keep you and your baby happy during the months to come. Whether you’re a first-time mum-to-be or a veteran, there are a few things to take note of when you are in your first month of pregnancy.
Changes to your body
You’ve probably noticed a few changes already – tiredness, bloating, nausea and tender breasts are all early symptoms of pregnancy. Tiredness in the first trimester is generally caused by the huge amount of energy being used to form the placenta that will sustain your baby for the entirety of your pregnancy. Another contributor to your exhaustion are mood swings that result from increased hormones circulating your body.
Whilst some weight gain is normal, you definitely don’t need to be eating for two (although it does sound tempting!). You should be carrying no more than 2kg of extra weight by the end of your first trimester (unless you were underweight before you conceived). Increased levels of progesterone result in fluid retention and your blood volume will increase in order to transport enough oxygen to both you and your baby. This extra blood flow (and the majority of your weight gain) will be most noticeable in your breasts – they’re swollen and sore for a reason!
Changes to your diet
Since your baby is only about the size of an apple pie at this point, you don’t need to consume any extra kilojoules just yet – a balanced diet of whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and a variety of fruit and vegetables will provide you and your baby with enough energy to thrive. However, you should be taking a prenatal multivitamin containing (among others) the following micronutrients:
- Folate – vital for neural tube development
- Iodine – important for brain development
- Iron – assists in the transportation of oxygen within the blood
- Vitamin B12 – important for the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Ensure the multivitamin you take is specific for pregnancy and does not contain vitamin A, as there is an increased risk of toxicity to your baby if vitamin A stores build up in the body. Omega-3 may also require supplementation if you are not consuming sources rich in this fatty acid (such as fish and flaxseed) at least 2-3 times a week. It is also a great time to visit your healthcare provider or a dietitian to assess your diet and nutrient levels to ensure you are meeting all the healthy requirements.
Changes in your lifestyle
Exercise is recommended at all stages of pregnancy unless advised otherwise by your healthcare provider. Exercising just three times a week can reduce excessive weight gain during pregnancy, and help you recover from labour more quickly. If you don’t yet have an exercise routine, start slow! Relatively gentle activities like walking, jogging, swimming or yoga will boost your energy levels and should be maintainable for the duration of your pregnancy.
You’ll find more information in my week-by-week pregnancy series on YouTube – my video on the first month can be found here. You can also visit my website for additional advice and support around healthy living during your pregnancy and beyond.
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