Melissa C. Koh

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Things I Wish I Had Done In My First Trimester

Motherhood

The first trimester seemed to have passed in a blink of an eye. We didn’t find out that I was pregnant until I was mid-way through my first trimester (around 8 weeks)!

So of course, all the anticipation, the celebration with James, the planning of how to reveal it to our family and friends, seemed like it was the first and most important things on our mind, aside from arranging our first visit to the gynaecologist to check on the baby’s development and heartbeat.

Now that I am in my third (and final) trimester, I’ve just realised that there is already so much you can do to get your pregnancy started on the right footing. Getting started and planning for the baby’s arrival does not need to wait until the second or third trimester, it should begin immediately!

The first trimester (first 14 weeks) is the time you focus on your health, nutrition, do some financial and life planning and choose your gynaecologist and hospital to deliver in.

It might seem like there are a million and one things suddenly added on to your plate, but I recommend setting weekly goals and taking baby steps, so you can enjoy the planning and anticipation of your little one every step of the way!

In this post, I’m sharing with you a list of 10 things to do in your first trimester so that you can be on track:

1) Download a pregnancy app!
This app can help you to track your pregnancy and count down till when your baby is due by the week. Each week, you’ll receive updates and relevant articles and information about what to expect and also learn about the baby’s growth, development and progress. I use 280 days as I love that I am also able to journal my day-to-day thoughts and record my milestones. Even if you’re in your first or second month, your bump and feelings are going to massively evolve by the day, so it’s never too late to start a keepsake.

2) Research on where you want to deliver
This is a big decision and the best time to do research is now. Most people like myself tend to go with what’s convenient and available. As we hadn’t shared this piece of news with family of friends in my first trimester, we did not seek for any recommendations or help. James’ dad/my father-in-law is actually a retired gynaecologist himself, so he actually had a wealth of information to share, but we jumped into one before we had spoken to him.

I did not also consider which hospital I wanted to deliver in during that stage of my pregnancy, and only realised a little later that my OB/GYN only delivers in one particular hospital. Thankfully, I’m happy to be delivering in that hospital as both James and I were also born there and we’ve heard many raving reviews and experiences from our family and friends.

My point though, is that we were left without options as we had not considered this in the earlier stage of my pregnancy.

3) Start taking prenatal vitamins, fish oils and folic acid
The best case scenario would be if you had already been consuming a folate-rich diet pre-pregnancy. But otherwise, start right away as the early weeks of pregnancy are the most important in the baby’s development. Research shows that nutrient-deficiencies can be linked to neuro-abnormalities and disease later in life. Always eat well, sleep well and stay positive! Nothing at this stage can trade for health, so don’t compromise.

4) Prepare for your first prenatal appointment
The first appointment is always the most exciting and nerve-wrecking one. It will confirm that the positive results you’ve seen at home are indeed positive. For James and I, we made our appointment as soon as we were back from our trip as we wanted to be sure that everything is okay. It was also the first time listening to the baby’s heartbeat and that was probably the most surreal feeling ever. You can prepare for this appointment by asking any questions you may have, especially if you’re a first time mom.

The questions I had for my OB/GYN were:

– Can I travel? (As I had an upcoming trip planned): Her response was that it is not recommended unless absolutely necessary and that she would give me a flu jab just to boost my immunity before the trip.
– What can I eat/not eat? Her response was to avoid alcohol, raw food, unripe papaya and pineapple in the first trimester.
– What extra precautions do I have to take? How do I stop feeling so tired?
– Are there any anti-nausea medicine I can take to help with any symptoms?

5) Listen to your body
The first trimester might feel like the hardest in the entire pregnancy but I promise you, it’ll be over in due course. I highly recommend listening to your body very closely. Sleep as much as you need to and do not feel guilty for resting. As my pregnancy was still kept a secret then, I was trying so hard to be at my 100% all the time. I would still work 10 hours each day, prioritise events and engagements over proper meals and beat myself up when I could not stay awake past 12 to reply to my emails at night. I got frustrated at myself up for needing naps in between the day and being so comparatively unproductive. Looking back on this part of the journey, I wish I had been kinder to myself and my body. I guess it hadn’t yet dawn on me at that point that I was actually growing another human being inside of me. It was selfish thinking to want to do-it-all despite my body saying no.

6) Thinking about the BIG PREGNANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
This was the favourite topic during meals for James and I as we put our heads together to brainstorm ideas on how to break the news to each family member/friend. We wanted to be as creative as possible so we actually started a shared document to pen down our ideas. We decided to let our family know during my 12th week and 13th week and my friends know from the 14th week onwards. We were also brainstorming so hard on how to reveal this piece of news to my social media fam (on YouTube & Instagram) and we only managed to come up with something, on impulse, when I was in my 16th week!

In case you missed it, this is a compilation of the priceless reactions from my family and friends, and the very first announcement post I made to my M-list subscribers and Insta-family.

7) Commit to a prenatal fitness programme
This might seem like a low-priority but trust me, it is something you would want to include in your list of commitments. Somehow, since learning about my pregnancy, everything else seemed to take precedence and somehow exercise just took the back seat. I can cross my heart and say with all honesty that my last exercise was since before finding out that I was pregnant, with the exception of ONE prenatal class that I thoroughly enjoyed while being on a work trip to Bali with WeBarre. It is so disappointing to own up to this, especially since I really enjoy being active and physically fit. I enjoyed the prenatal class in Bali so much because just that bit of a sweat-session and muscle burn made me feel so much stronger physically. It made me thoroughly regret not giving more priority to my physical well-being since an earlier stage.

There are many pregnancy safe & low-impact exercise options that are highly recommended from the start of the second trimester. Exercise not only helps to keep you in shape but I’ve heard that it has many positive spillover effects on your entire pregnancy journey — like an easier delivery, better sleep and better mood. Well it is not too late to pick up in the middle of my third trimester, I wish I had made a commitment to myself in the first to make time to exercise. If you’re in your first, I strongly recommend you committing to a pregnancy-suitable exercise routine as soon as you reach your second. You need not enroll for a class, but you can start building habits like taking daily walks after meals or looking up online videos/classes where you can exercise from home.

8) Start investing in maternity wear
It is never “too early” to start in building your maternity wear stash. My bump was considerably small all the way until 5 or 6 months and I was still relying on my loose fit clothing for dressing. On occasion, I’d buy one or two outfits that are a size up from my usual (S instead of XS or even M for bottoms). However, I’ve learnt that all these impulse buys, although they fit at that time, were not a long term solution. I’m in my 8th going to 9th month now and some of these do not fit anymore. I’d consider them a “transitioning” part of my wardrobe and it is ultimately still quite a waste of money. Recently, I invested in a few good maternity pieces that actually accommodates the growing bump and can be worn all the way till postpartum as they are nursing friendly too. I might as well have invested in these pieces earlier so I’d get more use for it instead of trying to still fit in my current wardrobe/purchase a new transitioning wardrobe that would only last me for a month or two.

9) Start pinning your nursery inspirations
If this might seem too early a stage to even start thinking about your nursery, you are so wrong. I thought the same way and time just flew by in a blink that I’m left scrambling just less than a month to my due date. The nursery is something you want to take your time and ponder over and pinning inspirations or scouting around to get familiar with the various baby furniture brands is never too late. There will definitely be an information overload in terms of the cot brand to choose, on whether the nursing chair is a need or a want, the storage space you need etc. Giving yourself time is a good way for you to do adequate research and make the best decision possible when the time comes. James and I were going to transform the entire home office to a baby nursery so it was quite a big project. We wanted to change in wall paint colour, some added wall decals, a new rug and a curation of furniture pieces that would still match the aesthetics of our home. Thankfully we work pretty well under pressure and the room has been taking shape in the past week. But my recommendation to you, parents, is to start as early as you can, and take your time with it!

10) Start taking weekly bump photos and recording milestones
This is one thing you should do if you are sentimental like me about recording milestones. Once the time has past, there is no turning back.

Unfortunately, this was not something that were at the top of our minds during the first trimester. Besides, my body was not changing too significantly so I had no inclination to record my bump with weekly photos. We only started documenting this in my second trimester!

But in case you start growing earlier, don’t forget to snap weekly photos of your little bump! I’m intending to print my bump photos at the end of my pregnancy to see at a glance how my body has changed and grown. It is quite a fun and personal way to track your pregnancy!

My two cents for your takeaway is that the weeks of pregnancy really does fly back and you’ll have a million other things to focus on towards the end. So start pacing yourself by setting short term goals! Some items in the list are more fun than others, but nonetheless, they’re just important and can be accomplished with good pacing. Be sure to work with your partner in a team! It is also a great opportunity to build your relationship with one another. 

 

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1 comment

  1. Eunice
    26 May 2019 @ 6:53 pm

    There’s no way your life is going to be the same as before. Once your baby comes, things are in lesser control cause you got a baby to juggle. It’s not easy to get used to. Motherhood is not all fairytale…..

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