So, you’ve discovered you’re pregnant – congratulations! Now what? Doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins (the earlier, the better). Folic acid is essential for preventing neural tube defects and omega-3 fatty acids boost the immune system. Discontinue any form of chemical birth control, and resolve to be as healthy as possible: Cut out alcohol, tobacco, X-rays, and over-the-counter medications (unless your doctor approves). Now is the time to sit back, relax and get ready for the ride.
To Do: Pick up books on pregnancy at Chaterhouse Books.
It’s fairly common to experience one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy this month: morning sickness. Nausea can actually occur at any time of the day. About 50 percent of all expecting mothers experience some form of it during pregnancy – some may have a very sensitive sense of smell, others will crave foods they usually hate, and most will endure a temperamental stomach. Some tips for dealing with the nausea: Eat something high in protein (nuts and yogurt, for example) before bed to keep blood sugar levels stable, sip ice water if you’re feeling extremely ill (sometimes helps assuage the nausea), try acupuncture bands (worn as bracelets) to curb queasiness, and take deep breaths when you feel a spell coming on.
Pamper: It’s safe to polish nails when pregnant – and at this stage, expecting moms can use some indulgence. Try to avoid nail salons with poor ventilation.
Bonus: Pregnancy hormones cause nails to grow faster and stronger.
Towards the end of the first trimester, some expecting moms will opt for an ultrasound as well as blood screening tests for Down’s syndrome and spina bifida. This ultrasound is also a more accurate way of establishing your due date than counting from your last monthly period. You’ll also find out if you’re having more than one baby. Continue eating a healthy diet – recommended foods for pregnant women include avocados, broccoli, carrots, spinach, nuts and lentils.
To Do: Stock up on vitamin-packed veggies. Try the organic supermarket Lohao City for all your basics. Alternatively, for RMB 16,000 per year, get a box of seasonal veggies from the organic Green Cow Farm in Shunyi sent to your house every week
And the second trimester begins – most moms claim that this is the stage where they feel their best. Feeling hungry? That’s a good sign the worst of the morning sickness is over. If you’re still feeling fatigued (your body is undergoing a lot of hard work), keep your blood sugar up with proteins and complex carbohydrates (try nuts, fruit and crackers). For another energy boost, add some exercise to your daily routine if you haven’t already – but avoid moves such as shoulder stands, deep-knee bends, back bends, jumping, and bouncing.
To Do: Join a prenatal yoga class to meet fellow expecting moms, increase flexibility (which can help the labor process) and calm nerves. Check out Yoga Yard, which holds classes Tue and Thur, 10.15-11.45am and Sat, 2-3.30pm.
Mid-trimester ultrasound (or the fetal anatomy survey)! At this stage, you can also feel your baby moving – loud noises may cause the baby to startle, so get ready to feel some baby kicks. As for your body, you might be experiencing killer leg cramps at night – this is normal. You might also be experiencing heartburn. Try antacid tablets to help soothe the burning sensation.
To Do: Start to pick out names for the baby! Keep in mind that last year Emma was the most popular girl’s name in the US and Jacob took the title for boys (for the tenth year running).
Australia: Mia and Lachlan
Canada: Ava and Ethan
UK: Olivia and Jack.
For ideas, visit www.babycenter.com or
Feeling overheated? Don’t worry – your heart and lungs are working much harder than they normally do, which can leave you feeling a little flushed, breathless and sweaty. You’ll be visibly pregnant by now, and with your expanding belly comes expanding underwear. Ditch your uncomfortable underwear in favor of something that doesn’t ride up, or down! There are plenty of stylish options available that you can wear all the way to your due date. Visit Mothercare’s international website for their full collection, www.mothercare.com. For international brands sold locally, head to BabyGro or Counting Sheep Boutique
Important Fact: The six-month mark is when premature labor can occur. It is more common during the summer months – thought to be due to dehydration – so make sure you keep your fluids up. Try Eden Juice Bar or Element Fresh in Sanlitun for healthy smoothies and juices
Welcome to the third trimester – it’s time to look into childbirth preparation classes. BJU holds regular four-week workshops, with a new class each week. They offer valuable information and techniques to help you through labor, as well as giving both mom and dad an idea of what to expect on the big day. Before you get too tired and rundown, stock up on all the baby essentials. Try not to go overboard – stick to the basics like one-piece jumpsuits with easy to use press-studs for quick access and a sturdy diaper bag. Remember: Babies grow very quickly and you’ll be sure to get lots of baby gear from family and friends.
To do: Book BJU childbirth preparation classes. Shop for baby essentials at Mothercare in Solana, or one of Leyou’s many locations.
This month your body will start to feels aches and pains as it accommodates your growing baby. It’s high time for some R&R so you might want to try a pregnancy
massage (avoid foot massages, which may induce labor). Bodhi offers pregnancy massages but be sure to call ahead.
Don’t worry: If you’re feeling awkward contractions or a regular tightening across your stomach, more often than not, it’s just a Braxton Hicks contraction. These are relatively pain-free contractions designed to prepare your body for birth. How do you tell the difference between a Braxton Hicks contraction and the real McCoy? Labor contractions increase in pain and frequency, and it becomes difficult to walk. Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable (but not painful), and they don’t increase in frequency.
Check Out: La Leche League is a breastfeeding support group that meets monthly at The Yurt, BJU. Pregnant women who want to find out more about breastfeeding
are welcome to attend.
You feel huge and uncomfortable. The baby’s head should have dropped into your pelvic cavity, so you won’t feel as much pressure on your lungs and ribs. The trade-off is that the baby is perfectly positioned near your bladder making you want to go to the bathroom – a lot. Expect a few restless nights of sleep. If you have children, this can be a stressful time trying to juggle all your committments. Hire an ayi, and if you already have one, put her on full time – your body and mind will thank you for it.
Enjoy: Take time out to practice your breathing and relaxation techniques.
Remember: Pack an overnight bag to take to the hospital so you don’t have to worry about it on the big day. Put emergency names and numbers on the fridge; it won’t hurt to carry a copy with you too. Make sure everyone’s phones are charged, on, and loaded with credit.