The Mummyhood series #02 ~ Early symptoms, Remedies, Things to avoid & Coping with a Full Time Job

By berrysmotivation - September 16, 2019

The early phase of pregnancy is one most people dread as it comes with mixed emotions and many unpredictable symptoms. For some it anxiety all the way through and for others it is the most dreaded phase. Mine was mixed, I was happy but too busy with work to absorb the moment. Thankfully my symptoms were mild and I could cope with them except the nausea and indigestion. It was awful, I had mint gum everywhere I went and had a glass of milk after every meal. So what really are the things to expect in the first phase of pregnancy.

To begin with, 

Missed period: This is usually the first sign and it is at this point you can then go on to do a pregnancy test. A positive test is almost always correct and a negative test doesn't rule out pregnancy. You may just have done it too early, wait for about a week and do another test. Which ever method you decide to go for, it is fine.

Nausea and Vomiting: This is common to most pregnant women and comes as morning sickness with some women reporting nausea and vomiting through out the day and all through pregnancy. The severity varies and it is different for every individual. Some people end up in hospital, it can be that severe. There are simple ways to deal with mild symptoms (mints, lemon, and some over the counter antacids) Please seek expert advise from your GP or midwife before taking any medication and always remember to read leaflets and check for expiry dates.

Loss of appetite or cravings: This mostly happens when people experience really severe nausea and vomiting and with others it may just be hormones acting up causing you to be really irritated with certain foods. If this is the case try to stay hydrated eat the little or much you can as the little one growing needs all the nutrients they can get from you.

Sore breasts +/- darker nipples: These are due to hormonal changes and varies with different individuals. This may not occur in everyone, however nothing much can be done about it, its just the process and changes and if sore, it is bearable.

Spotting, cramps: You may or may not experience either. If you do be sure to know what your are dealing with. Some people have mild spotting and some have mild cramps. When spotting is continuous or begins to increase in quantity with change in color, see your GP or midwife immediately.

There are lots of things to avoid that may be detrimental to your health and that of the growing child. 

Alcohol & Smoking: Both are linked with really poor outcomes for both mother and child especially the child as they may be prone to congenital anomalies. Its best to avoid both completely and with smoking stay far away from anyone who smokes.

Unnecessary medications: Before taking any medication be sure it is safe to take in pregnancy. Always check with your GP or midwife. It is important to note that some medications may be safe in the first trimester and not safe in the 2nd or 3rd trimester and vice versa so please be aware. Try safe non-medical remedies first before jumping to take medications.

Strenuous exercises: Pregnancy isn't the best time to watch your weight and even worse in the first trimester. Avoid strenuous exercises like running, lifting heavy objects etc. It is a very delicate phase in your life with a tiny being growing in you so you want to be careful as much as possible.

Some foods: Certain foods are best avoided in pregnancy. Examples are under-cooked meat  or fish which may expose you to some infections like toxoplasma or listeria that are harmful to your baby, mercury containing fishes like sharks, liver is also best avoided as it contains high levels of vitamin A that is also harmful to your baby. The list is endless, please speak to your doctor or mid-wife on whats best avoided in pregnancy and its best to check what ever you eat to be sure its safe for you and the baby.

Coping with work is the most tricky part but these few tips may help you cope better.

Have a plan: Whether unexpected or not, once you find out you are pregnant begin to plan for the pre and postnatal phase. Plan ahead for things like antenatal classes, shopping. holidays etc. Start shopping for the baby as soon as you can. Don't leave things till the end. I left so much for later and when later came, I didn't have the strength to do much and ended up doing most online and in a hurry. Swap night shifts if you work shifts so you can have them early on before you become too slow and too tired. Most importantly plan your finances. Start saving because the process is not cheap.

Know what works for you: Know your symptoms, know what works for you and do not compromise. As a doctor I was always tempted to play doctor even though it was inevitable at times, I made sure most times I took the seat of an actual patient. Book a doctors visit if needed and take advises given.

Inform your department on time: You need all the support and informing your department or line manager will make things easier for you as they would be able to make provisions for you where necessary. If you work in the hospital and work shifts, from 28 weeks, you shouldn't work nights or long shifts ( more than 10 hours)

Communicate with your other half: Talk through everything and let them know you will have limitations. Meal preps, house chores, etc may be difficult especially as the pregnancy advances so they need to be understanding and you need to let them know when you need help.

Look after yourself: Healthy mum almost always equals healthy baby. Eat healthy, exercise, take your vitamins, attend antenatal classes and let your midwife know if you have any concerns at all. Do not push yourself beyond your limits, understand that you now have to look after 2 people.

Remember, a healthy mum almost equals a healthy baby and also almost always equals a happy mum and if you are healthy, with a healthy child and happy it would be easy to cope with most work related stress.

Finally, enjoy the the process. The gift of motherhood is priceless.

Please note that these are just advises based on research and personal experiences. Please always confirm with your doctor or midwife before you do anything you are unsure of.


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