About a First Pregnancy

Overview

Becoming pregnant for the first time is often exciting and scary at the same time. This new experience often brings up a plethora of questions, ranging from how to find the right health care provider to knowing how to recognize the warning signs of preterm labor. First-time expecting mothers who take the time to learn more about pregnancy can calm their fears and allow themselves to enjoy this special time.

Finding an Obstetrician or Midwife

When a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, one of the first things she should do is find an obstetrician or midwife. She should find a practitioner that not only has suitable credentials, but also one that shares similar beliefs about pregnancy and the birthing process. Asking a practitioner about their policies and procedures and their thoughts on epidurals, episiotomies, natural childbirth, cesarean sections, labor inductions and patient phone calls to the office are a few topics that can give a pregnant woman a better idea of whether that practitioner is a good match for them.

Prenatal Care

Proper prenatal care is crucial for a health pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association notes that most pregnant women have their first prenatal visit when they are approximately 8 weeks pregnant, but women should start taking prenatal vitamins before this time when possible. Doctors can phone a prescription into a pharmacy, or a woman can take over-the-counter prenatal vitamins until her first appointment. It proves important to keep all prenatal appointments. These appointments not only ensure that the mother and baby are progressing well and remain healthy, but also provide a forum for pregnant women to discuss their concerns and questions with a doctor on a one-to-one basis.

What to Expect

Many changes occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Although these changes may not be noticeable to others in the first trimester, pregnant women definitely feel them. Experiencing morning sickness, mood swings, breast changes, food cravings or aversions, constipation, fatigue and frequent urination are common early pregnancy symptoms of the first trimester, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While the nausea and fatigue usually ease during the second trimester, the abdomen begins to expand and many women begin to look pregnant during this trimester. Many pregnant women also feel the baby kick for the first time during the second trimester. By the time the third trimester comes, many women find themselves dealing with heartburn and body aches. The flutters of the baby turn into strong kicks and punches, and practice contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions may start occurring. Pregnant women in the third trimester should monitor their bodies closely for contractions and signs of labor, and call a doctor immediately should this occur.

Safety

The safety of the unborn baby is one of the top concerns for many expecting mothers, but women who have never been pregnant before may not realize that even ordinary activities can be harmful. Changing the kitty litter, working with chemicals, taking medications or supplements, using a hot tub or eating seafood are just a few things that a woman should avoid during pregnancy. Although a doctor or midwife goes over safety precautions in detail at the first prenatal visit, first-time expectant mothers may want to do their own research about these subjects as soon as they discover they are pregnant to avoid unintentionally harming the developing baby.

Preterm Labor

First-time expectant mothers may have a harder time recognizing the signs of preterm labor due to their limited experience with the childbirth process. However, recognizing these signs proves vital because seeking medical treatment early can stop preterm labor from continuing and prevent a baby from being born too early. Signs and symptoms include a dull backache, pelvic pressure, vaginal spotting or bleeding, diarrhea, watery discharge or contractions that occur more than eight times each hour, according to MayoClinic.com. Pregnant women experiencing any of these symptoms should call a doctor immediately.

About this Author

Elizabeth M. Wolfenden has been a professional freelance writer since 2005 with articles published on a variety of niche blogs and websites. She specializes in the areas of psychology, mental health, education, pregnancy and reproductive health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in counseling from Oakland University.