If you’re at risk for having a baby with an inherited disorder, counseling can help you and your partner decide whether to undergo tests to determine if either of you is a carrier or to see if your fetus is affected. Age and personal and family medical histories are just a few factors to consider when deciding on testing.
You may be surprised—and concerned—if your doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat a condition such as a simple gum or bladder infection. But infection anywhere in the body may lead to preterm labor. If your obstetrician prescribes antibiotics, it’s likely because the benefits outweigh the risks. If another physician prescribes them, get your OB’s approval before taking them.
Before the first trimester is over, visit your company’s human resources department to find out how much maternity leave you’ll have and whether it will be paid, unpaid or a combination of both. “You also need to think about your work environment, including chemical exposures, stress and physical demands,” says nurse-midwife Low. Try to avoid heavy lifting or standing for long stretches at a time.
Stress-related risks, such as demanding deadlines, long commutes and grueling hours, are less tangible but shouldn’t be ignored. Put your feet up on a footstool several times a day, ask for help and delegate, if possible.
Although leaking urine shouldn’t be an issue in this trimester, it’s never too soon to start strengthening your pelvic-floor muscles. Contract and relax them throughout the day, as though you’re stopping and starting the flow of urine.
Women generally start taking childbirth-prep courses, such as Bradley or Lamaze, during the second trimester, but classes fill up quickly. Research the options in your area (your doctor or midwife and local hospitals probably have lists), and sign up early. While you’re at it, look into breastfeeding and newborn-care classes, hospital tours and, if needed, big-sibling classes.