First Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

First Trimester

Feel Better Safely

It seems only fair that pregnancy should be accompanied by a nine-month reprieve from everyday pain and allergy symptoms, but as many an expectant hay-fever sufferer will tell you, that's just not the case. However, before reaching for your usual over-the-counter (OTC) medication or trying something new to help you feel better, consult our guide below and speak with your doctor.

Wild Nightlife

Many women experience vivid dreams during pregnancy, and no wonder—they're dealing with huge changes in their physical, emotional and spiritual selves, says Raina Manuel-Paris, Ph.D., author of The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book (Warner Books). Here are some common themes by trimester:

First Trimester: Women tend to dream about their past: childhood experiences, ex-boyfriends and parents. These dreams are a subconscious way of coming to terms with their new identity and letting go of the old.

Emotions About Pregnancy


Indirectly, perhaps. Research suggests that birth outcomes can be influenced by whether a woman's pregnancy was wanted, unwanted or "mis-timed" or if she simply felt ambivalent about it. Women with unwanted pregnancies were more likely to deliver preterm, and ambivalence increased the odds of having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. Women whose pregnancies were wanted but "mis-timed" were less likely to have a low-birth-weight baby. Expectant women should seek the emotional care and support they need, advises study author Anshu Mohllajee, M.P.H., of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Ski School


It's best to discuss this with your doctor. Here's why: In the first trimester, the fetus is well protected within the uterus, which in turn is safely tucked behind the pelvic bones. As such, if you were to suffer a hard fall or a blow to the abdomen from an errant ski, your baby would very likely be protected. However, after 13 weeks, the uterus begins to expand beyond the pelvis; this could put your baby at risk if you were to take a fall or get hit in the belly.

The Lowdown on Low-Dose Aspirin


I'm six weeks along and have been hearing a lot about this.

Reflexology and Pregnancy


Reflexology is a form of massage practiced on areas of the hands and feet. The idea behind the practice is that pressing specific energy points can stimulate organs and help boost energy flow. Opinions vary on whether reflexology is helpful during pregnancy. "As far as I know, there is no potential pregnancy benefit or risk," says Peter Bernstein, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and women's health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy


It's possible. Researchers have found evidence that prenatal use of at least one antidepressant--Paxil--increases the risk of congenital heart malformation. Other studies have found associations between late-pregnancy use of antidepressants and short-term complications in newborns, including jitteriness and respiratory distress. But not treating a mother's severe depression can also harm the fetus.

Cat Scat Fever


Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite that can be transmitted to humans through contact with feces of an infected cat, though it is more commonly acquired through eating raw or undercooked infected meat. If a woman were to become infected during pregnancy, she could pass the parasite on to her fetus; risks include fever, rash, vision and hearing loss, mental retardation and miscarriage. If, on the other hand, she were to contract toxoplasmosis before pregnancy, she would develop immunity and not be at risk of developing the disease again or infecting her fetus.

The Importance of Folic Acid


Spina bifida is a condition in which the neural tube--the embryonic tissue that becomes the brain and spinal cord--does not close properly. The condition can range from mild, with little or no impairment at birth, to very serious, causing severe disability or, sadly, death.

Morning Sickness: The Upside

Morning sickness can be miserable, but it may serve the valuable purpose of keeping your diet as healthy as possible for your growing baby.

A recent British study is the latest to contend that how much nausea a pregnant woman experiences may depend on how nutritiously she eats. University of Liverpool scientists analyzed 56 studies on morning sickness and found that symptoms were linked to higher intake of sugars, sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine and meat and to lower consumption of cereals.