Early pregnancy body changes
You may already notice some body changes related to pregnancy. Normal signs of pregnancy are:
- Feeling very tired
- Breast tenderness and swelling
- Needing to urinate (pee) often
- More vaginal discharge than normal
- Mild cramping
Call your care team if you have:
- One sided abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Moderate to severe cramping
- Fever or chills
- Vomiting that will not stop
- Painful urination
- Take your prenatal vitamin each day.
- Make sure you get the needed vitamins and minerals, either in your prenatal vitamin or in food. You need:
- Folic acid 400 mcg
- Iron 27 mg
- Calcium 1000 mg
- Vitamin D 600 international units
- Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Eat no more than 2 servings of fish or shellfish each week.
- Choose low-mercury fish such as: shrimp, salmon, catfish, or pollock.
- Limit albacore (white) tuna to 6 ounces(oz) each week.
- Limit caffeine to 200 mg or less. This is one 12 oz cup of coffee each day.
- Do not eat the foods listed below when you are pregnant:
- Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, and tilefish
- All raw or undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat
- Unpasteurized milk and foods made with unpasteurized milk
- Hot dogs, lunch meats, and cold cuts unless they are heated until steaming hot just before serving
- Refrigerated pate and meat spreads
- Refrigerated smoked seafood
Nausea and vomiting
It is most common in early pregnancy. It often gets better around 14 weeks gestation.
Things that may help are:
- Take a gummy or tablet prenatal vitamin without iron. Take them with food or at bedtime.
- Eat toast or crackers before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks during the day.
- Drink more fluids.
- Follow the bland food BRATT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea.
- Try ginger in ginger-ale, ginger tea, or ginger candies.
- Stay away from strong scents.
Medicines that might help are:
- Vitamin B6. 25 mg 3 times a day
- Doxylamine (Unisom®). 25 mg at bedtime
- This can cause drowsiness. Do not drive until you know how you react.
- Vitamin B6 and doxylamine are safe to take together or alone.
- Ginger. 1000 mg daily or 250 mg 3 times a day
Hyperemesis gravidarum happens when a woman loses 5% of her pre-pregnant weight due to severe nausea and vomiting. Call your care team if you cannot keep food or fluids down for 24 hours.
Over the counter medicines in pregnancy
Below is a list of safe medicines you can take while you are pregnant. Tell your care team if you start a new medicine. Generic forms of any of these are also safe.
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for minor aches and pains.
- Do not take ibuprofen (Advil®).
Decongestants and cough medicine
- Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®)
- Do not take if you have high blood pressure or before 12 weeks.
- Robitussin CF® or Robitussin DM®
- Mucinex® or dextromethorphan (Mucinex DM®) if needed
- Ocean Mist®
- Saline or steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase®
Antihistamines (for allergies)
- Milk of Magnesia®
Heartburn or indigestion
- Gas X®
- Preparation H®
Mood and emotions
You may feel unexplained changes and moodiness. Do not blame yourself. This is normal.
Healthy weight gain is based on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). You should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy if you were a healthy weight before becoming pregnant.
Most people who are pregnant should exercise at least 150 minutes each week. This can lessen back pain, ease constipation, and help your mood and overall health.
Safe activities are:
- Water workouts
- Stationary bicycling
- Modified yoga
- Modified Pilates
Talk with your care team before running or doing other activities.
- Play contact sports, such as ice hockey, boxing, soccer, basketball, and volleyball
- Do high fall-risk activities, such as downhill snow skiing, water skiing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, and horseback riding
- Hot yoga or hot Pilates
- Scuba dive
- Do activities above 6,000 feet altitude
Stop exercising if you:
- Have vaginal bleeding
- Leak fluid
- Have painful uterine contractions
- Feel dizzy
- Feel short of breath before starting to exercise
- Have chest pain
- Have a headache
- Have muscle weakness
- Have calf pain or swelling
Do not use alcohol before pregnancy. It can deplete your body of important vitamins and harm the growing baby’s nervous system.
Nicotine and drugs
Nicotine and any drug use should be stopped before you are pregnant. Smoking puts you at higher risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and other birth defects.
- Hot tubs and saunas may be safe to use while pregnant.
- Do not stay in a hot tub longer than 10 minutes.
- Keep your head, arms, and shoulders above the water.
- Do not stay in a sauna longer than 15 minutes.
- Do not change or clean the cat litter box.
- Toxoplasmosis infection can be found in cat poop. It can cause risks while you are pregnant.
- If you must change the box, wear gloves, and wash your hands well with soap and water when you are done.
- Hair dye use is safe.
- Protect yourself from illnesses by washing your hands often with soap and water.