Here's a basic primer on tackling the trimesters of pregnancy, courtesy of Great Eastern Life.
What to expect when you’re expecting – a short guide to the three trimesters of pregnancy.
Pregnant? A healthy pregnancy starts with knowing what to do during each important trimester.
The first trimester: weeks 1 to 12
In these first few weeks of pregnancy, you will no doubt be overcome by the joy of becoming a mum, and perhaps by some of the changes in your body as it prepares to “make” a healthy home for the life growing inside you.
Physical/health changes: Breast tenderness, fatigue, nausea (morning sickness), constipation, heartburn, increased need to pass urine, sudden food cravings or food dislikes.
Emotional changes: You may experience mood swings.
Things to look out for: It is important to see your doctor, who will likely start you on vitamins to help you and your baby get the vitamins and minerals you need.
You may want to take extra care during this crucial first month in which the foetus’ brain, spinal cord and other organs just begin to form.
• Drink lots of water.
• Eat small frequent meals to overcome nausea (six to eight small meals a day).
• Do not overeat; you don’t have to “eat for two” – small nutritious meals will help fortify you and prevent nausea.
• To help with nausea, try eating dry toast, plain soda crackers or cereals.
The second trimester: weeks 13 to 28
Most women begin to get used to their pregnancy and even enjoy their pregnancy more during the second trimester of pregnancy. You’re less tired and nauseous and ready to enjoy the “glow” that expectant mums have!
Physical/health changes: An expanding belly, stretch marks, low back pain, feeling the baby “quicken” or move.
Emotional changes: You may be more settled in your moods.
Things to look out for: At this time, your baby can kick, make facial expressions and hear. Regular visits to your doctor remain important during the second trimester.
Most women give up “regular” clothes for more comfortable maternity wear at this stage.
• If you have concerns about stretch marks, use a prevention cream daily, drink plenty of water and watch your weight gain. A baby only needs an extra 300 calories a day during the last two trimesters – so watch your diet.
• Swimming and other low impact activities such as yoga (let your instructor know you are expecting) can alleviate back pain.
• Start reading books about what to expect during childbirth and pregnancy classes.
The third trimester: weeks 29 to 40
You’re almost at the finishing line! At this point, you may be exhausted physically and emotionally, but this is when you can start buying lots of tiny new clothes and doing up the baby’s new room.
Physical/health changes: Expanding belly, heartburn, back pain, shortness of breath, sore breasts that may leak clear fluid, swelling in the ankles, changes in your belly button, increased body temperature.
Things to look out for: Your baby can open his or her eyes now and has gained a lot of weight.
Your baby can open and close its hands and wiggle around in your belly.
• To avoid excessive swelling around the ankles, elevate your legs when you sit and when you sleep, walk regularly and drink lots of water.
• You should expect to feel more tired – you are carrying a lot of weight! So rest when you are able to.
• Swim, walk, do yoga and meditate to relax.
For other healthy living tips, articles and recipes, visit the Live Great Portal at livegreat.greateasternlife.com. You can also use the available wellness tools in the portal to conduct simple health risk assessments, obtain information on Live Great events such as health and wellness talks, seminars and workshops, and Live Great partners’ promotions throughout the year.
In addition, The Live Great Guides, which are available on Great Eastern Life’s corporate website greateasternlife.com, contains a lot of useful information about managing weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. You can find out more about Great Eastern Life’s activities, events and other offers through the organisation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GreatEasternLifeMY.
This April, Great Eastern Life will be the exclusive event partner with The Star in the FitForLife fair (previously known as The Star Health Fair). The theme for this year’s fair is “Get Fit. Live Great!”, and it aims to inspire Malaysians to lead a healthy lifestyle and adopt a holistic approach that includes physical and mental fitness, financial health and general happiness.
According to Great Eastern Life, this is a strategic partnership in line with the company’s Live Great Programme introduced in April 2012 as the first integrated health and wellness programme by an insurance company in the region, designed to assist its customers in achieving their health goals.
■ FitForLife 2015 will be held in Halls 1-3, Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from April 10-12. Admission is free. For details, call 03-7967 1388 ext 1243/1475 or visit www.facebook.com/thestarhealthfair.