All your First Trimester Q&A’s Answered!May 17, 2023
On today’s episode, Drs. Sarah and Alicia looked back and compiled the most frequent questions they get about the first trimester of pregnancy and answered them all for you conveniently in this one podcast episode and blog post! Be sure to follow along to the extra resources and links below for a deeper dive into each topic. Let’s jump right in!
Are there any beauty procedures I should avoid? Can I dye my hair? Botox?
Generally speaking, if you are dying your hair or painting your nails, as long as you’re in a well-ventilated area, you should be completely safe. There are a few things we recommend avoiding in pregnancy, most out of an abundance of caution:
- Laser Hair Removal: there isn’t enough research therefore we recommend waiting until after the baby, especially as your hair grows differently in pregnancy
- Vitamin A Products: avoid using topical or oral Vitamin A products, such as retinoic acid, retina A, or Accutane as especially oral use can cause issues with baby’s development. Topic products are likely fine, but out of an abundance of caution we generally recommend avoiding those in pregnancy
- Botox: again, there isn’t much evidence which is why it is probably best to avoid Botox during pregnancy, but likely okay to start again postpartum or even when breastfeeding.
For more info in skincare in pregnancy, check out our podcast on Skincare in Pregnancy with Dr. Bri!
What about dental work?
Here's the thing about dental procedures: if you need to get it done, you need to get it done! If the procedure is not urgent or is elective, we recommend waiting until after pregnancy. If you do have to have a procedure done in pregnancy - a cavity or some other pain is causing a problem - the second trimester is usually the safest time.
Carrot juice? Is it safe due to the high levels of Vitamin A?
You would have to drink overly copious amounts (and we mean A LOT) of carrot juice for it to come into the realm of ingesting harmful levels of Vitamin A. Everything in moderation!
How much cramping is too much cramping?
It is completely normal to experience intermittent cramping during the first trimester of pregnancy, equivalent in sensation to a mild menstrual cramp. Consider how much your body is changing and the uterus is growing! But if you are experiencing regular, painful cramping and/or it is accompanied with bleeding, it is localized to one specific side or another, it may be worrisome and we recommend calling your care provider. When it comes to cramping, other good things to consider are if it is still causing you distress after resting? Is it associated with other issues such as fever or bleeding? And is it not improving over the course of several hours, rest, pain killers, and hydration? If the answer is yes, please check in with your provider.
I want to get pregnant, but I'm breastfeeding and I don't have a period!
While it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding and without a period (ovulation will occur before the first bleed) - like with Dr. Sarah - this is pretty rare! If you are actively trying to get pregnant, however, and your period has not returned, we recommend weaning off of breastfeeding. Generally speaking, when going more than three hours between feeds, it is possible for your period to come back. Everyone is different so there is no set amount of time we know needs to pass before this happens, but if you do begin experiencing a ‘regular’ period again (between a 23-35 day cycle) chances are you are ovulating again and can get pregnant!
Supplements in pregnancy? What should I take? Help!
When choosing a prenatal vitamin, making sure it contains folic acid is essential. A Vitamin D supplement is also recommended, especially in northern climates where we are not exposed to much sunlight, for both infants and adults. Evidence has shown that Omega-3 69 is good for prenatal brain development. But the bottom line when it comes to supplements is that while a prenatal supplement is helpful, we each have unique needs based on our health, diet, location, etc and it can be beneficial to check-in with your health provider or prenatal nutritionist to craft a plan that suits you.
I feel like crap. I'm 10 weeks pregnant and I can barely get out of bed. Is this going to get better?
The answer is generally speaking, yes! The first trimester is so challenging. Your body is changing hugely, both physically and hormonally. The large increase in a hormone called progesterone causes the gastrointestinal tract to slow down, which can cause nausea, bloating, constipation, and vomiting, not to mention that all these changes can lead to lots of fatigue and exhaustion. Our recommendation is to get lots of sleep, use medicine as needed, cut down on work, and eat whatever makes you feel good, and check out these podcast episodes for more tips on Morning Sickness: The low down on nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and First Trimester Symptoms: Food as medicine with Nourished Beginnings.
When it comes to spacing out pregnancies, what is recommended?
Generally speaking, 18 months to 5 years from birth to subsequent birth is the safest. This is to give the body time to recover from pregnancy, build back things such as iron stores and for ligaments and the complex pelvic structures to go somewhat back to normal. If you’ve had a Cesarean birth we want to be a bit more cautious about leaving that time so that the scar can fully heal and your body recover. But if pregnancy does occur sooner, your care provider will support you through it.
Check out this video on How Long to Wait Between Pregnancies to Keep You and Baby Safe. We also recommend this book from Mama Psychologists on Not Your Mother's Postpartum Book: Normalizing Post-Baby Mental Health Struggles, Navigating #Momlife, and Finding Strength Amid the Chaos.
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