OPINION: Setting boundaries and protecting your well-being is crucial for a healthy pregnancy

By Doris Kaitha

When a woman is sexually active and doesn’t get their period as expected, the worry starts. Some women have difficulties trying to conceive or carrying a pregnancy to their due date during their fertile age.

For some other women the absence of normal menstrual cycle can be concerning since it can indicate a pregnancy or it may be related to an illness or stress.

It is considered one of the major possible signs of early pregnancy. In essence, it simply means that you didn’t have your normal menstrual cycle or period as expected.

Throughout her lifetime, a woman may miss her period for a variety of reasons, including rapid change in weight, which can cause lack of estrogen leading to hormonal imbalances hence miss your period.

Missing a period can be alarming, but there’s usually a simple explanation. Still, if your period hasn’t arrived for more than 40 days, it is best to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to see what’s going on.

If there’s a chance you may be pregnant and your cycles are typically regular, it may be time to take a pregnancy test. Being sure of your pregnancy status will help you make healthy living choices.

During the first 6 to 10 weeks of your pregnancy, your body goes through many changes. Your baby grows very quickly, even though you can’t feel it yet.

You may start to feel different, both in your body and your emotions. Because each pregnancy is unique, there’s no right way to feel. You may feel the healthiest you’ve ever been, or you might feel tired or sick to your stomach (‘morning sickness’).

Some women without information may not find it necessary to go to a clinic however, yet prenatal care is very essential and you will likely have a healthy birth if you maintain a healthy pregnancy. For example, birth defects testing can be done during the first-trimester.

Women should realize that everything they do, may it be eating or resting, is for two. It’s easy to get caught up trying to everything, but protecting your well-being and the baby is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

Chores will not end while you’re pregnant. It is therefore very important to set boundaries and say no – without guilt — to anything that doesn’t serve you. Give yourself time out every time you need it.

Taking ample time to sleep, meditate or read – whatever you need to do to recharge – just do it. True self-care is listening to your body. It is essential to consider pregnancy your 9-month permission to pause, treat yourself, your to-do list can wait.

Considering that a lot happens in the digital world – we’re bombarded with information 24 hours a day – for your pregnancy you could schedule at least one digital detox day per week: it will serve you well.

Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. However avoid eating raw meat, eggs, and fish to avoid risking for food poisoning.

While you probably won’t really begin to show until your second trimester, you might find that your pants are getting harder to button and your bras are a bit tighter.

Invest in some larger bras and reach for flowing, loose-fitting dresses and tops to hold you over until you need to buy maternity clothes.

It’s common for many women in their first trimester to worry about miscarriage or other pregnancy complications. Staying positive is healthiest for you and your baby.

Remember, this is not a sprint: it’s a marathon. Nine months is a long time, so don’t think you have to be fully prepared for the baby’s arrival right away.

Take time for some planning and some self-care and don’t hesitate to seek medical attention when need be.

Ms Kathia is a youth advocate at NAYA Kenya

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