Posted: Jan 20, 2013 10:00 PM
 
Once you find out you're pregnant, it's common to panic just a bit. Especially for first time pregnancies, there is an amazing amount of information to sort through. What should you be doing now, and what should you stop doing immediately? We're here to help.

So you're pregnant -- what do you do now? Finding out that you are pregnant is always a bit of a surprise, whether you are actively trying to conceive or not. Everyone from your neighbor to your grandmother has their own bits of advice and wisdom to add, making the information overload even worse. Here's the scoop on all the early pregnancy stuff you really need to know.

Prenatal care

Sure, your at-home pregnancy test was positive -- maybe you even did five tests. Your first phone call after you see that positive test result should be to schedule your prenatal appointment with your doctor. Many women take at-home pregnancy tests before they even miss their first period, but your doctor may want to schedule your first visit for several weeks later -- maybe even after your second missed period. If you have a chronic health condition, make sure to mention it when you call, in case they want you to be seen sooner.

While you are waiting for your first prenatal appointment, don't hesitate to call your doctor's office with any questions you may have about symptoms or concerns. The office staff, nurses and doctors who deal with pregnant women every day understand your concerns and there is no question they haven't heard. Really.

Food

Assuming the mere mention of food isn't making you nauseous, you are probably wondering which foods are best to avoid when you are pregnant. Here is a roundup of things to avoid:

Seafood containing high levels of mercury

Too much mercury has been linked to nervous system damage in an unborn fetus. Tilefish, shark, king mackerel and swordfish are all considered to have higher levels of mercury, and should be avoided.

Alcohol

While the jury is still out on the occasional glass of wine in your final months of pregnancy, most doctors will advise you to avoid alcohol entirely during the early stages of your pregnancy.

Seafood that is raw or undercooked

Potentially harmful viruses or bacteria can be found in raw oysters, clams or mussels or in smoked seafood such as salmon. Avoid these choices or cook them thoroughly.

Foods that are not pasteurized

Foods like Brie, blue cheese, Mexican-style cheeses and feta can be potentially harmful and should be avoided. Also avoid unpasteurized juices.

Meat, eggs and poultry that are undercooked

The danger here is harmful bacteria such as salmonella that can cause a more extreme reaction in someone who is pregnant. Watch for foods prepared with raw eggs such as eggnog, cookie dough or Caesar salad dressing. Meats should be cooked thoroughly and tested with a meat thermometer, and deli meats and hot dogs should be avoided unless cooked until steaming hot.

Navigating your first trimester dos and don'ts is easy when you have a bit of knowledge under your belt. If you can get past the morning sickness, that is.

More first trimester

How to hide your pregnancy before you're ready to tell
Could it be a miscarriage?
The 5 most surprising things about the first trimester

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