Pregnant for the First Time? Here's What You Should Know

Your first pregnancy can be both a magical and overwhelming experience — often at the same time! You might be nervous about all the things you don’t know, and while we understand that the internet is every first-time mom-to-be’s best friend, there are also some things you should probably hear from your doctor.

Dr. Samuel D. Van Kirk and the rest of our team at his Redding, California, practice want to make sure you feel as informed, prepared, and excited for your pregnancy as you are for the day when your child actually arrives. Let us tell you what you need to know for your first pregnancy.

The symptoms you’re expecting may or may not show up

It’s common for women to expect a number of symptoms often discussed on television or in movies to kick in as soon as they find out they’re pregnant. These can include morning sickness, swollen breasts, increased urination, exhaustion, and fatigue, not to mention a completely nonexistent period. 

What’s strange is that pregnancy, like menstruation, is different for everyone. You might not experience morning sickness or anything of the kind, and you might even spot, making it harder to be certain that you’re pregnant.

Our best advice is not to go by a set of random symptoms but to visit your doctor for an accurate pregnancy test. Once you know for certain, you can move forward.

Yes, there are certain foods you should avoid

You probably already know alcohol is off the menu during pregnancy, but there are certain foods you’re going to want to avoid too, especially in your first trimester. 

These can include unpasteurized cheeses and juices that can carry listeria; hot dogs and deli meat that can carry the same; sprouts, spinach, and arugula (especially when raw), which can be carriers of E. coli and salmonella; and anything containing raw fish, especially sushi. A basic rule we like to go by is to steer clear of anything raw.

Miscarriages do occur

Unfortunately, miscarriage is a common problem, especially early on in pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that 10% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and around 80% of these miscarriages occur during the first trimester. This is why many people choose not to share their news until after the first trimester has ended. 

While it can be devastating to even imagine a miscarriage during your first pregnancy, it does occur, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of a miscarriage, including

If you’re concerned and want to learn more about the signs of a miscarriage, Dr. Van Kirk can give you more information during your appointment.

Things may change, but you’re still you

Though you may be prepared for your belly to swell and for stretch marks to develop, you may not be aware of the many weird and wonderful changes that your body — as well as the rest of you — may go through during your pregnancy. 

Smells you once loved might start to put you off, you might start to notice a copper taste in your mouth, or your eating habits might completely change. Remember, this doesn’t mean you’re a different person, but it does mean your hormones are causing intense changes in your body to make way for your baby.

If you feel at all confused or weirded out by these changes, we can assure you that many others have felt the same way. It might help you to talk to other people going through pregnancy as well, which will help you avoid feeling isolated.

Pregnancy prep for a wondrous time


Because every person is different, pregnancies are always different based on you and your unique body and personality. As your baby continues to grow, you will learn more and more about this wonderful time, and soon, you’ll be prepared for the moment when you finally get to meet your little one.

If you want to learn more about what you should know as a first-time expectant mother, call us at Samuel D. Van Kirk, MD, at 530-242-4129 or message us to make an appointment. 

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