The first trimester refers to the period of a pregnancy that starts at the time of conception and goes until twelve weeks of gestation. Most of the time women won’t notice their pregnancy until two weeks into this first trimester at which point they miss their menstrual cycle. Moreover, during this period, the baby grows and develops at an incredibly quick rate. You must be very excited about all of these, so let’s find out what will happen and how you can deal with your first trimester.
What to Expect in Your First Trimester of Pregnancy
1. Body Changes
- Breast Tenderness: One of the first signs of pregnancy is sore breasts. These occur because of hormonal changes as your body gets read to fill the milk ducts and feed your baby.
- Hair and Nails: During your pregnancy, you will probably notice your hair and nails growing faster. These changes usually just last during pregnancy but you may also grow hair in places you wouldn’t like. Not only will your nails grow faster, but they tend to be stronger as well.
- Skin: When you are pregnant, you will have an increase in your blood volume. This increases the amount of the blood in vessels and oil gland secretion which can lead to acne or itchiness. Some women will also notice changes in pigmentation in terms of yellowish or brownish patches (chloasma, “the mask of pregnancy”) or a line on the lower abdomen (linea nigra) and hyperpigmentation of the nipples.
- Swollen Feet: Some women notice that their feet swell during pregnancy because of the extra fluid in their bodies. You may need to go up a shoe size to feel comfortable.
- Joint Mobility: Your body produces relaxin, a hormone that helps prepare the cervix for birth. It also loosens your body’s ligaments so you are at a higher risk of injury and less stable. Be especially careful with your knees, lower back and pelvic joints.
- Weight Gain: During pregnancy you should expect to gain weight. On average most women will only gain three to six pounds during the first trimester. This means that you just need an extra 150 calories each day.
2. Unwellness & Illness
- Nausea: Morning sickness can happen at any time of the day and start around three weeks after you conceive. It is partially due to increases in levels of progesterone and estrogen and your increased sense of smell. To help with nausea, try eating smaller meals throughout the day and opt for foods that are easy to digest.
- Increased Urinary Output: There is increased pressure on your bladder due to your growing uterus and this can cause occasional leakage when laughing or coughing. It also means you have to urinate more often, but always go when you feel you need to as this will prevent a urinary tract infection.
- Tiredness and Dizziness: During the first trimester your levels of progesterone increase and that makes you sleepy. Simply make sure you have enough protein and iron in your diet and try to do light physical activity daily. Your blood pressure will also drop while your blood vessels dilate so you may feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- Heartburn: Progesterone relaxes all of your smooth muscles including those in your esophagus. This can lead to an increase in heartburn or acid reflux. To minimize this issue, have smaller and more frequent meals and avoid acidic, spicy, or greasy foods.
- Bleeding: A quarter of pregnant women will notice slight bleeding within the first trimester. Light spotting can indicate the implantation of the fertilized embryo. Always contact your doctor if you have significant bleeding, pain or cramping.
- Varicose Veins: Varicose veins form when your blood pools in the veins and tend to disappear after pregnancy. You can reduce them by elevating your feet, wearing supportive hose and loose clothing, or trying not to sit or stand for long.
- Hemorrhoids & Constipation: Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in your rectum and can be painful or sting, itch, or bleed. Constipation occurs during early pregnancy as your digestive system slows down due to hormones.
3. Mental State
- Nesting Instinct: This instinct is the strong urge to get ready for your baby by decorating and cleaning. The instinct can be useful but avoid overstraining yourself.
- Unstable Mood: Between your changing hormones and increased fatigue, your emotions can become unstable. You may quickly go from miserable to elated. Simply find someone to talk to and you should feel better.
- Concentration Difficulty: The combination of morning sickness and fatigue can lead to difficulty concentrating. Hormonal changes and preoccupation with your baby can also cause this as you focus on the baby at the expense of other things.
Development of Your Baby in First Trimester of Pregnancy
Month in Pregnancy
During the first month, the amniotic sac forms surrounding your fertilized egg. The placenta also starts to develop. Your baby will form a primitive face with eyes that are large circles. The blood cells, throat, lower jaw, and mouth start to develop. At the end of this month your baby is around a quarter inch in size.
The ears start to form and so do the buds that will become legs and arms. Eyes, toes, and fingers also start to form. Your baby’s neural tube will be well-formed and the sensory organs and digestive tract begin. Bones starts developing and the embryo will move slightly. Your baby will be about an inch long and a third of an ounce.
By the end of this month, your baby will be completely formed with toes, fingers, arms, and more. Nails and external ears start to form as well as teeth. The liver as well as the urinary and circulatory systems works. Your baby will be 3 to 4 inches and one ounce.
What You Should Do in Your First Trimester of Pregnancy
1. Build a Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Your diet should include essential nutrients during pregnancy so that your baby could keep growing and developing in the womb. This should include the proper balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates without ingesting too many calories. Be sure to include whole grains, protein, dairy, fruitsand vegetables in your diet.
You can learn tips, including easy healthy snacks from the video below for your first trimester. Check it out:
2. Avoid Dangerous Activities
During pregnancy you need to avoid dangerous objects and activities. They will be hazardous not only to you but to your developing baby as well. Avoid solvents, pesticides, cleaning products, and lead from drinking water. You will also need to avoid chemicals, certain biological agents, radiation and heavy metals.
3. Make an Appointment with Your Caregiver
You can select any type of caregiver including a nurse-midwife, obstetrician, or family physician, and they will educate, treatand reassure you during your pregnancy. In the first visit, your doctor will assess your health and identify risk factors. He will also want health information in your medical history, so be honest and cooperate with him. But be fully prepared since some questions can be very personal. Your caregiver will then tell you what to avoid during pregnancy. After this, you will probably have checkups each four or six weeks and you may have screening to check for chromosomal abnormalities during the first trimester.
4. Learn About Potential Pregnancy Problems
During your pregnancy you will notice many changes, so it can be hard to know which ones are serious and which ones are normal. Be aware of potential problems and danger signs and call your health professional if you notice any. Some symptoms to watch out for include a change in your baby’s activity level, vaginal spotting or bleeding, burning or painful urination, and chills or a fever that reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Get Ready to See Your Baby
You can usually hear your baby between weeks 9 and 12. To do this, your doctor will use a Doppler fetal monitor and many women compare the sound of their baby’s heartbeat at this point to galloping horses. Most ultrasounds will be performed at 16 to 20 weeks, but some women will get an ultrasound at 4 or 5 weeks. If you see your baby this early, he will be similar to a lima bean but with a flickering heart.