You probably will be filled with excitement, happiness, and a lot of queries from the moment you get your pregnancy results. Nevertheless, the start of the pregnancy can feel extremely new and scary.
The first trimester is filled with rapid changes which can feel extremely overwhelming. Don’t worry, in order to help you understand all that you will be going through, we have prepared a detailed guide to your first trimester of pregnancy.
What is the first trimester of pregnancy?
The total time period (nine months) of the pregnancy can be divided into 3 parts of 3 months each known as trimesters. During each of these three trimesters, you and your baby will have a set of changes.
Even though the actual conception happens when the male sperm fertilizes the egg, your pregnancy starts from your last period. The first trimester of your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period. It lasts for 12 weeks i.e. the completion of 3 months of your pregnancy.
Changes to your body:
From the outside, your body will not change a lot in the first trimester. However, there are changes that you will be able to feel on your own such as:
- Mild spotting and cramping.
- Changes in your breast.
- Nausea and morning sickness.
- Heightened sense of smell and taste.
- Constipation and digestion issues.
- Hormonal changes.
The First Trimester: Baby growth
If you didn’t know, your baby goes through the most amount of changes during the first trimester. Your baby grows from a single cell to a fetus with a heartbeat.
- For the first month, your baby will be referred to as an embryo.
- The embryo grows and becomes a fully formed fetus that can weigh upto 28 grams or 1 ounce.
- Along with the baby, your body also grows a new organ called the placenta during pregnancy which starts to grow during the first trimester itself. The placenta is responsible for transferring food and nutrients from you to your baby. Along with that, it also transfers the waste produced by your baby, to your body.
- The approximate early formation and developments of organs of the baby during the first three months would be:
- The embryo is as big as a grain of rice and looks like a tadpole.
- Formation of the major organs.
- Formation of limbs into arms and legs.
- Formation of the neural tube, digestive and circulatory system.
- Formation of eyes and ears.
- Start of heartbeat.
- Development of the neural tube, digestive and circulatory system.
- Starts to take on a humanoid shape.
- Distinguished arms, legs, fingers and toes.
- You can listen to the baby’s heartbeat using instruments.
- Baby is referred to as a fetus.
- All the major organs including the reproductive organs are formed.
- Eyelids, fingernails, toenails, arms, and legs formed.
The chances of early pregnancy losses drops down significantly after the first trimester. Therefore, it is essential that you are extremely careful during this period and make taking care of your body the utmost priority.
In order for an easier first trimester, we have made a checklist of things you should remember.
Visit to the doctor/ book an appointment:
Start looking for an OB/GYN of your convenience as soon as possible. Once you know you’re pregnant, your first step should be to book an appointment and visit for a thorough medical checkup. Your appointments will probably be scheduled every month.
Your doctor will most likely suggest these tests during your first few visits:
- Urine Tests: To check for any signs for Urinary Tract Infections(UTI).
- Blood Tests: To test for blood type, blood pressure, iron, blood sugar levels and any type of infections.
- Ultrasound Scans (12th week) : To check for a heartbeat, size of the baby, due date and for multiple births like twins.
Make sure you educate yourself about the food that you should and shouldn’t consume during pregnancy. Expecting mothers shouldn’t consume raw and undercooked meat which can lead to various types of infections and can make you and the baby ill.
Nutrients and Vitamins:
The first trimester is the most important period for the growth of the baby. Therefore, your body requires extra nutrients to serve for the growth. You might require extra supplements of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron and vitamin capsules. It is best if you consult your doctor or your OB/GYN to get a test for these nutrient levels.
Working out and self care:
Your health should be the main concern once you get pregnant. It is important to prioritize your body and mind and start exercising on a regular basis. Listen to your body and maintain a schedule that keeps your body at ease. Don’t over do it and make sure that you are resting and eating enough as well.
If you already haven’t it is important that you sit down with your partner and pin down all your upcoming expenses. Making a budget will help you forecast the costs and plan for all of your trimesters. It is also better if you can research about the maternity policy in your workplace if you are employed. Make sure to prepare short and long term budgets, one that includes a post-pregnancy plan.
Relationship- It is safe to have sex:
We understand that the first trimester is already intimate and exciting for you and your partner. Once the news arrives, it might feel as if the whole attention is shifted towards the baby. But it need not be so. It is equally important for you to spend time with your partner. It is totally safe to have sex.
Plan your announcement:
It is scary and exciting to think about letting other people know about your pregnancy. Since the chance of early pregnancy losses is extremely high during the first trimester, many women wait till the start of second trimester to reveal it. So, make a decision on when you want your friends, family and employer to know about your pregnancy.
Things to avoid or restrict during your first trimester:
Your baby is the most vulnerable during the first trimester. As most of the vital organs of the fetus are forming and need extra care. Here are certain things you should avoid during the period.
- As soon as you get pregnant, you should completely stop drinking, smoking or using drugs as it increases the probability of early pregnancy lossess and can cause severe health issues in the baby. Drinking while pregnant has been linked to complications in the growth of the baby.
- You need to keep yourself healthy but that doesn’t mean that you over work your body with strenuous workouts.
- Cut down on unhealthy amounts of caffeine.
- You should avoid eating undercooked or unpasteurized meat and dairy.
- The fetus shouldn’t be exposed to radiation, tobacco and toxic substances during the formation of their major organs.
- The First Trimester: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-first-trimester
- First trimester: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/first-trimester
- Everything you need to know about the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12): https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/pregnancy-calendar/first-trimester-weeks-1-12
- Your first trimester guide: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/pregnancy-milestones/first-trimester
- Pregnancy week by week: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20047208
- First Trimester of Pregnancy: https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/first-trimester-of-pregnancy