What To Expect During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to one of the most exciting experiences of your life!
While this is a happy, joyous time, it also can feel a little scary, especially for those who are pregnant for the first time. There are so many new things to learn!
Your body is about to undergo changes to accommodate a brand new life, and it may be helpful to understand some of those changes as you head into your first trimester of pregnancy so you know what to expect.
Take Folic Acid And Vitamin D Supplements
Folic acid significantly reduces your babys risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
If you are pregnant, start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid as a supplement as soon as possible until the end of the first trimester .
Some people may need a higher dose of folic acid, for example if you have diabetes or epilepsy. This is only available on prescription. Find out more about folic acid.
You are also recommended to take a Vitamin D supplement during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. This helps your baby develop healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
These 2 supplements are the only ones you need in pregnancy, alongside a healthy, balanced diet.
Find out more about pregnancy supplements.
How To Help Your Partner Through The First Trimester
- Get the vacuum out. Even if you normally split housework equally, nows the time for you have to be the one vacuuming under the sofa cushions. Make sure you give your partner the chance to put their feet up during the day.
- Lift the heavy stuff. Pregnant women and heavy lifting dont go together due to strains on their backs. So take the load off her as much as you can.
- Encourage good lifestyle choices. You can help your partner to eat more healthily, and make sure you reduce the risk of any infections they might get from foods. She should also start taking a folic acid supplement if she isnt already.
- Help her to stop smoking, drinking or taking recreational drugs if this is something your partner does.
- Start cooking. Even the smell of food can make some pregnant women feel sick. So you could make the meals to help her avoid those smells. Bring her some dry toast or plain biscuits before she gets out of bed, as well as a big glass of water. Early pregnancy can be a thirsty business.
- Stay calm. Remember that the mood swings are just hormones and will pass soon.
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First Trimester Fetal Growth And Development Benchmarks
The chart below provides benchmarks for most normal pregnancies. However, each fetus develops differently.
|From embryo to fetus||
|During weeks nine to 12||
What Pregnancy Trimester Is The Hardest
For many women, the first trimester of pregnancy is often the hardest. During this period, your body is going through a major transformation and needs time to adjust to the changes. Pregnancy hormones, extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, tender breasts, and the frequent need to pee are common symptoms that make the first trimester the most challenging time for pregnant women.
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First Trimester Baby Development
Your baby will change a lot during the first trimester, rapidly developing from the first hints of life into a peach-sized fetus. Here are some of the things happening as your baby grows:
Week 1: Its possible you have a sense of when your baby was conceived, but the truth is that pinpointing the exact moment pregnancy begins can be difficult. Because of this, your pregnancy is considered to begin on the first day of your last period.
Week 2: The next step is fertilization. This is what happens when a sperm meets up with one of your eggs and combines to create a wholly new chromosomal life. Though you may not feel any changes in your body, a lot is going on for your baby. Fertilization determines physical characteristics like eye color, hair color, and even biological gender.
Week 3: The fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tube to the uterus. At this point, your body begins producing enough human chorionic gonadotropin to disrupt your menstrual cycle, and pregnancy tests may be able to register that youve got company!
Week 4: The embryo splits in two creating the placenta, which delivers nutrients and oxygen to your baby throughout your pregnancy. During this stage of development, the brain, spinal cord, and backbone form. The optic nerve also begins to form, laying the foundation for your babys eyes and vision. Implantation generally occurs this week, which means that the fertilized egg finds its home in your uterus. This can sometimes cause light bleeding.
What Kinds Of Medical Tests And Screenings Take Place In The First Trimester
At your first prenatal appointment, where you suspect that youre pregnant, your healthcare provider may order a blood test that measures hCG levels to confirm your pregnancy and check that your hormone levels are on track.
Between eight and 13 weeks, you may be offered an appointment for a dating ultrasound to get measurements that can help determine a more accurate due date. You can probably hear your babys heartbeat at 12 weeks, when your healthcare provider uses a handheld ultrasound called a Doppler.
Between weeks 11 and 14, you may opt for genetic screening through a blood test or a combination of a blood test and an ultrasound, also called a nuchal translucency scan. An NT scan measures the fluid and tissue at the back of your babys neck and checks for chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. If your doctor or midwife recommends further screening, it will be done early in your second trimester.
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When Do We Tell People About The Pregnancy
You might want to tell your family and friends immediately, or wait a while until you both know how you feel. Many people wait until they have had their first ultrasound scan, when they’re around 12 weeks pregnant, before they tell people .
This is because an estimated one in eight known pregnancies end in miscarriage. And about three in every four miscarriages happen during the first trimester . Youll also be offered antenatal screening tests to find out the chance of your baby having certain conditions, such as Downs, Edwards and Pataus syndromes. If your baby is at risk it might also be a good idea to wait until you know the results of these tests.
Keep talking to your partner and find the time that feels right for your both to share your news.
Your Babys Development In The First Trimester
During the first trimester of pregnancy, what starts as a tiny bundle of cells quickly turns into an embryo and then a fetus that’s about the size of a large plum.
In these first few weeks of pregnancy, your little oneâs brain, spinal cord, heart, and tiny limbsâcomplete with fingers and toesâwill form.
Meanwhile, your uterus is becoming a comfortable home for your little one, who will be nourished by the developing placenta and umbilical cord.
By the end of third month of pregnancy, all essential organs and body parts will be in placeâalbeit in teeny-tiny size.
Thereâs a lot happening in the weeks during your first trimester. Here are a few of the most exciting fetal development milestones:
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Physical Activity In The First Trimester
It is very important to stay physically active during pregnancy. In this case, you should discuss exercise with your doctor and follow their recommendations.
Give preference to walking, swimming, water aerobics for pregnant women, yoga, fitball workouts, and do breathing exercises.
Exercise at a leisurely pace that is comfortable for you.
- Give up strength training and active sports.
Living a healthy life is crucial for normal first-trimester baby development.
Feel free to ask your doctor any questions and educate yourself with the articles by Flo, both on our website and in the app.
Changes To Your Breasts
You may have noticed your breasts changing after becoming pregnant. Your breasts will grow in preparation for breastfeeding.
Staying healthy during your pregnancy – HSE mychild.ie
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How Do Pregnancy Tests Work
Pregnancy tests work by detecting one of the key early signs of pregnancy: a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin . This hormone is only made when a woman is pregnant.
Traces of hCG can be found in the urine from three to four days after implantation, but the concentration needs to continue to build up to a level at which the test can detect it and give a positive result. The best time to take a pregnancy test is from the day that the period is missed.
When To Tell Your Friends Family And Employer
The first trimester is the most common time for a loss of pregnancy , so you may want to wait for the pregnancy to settle into the second trimester.
You may also want to consider whether or not you will keep working or quit your job as your pregnancy progresses, and if your employer provides unpaid maternity leave for the birth and care of your newborn.
What To Avoid During The First Trimester
You have a lengthy list of to-do’s now that youre pregnant but there are also a few things not to do. Here’s what to steer clear of during the first trimester.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Lifestyle Tips For The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
- It is very important to give up smoking as well as to avoid passive smoking.
- Do not visit saunas: high temperatures adversely affect the fetus.
- Try to rest more and get enough sleep.
- Take medicines only if your attending doctor prescribes them.
- Try to avoid contact with people with acute respiratory diseases.
- Be careful when using household chemicals, give up repellents, self-tanning and other substances that may contain toxic components.
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Choose Your Lead Maternity Carer
As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed you need to choose a lead maternity carer or LMC. Your LMC is the person who will help to guide you through your pregnancy, the birth of your child and the first 46 weeks of parenthood.
Most LMCs are registered midwives, but they can also be family doctors who provide maternity care or obstetricians .
- Mum2Be helpline. Phone 0800 MUM 2 BE to get lead maternity carers in your area.
- Find a midwife This website lists contact details for qualified midwives who are members of the NZ College of Midwives.
How To Stay Healthy
Staying healthy is doubly important during pregnancy. If you are a smoker, this is a great time to quit speak with your doctor or pharmacist for support.
It is safest not to drink any alcohol while you are pregnant, since even low-level drinking, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy, can have long-term negative effects on your baby.
Try to eat a variety of nutritious foods during pregnancy since this will help meet your babys nutritional requirements, as well as your own. While the amount of food you need to eat during your first trimester wont increase by much, you will need more of some nutrients. Most women will also need folic acid and iodine supplements because it’s difficult to get enough of these from food alone.
Its important to keep up regular physical activity during your pregnancy because of the many benefits both for you and your baby. If you experience any discomfort or complications, speak to your doctor or midwife.
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Will I Get A More Accurate Due Date Later In The Pregnancy
You will have your first appointment with the midwife, the ‘booking appointment’, between 8 weeks and 12 weeks pregnant. Here you will be given a scan and receive an accurate date for your baby’s birth. But if you’re impatient to know when your baby will arrive, then our pregnancy calculator tool gives you an estimate due date without the wait.
Not pregnant yet?
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during pregnancy. Being pregnant is an emotional experience and it can be normal to experience mood swings or feel low from time to time. However, its important that you ask for help if these feelings become unmanageable or last longer than a couple of weeks.
You wont be judged for how you feel. As many as 1 in 5 women develop mental health issues when they are pregnant and up to a year after birth. Your pregnancy care team understand that mental health conditions can affect anyone at any time.
Find out more about taking care of your mental wellbeing during pregnancy.
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Is It Normal To Have Cramps In Your First Trimester
Yes, some cramping and discomfort in the stomach during the first trimester are typical. Light bleeding or slight cramping can happen in the early stages of pregnancy when the embryo connects to the uterus in a process known as implantation.
In the first trimester, cramping is also pretty frequent, as are the symptoms of gas and bloating. Additionally, particularly after an orgasm, you may begin to feel some pressure in this region of your body as your body transfers more blood to the uterus.
Needing To Pee More Often In Early Pregnancy
You may notice that you need to pee more often. This often starts in early pregnancy because of changes to your hormones and continues as your growing womb presses on your bladder.
Needing to wee a lot or having an uncontrollable need to wee can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection , which is common during pregnancy.
Speak to your GP or midwife if you have any of these symptoms:
- discomfort in the lowest part of your stomach
- back pain
- loin pain
- needing to wee a lot or an uncontrollable need to wee
- cloudy, foul-smelling or bloody wee
- a high temperature or low temperature
- feeling sick and vomiting.
Its still important to drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy, even if you are weeing a lot. You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale, clear colour.
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Johns Hopkins Hospital Designated As Baby
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Childrens Fund, has designated The Johns Hopkins Hospital as Baby-Friendly. This designation is given to hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.
What Can Be Expected From The Doctor And Midwife
Your antenatal health checks might be with your GP, a midwife or an obstetrician, depending on where you will give birth. During your first antenatal health check, you will probably have your pregnancy confirmed with a urine or blood test. These are more reliable than home pregnancy tests. First trimester antenatal health checks usually happen every 4 to 6 weeks, but this can vary, based on your health and how your baby develops.
Many women are offered an ultrasound scan at around 12 weeks you might hear the babys heartbeat at this scan. This ultrasound will also show if you are having a multiple birth and can help estimate the babys size and due date, as well as check for some health conditions.
Other health checks during the first trimester include:
- urine tests to detect urinary infections, a common but manageable condition that if left untreated can trigger pre-term labour
- blood tests to check your blood type , iron levels, blood sugars , rubella immunity, and other infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis
- general maternal health and wellbeing checks, including a discussion of concerns you might have about your pregnancy or general health, and a medication review to check for safety during pregnancy
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