First Trimester of Pregnancy – Your Ultimate Guide!
Congratulations, mamma-to-be! You must have recently realized that you are expecting a baby, and one of the best phases of your life is about to begin!
A million questions, worries, running around asking for doctor and hospital recommendations, and overwhelming emotions are inevitable at this stage. But don’t you worry, we are here to give you all the relevant information that you will need during the initial few months of your pregnancy to make it a stress-free and happy pregnancy.
So, let us start with understanding what the first trimester is.
What Is the First Trimester?
Human pregnancy is divided into three phases, known as trimesters. The calculation of pregnancy term and the first trimester starts from the first day of your last menstrual cycle. You will get to hear the heartbeat of your little baby growing inside you for the first time during the first trimester! Vital things like taking your prenatal vitamins daily will start as soon as you realize you are expecting a baby. You will need to undergo a few routine urine and blood tests to ensure your vitals are under control and no lingering infections will bother you during the pregnancy.
How Long Is the First Trimester?
Starting from the day of conception, the first trimester of pregnancy lasts for 13 weeks. The first trimester is the fastest to pass in a way because by the time you will realize you are expecting a baby, you will already be at the 5th or 6th week of your pregnancy. But if you are experiencing nausea and morning sickness, these few weeks might seem like the longest weeks of your life.
First Trimester Symptoms
The first trimester is the most eventful one, especially if you are a first-time expecting mommy. If you are experiencing all this for the first time, this can be a little overwhelming for you.
To help you understand the initial phase of your pregnancy, here is the list of probable 1st trimester symptoms you will experience.
- Tender and swollen breasts – The breasts feel tingly, tender, and grow in size during the pregnancy. Although this is not just a first-trimester symptom, this tingle for some lasts throughout the pregnancy, and the size is also larger, even after the baby is born. But you would start noticing these changes and a bit of discomfort from the moment you conceive your baby.
- Fatigue – Your body is doing the extra work of growing a human inside
- Heartburn – Acid reflux and heartburn are yet another very common symptom most moms-to-be experience in the first trimester. Increasing the intake of water helps in keeping this in check.
- Morning sickness – Morning sickness, unlike the name, can strike at any hour of the day. Nausea and throwing up might become a part of your daily life in the first trimester. Ginger tea is known to help many people who go through the horrible phase of morning sickness and nausea.
- Mood swings – Your body is going through massive changes in this phase, the hormonal changes being one. These hormonal changes lead to mood swings for some expecting moms.
- Cramps – You might think, now that the periods are gone for a while, the cramps are gone too. If only it were true! Your uterus is adjusting to the changes that pregnancy brings along; thus, you will experience mild periods like first trimester cramps as well.
- Back pain – Although back pain usually starts once the belly starts to grow due to baby weight but in some cases, moms-to-be experience back pain right from the beginning.
- Bloating – Gas, burping, and bloating might be a little embarrassing on usual days. Get used to having them very frequently during your pregnancy, and not just in the first trimester.
- Peeing a lot – As the uterus starts to expand, it starts to put pressure on the bladder, thus you will feel the urge to pee a lot all through your pregnancy.
- Insomnia – All the mild discomfort that comes with heartburn, cramps, bloating and a growing belly, you might experience lesser and disturbed sleep during pregnancy. Waking up frequently to pee doesn’t make it any easier.
- Bleeding – Although it is common to have a bit of spotting and very mild bleeding during the first trimester, it is always a good idea to tell your doctor to make sure there is nothing that needs immediate attention.
- Constipation – Increased levels of progesterone in your body will slow down your digestive system. Iron supplements also contribute to hard stools and constipation during pregnancy.
- Food likes and dislikes – It is natural to develop some food aversions and cravings for particular foot families or items for many moms-to-be.
- Weight gain – Gaining weight is a sign of healthy pregnancy. It is entirely normal even if you do not gain or lose weight due to morning sickness. Your doctor will be the best person to guide you about your weight gain based on your medical history and current health condition.
- Discharge – Because of the hormonal changes in your body, you will also experience more than usual vaginal discharge. Unless the discharge smells strong or is dark in colour, there is nothing to worry about.
Baby’s Growth in The First Trimester
- You will hear your baby’s heartbeat in the 6 weeks scan itself. The heart is one of the earliest organs to develop and starts to pump an early form of blood.
- Your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves – the nervous system also starts to develop in the first trimester.
- By the end of the first trimester, your baby will be up to 3 inches long.
- Although it is too early to detect the same in the ultrasound, whether it is a boy or a girl, your baby’s genitals also start to form in the first trimester.
- A soft skeleton will start to grow in the first trimester.
- The digestive system, kidneys, and intestines are formed during this period.
- Towards the end of the first trimester, the embryo starts to look like a baby as it starts to develop legs, arms, facial features, fingers, fingernails, etc.
What And What Not to Do in Your First Trimester
Whether it be related to medicine or biology, finances, the wellbeing of the child, or your sexual activity – your mind might be buzzing with questions about what and what not to do during the first trimester. Here is a list to help you answer some of the most common concerns parents-to-be have.
- Prenatal vitamins – Your doctor will prescribe you prenatal vitamins that you will need to take every single day of your pregnancy and even after childbirth in some cases. Make sure you pop those without fail.
- Gynaecologist – Your gynaecologist, will be your biggest asset during your pregnancy. Make sure you choose one early in your pregnancy, as they will know your medical history and pregnancy-related history. Changing one later can be tricky and not a great idea.
- Medical Insurance – Check what is covered and what is not under your current medical insurance. It will help you decide the hospital you want to deliver your baby at.
- Budget – There are a lot of expenses that come along with childbirth. You will need to account for your newborn's first three months' expenses and budget accordingly.
- Quit unsafe habits – The time is not. If you have been meaning to quit smoking or drinking, or any unhealthy habits that affect your health or your baby’s, you need to quit them as soon as you can.
- Cut the caffeine – Excess consumption of tea and coffee can cause complications in the pregnancy. Moreover, all the sugar you consume via these drinks also contributes to an unhealthy pregnancy and possibly complicated childbirth.
- Make memories – Take as many pictures of your belly, the progress, the babymoon as you can. These are lifetime memories, and it will be fun looking at those pictures after a few years with your baby talking about the time they were still inside you.
- The sex life – Having sex during pregnancy is not at all dangerous. If there is any complication and you need to abstain, your doctor will tell you. If you do not want to take chances, speak to your doctor about safe sex practices during pregnancy.
This is just the beginning of a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing new phase in your life. Being informed and prepared will make this journey a sane and happy one.
Happy Pregnancy to you!