1st TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY

1st trimester of pregnancy

1st trimester of pregnancy

For lots of expecting moms, the 1st trimester of pregnancy is the toughest one due to all the new events and changes taking place inside the body. The surge in pregnancy hormone levels triggers a series of pregnancy symptoms that are very intense in some women and less disturbing in others.

Still, the most common pregnancy symptoms in these first months seem to be the sickness and tiredness, women feeling exhausted despite maintaining their usual lifestyle. Mood swings and anxiety are also reported as common 1st trimester pregnancy signs.

What is the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is normally broken into three periods called trimesters of pregnancy. Each of these trimesters is compose of three months. These distinctions are useful in describing the changes that take place in the pregnant women in nine pregnancy months. The 1st trimester of pregnancy starts from pregnancy 1 week and last up to pregnancy 12 weeks. Your first trimester of pregnancy compose of your pregnancy 1 month, pregnancy 2 months and pregnancy 3 months.

1st Trimester of Pregnancy Symptoms

During pregnancy 1 month, pregnancy 2 months and pregnancy 3 months most women experience the typical pregnancy symptoms that mark the beginning of the gestation period. Morning sickness or vomiting and nausea episodes manifesting during the day, the heightened sense of smell as well as sudden food aversions are common first trimester symptoms.

Other symptoms of first trimester include tenderness and soreness of breasts, the frequent urination and swelling of feet, hands and face. Cramps in the abdomen and legs are normal 1st trimester of pregnancy Symptoms. Although unspecific, sneezing, coughing, increased thirst and cold or flu episodes, heartburn and constipation are also quite present in expecting moms during the 1st trimester.

But above all of these first trimester pregnancy symptoms, the most common one for the first weeks is the increased tiredness and the lack of energy caused by all the internal changes happening inside the woman’s body in 1st trimester pregnancy.

Bleeding and Spotting in the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

Spotting during 1st trimester of pregnancy first appears when the ovule implants in the uterine wall, after fertilization. This early pregnancy symptom replaces the menstrual bleeding but it’s often mistaken for the period by first-time moms.

After this episode, most women no longer experience spotting during pregnancy 1st trimester or first trimester bleeding. However, there are certain situations in which these two symptoms still occur: in a small number of cases, women continue to have a discharge similar to menstruation – this generally happens in women who conceived while on a pill or in those with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

More serious health conditions can also lead to bleeding in pregnancy 1st trimester: miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are those in which the zygote implants outside the uterus, in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, situation associated with a very low rate of survival for the baby.

Diet During 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

The 1st pregnancy trimester is associated with food cravings and aversions so diet during pregnancy must be adapted to avoid unpleasant symptoms in first trimester of pregnancy. Most women crave for foods they wouldn’t normally eat and this can be frustrating especially if no diet is followed, as weight gain during pregnancy can be significant even in the pregnancy 1st trimester.

Thus, for controlling cravings and staying healthy, the best thing an expecting mom can do is have frequent meals formed of small portions of legumes, veggies and fruits, lean meats, low fat dairy and whole grain products. Nuts, enriched cereals as well as home-made juices are very good first trimester pregnancy diet, as long as they’re not sweetened, as pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes in women that have a rich in sugar diet.

Another rule of first trimester of pregnancy diet for future moms is to always keep healthy snacks in the kitchen, such as small pieces of carrots, cashew, almonds, banana slices or peanut butter. These are rich in nutrients thus they’ll keep the sensation of fullness for longer between meals and reduce the risk of binge eating.

But besides the healthy foods moms-to-be need to incorporate in their pregnancy diet first trimester, as per the some particular requirements for the 1st trimester of pregnancy: the supplementation of diet with vitamins and minerals, mostly with vitamin B, folate, calcium, iron, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Vaginal Discharge 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

A white discharge during pregnancy in first trimester is normal, but if you notice a yellow discharge, green discharge, or smelling brown discharge during pregnancy first trimester accompanied by pain or intense cramps in the abdomen you should call your doctor. This change in the consistency and color of the discharge in pregnancy first trimester can be the result of an infectious process or even of a more severe condition, so immediate health care is recommended.

First Trimester Pregnancy Tests

Upon learning she’s pregnant the expecting mom should schedule her first prenatal visit and take a complete physical exam as well as pregnancy blood test and urine pregnancy test. A pap smear should also be taken during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, preferably in the pregnancy 1 month.

Normal first trimester pregnancy tests includes measuring blood pressure, weight, feet and arms swelling. Starting with pregnancy 3 months, first trimester screening also includes measuring of the uterus’ height and size through ultrasounds or external palpation.

A blood count for determining the mom’s Rh, first trimester pregnancy test for rubella and syphilis, exams for cystic fibrosis, anemia or other conditions that run in the family can also be scheduled during the 1st trimester in pregnancy. Also, standard tests for STDs and ultrasounds for checking the baby’s heart rate starting will be done in the first weeks, respectively starting with week 12 of pregnancy.

Changes in Your Body in the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy brings most of the changes taking place inside a woman’s body during the gestation period. First, the menstrual period stops and uterine walls thicken to ensure a protective environment for the developing zygote.

The body starts producing higher levels of estrogen for maintaining this lining and the placenta starts forming and secreting the HCG pregnancy hormone. The uterus enlarges, the vaginal lining gets thicker and softer and the blood flow throughout the body increases, causing higher blood pressure or preeclampsia.

You may experience bouts of nausea, morning sickness or vomiting due to rapidly increasing pregnancy hormone. Heightened sense of smell as well as sudden food aversions are common bodily changes during first trimester.

Other body changes include tenderness and soreness of breasts, the frequent urination and swelling of feet, hands and face. Cramps in the abdomen and legs are normal changes in your body in the 1st trimester of pregnancy

Precautions to Take in the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

Staying hydrated, reducing the intake of caffeine, quitting smoking and alcohol as well as stopping the intake of drugs or medicines which could harm the baby, are some of the precaution measures that must be taken in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Also, the expecting mom should take her prenatal vitamins and avoid strong smells and beauty products that could harm the baby.

Not following this piece of advice can lead to stillbirth, premature delivery, to the sudden infant death syndrome, a low birth weight or problems with the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive or nervous systems in the baby.

Exercise to Do in the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

Contrary to the general opinion, exercising is not forbidden to pregnant women. In fact, expecting moms are advised to remain active during the 9 pregnancy months in order to maintain control over their weight gain during pregnancy and prevent cardiovascular and osteoarticular problems.

Regular physical activity improves the health state and reduces sickness, tiredness and moodiness, as stress is reduced and the so-called hormones of happiness are released inside the body.

Still, it’s good for pregnant women to avoid very intense pregnancy workouts and high-impact exercises that put lots of stress on joints, muscles and bones. Warming up and drinking plenty of water is a must for preventing dehydration, injuries, dizziness and nausea. If any warning signs appear and the expecting mom starts feeling bad, exercising should be stopped.

If you’re curious to learn more about the 1st trimester of pregnancy and wants to know what happens in the 1st trimester of pregnancy make sure to take the time and read our interesting articles on pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy week by week and baby growth during pregnancy.

Last reviewed on 22/01/2013

image credit:johnhope14 (used under creative commons license)

References

  • NHS – The Pregnancy Book
  • Pregnancy and birth sourcebook : basic consumer health information about pregnancy and fetal development … / edited by Amy L. Sutton. — 3rd ed. (Omnigraphics, Inc.)
  • The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.)
  • Prescribing in Pregnancy (Fourth edition) Edited by Peter Rubin and Margaret Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Dewhurst’s Textbook Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Seventh Edition)Edited By D. Keith Edmonds Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Textbook of Diabetes and Pregnancy (Second Edition) Edited by Moshe Hod MD / Lois Jovanovic MD / Gian Carlo Di Renzo MD PhD / Alberto de Leiva MD PhD / Oded Langer MD PhD  (Informa UK Ltd)
  • Management of High-Risk Pregnancy An Evidence-Based Approach (Fifth Edition) Edited By John T. Queenan / Catherine Y. Spong / Charles J. Lockwood (Blackwell Publishing)
  • WHO-2000-Managing Complications in Pregnancy Childbirth A Guide for Midwives Doctors
  • Management of Common Problems in Obstetrics and Gynecology Edited By T. Murphy Goodwin MD / Martin N. Montoro MD /  Laila I. Muderspach MD /  Richard J. Paulson MD /  Subir Roy MD (Wiley-Blackwell)
  • WHO  – Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and Postpartum Edited By Lee S. Cohen, M.D./ Ruta M. Nonacs, M.D., Ph.D.  (American Psychiatric Publishing)
  • Maternal-Fetal Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation  Editors  Michael E. Symonds and Margaret M. Ramsay (CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS)
  • Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies (fifth edition)  Steven G. Gabbe, MD /  Jennifer R. Niebyl, MD /  Joe Leigh Simpson, MD (MOSBY)

Web References

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