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First Trimester of Pregnancy - Symptoms, Tips & What to Expect
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First Trimester



First Trimester
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Immediately after conception, a lot of things start happening in the mother’s body and the developing embryo. For most ladies, the first trimester (13 weeks) of pregnancy is more consuming since everything is new, very exciting, and indeed overwhelming. The following is a comprehensive guide to your first Trimester of pregnancy.

Though your pregnancy does not have any physical signs at this stage, you will be feeling it because of the elevated hormonal release and activities. The elevated hormonal levels cause fatigue, morning sickness, flatulence, and moodiness. Though many of these symptoms are no way enthralling, make sure to remind yourself as many times as possible that they are temporary and brought about by the baby developing inside you.

First Trimester

First trimester time frame

The first trimester starts from week one and runs to the thirteenth week. This means that by the time you are confirming that for sure you are pregnant; the chances are that the growing baby is about 5 or 6 weeks old inside the womb.

If unsure of the week you are in during the first trimester, get down with a pen and calculate the due date. Remember that the due date could fluctuate if your periods are irregular. Therefore, make sure to go with the flow.

A closer look at the baby’s chromosomes

Well, even before getting into the baby’s development; what’s happens at the chromosomes level? Well, you need to know this; it is the sperm that determines the sex of your baby. The egg (from mom) and sperm (from dad) contribute one chromosome each to the unborn baby. However, the egg only has X chromosomes while the sperm can have either X or Y chromosome. If the sperm that manages to fertilize your egg has X chromosome, the child will be a girl, and if it is a Y chromosome, the child will be a boy.

Once the egg has been fertilized, it becomes a zygote and starts moving down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. On reaching the uterus, the zygote becomes an embryo that attaches to the uterine wall. A wall covering the embryo forms immediately and it starts to develop as different organs start taking shape commencing with the most critical ones.

Baby’s growth and development during the first trimester

During the first trimester, the embryo cells (embryonic stem cells) start multiplying to form various organs and entire baby’s body.
By the end of the 5th week, the placenta and umbilical cord are fully developed and development of various organs taking shape.

  • Heart and circulatory system: The baby’s heart and circulatory system start to form early enough and by the 5th week, tubes that will later become the heart are visible and beating spontaneously. This is because the heart starts its circulation work early to assist other organs to develop through nutrients supply and waste removal. The heart beating becomes stronger and will be felt beating from 9th or 10th week (this may take longer to feel in some mothers depending on baby’s location on the uterus location).
  • Bones: At around the 6th week, the baby’s arms, hands, and feet start emerging while toes and fingers start sprouting by the 10th week.
  • Skin, hair and nails: The baby’s skin starts forming from around the 5th week to 8th week while nail beds and hair follicles start emerging at on the 8th week.
  • The face: Baby’s facial features like nose, mouth, and lips start taking shape by the 8th week. The eyes and ears appear connected to the brain.
  • Baby’s eyesight: Optic nerves, eye balls, and the lens can be seen by the 4th week and will be fully formed by the eighth week.
  • The baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves: By around week 8 of your pregnancy, the baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves will be formed. The brain can be seen moving together with the limbs.
  • Digestive system: Intestines start forming around the 8th week.
  • Sexual organs: The baby’s genital organs will be developed by the 8th week. Though the kidneys will also be formed, it will be very difficult to tell the sex of the baby at this stage.
  • The sense of taste: Taste buds that link the tongue with the brain will have formed by the 8th week.
    • Other developments during the first trimester include:

    • Muscles formation.
    • Formation of white cells
    • Vocal cords development
    • Nasal passages
    • False teeth

Changes to expect in Mom’s body during the first trimester

Because of the heightened hormonal changes during the first trimester, you should expect a lot of changes.

  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness): Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue may start the first week after conception and continue through to the 7th week. Because it is temporary, you might consider taking ginger tea and small frequent meals. Consider seeking medical attention if the morning sickness becomes severe.
  • Regular urination: Because of the elevated body activities, the blood has to work extra hard to supply nutrients and clear waste. It will also pass through the kidneys more times, fill the bladder, and make you urinate more frequently.
  • Headaches: The sudden rise in hormones can result in mild headaches as the body tries to adjust.
  • Darkening of the skin around areolas/nipples: The area around your nipples may become darker and nipples become erect and extra sensitive.

Other changes to expect during the first trimester include food aversions or craving, nasal congestion, light spotting, vaginal discharge, extreme fatigue, metallic taste, constipation, heartburn, and upset stomach. Always remember that every woman is different and may experience different sets of symptoms.

Therefore, completing the first trimester will be a great relief because most of the symptoms will disappear.

Symptoms that require medical attention

Though a lot is taking place in your body, you need to understand signs of danger and call a medical doctor immediately to avoid the risk of miscarriage.

  • Heavy bleeding from your vagina
  • Severe pain in the lower abdomen
  • Sudden thirst
  • Very high fever
  • A lot of back pain
  • Vision blurriness
  • Blood in your urine

Weight change during the first trimester

While many women lose appetite during the first trimester, it is prudent to keep taking the right foods to have ample supply of the right nutrients and minerals for the body and developing the baby. Make sure to concentrate on taking regular light and balanced meals with high quantities of nutrients. Among the best foods to include in your meals are:

  • Spinach for the supply of folic acid.
  • Lentils for the supply of essential proteins.
  • Citrus fruits add folic acid and vitamins.
  • Nuts supply energy, folic acid and a diversity of essential minerals.
  • Asparagus and eggs for the supply of vitamin.

By the end of the first trimester, the baby will be about 1 inch long and, therefore, very small to cause a lot of weight gain. Because the baby is still very small, you only need to gain very little weight; 3-4 lbs. Some women especially those suffering from loss of appetite might even lose weight. However, make sure to gain more weight during the second and third trimesters.

Things to do during the first trimester

  • Commence your prenatal vitamins (folic acids) that help the baby’s spinal and nervous developments.
  • Select your preferred family physician, midwife, or other preferred maternity experts. You will need to keep seeing the expert and asking every query you may have.
  • Take the appropriate insurance cover to help you meet all the costs associated with pregnancy and post-pregnancy sessions.
  • Work with your physician to have a comprehensive physical examination that includes urinalysis, Pap smear, blood work, RH status, diabetes, and other illnesses.
  • Consider going for genetic tests such as nuchal translucency screening that help to cite early signs of problems such as congenital heart issues and Down syndrome.
  • Draw an appropriate budget during the pregnancy and after because you will be welcoming a new member of the family.
  • Take the right meals to keep your body in good shape and supply ample nutrients for the embryo growth.
  • Work out on the names that you want the baby to take.
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