Getting pregnant is one of the happiest moments in a female’s life.
During first trimester of pregnancy, life enters a completely different phase; a phase where you shall experience rapid physical and emotional changes, within you.
The duration of a full term pregnancy is around 9 months 7 days that is 40 weeks calculated from the date of your last menstrual cycle. For a safer pregnancy, uncomplicated delivery and a healthy child; it is essential to take proper care and precautions during these crucial nine months of pregnancy.
The entire duration of pregnancy is divided into three phases:
- First three months i.e. 1st, 2nd and 3rd months of pregnancy are known as the First Trimester of pregnancy.
- Next three months i.e. 4th, 5th and 6th months of pregnancy are known as the Second Trimester of pregnancy.
- Last three months i.e. 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy are known as the Third Trimester of pregnancy.
First trimester of pregnancy is considered to be the toughest and most crucial as there are profound physical and emotional changes taking place within you. During this phase your body has to start adjusting to the new life inside you. Major development of the foetus takes place in this trimester. There are high chances of miscarriage during this phase as the foetus is in its early developmental stage. Hence, utmost care and vigilance should be taken.
What are the symptoms that one can experience?
There are various symptoms to be experienced during the first trimester; though the symptoms may differ from woman to woman and as the pregnancy evolves, most of the symptoms may lessen or disappear. Few of the symptoms that are experienced are as follows:
- Morning sickness (nauseous feeling in the pregnant women) which is due to increased progesterone levels.
- Slight bleeding or spotting known as implantation bleeding occurs. Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
- Mood swings.
- Fatigue is experienced due to rise in the progesterone levels, which makes the female sleepy and tired.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Sensitivity to smell.
- Hormonal change gives rise to food cravings and aversions.
- Sour or metallic taste in the mouth due to increased progesterone levels.
- Increased frequency to urinate is caused by hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)
- Bloating is due to the hormone progesterone, which slows down digestion.
- Slight weight gain may occur.
- Constipation occurs as the slowing down of digestive system takes place due to increased progesterone levels.
- Thin, milky white discharge known as leucorrhoea is seen.
- Heartburn is caused due to the muscle relaxation produced by higher levels of progesterone hormone.
- Dizziness occurs due to low blood pressure.
- Weird or vivid dreams are seen due to hormonal surge.
- Backache occurs due to the hormones which relaxes the back ligaments making it painful.
Will there be any changes in my body?
Some females glow with good healthy during the first trimester while for few females this trimester is absolutely miserable. Some of physical changes that a pregnant female may experience are:
- Breast increases in size, becomes tender, sore, swollen and heavier which is due to the accelerating levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
- Areolas (area surrounding the nipples) become sore to touch and darker due to hormonal surge.
- Formation of placenta, an organ which is responsible for transfer of nutrients from the mother to the baby.
What shall be the development of my baby?
During this trimester, the baby grows at a faster pace as compared to any other trimester. In this phase alone the baby changes into an embryo from a single fertilized cell. The embryo implants itself to the uterine wall and changes into peach size bundle of growing limbs and body systems. At this trimester, your baby appears like a tiny human being and is now addressed as foetus. Some of the developments that take place in the foetus are:
- Organs begin taking shape.
- Movement of the baby commences.
- Sprouting of hands, legs, arms, feet, fingers and toes takes place.
- Formation of hair follicles & nail beds occur.
- Touch receptors on the face of the baby develops.
- Development of taste buds occurs.
- Optic nerves and lenses start forming.
- Tube that shall form the baby’s heart starts to beat.
- Intestines begin to form.
- Muscle formation.
- Production of white blood cells.
- Development of vocal cords, etc.
Do I need to perform any Medical tests?
During your first visit to the gynaecologist, after the confirmation of your pregnancy status, medical history in depth shall be noted and a detailed physical examination shall be carried out. Investigations such as blood test, urine test, haemoglobin levels, hCG levels, routine ultrasound (to assess the developmental progress), etc will be advised.
What precautions should I take?
Great caution is to be taken during this trimester, as there are increased chances of miscarriage during this phase. One needs to pay extra attention in this phase as in this stage early foetal development takes place. Caution has to be taken when
- Consuming over the counter prescription medicine, as it can be detrimental to the baby.
- Using household chemicals or cleaning products.
- Lifting heavy weights.
Is there any Dietary advice to be followed?
Diet during pregnancy plays a crucial role as the baby inside shall be taking all its nutritional needs from his mother. It is vital that the pregnant female consumes a well balanced healthy and nutritious diet required to sustain and maintain the pregnancy. The health of the child and mother shall be maintained by consuming adequate balanced diet. There are certain food substances that should be avoided during pregnancy and certain food substances whose intake shall have to be increased during pregnancy. Hence, proper consumption of the required food is essential. Some of the dietary tips to be followed are
- Consumption of well balanced diet.
- Regular intake of small meals.
- Increased intake of fluids.
- Consumption of only pasteurized dairy products.
- Increased consumption of vegetables, fresh fruits, soya, milk, cheese, paneer, pulses, etc.
- Always make sure that the fish, poultry and meat are thoroughly cooked.
- Regular intake of vitamins, folic acid and other supplements.
Avoid the below mentioned food stuffs:
- Sea foods, raw eggs, raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or meats.
- Unpasteurized cheese & unpasteurized milk.
- Apple cider.
- Alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco or drugs.
Are there any tips for smooth First Trimester?
Some of the tips to be followed in the first trimester, to avoid any untoward complications are:
- Make regular visits to a gynaecologist.
- Consume folic acid and vitamins as per the advice of your gynaecologist.
- Restrict intake of caffeine as it may accelerate chances of miscarriage.
- Food products containing harmful bacteria or toxins should be avoided as they may harm the baby.
- Weight gain during pregnancy is essential hence; dieting should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Avoid stress and depression as increased stress can affect the health of the unborn child and also boost your chances of miscarriage.
- Hot tubs and saunas should be avoided as the high temperature may disturb the normal development of the foetus.
- Be aware regarding the warning signs.
- Practise regular gentle exercises which can help you cope with pregnancy.
- Pelvic floor exercises should be performed as they shall avert the leakage of urine when pregnant.
- Plenty of sleep and rest should be taken as hormonal changes in the body shall make you feel tired.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to X-rays.
- Avoid contact with oil-based paints, lead, mercury, chemical solvents, etc.