Your guide to the first trimester of pregnancy

There is a remarkable transformation that takes place during the first trimester of pregnancy. It happens quickly. It usually lasts from week 1 until the end of week 12 which is the time period for the first trimester. As a pregnant woman, you may feel overwhelmed by the changes pregnancy and pregnancy will bring about. From exercising regularly to eating a balanced diet you can cope with the mental and physical demands of pregnancy with our guide for the first trimester. 


How long is the First Trimester?

It usually lasts from the first day of your last period until the end of week 12. In other words, by the time you realize you’re pregnant, you might already be five or six weeks pregnant. Usually, you’ll get your first ultrasound at the end of the first trimester, which gives you an estimate of when your baby will arrive.


What happens in the First Trimester?

In this trimester, fertilized eggs divide rapidly and implant in the womb wall where they continue to grow. These layers of cells become embryos. This is the stage where your baby grows more rapidly than at any other stage.

The heartbeat usually can be heard by week six, and by week 12, your baby will have formed all the bones, muscles, and organs of the body. He or she will even be practising swallowing by week 12.


What changes to expect in your body during this stage?

While having a missed period may be the very early sign you receive, there are others as well like:


Swollen or Tender Breasts

As your body adjusts to hormonal changes, your breasts might feel sensitive or sore soon after conception. The discomfort should subside within a few weeks.


Extreme tiredness

Due to hormonal changes that occur during the first trimester, one may end up feeling tired or even exhausted during the first trimester. During these early weeks, your body is hard at work creating the life support system for your baby; the placenta – and all of the other changes that are happening. It is important to get plenty of rest whenever possible.


Morning Sickness

As many as nine out of ten pregnant women experience morning sickness at any time of day or night. Some women only feel nauseous during morning sickness, while others will experience vomiting as well. Pregnancy hormones are thought to be responsible for it because it usually begins pretty early on in the first trimester.

But the good news is it may ease off during the second trimester for some women. 

Experiencing frequent urination, changes in smell and taste and changes in your mood like feeling emotional and in fact, you may even experience an increase in desire for sex while pregnant, because your intimate areas may feel more sensitive due to higher levels of estrogen and progesterone.

However, some pregnant women feel less in the mood while others report an increase in libido, which is completely normal and may change as the pregnancy progresses.


What to do during the ‘First Trimester?

Schedule your first midwife appointment

Booking an appointment usually takes place between eight and twelve weeks after 

you find out you are pregnant. Your midwife will need to know about your health and your partner’s health, as well as both your families’ medical histories.


Quit Smoking and cut down on alcohol

It is more likely that you will miscarry, have an ectopic pregnancy and give birth prematurely if you smoke during pregnancy. Your unborn child’s growth can also be affected by smoke, leading to a low birth weight if you inhale it. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you need help, and they will be able to direct you to a stop-smoking program near you. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is unknown, which is why experts advise women not to drink at all during pregnancy.


Lower Caffeine intake

Caffeine should be limited to 200mg a day during pregnancy, which is the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee or one cup of brewed coffee. If you consume more than 200mg of caffeine throughout pregnancy, it could increase your risk of miscarriage.


Take Supplements

A daily folic acid supplement will help you protect your baby against problems affecting the brain and spinal cord, such as spina bifida. 


Getting naps and rests as much as possible

Getting up in the morning and going to bed at roughly the same time every night is a good idea to make your body get accustomed to a fixed schedule. Also, it’s a good idea to get used to sleeping on your side. The more your bump grows, the harder it will be to lie on your stomach, and the worse it will be to lie on your back.

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