For any woman, one of the most beautiful phases of her life is said to be the phase when she experiences the development of life inside her. While many women would lookout for signs and symptoms over the web for pregnancy, there are many who are clueless about it. Pregnancy is just like any normal physiological condition for the female body. In this blog, we are going to put some light on the expectations one should keep from the very first trimester i.e. the first three months of pregnancy.
The first trimester weeks count for the initial 10-12 weeks of your pregnancy. It is considered the critical period of pregnancy as most of the organogenesis happens during this period. Generally, the woman doesn’t even realize that she has conceived until she skips her monthly mensural cycle after her last period. It is only after 4-5 weeks when pregnancy gets properly confirmed and her world turns upside down.
As a woman, you would have heard all your life from your mother or granny about the initial few symptoms when one is suspecting pregnancy. So if you and your soulmate got cozy recently here are the early signs you should keep an eye for before somebody starts knocking on the door from inside.
The very foremost signs and first trimester symptoms of entering the pregnancy begin with a missed period or delayed cycle.
- You may experience morning sickness followed by nausea and vomiting.
- Often the olfactory glands turn sensitive and there is sudden liking and disliking towards certain smells
- Breast turn tender and sore owing to changes in breast tissue for the preparation of breastfeeding, in short, your bra size goes up by one or two sizes.
- Well, you feel you are pregnant but you still witnessed some mensural bleeding? there could be situations where women don’t bleed at all or the first trimester bleeding will be less than the usual, it probably could be mild/light first trimester spotting.
- Has your partner recently started to complain about your temperament? Drastic mood swings from happy to extremely emotional are new normal for you.
- You can witness hormonal changes indicated by sudden milky discharges of white or pale white color
- Pregnant women often complain about constipation. This is a natural symptom observed due to the increased level of progesterone in the blood. Progesterone is a hormone and prepares your uterus for pregnancy.
- Heartburn and acid reflux in the first trimester is another common symptom. There is the feeling of a burning sensation in the chest that is often caused by the stomach acid travelling up the throat.
- Your stilettoes heels don’t fit in anymore? Is there a sudden weight gain? Don’t worry, men do like curvy women. Your body has started to prepare and create room and food for the little one, so it is normal that those extra pounds will start to bulge out.
- You will pee more frequently due to increased blood flow in your pelvic, hate it or like your bathroom trips will surge up.
Pregnancy Test: A Confirmation
A few females experience delayed periods and sore breasts in their regular menstrual cycles as well thus getting yourself a pregnancy test done is important. With the availability of home pregnancy test kits, one can easily conduct urine tests to get an initial level confirmation, this test checks the levels of HCG hormone which shoots up in the body indicative of pregnancy. After performing this test, it is advised that one visits a gynaecologist at the earliest to finally confirm pregnancy and most probably they do it so by requesting a blood test.
Your gynaecologist may also perform certain other tests like nutritional deficiencies if any, thyroid and blood sugar levels, hepatitis, as they will affect fetal development. Urines tests are performed for diagnosing other infections if any. The doctor may also perform tests for HIV and Syphilis caused due to sexual contact. Viral infections like rubella etc. are also tested as they are harmful to the unborn. Also, ultrasounds of the lower abdomen are performed around the 10th week for witnessing the growth of the fetus.
Nutrition During Pregnancy
Nutrition plays a vital role in fetal development, one needs to be extra cautious with one’s food and drinking habits. The first trimester diet majorly contributes towards the healthy development of the fetus.
- The nutrient needs of a pregnant woman should be such as to provide the extra calories and the specific nutrients required for the growth of the fetus. The diet should be tailor-made according to the mother’s BMI, age, and other related factors.
- The need for energy, protein, fibre is increased and the need for certain vitamins and minerals like iron, folic acid are also high.
- Diets should include oats, whole wheat, fruits like avocados, bananas, green leafy vegetables, protein sources tofu, paneer, soybean, eggs, milk, and yoghurt. Nuts like almonds, walnuts.
- Fish and poultry constitute another important part of the diet. It is recommended that river water fishes are a part of the meal instead of seawater, due to high levels of mercury present in the latter.
- Consumption of breast portions of chicken is a healthy meal option as chicken breasts are quite rich in proteins.
- To support healthy fetal development, your doctor can prescribe additional supplements along with a natural diet, as your body’s nutritional needs are much higher at this time, these could be proteins, iron, folic acid, DHA etc.
- Giving over smoking and drinking are necessary to have a healthy baby, so call it an opportunity to adopt a healthy lifestyle or a penance, it is time to quit.
Another extremely important factor to be considered during the first trimester is the level of physical activity a pregnant woman should indulge in. Pregnancy is a physiological stage and should not be treated as a period of complete confinement and total bed rest.
- Regular routines tasks can be carried out, however, the woman should not indulge in any activity to an extent that it causes extreme fatigue.
- Women who follow a sedentary lifestyle pattern should not start with any new intensive exercise regime during pregnancy.
- Go for regular walks and take adequate breaks in between. Avoid running, jogging and brisk walking.
- Avoid heavy weight lifting, bending, and climbing activities
- Long and tiring journeys should be avoided, one should be careful of putting seat belts for longer period especially when travelling by road. If necessary tie the seat belt below the abdomen to avoid discomfort.
- Indulging in light yoga and meditation is a good option.
As a newly expectant mother, a woman tends to get curious to know about the development that is taking place inside her. What should one expect from fetal development in the first trimester?
The major development will be concerning the baby’s heart formation followed by the bone structure development. Though the baby’s heartbeat develops by the 6-7th week of pregnancy, however, it can clearly be heard by the 10-12th week, ideally when the gynaecologist performs an ultrasound. During this time the rate of heartbeat is quite high around 150-180. Also, by the 12th week, the baby will have a developed bone structure so followed up scans will start to reflect a silhouetted glimpse of a little human inside you.
Mental Health of the To-Be Mother
As a to-be mom, it is important that the pregnant woman is in a stable and happy frame of mind. Due to the various hormonal changes and other physiological changes, the mood of an expectant mother can be on any side of the extreme. Thus, she should keep herself calm by indulging in her favourite activities like reading a book or listening to relaxing music, watching a movie, or for that matter having a word with their loved and dear ones.
When to visit your doctor?
During pregnancy, one needs to be very careful with their health conditions. Irrespective of your regularly scheduled visits to the gynaecologist, there can be certain other situations when you should immediately visit the doctor:
- In case of severe abdominal cramps
- Stomach pain or pain in the belly
- Sudden menstrual bleeding
- Red/brown discharge instead of Milky discharges
- Any other recently developed medical condition.
Your state of mind and mood are directly going to affect your baby’s well-being. A happy self will give you a stable and steadily growing healthy baby. Keep yourself happy and calm as this time it is not just you, but two!
Verified - Dr Shikha Gurnani (MBBS, DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Editor - Anushka Jain (Beauty Influencer / Dip. Journalism)