Pregnancy’s First Trimester

Congratulations, you’re expecting! So, what now? Here’s everything you need to know about your first trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnancy's First Trimester
Pregnant woman in different trimesters of pregnancy. Vector illustration of a girl with a belly

Congratulations, you’re expecting! So, what now? During the first trimester of your pregnancy, a lot happens.

You’ll most likely be on an emotional rollercoaster—all those pregnant hormones hard at work producing your kid might send you on a crazy emotional journey. You may also be experiencing morning sickness (which can persist all day) and feeling quite exhausted. All of this is normal throughout the first trimester. Here’s what to expect in the first several weeks.

The growth of the baby throughout the first trimester By week 12, your baby will have grown from the size of a poppy seed (.05″) to the size of a roll of film (2.1″).

While your body is busy preparing a home for your baby (the amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical cord), your baby is busy developing. Their primary organs begin to develop at 5 weeks. “Three sorts of tissue layers are being separated, and they will identify particular types of organs and tissues depending on location in the body and function,” explains Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, OBGYN. “The early spinal cord, spinal bones, and nerves begin as a neural tube that develops in the surface layer, known as the ectoderm.” The heart is formed of the main layer (mesoderm), which is separated into four chambers to pump blood. The endodermis responsible for the formation of the lungs, intestines, urinary tract, genitals, liver, thyroid, and pancreas.”

“Within the first eight weeks of gestation, the embryo develops basic structures for all bodily systems—it is at this time in gestation that one may witness a heartbeat,” explains Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG. If you see your healthcare professional around that time, you should be able to hear the heartbeat.

At 10 weeks, your baby is no longer an embryo, but a fetus. “During the first trimester, all of the organs are created.” “After then, the remainder of the pregnancy is how the fetus completely grows,” explains Dr. Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, FACOG. This implies that all of the building blocks are in place, and your baby will continue to grow. Their eyes are completely developed by now, but they won’t open them for a time. And their teeth are there, but you won’t see them until they’re approximately six months old.

By the end of your first trimester, your baby may begin sucking their thumb as reflexes improve, their intestines are completely grown, and their face is more babylike—just in time for your first ultrasound photographs.

The growth of the baby throughout the first trimester

By week 12, your baby will have grown from the size of a poppy seed (.05″) to the size of a roll of film (2.1″).

While your body is busy preparing a home for your baby (the amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical cord), your baby is busy developing. Their primary organs begin to develop at 5 weeks. “Three sorts of tissue layers are being separated, and they will identify particular types of organs and tissues depending on location in the body and function,” explains Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, OBGYN. “The early spinal cord, spinal bones, and nerves begin as a neural tube that develops in the surface layer, known as the ectoderm.” The heart is formed of the main layer (mesoderm), which is separated into four chambers to pump blood. The endodermis responsible for the formation of the lungs, intestines, urinary tract, genitals, liver, thyroid, and pancreas.”

“Within the first eight weeks of gestation, the embryo develops basic structures for all bodily systems—it is at this time in gestation that one may witness a heartbeat,” explains Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG. If you see your healthcare professional around that time, you should be able to hear the heartbeat.

At 10 weeks, your baby is no longer an embryo, but a fetus. “During the first trimester, all of the organs are created.” “After then, the remainder of the pregnancy is how the fetus completely grows,” explains Dr. Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, FACOG. This implies that all of the building blocks are in place, and your baby will continue to grow. Their eyes are completely developed by now, but they won’t open them for a time. And their teeth are there, but you won’t see them until they’re approximately six months old.

By the end of your first trimester, your baby may begin sucking their thumb as reflexes improve, their intestines are completely grown, and their face is more babylike—just in time for your first ultrasound photographs.

Symptoms of a First Trimester Pregnancy

“Fatigue, breast soreness, moodiness, constipation, and nausea are the most frequent early pregnancy symptoms,” explains Dr. Yamaguchi. Of all, everybody reacts differently to pregnancy, and your experience may differ from that of someone else you know.

Sickness in the Morning

Morning sickness is an indication that you’re genuinely pregnant, but it feels like a hangover without any of the enjoyment.

Because to increased levels of pregnancy hormones such as progesterone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG—the hormone that causes the “plus” sign on your pregnancy test), and estrogen, you may experience severe nausea and vomiting morning, noon, and night.

Morning sickness often develops during the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy and peaks around week nine. It usually goes away by the second trimester, while some women experience symptoms in their third trimester.

Morning sickness is not always a cause for concern. However, if your symptoms are severe, dehydration might be a problem, so consult your doctor if you’re vomiting numerous times a day for several days in a row, for example.

In addition to feeling sick, many pregnant women have strong aversions to specific foods or scents. “Eating small, frequent meals might help,” Dr. Yamaguchi explains. On the other hand, it’s a cliche, yet pregnant cravings exist.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with morning sickness.

Fatigue

You’re producing more progesterone throughout the first trimester to strengthen the uterine lining and avoid miscarriage, and these increased levels can also drop your blood pressure and blood sugar, making you feel tired. You’ve probably never felt so exhausted! “There isn’t much you can do about weariness other than rest,” Dr. Yamaguchi explains. “Even then, I find that the majority of patients are still weary,” she continues.

This weariness might make it difficult to function, so make sleep a priority. Here are a few pointers:

  • When feasible, take naps.
  • Make an effort to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
  • Maintain a dark and cold atmosphere in your bedroom.
  • Avoid watching TV or using your phone in bed to improve the quality of your sleep.

The good news is that, like morning sickness, this tiredness should subside after the first trimester. Indeed, many women experience a surge of energy during the second trimester (though fatigue does return during the third trimester as your baby gets bigger and your body gets ready for labor).

Breasts that are tender

Have you seen any changes in your breasts recently? They may get much larger, as well as extremely painful and sensitive to touch. Again, it’s the pregnant hormones at work.

While the discomfort will go away after the first trimester, they will continue to grow and change throughout your pregnancy in preparation for nursing.

“I recommend making sure your bra fits you properly and is supportive for breast pain,” Dr. Yamaguchi says.

It’s an excellent time to invest in a supportive, comfy bra (or three). Non-underwire bras may feel better on sore breasts. A nursing bra or sleep bra is a wonderful choice; choose ones that are larger or have extra hook-and-eye closures so you may use them throughout your pregnancy and afterward.

Your feelings

During your first trimester, your emotions are likely to be all over the place. When you find out you’re pregnant, you may feel a mixture of excitement and delight, as well as dread and trepidation. Add all of those hormones, acute weariness, and nausea from morning sickness to the mix, and you’ve got the ideal formula for insane mood swings.

It is entirely natural to feel overwhelmed at times. Even though you’re ecstatic about being pregnant and welcoming a new baby, it’s natural to be concerned about your kid’s growth, how your life will change, and everything else that comes with having a baby.

Now is the moment to be kind to yourself. Naps, face masks, walks, or whatever makes you happy can help you feel like yourself, even if you’re breaking into tears at the least provocation. Discuss your feelings with other parents, friends, or your partner.

If you are unable to experience joy or are feeling hopeless, consult with your healthcare physician. They can assist you in locating the assistance you require.

Constipation

If you’re feeling stuck, realize that you’re not alone. During the first trimester, constipation is fairly prevalent. Increase your fiber intake by snacking on dried fruit, raspberries and blackberries, or oatmeal. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.

The desire to pee

When you’re pregnant, you may find yourself going to the bathroom much more frequently than you used to. You’ll have to go—a lot—as your hormones change (see a pattern here?). Despite the regular need to urinate, it’s critical to keep hydrated; however, you may want to restrict how much you drink before bed to prevent being up all night.

Gaining weight throughout the first trimester

During the first trimester, you should gain 3-4 pounds. Your baby is still little, and if you’ve been suffering from morning sickness and having difficulty keeping meals down, you may not gain much weight. You could even shed a few pounds as a result. It shouldn’t be a reason for concern as long as you’re seeing your doctor. You’ll make up for lost time in the second trimester.

Pregnancy Checklist for the First Trimester

  • Take a pregnancy test (and again!) to ensure that you are indeed pregnant.
  • Select a healthcare provider.
  • Schedule your first prenatal visit.
  • Check with your health insurance provider to discover if prenatal care and newborn expenditures are covered.
  • Purchase prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins, while not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, are high in the additional nutrients required for pregnancy, such as folic acid, iron, and calcium.
  • Investigate which, if any, prenatal tests you might want to do throughout your pregnancy.
  • Get some rest. Nap, go to bed early and sleep in on weekends. Do whatever it takes to go through.
  • Begin planning your budget and savings for pregnancy and the first year of your baby’s life.
  • Make an appointment for your 12-week ultrasound/nuchal screening.
  • Investigate your company’s maternity leave policy and devise a strategy for informing them of your pregnancy.
  • Toward the conclusion of your first trimester, your clothes may feel a little snug. Begin looking for pregnancy outfits. (Hint: leggings come in handy.)

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