First Trimester Of Pregnancy - What To Expect, Do's And Dont's

First Trimester Of Pregnancy - What To Expect, Symptoms, And Precautions

Pregnancy is measured from the first day of your last period (LMP). Each trimester comes with several physiological and hormonal changes. The first trimester starts on the first day of your last period and lasts until the 12th week of pregnancy. It is a time when an expectant mom's body goes through a lot of physical changes. 

In this article, we're going to talk about the first trimester of pregnancy. Read this article till the end to know all about your first trimester of pregnancy.

First Trimester of Pregnancy

Pregnancy First Trimester

Your pregnancy starts from the very first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) and the conception looks to place in the second week. The first trimester starts from week 1 and lasts for week 12. The egg and sperm combine and form a zygote at conception which is implanted in the uterine wall. A zygote becomes an embryo when the cells divided and grow.

If you take a home pregnancy test now it will verify whether you're pregnant or not. The first appointment with the doctor should take place six to eight weeks after your last menstrual period (LMP). Then your doctor will take a blood test or another urine test to confirm your pregnancy. 

First Trimester Changes in Your Body

Every pregnancy is different so the symptoms are. Some expectant moms don't experience any of the early pregnancy symptoms at all while some experience pregnancy symptoms on the very first day of their missed period and also notice a lot of physical changes in their bodies.

Symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy

Here are some of the signs and symptoms which you might notice during the first trimester of your pregnancy. In this section, we'll talk about the early pregnancy signs which are common and absolutely normal, and also about those warning signs when you need to call your doctor immediately to seek medical help.

1. Morning Sickness

Morning Sickness is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms which is faced by almost 80% of pregnant women and usually lasts until the end of the first trimester. The rapid increase in the level of estrogen hormones may lead to nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. These symptoms can occur at any time of the day or night but most expectant moms experience them in the morning. 

Some pregnant moms experience mild nausea while some can't start their day without vomiting. Although nausea is not a cause of concern. Call your doctor if it is severe and you can't keep down any food as it can affect the amount of nutrition your baby gets and can adversely affect your baby's health as well.

Follow these tips to reduce nausea:

-> Eat small and frequent meals.

-> Stay hydrated throughout the day.

-> Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.

-> Do yoga and some gentle exercises if your doctor allows you to do so.

2. White Milky Discharge

Thin white milky discharge from the vagina is completely normal during early pregnancy. If you notice that this discharge smells really bad, if it's green or yellow in color, or if you notice a lot of clear discharge then call your doctor to seek medical help.
You can wear a panty liner to feel comfortable.

3. Bleeding

Light Spotting or slight bleeding during early pregnancy may be a sign of Implantation Bleeding (that occurs when the fertilized egg is attached to the uterine lining). Almost 25% of pregnant women experience light spotting or slight bleeding during the early phase of pregnancy. 

But if you're experiencing severe vaginal bleeding, cramping or sharp abdominal pain, or severe back pain then immediately call your doctor as these could be the signs of pregnancy complications such as Miscarriage or Ectopic Pregnancy (When the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus).

If you experience light spotting during early pregnancy you don't need to use a sanitary pad as implantation bleeding lasts for a few days and will stop on its own.

4. Sore And Tender Breast

Tender and sore breasts are some of the common symptoms of early pregnancy which are caused due to hormonal changes. This will likely go away after a few weeks when your body adjusted to these hormones.

-> You can wear a supportive bra or go up a bra size if it makes you more comfortable.

5. Fatigue

The rapid rise in the levels of progesterone hormone can make a pregnant woman more tired and exhausted during early pregnancy. Your body is going through a lot of physical and emotional changes during this phase and it is working hard to nourish your growing baby so it's obvious that you'll get tired more easily now than you were before pregnancy.

Follow these tips to deal with Fatigue during early pregnancy:

-> Take proper rest or naps whenever you need them during the day.

-> Eat healthy foods that fulfill your daily nutritional requirement.

-> Include iron-rich foods in your pregnancy diet to prevent yourself from having anemia as iron deficiency can lead to anemia which can make you even more tired.

6. Mood Swings

The levels of progesterone and estrogen rise rapidly during early pregnancy which can trigger feelings of joy, overwhelm, depression, anxiety, and irritability in a few seconds.
It's ok to have mood swings during the early phase of your pregnancy but if they're bothering you a lot then it's good to talk about the same with your partner, friend, or your doctor.

7. Food Cravings And Food Aversion

Food cravings and aversions are early pregnancy symptoms caused due to the rapid rise in the levels of estrogen hormones that can lead to strong taste or strong distaste for certain foods. Having cravings or aversion to particular foods is quite normal. It's ok to satiate your cravings as long as you eat healthy and low-calorie foods as they help you to gain a healthy weight when pregnant.

But if you get Pica cravings ( Pica is a condition in which you crave non-food items such as clay, dirt, soap, or ice which don't have any nutritional value) then it can be a cause of concern as it can be dangerous for you and your baby as well. 

Some of the most common Pica cravings during pregnancy include:

-> Sand

-> Dirt

-> Clay

-> Soap

-> Ice

-> Plaster

-> Charcoal

-> Burnt Matches

-> Cigarette Ashes

-> Laundry Starch

-> Corn Starch

-> Baking Soda

So, if you're experiencing unusual cravings for non-food items then you need to talk to your doctor about the same. Your doctor may test you for vitamin deficiency and can put you on vitamin supplements.

8. Smell Sensitivity

Many pregnant women may notice strong smell sensitivity due to the increased levels of estrogen hormones during early pregnancy. Smell sensitivity can cause a strong taste or strong distaste for certain foods and can even trigger vomiting and nausea.

9. Frequent Urination

During the first trimester, your uterus is growing and puts pressure on your bladder. A compressed bladder cannot keep more urine accumulating due to which you need to go to the washroom more often than usual.

If you're experiencing frequent urination during pregnancy it doesn't mean that you hold it in or you stop drinking fluids. Your body needs fluids throughout your pregnancy whether you're experiencing frequent urination or not.

-> Drink water and other healthy fluids to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

-> Limit your caffeine intake as it can stimulate your bladder, especially before bedtime.

10. Constipation

Constipation is a common pregnancy complication that affects almost half of pregnant women at some stage of their pregnancy. It occurs when the level of progesterone hormone increases which causes the relaxation of body muscles including the intestines which leads to slower digestion as a result pregnant women experience constipation during pregnancy. Besides this iron content in prenatal vitamins or iron supplements can sometimes cause constipation in some expectant mothers.

Follow these tips to treat or prevent constipation during the first trimester of pregnancy:

-> Stay well hydrated and drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day as it helps to keep your bowel soft and move it smoothly through your digestive tract.

-> Eat fiber-rich foods such as wheat bran, peas, watermelon, cucumber, cereals, beans, whole grains, and strawberries. A high fiber diet is required for a healthy digestive tract and it also keep constipation at a bay.

-> Stay physically active and do some gentle exercises regularly as long as your doctor allows you to do so.

If these remedies don't work and constipation is really bothering you then it's best to talk to your doctor about the same. Your doctor may prescribe laxatives or stool softeners that are safe for you to use during pregnancy.

11. Heartburn

Heartburn occurs when food and acid come back into the esophagus (a long muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach). The rapid rise in the levels of hormones called progesterone and relaxin during pregnancy causes the stomach to empty more slowly after eating and relaxes the smooth muscles in the body. Due to these hormones, the food stays in the stomach for longer and stomach acid comes back into the esophagus easily and causes heartburn during pregnancy.

Follow these tips to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy:

-> Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day as they're is easy to digest and relieve heartburn when pregnant. Avoid eating larger meals.

-> Chew your food properly so that it can digest easily.

-> Don't overeat as it can also cause heartburn.

-> Don't lie down directly after eating.

-> Avoid such foods which are known to trigger heartburn such as chocolates, fried and spicy food, caffeine, etc.

-> Avoid eating foods during bedtime. Eat food 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to avoid heartburn.

-> Drink enough fluids to reduce heartburn while pregnant.

If your heartburn is severe and doesn't go away then talk to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe you safe medications to relieve heartburn.

12. Weight Gain

As you're pregnant, so obviously you need some extra calories but it doesn't mean that you've to eat for two now. Weight gain during pregnancy depends on the health and Body Mass Index (BMI) of a pregnant woman before getting pregnant. If you've conceived at an average weight then you should gain 3 to 5 pounds during the first trimester of pregnancy.

A pregnant woman with an average weight needs 150 extra calories a day during the first trimester of her pregnancy. Make sure to meet these extra calories healthily by including nutritious foods in your pregnancy diet such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, and milk. So, talk to your health care provider to figure out your recommended weight gain based on your BMI before getting pregnant.

Baby's Growth During The First Trimester

During the first trimester of pregnancy, your baby grows rapidly and passes through two official stages of development. Your developing baby is referred to as an embryo during the first seven weeks of your pregnancy and from the eighth week till birth, it is referred to as a fetus.

Baby's Growth And Development In Early Pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy consists of about 13 weeks or 3 months. Here is the month-wise detailed description of your baby's growth and development during the first three months of your pregnancy.

Baby's Growth And Development During 1st Month of Pregnancy

The 1st month includes week 1 to week 4 of pregnancy. About a week after conception, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, and the placenta, amniotic sac, and umbilical cord begin to form.

-> The Amniotic sac is a thin-walled sac filled with fluid that helps to cushion your growing fetus throughout your pregnancy. It helps to keep your baby warm and safe.

-> Placenta is an organ that develops in the first month of pregnancy. It is attached to the wall of the uterus and provides oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby and removes carbon dioxide and waste products from your baby's blood. The umbilical cord is a narrow tube-like structure that connects the placenta to your growing baby.

-> A primitive face begins to form with large dark circles for eyes. 

-> Your baby's mouth, throat, and lower jaw also begin to form. Blood cells also take shape and circulation will begin.

-> By the end of the first month of pregnancy, your baby is 6 or 7 mm (1/4 of an inch) long or about the size of a pumpkin seed.

Baby's Growth And Development During 2nd Month of Pregnancy

The 2nd month includes week 5 to week 8 of pregnancy. This is the time when all the major internal organs start to develop.

-> Your baby's facial features (eyes, nose, ears, mouth) and respiratory system start to develop.

-> Your baby's neural tube (spinal cord and brain) is formed now.

-> Your baby's digestive system including intestines and kidneys begins to develop.

-> Your baby begins to move but it's too early for you to feel it yet.

-> Tiny buds which will become arms and legs begin to form. Fingers and toes also begin to develop in the 2nd month of pregnancy.

-> Baby's heart is functioning but you could hear the heartbeat on a doppler machine at 8 weeks.

-> Your baby's bones begin to form. By 8 weeks your baby has all the organs which a full-term baby will have.

-> By the end of the second month of pregnancy, your baby is 7 to 14 mm long or about the size of a raspberry.

Baby's Growth And Development During 3rd Month of Pregnancy

By the end of the third month or first trimester, your baby is fully formed.

-> Now your baby's tongue and tooth bud grow.

-> Your little one has arms, hands, fingers, and feet and your baby can even open and close its fist and mouth. Fingernails and toenails also begin to develop and the external ears are also formed.

-> Your baby's circulatory and urinary system starts functioning and the liver produces bile.

-> Your baby's reproductive organs start to grow but it's too early to find out your baby's gender on ultrasound.

-> By the end of the 3rd month, your baby will be size 3-4 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.

The first trimester is the most critical phase for your baby's development. By the end of the first trimester, the baby's most critical development has taken place and the chances of miscarriage drop considerably.

First Trimester To Do's

Follow these steps during the first trimester of pregnancy:

-> Choose your doctor. Early consultation with your doctor and regular follow-up is essential to keep an eye on your health and the development of the fetus.

-> Schedule your prenatal visit right after you get to know you're pregnant. On your first appointment, your doctor will take your full medical history and will perform a urine or blood test to confirm your pregnancy.

-> Make sure to attend all your prenatal visits to ensure everything is alright.

-> If you're taking any medications before pregnancy then talk with your doctor about that.

-> Ask your doctor about over-the-counter medications that are still safe for you to take.

-> Start taking folic acid supplements if you're not taking them already. Folic acid is prescribed pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy as it helps to prevent neural tube defects in your developing fetus.

-> Eat a variety of healthy and well nutritious foods that are rich in iron, calcium, folic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins to keep yourself healthy and nourish your growing baby.

-> Eat small and frequent meals.

-> Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

-> Include fresh fruits and veggies in your pregnancy diet.

-> Stay physically active and do some gentle exercises if your doctor advised you to do so.

-> Walking is one of the best exercises to keep yourself active during pregnancy. It helps to keep your muscles toned and also control your blood sugar levels thus reducing the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

-> Take plenty of rest.

-> Decide how and when you announce this good news to your loved ones.

-> If you're working then it's good to find out your company's policies on maternity leave.

Dont's For First Trimester

-> Don't take any medications on your own. Consult your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.

-> Avoid consuming unhealthy or junk food as they're high in sugar and calorie content and can lead to excess weight gain as a result there is an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes and other complications.

-> Limit your caffeine intake.

-> Avoid smoking and alcohol. Smoking, Drinking alcohol, or drug use can be detrimental to your baby's growth and development.

-> Avoid consuming those foods which can lead to constipation or bloating.

-> Avoid consuming foods that contain preservatives.

-> Don't indulge in excess physical activities.

Emergency Symptoms During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy

If you experience any of the following symptoms call your doctor right away. Remember if you're having any of the following symptoms you don't have to wait for your prenatal visit to talk about it. Just call your doctor immediately to seek medical help. Some of the warning signs during the first trimester include:

-> Heavy Vaginal Bleeding

-> Severe or Persistent Abdominal Pain

-> Excessive Nausea And Vomiting

-> Severe Headache with blurred vision

-> High Fever

-> Fast or Difficult Breathing

-> Severe Dizziness

-> Rapid Weight Gain 

-> Too Little Weight Gain

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What should I avoid during my first trimester of pregnancy?

Avoid such foods which contain toxins, parasites, or bacteria as they're harmful to both the expectant mother and her little one. Avoid having undercooked or raw food. Avoid smoking and alcohol as well. 

2. How do you feel in the first trimester of pregnancy?

Along with the missed period you can expect several physical changes such as:

-> Morning Sickness

-> Sore And Tender Breast

-> Fatigue And Dizziness

-> Nausea with or without vomiting

-> Frequent Urination

-> Heartburn and Acidity

-> Bloating and Constipation

-> Food cravings and Aversions

-> Mood Swings

-> Smell Sensitivity

3. What are the bad signs of early pregnancy?

Some of the warning signs that indicate something is wrong are:

-> Heavy Vaginal Bleeding

-> Pain or Burning During Urination

-> Vaginal Discharge or Itching

-> Severe abdominal pain

-> Severe Headache

4. Do's and don't in 1st month of pregnancy?

Eat healthily and stay positive. Don't think too much about the list of do's and don't in the first trimester as it seems a bit intimidating at a first glance. You don't need to be scared. 

Make sure to have a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthily, drink lots of fluids, get enough sleep, and keep yourself active. Take your prenatal vitamins and a diet rich in vital nutrients. Limit your caffeine intake and avoid eating junk foods or unhealthy foods. Avoid smoking and alcohol to keep several complications at a bay during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings one can ever have. You're expecting so you need to be positive and happy. If anything is disturbing you or you're worried about the dos and don't of the first trimester just talk to your doctor right away as they know your health and your pregnancy better.

5. How do I know my baby is OK during the first trimester?

During your first prenatal appointment, your doctor will take a blood test or another urine test to confirm your pregnancy as they're more reliable than the home pregnancy tests. 

Your doctor will tell you everything related to your pregnancy during your prenatal health checks which usually happen during 4 to 6 weeks, but this can vary as every pregnancy is different and depends on your health and how your baby develops. 

Always remember that pregnancy is wellness, not an illness so be happy and don't take any stress. If you're going through any health complications then talk with your doctor about the same. Don't worry. Everything will be fine. When your little bundle of joy will arrive you forgot all the troubles that you had gone through during pregnancy.

Get ready for the roller coaster ride of mixed emotions. Be happy and think positive. We hope this article helped you a lot to know about the first trimester of pregnancy.

Heartiest congratulations on your pregnancy. We're sure that you're going to be a great mother to your little one. Best wishes to you.

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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