A-Z Of The First Trimester
The first trimester can be overwhelming. So take a deep breath, and understand the changes you might experience and how to take care of yourself during this exciting time.
During this trimester, your baby grows faster than at any other time. By six weeks, a heartbeat can usually be heard, and by the end of week 12, your baby’s bones, muscles and all the organs of the body have formed. At this point, your baby looks like a tiny human being and is now called a fetus. He or she will even start practicing swallowing!
What to Expect: Changes in Your Body
Pregnancy is different for every woman. Some women glow with good health and vitality during those first three months; others feel absolutely miserable. Here are some of the changes you might experience, what they mean, and which signs warrant a call to your doctor.
While your first sign of pregnancy might have been a missed period, you can expect several other physical changes in the coming weeks, these may include a number of things.
Tender, swollen breasts: Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive or sore. The discomfort will likely decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, often begins one month after you become pregnant. This might be due to rising hormone levels. To help relieve nausea, avoid an empty stomach. Eat slowly and in small amounts every one to two hours. Choose foods that are low in fat. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. Drink plenty of fluids. Foods containing ginger might help. Motion sickness bands, acupuncture or hypnosis might offer relief — but get the OK from your healthcare provider first. Contact your health care provider if your nausea and vomiting is severe.
Increased urination: You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder.
Fatigue: During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can make you sleepy. Rest as much as you can. A healthy diet and exercise might help boost your energy.
Heartburn: Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn. To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy or fried foods.
Constipation: High levels of the hormone progesterone can slow the movement of food through your digestive system, causing constipation. Iron supplements can add to the problem. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids, especially water and prune or other fruit juices. Regular physical activity also helps.
Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.
It’s natural to worry about your baby’s health, your adjustment to parenthood and the financial demands of raising a child. If you’re working, you might worry about how to balance the demands of family and career. You might also experience mood swings. What you’re feeling is normal. Take care of yourself, and look to your loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If your mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for support.