The first trimester of pregnancy. Week 1 to Week 13.
A positive test, congratulations, YOU ARE PREGNANT!!
The first trimester is considered extremely vital for sustaining your pregnancy and the growth of your baby. In total, a full-term pregnancy comprises of 40 weeks divided over three trimesters.
The first trimester of your pregnancy begins with the first day of your last menstrual period and it continues for 13 weeks.
Women usually take a pregnancy test when their period is late, this is a month after their last menstrual period, which means by the time a woman finds out she is pregnant she is already 4 to 5 weeks along.
What happens to a woman’s body during the first trimester?
During the first trimester, a woman’s body goes through some major changes, but each woman may experience or respond to these changes differently. Many expectant women have indicated that during the first trimester these are the symptoms more present;
- Extreme fatigue
- An upset stomach
- Nausea and frequent vomiting (also known as morning sickness)
- Major mood swings
- Tender breasts
- Severe heartburn
- Unannounced weight gain
- Strong cravings for certain foods
- Constipation for days
- Aversion from some foods and smells.
The first trimester is exhausting because your baby is being formed, by the end of this trimester your baby looks like a tiny human, and your body is creating a safe space to nurture your child for the next two trimesters.
You will be tired, nausea and the frequent need to use the washroom will make you uncomfortable, you will feel pains in your pelvic area and stomach, while the baby is tiny, your body is still stretching to accommodate new life.
You should be thinking about your first prenatal visit, this visit may be during the 8th week or the 10th week. During this visit, your baby’s heartbeat can be heard, it’s the most precious sound to an expectant mother’s ear. At the first prenatal visit, a thorough screening will be done with a physical examination for mom, and an ultrasound to assess the health of the mother as well as of the baby. During this visit, you will learn more about Antenatal or Prenatal Care in T&T.
Mother’s First Prenatal Visit
An initial physical exam is done along with some tests and ultrasounds to confirm the pregnancy. The mother is asked about her personal medical history regarding any previous or current medical conditions like high blood pressures, diabetes, anemia, or allergies. The mother is also asked about her currently prescribed medications if she is taking any or questions regarding any previous major surgeries. Further information may be requested for maternal and paternal sides of the family on their medical history, whether any of the parents have any specific illnesses, disabilities, or genetic disorders.
The medical history of the mother also includes the relevant gynecological or obstetrical history of the mother to learn about past pregnancies or any miscarriages or stillbirths and most importantly regarding their menstrual cycles. It is a very detailed first prenatal visit, the doctor or nurse puts every detail on record to keep it throughout pregnancy, it makes it easy for the health specialists to treat and transfer details.
Screening tests may involve a few blood screening tests, some genetic tests, and urine tests for the safety of the baby and mother. The main aim is to detect and treat any possible complications and reduce further during pregnancy.
Baby’s Development during the First Trimester
During the first trimester, it is just not the mother’s body that is changing, the baby in her uterus is also rapidly developing. What started as just a fertilized egg (a zygote), it turns into an embryo and is implanted into the uterine wall, as the pregnancy progresses during the first trimester. This tiny clump will become a human being with limbs, and organs. Baby developments you can expect during the first trimester:
- By week 5, the tube that is considered as the baby’s heart starts to beat instinctively. As the pregnancy progresses, the heartbeat becomes stronger and the mother is able to hear it around week 8 to week 10, depending on the position of the baby in the uterus.
- In week 6, the baby starts to develop legs, arms, hands, and feet. The tiny little fingers and toes are completely grown by week 10.
- Skin starts to take form between week 5 and week 8. Hair follicles are also formed by week 11.
- By week 8, the baby’s digestive system is forming, with intestines gradually developing.
- The baby will have the touch receptors developed by week 8 and by week 12 the receptors on the genitals, soles of the feet, and palms.
- In week 8, the baby’s brain starts to function and also starts sending out signals to wiggle his developing limbs.
- Muscles form during the first trimester, with the production of white blood cells that can help the baby fight germs, this also helps in the development of vocal cords.
The first trimester is quite overwhelming for the mother-to-be, but it is also a joyous time to celebrate a new life that is coming into existence. There are many things that the parents have to think about like, where to give birth, which ob-gyn to go for, or how the medical expenses will be covered. For now, the expectant mother should focus on taking care of herself, it is recommended for the family and friends, to be as supportive, nurturing, and caring towards the mother as possible.