HOW LONG IS THE FIRST TRIMESTER?
The duration of the first trimester is about thirteen weeks.
How do you figure out where you stand in the first trimester? The easiest way to do this is to calculate your due date and work back from there. Sometimes the official due date might be recalculated but that shouldn’t affect your plans significantly.
FETAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER
The first trimester involves a dramatic development of a fertilized cell to the embryo to a small bundle with the beginnings of limbs and a torso. All areas of the baby’s body begin to form, including the organs of the body. In addition, you will occasionally notice the baby’s movement. The following areas of the baby’s body will begin to form during the first trimester:
At weeks six through ten, the baby’s limbs will start to take shape.
At weeks five through eight, hair and nails form.
At week eight, the baby’s digestive system, including the intestines will begin to form. Two sets of kidneys have already been used with the third and final set in development.
At week eight, the face will have touch receptors (lips and nose) and by week twelve, touch receptors will be on the palms, the soles of the feet and the genitals.
During weeks four through eight, the optic nerves and the eye lenses and retina begins to form.
From weeks five through ten, the baby’s heart will start to form, and suddenly, it will start to beat.
By week eight, the baby’s brain will begin to function.
By week eight, the baby’s taste buds will start to work, and yes he or she will taste amniotic fluid that has the flavor of what was last eaten by you.
As the baby’s entire body undergoes rapid development, the muscles, white blood cells, and vocal chords also start to form.
PREGNANCY-RELATED SYMPTOMS FOR MOM
The mother will experience some, if not all, of the typical side effects of being pregnant. The typical symptoms are as follows:
By week five, a nauseous feeling called morning sickness can start, though it can occur at any tme of day. Some women find Ginger tea and/or small meals to be helpful. Consult a physician if the nausea is severe.
By week six, you will notice your breasts are larger and more tender.
At week seven, you may find yourself being moody. Don’t worry as this is normal. However if yo have a history of depression, consider seeing a doctor.
There are quite a few other symptoms that may occur as time passes, including headaches, food aversions, metallic taste, constipation, and heartburn. These symptoms will probably start to fade as you approach the second trimester.
Because the baby is quite tiny in the first trimester, do not expect to gain a great deal of weight during this time. In fact, some women experience a loss of appetite, causing weight loss. If this should happen, there is no need for concern as long as the weight does start to increase in the second and third trimesters. Nonetheless, make every effort to eat small meals of highly nutritious foods including whole grain bread or cracker, bananas, yogurt and avocados. Even if you have heard the expression “eating for two,” the first trimester is not the time to pig out and consumer far more calories than you did prior to the pregnancy. No extra calories are needed during the first trimester.
REASONS TO SEE THE DOCTOR
The first trimester is a time of dramatic changes in a woman’s body. Often, women are not sure what symptoms are normal and what symptoms require medical attention. Because the risk of miscarriage is highest in the first trimester, there are some problems that can occur that warrant a trip to the doctor’s office, such as:
Heavy vagina bleeding
Severe abdominal pain
Fever over 101.5 F, chills and/or backache
Severe puffiness in the hands/face
Call you physician immediately if any of these symptoms occur. If you can’t reach your doctor, go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
“TO DO” LIST FOR THE FIRST TRIMESTER
Begin taking a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins help to ward off the chances of birth defects such as spinal bifida.
Find the person who will be your practitioner, whether if be an OB-GYN, family physician or midwife.
Make your first ob-gyn appointment. At that visit you will consult with the doctor about your health history and a physical exam will be conducted. In addition, quite a few tests will be performed including blood work, Pap smear, urinalysis and an ultrasound to check the baby’s heartbeat. The doctor will also screen you for genetic illnesses or diabetes. You should discuss any medications you are taking or help needed to quit smoking at this time.
Request genetic tests between weeks eleven and fourteen to detect Down Syndrome or congenital heart defects. In addition, they might ask about NIPT, a test to look for chromosomal abnormalities or other tests like chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis.
Make sure your health insurance is in place. The cost of pregnancy can be high so it is important to understand your policy.
Think through the costs you are and will be facing as a result of the pregnancy. Set up a monthly budget to account for expanding the size of your family.
Check your diet and make sure you are doing things like lowering your caffeine intake and increasing your consumption of healthy foods. Start grocery shopping for whole, nutritious foods.
Exercise. Yes you can still workout and it is good for both you and the baby.
Continue to enjoy having sex, if you feel like it. Sex is totally safe for the baby and good for you and your partner.
It’s never too early to think about names for the baby.
Consider telling friends and family about your pregnancy. There is also social media to consider but that should wait until the end of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is minimal. You should also think about telling your supervisor at work. Take some time to understand your company’s maternity leave policies.