What to Expect in The First Trimester of Your Pregnancy?

Congratulations! Your pregnancy test showed up positive! So, what should you expect in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy? Learn what to expect in the first trimester of pregnancy and how to handle the physical changes in your body along with your changing hormones.

You may be pregnant for 4 weeks plus before you realise you are pregnant.

Most women only notice when they miss their period and wait for few more days to take the test. Technically, your pregnancy begins on the first day of your periods (also known as LMP- last menstrual period), however you may be able to confirm it only weeks later.

What are the tests you can expect during the first trimester?

Once you have shared your home-pregnancy results with the doctor, a urine test will be done to confirm pregnancy. This is followed by a full blood count to screen for rh factor, levels of iron in the blood and also to screen for hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Your first ultrasound is likely to be scheduled between the 10th and the 12th  week.

What does the first trimester combined screening for pregnant women, test the unborn baby for?

During the first trimester, women are offered blood tests that check levels of  hcG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) and that of protein produced by the plasma. Women are also offered an ultrasound called the nuchal translucency screening that measures the skin at the back of the fetus’ neck. Together, these are known as the  first-trimester combined screening, and are used to rule out chromosomal abnormalities such as the Down’s Syndrome.

What are some common symptoms you can expect in the first trimester of pregnancy?

Along with the joy of having discovered that you are pregnant, come along some, rather unpleasant, symptoms such as enhanced sensitivity to smells, constant feeling of nausea and bouts of vomiting, indigestion and feeling of tiredness through the day. One might also experience dizziness as the blood pressure is lower during pregnancy. Most of the symptoms can be attributed to changing hormonal levels and are signs of a healthy pregnancy.

Making a few changes to the diet, catching fresh air, not standing for too long at a stretch, taking enough rest and sometimes just taking things slow, can help to alleviate the symptoms.

What is not a part of normal pregnancy and should be discussed with your doctor?

Not all bodily changes are good for you and there are some signs you must watch out for such as sharp pain, frequent headaches. These may denote preeclampsia or high blood pressure and can be dangerous for both mom and fetus. These  need to be monitored and regulated.

The bottom line – if something seems amiss, better to raise it with your healthcare provider immediately.

How much folic acid (mcg) do you require every day?

Folic acid is an essential nutrient that protects your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida. You need a 400 microgram (mcg) supplement of folic acid (vitamin B9). It is safe to start taking a  daily folic acid supplement right away after you realise you are pregnant.

Which food is not safe to consume once you learn you are pregnant?

Uncooked seafood, meat or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Fish that contain high levels of mercury such as swordfish should also be avoided as they have been  linked to developmental delays and brain damage. Soft unpasteurized cheese also poses a risk due to listeria. All other foods in moderation, especially green leafy vegetables and lean meats are good for you and the baby.

What are some of the “To – Do’s” in your first trimester?

  • Take folic acid supplements and any other doctor prescribed supplements
  • Quit smoking and drinking
  • Monitor your diet – eat healthy and nutritious food
  • Keep up with your gynecological appointments, scans & tests
  • Continue with your exercise regimen, after discussing with your doctor
  • Take plenty of rest

Importantly, accept the natural changes happening to your body and within you. Take the help of your friends and family when you are feeling tired and enjoy the pampering!

Take a look at more informative articles on Pregnancy here.