First Trimester of Pregnancy: What To Expect, Baby Development and More

First Trimester of Pregnancy

Table of Contents

First things first, you might not look completely pregnant in your first trimester or even by the end of it –  but that’s because it’s only the first trimester, mamma! You may expect a flood of pregnancy-related hormones throughout your first trimester as an indication of your body preparing for the baby in the upcoming nine months. Some symptoms may make you uncomfortable, but remember that they are just temporary and are a part of the experience of growing an unborn child inside you.

For how long is the first trimester of Pregnancy?

The first trimester starts from week 1 up to the end of the 13th week of your pregnancy. 

In case you do not know what week you are in, try calculating the same from your due date. Also, know that this might be prone to fluctuate especially if you have irregular periods.

The baby’s growth in the first trimester of pregnancy

In the first trimester of pregnancy, the baby develops from a single fertilized cell (zygote) to an embryo implanted in the wall of the uterine. This is from peach-sized bundle growing limbs to a body system and organs take shape too. 

Listed below are some big highlights of things you could look forward to; First Trimester Of Pregnancy

  • Baby’s bones: By week 6 the baby starts to sprout arms, legs, hands, feet. And by week 10, the fingers and toes
  • Hair and nails: The skin of the baby begins to form across weeks 5 to 8. And, by week 11, their hair follicles and nail beds
  • Digestive system: By week 8 the intestine develops with two sets of kidneys
  • Sense of touch: The baby will develop touch receptors on its face. Mostly their lips and nose in week 8. And by week 12 the receptors on their genitals, palms, and soles of his feet.
  • Eyesight: The optic nerves pass from the eyes to the brain and back. With lenses forming in week 4 with retina by week 8.
  • Heart: By the 5th week the tubes are developed that become the heart and beats spontaneously that will become stronger and regular. 
  • Brain: By week 8 the brain of the baby will be wiggling and the limbs to develop.
  • Sense of taste: They will develop their taste buds connecting to the brain by week 8. 

The other first-trimester milestones include the formation of muscles, the production of white blood cells, and the development of the vocal cords.

Changes in your body during the first trimester of pregnancy

There are a lot of changes that take place in the first trimester of pregnancy. Listed below are the early symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy. Then the list below helps you known of the early symptoms of pregnancy:

  • Morning sickness: It doesn’t always strike in the morning and typically starts by week 6 of your pregnancy. Having ginger tea or even drops might help and if it gets severe consult your doctor about what medications to help treat the symptoms related to nausea.
  • Tender breasts: The breasts will go tender, tingly, and increase in size. 
  • Mood swings: You might come across major ups and downs by week 7. If you have a history of depression it is recommended to talk to your doctor to help get screened for prenatal depression.

There are also other symptoms that you might experience like heartburn, constipation, metallic taste, food aversions, and headaches. It is also important to know that every woman is different hence the symptoms might differ too. 

Early Pregnancy Symptoms; First trimester of pregnancy

Weight gain

The baby in the first trimester is still very small so you might only gain up to three to four pounds. If you suffer from appetite loss there are chances you might have lost a couple of pounds and that’s OK, too as long as you gain weight in the second and third trimesters. As of now focus on eating frequent light meals with high-density nutritious foods like avocados, yogurt, bananas, whole grain bread, or crackers.

If you feel extra ravenous, try keeping a check on the caloric intake during the pregnancy, and if you end up gaining more than is recommended it’s all not lost. Simply focus on getting back on track in the due course of your pregnancy.

Symptoms that need to be checked during the first trimester of pregnancy

With all of the changes in your body, you might wonder what’s normal and what isn’t normal. In many cases, these are not odd twins for concern. It is also important to understand that the risk for miscarriage is at its highest during the first trimester of pregnancy.

To avoid such situations, listed below are a few symptoms to be cautious about:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden thirst
  • Painful urination
  • Fever over 101.5 F with chills and/or backache
  • Severe puffiness in the hands/face
  • Vision disturbances

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, call the doctor’s office immediately. And, if you couldn’t get through, head to the nearest ER.

First trimester of pregnancy; To-do list

Mentioned below is the list of to-do things for a pregnant woman during her first trimester of pregnancy. 

  • Start on prenatal vitamins It helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.
  • Choose your practitioner – No doubt! There are a lot of practitioners out there to choose from ranging from OB-GYN to a midwife or a family physician. It is recommended to consider your options and pick a practitioner that works the best for you.
  • Book your gynecologist’s visit – The doctor reviews your medical history and performs accordingly. You might have to undergo tests that include a Pap smear, urinalysis, and blood work to help the doctor determine your blood type, Rh status, hCG levels, and presence of any infection. Initially, you might undergo an ultrasound to confirm the heartbeat and the date of the pregnancy. The doctor might also choose to screen you to know of the genetic illnesses depending on your family history. 
  • Consider genetic tests – You’ll have a nuchal translucency screening between weeks 10 and 13 to look for down syndrome and congenital heart defects. The practitioner might recommend NIPT around week 9 based on the risk and/or invasive and most definitely a prenatal test like a chorionic villus sampling or an amniocentesis.
  • Look into health insurance options – The cost varies based on numerous factors that might also turn into an expensive treatment if you don’t have health insurance. 
  • Make a budget – This is the right time to reevaluate your monthly expenses. 
  • Eat right – During pregnancy you need to cut down on caffeine and know what food to avoid. Stock your kitchen accordingly!
  • Carve out time for fitness – Exercising benefits during your pregnancy that also works as a motivation in physical activity for most days of the week. Try pregnancy workout!
  • Sex – It is safe for the baby and fun if you’d like it. It also benefits you and your baby.
  • Thought of baby names yet? This is the right time to start deciding.

List of things which need to be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy

  • Rigorous exercise or strength training that may result in a stomach injury
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine, you can consume caffeine but ensure that it is not more than one cup per day.
  • Smoking
  • Raw fish and smoked seafood
  • Raw sprouts
  • Deli meats
  • Unpasteurized milk and dairy products
  • Illegal drugs
  • It is also important to avoid changing the cats’ litter box because they carry the risk of toxoplasmosis

Closing thoughts; First trimester of pregnancy

The first trimester might not physically make you feel about your pregnancy, but there are a lot of things to keep in mind and be safe about. Eat good, be hydrated, regular checkups, and get all pumped up!

FAQs On First Trimester of Pregnancy

1) How do you feel in the first trimester of your pregnancy?

First, you’ll receive a positive pregnancy test! You might also feel bloated, crampy, tired, and moody. Most women also experience sore breasts, nausea/vomiting, and a need to pee. And, if you don’t have any symptoms, don't worry! It’s completely normal.

2) Can you harm your baby in the first trimester?

The fetus in the first trimester to week 12 is most vulnerable. In this time, major organs and body systems start to form, and if the fetus is exposed to drugs, German measles, radiation, tobacco, etc it might be harmful.

3) In which month of pregnancy does the tummy come out?

A baby bump commonly appears in weeks 12 to 16 of your pregnancy. If it is not your first pregnancy the baby bump might start showing sooner. While for some the bump doesn’t even show in the third trimester.

4) What are the common concerns which women have during the first trimester of pregnancy?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, women will have concerns such as what to eat, how much weight to put on, and how to ensure that their baby stays healthy in her womb for the entire duration of pregnancy.

5) Why should a woman know how long is the first trimester of pregnancy?

A pregnant woman should know how long is the first trimester of pregnancy because miscarriages are common during the first trimester of pregnancy and she may want to inform others about her being pregnant. Hence it is recommended to inform people about her being pregnant after the first trimester of pregnancy is done.

6) When to call a doctor during the first trimester of pregnancy?

A pregnant woman should call a doctor if she has intense headaches, continuous vomiting, dizziness, fever, intense cramps in the stomach, and if she begins to bleed heavily.

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