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Navigating the First Trimester of Pregnancy: What To Expect

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First Trimester of Pregnancy

Table of Contents

First things first, you might not look completely pregnant in your first trimester of pregnancy 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.

How Long Is The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?

Your first trimester begins 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 the due date. Also, know that this might be prone to fluctuate especially if you are experiencing 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, food aversions, constipation, metallic taste,  and headaches. It is also important to understand that each pregnancy is different hence the symptoms might differ too. differ too. 

Early Pregnancy Symptoms:

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 vitaminsIt helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

– Choose your doctor – 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 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 urinalysis, Pap smear, and blood work to help the doctor determine your blood type, hCG levels, Rh status, and the 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 screening between weeks 10 and 13 to look for congenital heart defects and Down syndrome. The practitioner might recommend NIPT at around week 9 as per the risk and/or invasive and most definitely a prenatal test like an amniocentesis, or chorionic villus sampling.

 – Look at the health insurance options – The cost changes 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 the monthly expenses and work them around to help during the pregnancy. 

– Eat right – During pregnancy you need to limit the intake of caffeine and know what food to avoid.

– 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 a pregnancy workout!

– Sex – It is safe for the baby and fun if you’d like it. It also benefits you and your baby. Thoughts on baby names yet? This is the right time to start deciding.

Danger Signs Of Pregnancy In First Trimester

– Rigorous exercise or strength training that may result in a stomach injury

– Raw fish and smoked seafood

– Raw sprouts

– Alcohol

Caffeine, you can consume caffeine but ensure that it is not more than one cup per day.


– Deli meats

– Illegal drugs

– Unpasteurized milk and dairy products

– It is also important to avoid changing the cats’ litter boxes because they carry the risk of toxoplasmosis

What Can I Expect From My Doctor Or Midwife During Your Pregnancy?

When it comes to your prenatal care, whether you’ll be seeing a general practitioner (GP), a midwife, or an obstetrician depends on your preferences and birthing plans. Typically, your first prenatal checkup will involve confirming your pregnancy with a more reliable urine or blood test, as opposed to at-home pregnancy tests. These initial checkups in the first trimester usually occur every 4 to 6 weeks, but the frequency may vary based on your health and the baby’s development.

Towards the end of the first trimester, your doctor will likely offer you an ultrasound scan. This scan can reveal the baby’s heartbeat, determine if you’re expecting multiples, estimate the baby’s size and due date, and screen for certain health conditions.

During the first trimester, you can also expect other health checks, such as urine tests to detect urinary infections (a common condition that can lead to preterm labor if untreated), blood tests to assess factors like your blood type, iron levels, blood sugar (for gestational diabetes), rubella immunity, and for infections like HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis.

In addition to these tests, your healthcare provider will conduct general checks on your maternal health and well-being. This includes discussing any concerns you may have about your pregnancy or overall health, as well as reviewing any medications you are taking, including natural or alternative remedies, to ensure they are safe during pregnancy.

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)What happens in the 1st trimester of pregnancy?

During this early stage of development, all the essential systems and organs start taking shape. The tiny embryo starts to resemble a tadpole. The neural tube, which eventually develops into the brain and spinal cord, begins to form, along with the early foundations of the digestive system, heart, and circulatory system. Additionally, the rudimentary structures of the eyes and ears are also beginning to develop.

2) What should be avoided in the first trimester?

Here are some things to steer clear of in the initial three months of pregnancy:
  • Avoid intense workouts or heavy lifting that might harm your belly.
  • Stay away from alcohol.
  • Limit your caffeine intake to just one cup of coffee or tea each day.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Say no to illegal drugs.
  • Skip raw fish or smoked seafood, including sushi, for now.

  • 3) How many months is the first trimester of pregnancy?

    A typical full-term pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks and can be divided into three distinct stages. The first trimester spans approximately 3.5 months or 14 weeks, followed by the second trimester, also lasting 3.5 months or 14 weeks. Finally, the third trimester is around 3 months or 12 weeks long.

    4)How do I know if my pregnancy is a healthy first trimester?

    While it's not exactly fun, having sore and swollen breasts, more vaginal discharge, morning sickness, and feeling wiped out are all signs that your pregnancy is on the right track. Don't hesitate to have a chat with your doctor to get some helpful tips and advice for dealing with those extra-challenging symptoms.

    5)Which trimester is the hardest?

    The third trimester marks the last stretch of pregnancy and is often regarded as the most uncomfortable period. This is when your baby is growing rapidly, adding extra strain to your body, and resulting in aches and various discomforts.

    6)Is the first trimester difficult?

    The intense fatigue that often hits during the initial three months of pregnancy can catch many women off guard. This can be an especially challenging adjustment for those who are typically full of energy and always on the go.

    7)What is the most critical week of the first trimester?

    Typically, significant issues with the development of the body and internal organs are more commonly observed during the period from the 3rd to the 12th week of embryonic or fetal growth. This timeframe corresponds to weeks 5 through 14 since the start of your last menstrual period, which is also known as the first trimester of pregnancy.

    8)When should I worry in the first trimester?

    If you experience intense pain or cramps in your lower belly or feel pain in one shoulder, especially if there's bleeding from your vagina, or if you suddenly feel dizzy or faint, it's crucial to get in touch with your doctor, midwife, or head to the hospital right away.

    9)Is it bad to sleep too much during the first trimester?

    Based on research conducted in the United States, it has been found that getting more than nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night while pregnant may be linked to an increased risk of stillbirth.

    10)What causes birth defects in the first trimester?

    For instance, certain factors can raise the likelihood of having a baby with a birth defect. These include habits like smoking, consuming alcohol, or using specific drugs while pregnant. Additionally, having particular health conditions like obesity or unmanaged diabetes before and during pregnancy can also contribute to this risk.


    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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