First Trimester In Pregnancy: What To Expect?

First Trimester In Pregnancy: What To Expect?

22 Dec 2021 | 9 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 625 Articles

The first trimester in pregnancy is the earliest phase of pregnancy that starts on the first day of your last period even before you’re pregnant and lasts until the end of the 13th week. Knowing what to expect will help you get ready for the months ahead.

It is marked by an invisible yet amazing transformation and happens so quickly. Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during this time will let you face the months ahead with confidence. Read on to know everything about the stages of pregnancy in the first trimester and first trimester care.

What Are The First Trimester Symptoms?

Here’s a list of first trimester pregnancy symptoms that you should be aware of:

  1. Morning sickness: Irrespective of what it sounds like, it can strike at any time of the day and is one of the most common 1st trimester pregnancy symptoms. According to research, morning sickness is common in 70% of pregnancies and can be due to low blood sugar or the rise in pregnancy hormones, such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). 
  1. Mood swings: Mood swings can be common in the first weeks of pregnancy. You might or might not feel up, then down and then up again by week 7. If you have a prior history of depression, it is advisable to consult a doctor about getting screened for prenatal depression.
  1. Spotting: Medical studies show that 25% of expecting women have slight bleeding or spotting during their first trimester weeks. It can also be a sign that the fertilised embryo has been implanted in your uterus. (implantation bleeding). However, it is advisable to consult a doctor in case of heavy bleeding that might be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
  1. Fatigue: Feeling tired or exhausted is more common in the 1st trimester weeks and you can blame the hormonal changes for this. It is advisable to ensure a healthy diet and take adequate rest.
1st trimester of pregnancy
It is advisable to call a doctor if you experience severe pain in the abdomen during the first trimester. | Image Source: pexels

How Much Does Your Body Change In The First Trimester?

Every pregnancy is distinct. However, the 1st trimester of pregnancy brings about some changes in your body like:

  1. Changes in breasts and skin: Pregnancy hormones can make your breasts heavier, and tender. Those hormones might also make your skin, moles, and birthmarks or your nipples a little darker and gradually fade away after your delivery. Sore or tender breasts are one of the most common first trimester body changes.
  1. Constipation: Constipation in pregnancy is also common and can happen in any of the trimesters as the high levels of the hormone progesterone slow down the muscle contractions that normally move food through your system.
  1. Discharge: White discharge during the first trimester is normal and you can expect to see a thin, milky white discharge (called leukorrhea) early in your pregnancy. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the discharge has a fish-like odour and accompanies intense abdominal cramps.
  1. Frequent urination: The hormonal uplifts make your body’s organs work hard than usual and that is why you might find yourself going to the washroom more often than usual. 

Recommended Diet In The First Trimester of Pregnancy

When building your diet plan for the first trimester in pregnancy, it is advisable to focus on whole foods that give you higher amounts of

  • Vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates
  • Fibre and fluids
  • Protein and healthy types of fat

Take a look at these nutritious foods to eat during the first trimester in pregnancy:

  1. Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt contain two types of high-quality protein, casein and whey that are enriched with phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. Doctors recommend eating almonds during pregnancy in the first trimester.
  1. Broccoli and dark, leafy greens: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables are a storehouse of fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.
  1. Whole grains: Whole grains are loaded with B vitamins, iron, folic acid, magnesium, antioxidant vitamin E, and the mineral selenium. Packed with phytonutrients (plant compounds that protect cells), these are a requisite throughout your pregnancy.
  1. Fruits: There are a plethora of fruits to eat during pregnancy that will help you meet the nutritional requirements to support your baby. Fruits like apple, orange, pomegranate, avocados, lemons, dragon fruit, guava and kiwi form the core of the mandatory things to eat during first trimester.
  1. Dried fruits: You can also include dried fruits like walnuts, cashew, almond, pine nuts and dates that are packed with all the essential nutrients required for a pregnant woman. It is advisable to consult a doctor as he/ she can guide you on the quantity to be consumed.

These are requisites of the first trimester food plan.

3 Recommended Tests And Scans In The First Trimester of Pregnancy

  1. Pelvic exam and Pap smear: Prenatal testing during the first trimester commences with a pelvic exam and Pap smear that checks the health of your cervical cells and screens for cervical cancer and certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  1. Blood tests: The doctor will also identify your blood type and Rh (rhesus) facto, check for immunity to rubella, screen for anaemia and will test for hepatitis B and syphilis.
  1. Urine tests: You might be asked early on for a urine sample so that your doctor can check for signs of kidney infection.
first trimester weeks
Prenatal exercises during pregnancy can make the entire journey a breeze. | Image Source: freepik

5 Recommended Exercises for First Trimester

Did you know that some first trimester exercises can make this phase a breeze? Some of the recommended exercises in the first month of pregnancy are:

  1. Yoga: Yoga not only lowers body pains and boosts breathing rates, but it also improves the flexibility and strength of your body.
  1. Exercise ball: The exercise ball plays an important role in improving core strength and making your abdominal muscles challenging.
  1. Pelvic stretches: This includes keeping your feet firmly on the floor, and then stretching your legs away from each other without changing your posture. It can also lower pelvic pain, a common complaint of pregnancy. One of the safest exercises during the first trimester for sure.
  1. Kegel exercises: Kegel exercises are an easy way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can be performed easily at home. It involves squeezing and relaxing muscles in the pelvic and genital areas. These muscles support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, small intestine, rectum and uterus.
  1. Pilates: Pilates is an effective exercise throughout the pregnancy as it eases rib cage and back pain by reducing the pressure on the abdomen and back.

These were some of the safe exercises during the first trimester.

Here’s a list of exercises to avoid during pregnancy in the first trimester:

  1. High-intensity workouts like pushing tyres, lifting heavy weights or boxes and other cross-fit exercises.
  2. Jogging, running and cycling.
  3. Bouncing on the trampoline.
  4. Training at high altitudes.
  5. Yoga at hot temperatures.

These were some of the first month pregnancy care tips for the expecting mums that can make their workout sessions a breeze!

Some women also wonder if they can continue swimming in pregnancy in the first trimester. As long as there aren’t any complications in your pregnancy, you can continue swimming.

How Much Does A Baby Grow In The First Trimester?

During the first trimester in pregnancy, your baby changes from a fertilised egg into a fully-formed fetus and all the major organs and systems take shape. Here’s what’s happening to the baby in the womb:

  • During the first trimester in pregnancy, the fertilised egg becomes a cluster of dividing cells that implants in your uterus and the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic sac commence growing.
  • The nervous system of the baby changes from an open neural tube to a brain and spinal cord and nerves and muscles start working together.
  • At this stage, your baby can move on its own but it’s too early for you to feel it.
  • Its heart takes shape and begins to beat and you can hear it on an ultrasound scan as early as week six.
  • The baby develops a digestive system, including intestines and kidneys during the first trimester in pregnancy.
  • Although they start having lungs and other major organs, they’re not fully developed.
  • A soft skeleton commences to grow during the first trimester in pregnancy and the foetus starts to look like a baby, with arms, legs, fingers, and toes.

5 Things To Avoid During The First Trimester

Pregnancy brings with it a lot of dos and doesn’t. Here are some of the things that you should avoid:

  1. Smoking and drinking are big “NOs” as babies born to mothers who smoke or drink are at increased risk for birth defects.
  2. It is advisable to avoid raw or undercooked meat and eggs as these carry the risk of contracting listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can lead to pregnancy loss and severe birth defects.
  3. Seafood and pregnancy first trimester might not resonate well. Try to avoid seafood like mackerel and tilefish as these have high mercury content.
  4. It is recommended to avoid unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices as these might contain bacteria such as listeria that can cause birth defects.
  5. It is not recommended to clean the cat’s litter box during pregnancy.

FAQs:

Is it normal to have cramps in your first trimester?

Yes, it is normal to have cramps in your first trimester and these are often felt similar to your normal menstrual cramps.

Is it safe to consume Maggi during pregnancy in the first trimester?

Yes, it is safe to consume Maggi during pregnancy in the first trimester but moderation.

Is it safe to eat carrots during pregnancy in the first trimester?

Yes, it is safe to eat carrot during pregnancy in the first trimester as it is a good source of essential nutrients.

Is it safe to eat beetroot during pregnancy first trimester?

Yes, it is safe to eat beetroot during pregnancy in the first trimester but moderate amounts.

When does the pregnancy glow start?

Although there’s no particular timeframe for experiencing the pregnancy glow, you might experience it during the height of changes in your body, particularly during the second trimester.

Cover Image Credit: freepik

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