YOUR IN-DEPTH GUIDE
TO THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY
In our first trimester of pregnancy article, we cover:
And everything else you may not have considered. Let's get started!
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters of approximately three months each.
The first trimester is from the beginning of your pregnancy until week 13. It might not look like much is happening when you look at your stomach, but many dramatic changes are taking place as your baby grows.
Our guide will help you with what exactly is going on and what to expect in these early weeks. We’ll also fill you in with what you should be doing and what to avoid.
Many women miss most of the first trimester because they don’t even realize that they’re pregnant at first!
Whether you know or not, your body knows what to do and pregnancy hormones are preparing your body to nourish and protect your baby for the next nine months.
Confirm Your Pregnancy
The first thing to do is make sure that you definitely are pregnant.
Your healthcare provider will be able to calculate your due date for you, if you know when your last menstrual period was. Otherwise, it can be worked out from sonar.
This first sonar is known as a “dating scan.” It’s usually done around 12 weeks of pregnancy but can be done from 6 weeks. An ultrasound machine and probe are used to perform the scan. It’s done by your ob-gyn, a midwife or a radiographer.
If done after 10 weeks gestation, the dating scan is done via your abdomen. Some gel is placed on your tummy and the hand-held probe is moved across your skin. The picture shows up on a monitor.
If the scan is done before 10 weeks or if you are very overweight, a vaginal probe may be used. This is painless and does not cause any harm.
The only preparation needed for an ultrasound scan is to have a full bladder. This pushes the uterus up and makes it easier to see. The procedure only takes about 10 minutes.
The radiographer will measure the baby to determine its age, providing a reasonably accurate estimation of how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Remember that very few women give birth exactly on their estimated due date.
Think of it as a guide, not an exact date. At the scan you’ll be able to hear the heartbeat and see any movement the baby is making.
The radiographer will check for twins and also make sure that the baby is growing normally.
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Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Most of the symptoms experienced in early pregnancy are due to changing hormonal levels. The following symptoms are common:
The changes listed above are all normal and unless severe, are nothing to worry about.
However, if you experience any of the symptoms below you should contact your healthcare provider. The risk of miscarriage is highest in this trimester, so be aware of the following:
Important Things to do in the First Trimester
What You Should Not Do in the First Trimester
We hope this isn’t an overwhelming number of dos and don’ts for you. There’s no need to worry about too many things, just take care of yourself.