Pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Trimesters organize weeks. The first trimester is from conception to week 12.
Pregnancy’s first 12 weeks change a woman’s body. As a result, women often worry about what to eat, prenatal tests, weight gain, and keeping their babies healthy.
Knowing a pregnancy week-by-week can help you make decisions and prepare for significant changes.
What happens in the first trimester?
Women undergo many changes in the first trimester. Hormones affect almost every organ. Missed periods indicate pregnancy. Some women experience:
- vomiting mood swings
- headaches food cravings
- food aversion
This may require more rest or smaller meals. Some women have no symptoms.
First-trimester fetus development?
Your last menstrual period is the first day of pregnancy. An egg release combines with a sperm, and conception occurs 10–14 days later. First-trimester development is rapid. The fetus forms a brain, spinal cord, and organs. The first trimester also starts the baby’s heartbeat.
Fingers and toes form by eight weeks after arms and legs begin to bud. Sex organs include by the end of the first trimester. The Office on Women’s Health Trusted Source says the baby is 3 inches long and weighs almost 1 ounce.
Make a doctor’s appointment to start baby care when you find out you’re pregnant. Start prenatal vitamins now. Prenatal vitamins should contain folic acid for a year before pregnancy. The first trimester usually involves monthly doctor visits.
Your first visit will include a health history, physical, and pelvic exam. Doctors may also perform an ultrasound to confirm first trimester pregnancy.
- Pap test
- STI, HIV, and hepatitis blood pressure tests
- estimate your due date, which is about 266 days after your last period.
- check for anemia
- thyroid levels
Nuchal translucency (NT) scans are done at 11 weeks. Ultrasounds measure the baby’s head and neck thickness. Your baby may have Down syndrome based on the measurements.
Ask your doctor if your pregnancy needs genetic screening. Genetic screening tests your baby for genetic diseases.
How can I stay healthy in the first trimester?
Pregnant women must know what to do and avoid taking care of themselves and their babies.
- First-trimester health tips:
- Prenatal vitamins.
- Exercise often.
- Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor.
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein, and fiber.
- Eat enough (about 300 calories more than usual).
Avoid these during the first trimester:
- strength training that could injure your stomach
- caffeine (no more than one cup of coffee or tea per day)
- raw or smoked fish (no sushi)
- shark, swordfish, mackerel, or white snapper (they have high levels of mercury)
- cat litter, which can spread toxoplasmosis in unpasteurized dairy products
- hot dogs
What else is essential in the first trimester?
Having a baby will change your life, but the first trimester is full of body changes. So preparing for the future requires thinking about many things in the first few months of pregnancy.
Telling friends, family, and employers
Wait until the second trimester because miscarriages are most common in the first.
If your employer offers unpaid maternity leave for the birth and care of your newborn, you may want to consider whether you will keep working or quit as your pregnancy progresses.
Start thinking about where you want to give birth. Hospitals, birth centers, and homes can deliver babies. Discuss the pros and cons of each location with your doctor.
Hospitals and birthing centers are the safest, according to ACOG. However, hospitals are prepared for emergencies.
High-risk pregnancies are riskier. High-risk pregnancy factors include being young, over 35, overweight, underweight, or having high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, cancer, or other autoimmune disorders.
High-risk pregnancies may require more doctor visits and specialized care. On the other hand, high-risk pregnancies may not cause issues.
Pregnant women worry about medical bills. The good news is that every state has care-funding options. If you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor, midwife, or nurse (in some medical practices, both are in the same office). Most health insurance plans now cover pregnant women. Insurance companies are learning that prenatal care prevents costly medical care later. Local hospitals, clinics, and government programs offer:
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- free pregnancy care