FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY
Pregnancy occurs during ovulation when a sperm fertilizes an egg. It describes the period in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus. Pregnancy normally lasts 40 weeks, unless in cases of premature birth where the fetus is born a few weeks earlier.
The first trimester of pregnancy is defined as the first to the twelfth week (1st – 12th week) of pregnancy. It begins on the first day of your last period till the end of the twelfth week.
During this trimester, which is the first 3 months, the baby is fully formed but not developed, in this trimester the baby grows quickly. The placenta, amniotic sac, the eyes, nose, jaw, blood cells, ears, fingers, toes, brain spinal cord and other neural tissues of the CNS (Central Nervous System), the digestive tract, sensory nerves are formed. The fingernails and toenails begin to form while the circulatory and urinary systems are functioning also the cartilages are being replaces by bones, at the end of the 1st trimester the fetus weighs about 0.5-1 ounce and is about 3-4 inches in length.
It is important to note that: though, a pregnant woman might find it difficult to eat and take her drugs during this first trimester, a pregnant woman must not joke with her well balanced meals and drugs prescribed by her doctor in order to enable the first three crucial months of her pregnancy to be successful and enable a well formed baby. The chances of a miscarriage will drastically drop after the first trimester of pregnancy due to the fact that the fetus is fully formed.
CHANGES TO BE EXPECTED DURING THE FIRST TRIMESTER
Pregnancy differs for every woman, it could be over whelming or exciting or both. Knowing what to expect in your body, emotions and personality might help you sail through a little more smoothly, they include:
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Morning sickness
- Frequent urination
- Heart burn
- Mood swings
- Food cravings
SIGNS OF DANGER IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Severe temperature higher than 100.4F.
- Vomiting more than three times a day, such that you cant keep any food or liquid in your stomach.
- Painful urination.
- Abdominal pain.
- Severe head aches with blurred vision
- Difficulty in breathing
SELF-CARE, DO’S AND DON’T’S AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES IN YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER
- Eat balanced meals
- Take daily prescribed multi-vitamin
- Get regular rest
- Stay hydrated
- Go for prenatal check ups
- Exercise regularly
- Get a flu shot
- See a prenatal massage therapist
- Enjoy breeze and sunshine
- Develop a support system
- Put yourself first
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you
- Try prenatal yoga
- Have sex
- Gain weight smartly
- Avoid drinking excess caffeinated drinks: caffeine higher than 200mg a day might be harmful to the developing fetus.
- Avoid sitting in hot tubs: sitting in hot tubs might lead to increase in temperature to the point that could be dangerous to the developing fetus.
- Avoid certain foods: keeping in mind that when a woman is pregnant everything she consumes, gets to her baby, some foods can be harmful to the fetus because of their exposure to germs. Foods to avoid include; raw meat, deli meats, hot dogs, king mackerel, sword fish, raw eggs, sushi, unpasteurised milk, cheese made from unpasteurised milk, unripe paw, unwashed fruits and vegetables etc.
- Avoid alcohol intake: throughout pregnancy, a woman should avoid alcohol because it could lead to development of abnormal facial features in the baby; it also increases the risk of miscarriages, low birth weight and preterm birth.
- Avoid smoking: every cigarette smoked constricts the blood vessels in the umbilical cord, leading to the reduction of oxygen supply. Smoking could also lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or have a birth defect.
- Reduce stress: increased stress level may lead to hypertension, palpitation, heart disease and other health problems.
- Self-medication: Avoid over the counter drugs or drugs not prescribed by your doctor, because some drugs that can be taken ordinarily when a woman is not pregnant if taken when she is pregnant might lead to a miscarriage.