First Trimester Of Pregnancy – What Should You Know
1. How is pregnancy calculated and the definition of weeks in pregnancy?
The unborn baby spends around 38 weeks in the womb, but the average length of pregnancy (gestation) is counted as 40 weeks. This is because pregnancy is counted from the first day of the woman’s last period, not the date of conception, which generally occurs two weeks later.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters:
- First trimester – conception to 12 weeks
- Second trimester – 12 to 24 weeks
- Third trimester – 24 to 40 weeks.
2. What is First Trimester Screening?
First-trimester screening or prenatal testing is done to detect problems early in the pregnancy. The first-trimester screening typically includes a maternal blood screening test and an ultrasound exam. It’s done to see if a fetus is at risk of having a chromosomal abnormality (such as Down syndrome or Edward syndrome) or birth defect (such as heart problems).
3. What is First Trimester Bleeding?
First-trimester bleeding or obstetrical hemorrhage is common and is experienced by around 25% of pregnant women. If you experience severe vaginal bleeding consult your gynecologist immediately.
4. What are the Possible Causes of First Trimester Bleeding?
Bleeding during your first trimester can be caused by a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or implantation bleeding, among others. It can also be caused by medical intervention or infection. If you are bleeding during your first trimester, it is best to see your doctor to ensure your safety and your baby’s.
5. What are the symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy?
The first sign of pregnancy is a missed period although this can be overlooked by some women. Other symptoms include tender breasts, nausea, vomiting, increased urination, first-trimester cramping, fatigue, food aversions, heartburn, and constipation. You will also find yourself going through a surge of emotions including anxiety and exhaustion. These are common to pregnant women and should not be a reason to panic.
6. What are the Factors Affecting First Trimester Weight Gain?
Weight gain during the first trimester of pregnancy is related to the baby’s weight and the placenta, among others. While some women gain weight early in the pregnancy, the majority of the required weight gain occurs later in the pregnancy.
7. What is the Ideal Weight Gain to Ensure a Healthy Mother and Baby?
The WHO recommends the following weight gain for the respective body weight:
18.5 BMI to 24.9 BMI – 11 to 15 kgs
< 18.5 BMI –12. to 18kgs
25 BMI – 29.9 BMI – 6 to 11 kgs.
> 30 BMI – 5 to 10 kgs.
8. What Causes First Trimester Fatigue?
First-trimester fatigue is caused by multiple factors. It is mainly due, however, to the surge in progesterone during the first three months. Another cause is the increase in blood volume for the developing placenta and for fetal circulation. This results in the heart pumping faster and stronger.
9. How Long Will the Fatigue Last?
For pregnant women who are worried the exhaustion will last the entire pregnancy, you can now relax. As soon as you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, you will start to feel the glow and boost in energy that comes with pregnancy.
10. What is a First Trimester Ultrasound?
Most pregnant women, especially first-time pregnant women, look forward to their first ultrasound appointment. For some, it means their little one’s very first photograph. For others, it is ensuring their baby is growing safely and healthily. The first-trimester ultrasound is scheduled in your first three to four months to confirm your pregnancy. Anything before these months may be too small.
11. Why Do You Need a First Trimester Ultrasound?
You do not necessarily have to schedule an ultrasound appointment early in the pregnancy although your doctor may suggest it for a number of reasons. These include ensuring your baby’s heartbeat, identifying the correct dates of your pregnancy, and ruling out ectopic pregnancy, among others.
12. How is a First Trimester Ultrasound Performed?
A pregnancy ultrasound is mainly performed using transabdominal ultrasound. This involves scanning through your lower abdomen with the aid of an ultrasound gel and an ultrasound probe. For those who want to schedule an earlier ultrasound appointment where the developing embryo may still be too small to see, a transvaginal ultrasound is performed. This is basically an internal ultrasound where the ultrasound probe is lying in the vagina to get a better look at the baby.
13. Do You Need to Workout During Your First Trimester?
Working out during your first trimester is recommended to stay fit and healthy. Exercising has many benefits for pregnant women, which include regulating weight and getting in shape for childbirth. It also helps improve your mood in spite of the exhaustion that comes with the first trimester.
14. What Kind of Exercises are Recommended During the First Trimester?
Not all women are in the habit of working out on a regular basis and pregnant women may most likely find it hard to start. That is why starting with the basics seems more viable. You can start by walking for around 30 minutes a day, at least three to five times a week. You can proceed to do yoga, addressing certain concerns during pregnancy like lower back pain.
15. What is First Trimester Insomnia?
Sleep problems during pregnancy are common among mothers-to-be. While pregnant women get more sleep during their first trimester, the quality of their sleep actually is quite low. This is mainly due to first-trimester fatigue, which can result in insomnia.
16. What Causes Insomnia in the First Trimester?
There are various reasons why pregnant women develop insomnia during their first trimester. The main things include the need to urinate more frequently, nausea, vomiting, back pain, and breast tenderness, among others.
17. How Do You Address First Trimester Insomnia?
The main solution for first-trimester insomnia is a good sleeping habit. Start by going to bed at the same time every night and avoiding late-night activities. You also need to watch your diet and exercise as they have a huge impact on your sleep.
18. What are the changes seen in the first trimester?
There will be a lot of changes in your physical, mental, and emotional states once you’re pregnant. While it may seem scary at first, you will be able to overcome it eventually. The first key is to know what these symptoms are so you can better address them properly.
19. What healthy diet is advised during the first trimester?
- Vegetables and fruits
- Juices without sugars
- Avoid junk foods and packed foods
- Reduce coffee intake
- Drink plenty of water (3 liters per day)
- Stop alcohol and smoking.
- Cooked meat(fish, egg, skinless chicken, and mutton)
- Avoid raw foods.
20. What vitamin supplements should be taken during the first trimester?
Prenatal vitamins supplements are specially formulated to give you the recommended daily allowance of all the essential vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
These supplements can help make up for any nutritional gaps in your diet, ensure your baby’s healthy development and also help reduce the risks of some birth defects.
Your doctor will prescribe suitable prenatal supplements when you’re trying to conceive, during your pregnancy, and while you’re breastfeeding.
The most important nutrient in the first trimester is folic acid. 5mg is recommended before conception and for the first three months of pregnancy. The supplements available in India are of different strengths. Your doctor will prescribe the right one for you, depending on your health, your risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, and which supplement is easily available in your area.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Being low in vitamin B6 may make you more prone to nausea. Taking a B6 supplement seems to ease their symptoms for some pregnant women with severe nausea.
Preventing iron-deficiency anemia can cut your risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality. Since anemia is common in India, doctors advise a daily supplement containing 100 mg of elemental iron with 0.5mg of folic acid from the start of your second trimester.
Calcium (fortified with vitamin D)
If you’re lacking vitamin D during pregnancy, your baby may be short on the vitamin at birth. This can put your child at risk for rickets (which can lead to fractures and deformity), abnormal bone growth, and delayed physical development. You’ll be advised to take calcium and iron from the start of your second trimester. You’ll need to take these until the end of pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Your doctor will adjust your dose according to your needs, health, and eating habits.