Pregnancy Guide – The First Trimester
by Jennifer Shakeel
Congratulations! You just found out that you are pregnant! Whether this is your first child or not the excitement is just as intense. Trying to figure out what to expect and when is just as exciting. From one expecting mother to another, let me tell you that you are in for a journey like no other!
Unless you were trying to conceive, chances are that you found out you were pregnant and you are already about two months along. Don’t worry, if that is the case you haven’t missed much with the growing fetus inside you. I am sure that you have felt everything, while you couldn’t put your finger on it, something was different. You didn’t feel like yourself. You might have been more tired than usual, felt like you were coming down with the flu. These symptoms are probably still going on. This is what is called morning sickness.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that it only happens in the morning or that every pregnant women experiences it. With my first I didn’t get morning sickness. With my second I was nauseated the entire pregnancy. With this pregnancy I spent most of the first trimester tired, nauseated, unable to eat and in the bathroom.
So what is going on inside of you. The first month of pregnancy actually was the last period that you had and lasts through ovulation. Technically speaking your are not really pregnant at this time. However doctors need to know the first day of your last normal period to better calculate your expected due date.
You conceived within 24 hours of ovulating. This takes places for most women two weeks before their period. The egg and the sperm partnered up in the Fallopian tube and then spent the next 7 to 10 days down the Fallopian tube to the uterus. The egg is fertilized by now and is going to take up residency in the lining of the uterus. As soon as that happened the signals went out through your body telling it you are pregnant and ovulation was halted.
The “baby” is called a blastocyst right now and measures about .1 – .2 mm. By the time your fourth week of pregnancy rolls around the needed villi are formed an the yolk sac is helping your body sustain the pregnancy until your placenta is fully formed. All of this is going on while you were not feeling quite yourself.
This is where all the fun, but really critical stuff happens. Let’s back up, the first trimester is vitally important to the healthy of your baby. Right now in the second month this is when the blastocysts will become an embryo. It is in the second month that there will be heart that will start to beat. At first the heart beat will be very slow, then it will get faster and then slow down again as the pregnancy progresses.
If you were to get an ultrasound you would see that the embryo looks a lot like a kidney bean, with a flutter inside of it. It looks nothing like a human right now. But as the second month progresses things happen. You will be able to tell where the head is and where the bottom is. There will also be limb buds that will sprout, the stomach, lungs, liver and kidneys are all starting to grow. While the embryo knows whether or not it is a boy or a girl, the only way you are going to find out is if you has genetic screening done.
Your baby is about 8 – 11 mm from the top of the head to the bottom of their bum. For most women, this is the month that you actually find out that you are pregnant, unless you are like my husband and I and had been trying for a year for the baby. We knew right away. You know and you are excited, and you can’t wait to be showing! Don’t worry it will come in time… sooner than you think.
Congrats! You are finishing your first trimester. For many women that were plagued with morning sickness, the good news is that it should be coming to an end. I say should, but there are no guarantees. Mine, with this pregnancy, lasted into the second trimester, and that burst of energy they say you are suppose to get in the second trimester, ummm… I am still waiting for it and I am almost done with my pregnancy.
Anyway, taking a look at the little growing bundle of joy inside you. Right now his or her bones have started to harden. While you don’t feel it, your baby is moving in there and their eyes are wide open. This is because the baby hasn’t developed eye lids yet, but they do have the external parts of the ear.
This month the external genitalia has also begun to develop. Sorry, you still aren’t going to be able to tell even with the best ultrasound whether you are having a boy or a girl. It is in this third and triumphant month that your baby goes from being an embryo to a fetus! Woohoo!
The fetus’s head is the biggest part of their body at this point, it is about half the size of the entire body. Don’t worry, your baby won’t come out that way. Currently the head is large, but the brain that is houses is very similar to the brain will be like at birth. Your baby is approximately 14 grams and is now a little over 3.5 inches long. By the end of this month, your doctor should be able to hear the heart beat with a Doppler.
What About You
So we have gone over what is going on with the baby, and have hinted at what you might have been experiencing. Yes, only hinted. By the end of your third month, you might have already found that your clothes are not fitting like they used to. While you don’t really have to rush out and get maternity clothes right now, it is a good time to start looking.
I have already told you that you probably aren’t feeling like yourself. You are tired, and the thought of having a nap is the best thought you have had in days. I can not stress enough that if at no other time have you ever listened to your body, now is the time. If you feel tired, try to take a nap. Even if it is only for 15 minutes. Get the extra rest your body is asking for.
I am sure that you are starting to have to visit the bathroom more frequently. This doesn’t mean that you should stop drinking. It is really important that right now you increase your water intake and decrease your caffeine intake. You should also be taking prenatal vitamins and making healthier eating choices. The reason here is two fold, one you need the nutrients to make sure you are healthy throughout your pregnancy. Secondly your growing baby needs those nutrients to make sure he or she is growing properly.
Oh, we can not forget all the fun feelings you are having. Mood swings are common during the first trimester as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes you are going through. Relax, make sure that you talk with partner. You have six more months to get through.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting. One of my children has ADD, our journey of learning to come to terms with the diagnosis and figuring out what works best for us has been a challenge and a joy. Our son was diagnosed about two and half years ago, and we have had our ups and downs, joys and sorrows. If I can just offer you one day of hope or one idea that may work to help you and your family then I know that my purpose has been fulfilled. I also want to share with you the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!