Pregnancy Stages Of Pregnancy

Changes In The First Month Of Pregnancy

During the first month of pregnancy rapid changes happen to the fertilized egg. By the 25th day, the heart forms and begins to beat. The spinal cord is beginning to develop by the fourth week of pregnancy. It first forms as a neural tube, which then becomes the baby�s brain and spinal cord.
by Patricia Hughes
For dating purposes, the first month of your pregnancy is actually calculated by the first day of your last menstrual period. It counts the weeks prior to ovulation, even though you were not pregnant at that time. Doing this helps the doctor estimate your due date. You can calculate your date at home, prior to your first visit. Count nine months from the date of your last period. Then add seven days. This will be your estimated due date.  
Conception begins when the sperm meets the egg in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg moves down the tube and into the uterus, where it implants. The chorionic villi are formed soon after. The yolk sac supports the baby until the placenta develops. Shortly after implantation, the umbilical cord and placenta begin to form.
During this month, rapid changes happen to the fertilized egg. By the 25th day, the heart forms and begins to beat. The spinal cord is beginning to develop by the fourth week of pregnancy. It first forms as a neural tube, which then becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
The baby is at the greatest risk for neural tube defects at this early stage of pregnancy. Studies have shown that a diet rich in folic acid can prevent some of these defects. For this reason, women of child bearing age are advised to take a multivitamin with folic acid when trying to conceive. Choose foods rich in folic acid before you become pregnant to give your baby a healthy start.
By the fifth week of pregnancy, the embryo consists of three distinct layers. Major organs and systems are developing within the layers. On the innermost layer, the stomach, intestines, urinary tract, liver and lungs are forming. The middle layer is the area which will become the heart, blood vessels and muscles. The outer layer contains the cells that will grow to form the brain, nerves and skin.
Toward the end of this month, you may begin to suspect you are pregnant. The most obvious symptom is a missed period. Other symptoms may include feeling tired and breast tenderness. You may be emotional or weepy. These symptoms are often confusing since they are very similar to premenstrual syndrome.
After you take a home pregnancy test, call and make an appointment with your provider. You have a lot to consider. Do you want a doctor or a midwife? Will you deliver at the hospital, local birth center or at home? The answers to these questions will help you choose a provider for your prenatal care.
Your first appointment will likely not take place until your second month of pregnancy. You will be given a lot of information about pregnancy and nutrition. Ask any questions you may have at this time. During the visit, a pregnancy test will be done to confirm the pregnancy.
You will be weighed and the nurse will take your blood pressure. Your urine will be tested to look for protein and sugar. This will happen at every prenatal visit. Sudden changes in weight or blood pressure and protein or sugar in the urine can signal problems such as pre eclampsia or gestational diabetes.
The doctor will probably do an internal exam to confirm the pregnancy and check your uterus. Blood will be taken to test for anemia, blood type and immunity to certain diseases, such as rubella. If you are due for your annual exam, a Pap smear will be done during this appointment. Cultures may be taken to test for certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Don't forget to check out our next article: The Second Month of Pregnancy
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

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  • Thanks for the very informative post. It is very helpful to women trying to get pregnant to know what will happen early in their pregnancies and what to expect.

    Here via the carnival of pregnancy.


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