The first trimester of pregnancy starts with the news about the pending arrival of the baby, which brings joy to both the parents. The news arrives nearly after 1/3rdof the first trimester period is over, because the first trimester lasts from the time of conception to 12 weeks and the first missing period would be noticed only after 4-5 weeks. After the good news, the mother will go through a series of discomfort as her body adjusts to the massive physical, hormonal and emotional changes occurring at a rapid pace. The first trimester is the most critical period of pregnancy, and for that reason, it is utmost important to take precautions and keep guard against any complication that may arise during this stage.

Changes in the baby

During the first trimester of pregnancy, the baby undergoes one of the most rapid changes taking place during the whole life span. From a single celled ovum which is fertilized by sperm, the embryo grows into nearly 9 cm in length during these 12 weeks.

  • The fertilized egg multiplies and changes to meet the requirements of creating a whole human body.
  • The placenta and umbilical cord are formed to filter and provide water, nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s body to the growing embryo. It also functions as an excretory system.
  • The amniotic sac develops with amniotic fluid to protect the baby.
  • Development of the entire nervous system takes place.
  • The heart is formed and starts beating by the end of the 8th week.
  • All the facial features like ears, eyes, tongue with taste buds, nose, cheeks, lips and jaw develop.
  • Tiny buds on torso grow and develop ridges forming arms and legs.
  • Genital organs take shape giving indication of the gender of the fetus.
  • Bone development begins.
  • Muscles develop and start coordinating with nerves to allow movement in the baby.

Changes in the mom to be

The first trimester is a period of profound physical and emotional changes for the mother to be. Some notable changes that take place during the first trimester in the mother include the following:

  • Growth and tenderness in breasts due to hormonal changes taking place, in order to prepare them for breast feeding.
  • The areola darkens forming small lumps around it called Montgomery’s Tubercles.
  • Stress and fatigue due the overtime work of body for developing the fetus.
  • Morning sickness, nausea and vomiting. Some mothers go through severe cases of vomiting which may need medical interference.
  • The growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder which leads to increased Micturition (need to urinate).
  • Appearance of linea nigra.
  • Pica – generally known as craving to eat unusual things like, toothpaste, chalk, clay or any other non-food substances.

Tips for the 1st trimester

The first trimester is the appropriate time to take action if parents decide to determine whether the fetus has any abnormality due to defective genes or chromosomes. This is highly recommended for high risk parents, who have a family history of genetic disorders or are known to have risks of chromosomal abnormalities. Some important guidelines to be followed during the first trimester include the following:

  • Do not indulge in strenuous physical activities.
  • Avoid dehydration, since it increases chances of miscarriage.
  • Eat healthy diet to provide sufficient nutrition for the growing fetus and your own body.
  • Avoid trauma to the embryo because even a minor trauma at this stage may lead to major deformities or disabilities in future.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Do not consume over the counter medicines.