There are numerous transformations going on in the first trimester of pregnancy. Although you may not see the changes directly, you will feel different because your body is preparing to take care of the little baby and help it develop properly. The following paragraphs will describe what happens in the first part of your pregnancy, what the common symptoms are and how you can manage them better.
The start of the marathon
The time from which you calculate your pregnancy starts from the first day of your last period. In reality, you aren’t really pregnant in the first two weeks after that date, since you need that time to ovulate after which fertilization can occur. Regardless, a doctor will calculate from the start of your last period, even though you were not pregnant at that time.
Conception and development
Conception: Fertilization can start once you ovulate, or release a viable egg. The egg usually has a 24 window in which it can be fertilized by sperm. Once the sperm and egg unite, a zygote will form, which will have 46 chromosomes altogether: 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. These will dictate every single trait your baby will have, such as sex, height, eye color or even some personality traits.
Implantation (week 4): The zygote will travel down the fallopian tubes while the cells divide to form the embryo. Once it reaches the uterus, the embryo will implant itself on the uterine wall, where it will continue its development. This is the time when the placenta also begins to form.
Weeks 5-8: The start of the embryonic period usually begins after five weeks, or 3 actual weeks after fertilization. In this period, the most important organs will form, such as the brain, spinal cord, heart and all others. The central and peripheral nervous system will form, and then the eyes, inner ears. The basic formations for the baby’s bones, muscle tissue and reproductive system will also start to appear.
During the sixth week, neural tubes close and the first facial features appear. Your baby is now shaped as a C, with small buds appearing that will form the arms and legs. The brain and facial features develop, with little nostrils appearing accompanied by tiny eye lenses. The small buds will also develop and begin to look like paddles.
In the eight week, the arms and legs are defining, with little fingers appearing. The baby’s eyes are now visible, and the external years are also forming. The C shape is getting straighter, and the nose and upper lip are formed. Now your baby is about 13 millimeters long.
Weeks 9-12: In this period of time, the baby’s bones develop, the arms get defined even more, and little toes form. The head becomes more round, the neck develops, and the eyelids close to protect the little forming eyes.
Starting from the 11th week, the baby can be called a fetus. The eyes are widely separated, the eyelids fuse and the little ears are low set, and red blood cells are produced in the baby’s liver. The external genitals also begin to form.
During the twelfth week, the fingernails develop, and the baby’s facial features have a human profile. By now your baby should be about two and a half inches long and weigh half an ounce. It will continue to develop until the 40th week, when it will be ready to enter the world.
What to expect in the 1st trimester of pregnancy
Once fertilization occurs, your body will start undergoing many changes in order to be fully supportive of the new life you’re about to bring in this new world. Here are a few things you can expect in the first period of your pregnancy.
Morning sickness, heartburn and constipation
Although they can appear throughout the day, bouts of nausea might not only be unpleasant, but they can also make a young mother concerned. This symptom is related to the increase in two of the main hormones: progesterone and estrogen. They slow down digestion, which means that your stomach stays full for a longer time.
This, coupled with the heightened sense of smell, might lead to you becoming sick when smelling foods you might otherwise like. The slowed digestion might also cause constipation and heartburn. In order to avoid these symptoms, you can eat smaller meals more often, and avoid consuming fried foods, carbonated drinks or spices.
Due to the hormonal changes taking place, your breasts might become more sensitive, resulting in uncomfortable feelings or even pain. Try using more supportive bras, or you can even go for a special sports bra.
Because your uterus becomes larger, it will put pressure on the bladder which will result in you urinating more often than normally. Although it might be annoying at times, you should urinate every time you feel you need to, in order to prevent any possible infections on the urinary tract. To prevent disturbing your sleep by going to the bathroom too often at night, you should try to drink fewer fluids in the evening.
Fatigue and dizziness
Fatigue is common during the first trimester of pregnancy, and is associated with increasing levels of progesterone coupled with low blood sugar and blood pressure levels. You should make sure to have enough rest, have enough iron and proteins in your diet and do mild exercise daily.
Low blood pressure along with increased stress and fatigue might also be responsible for feeling dizzy, and to prevent that you should stand as little as possible, and to rise gently and slowly when lying down.
The hormonal changes might result in you having mixed emotions such as feeling delighted, exhausted or worried. They are all normal, as the coming of a new baby can be a stressful event, and it’s understandable that you are worried about your baby’s health.
You might also go through rapid mood swings. You might be concerned of the relationship with your partner. You should just remember that all these feelings are normal, and that if you take good care of yourself and communicate with your partner, all will go well, and you will eventually give birth to a wonderful baby.