• Pregnancy Basics: Your First Trimester (Week 1 to 12)

    Your body is changing, and you will definitely feel it. Pay it with loving attention.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • Pregnancy Basics: Your First Trimester (Week 1 to 12)
    IMAGE Ocskay Mark/Shutterstock
  • By the time your pregnancy test kit shows two lines, you are probably two to three weeks along the family way already. Congratulations! The first thing you need to do is go to your doctor to validate your pregnancy test results; it also serves as first prenatal checkup.

    Get a doctor you like and trust because you will see a lot of her in the next nine months. Once you announced to the world that you are on the family way, you're most likely to receive a lot of advice, unsolicited or otherwise, but remember to listen to your doctor. She may prescribe you prenatal vitamins if you aren't taking them already and tell you the best foods to eat for your and your baby's health. You will also undergo some tests towards the end of the first trimester. 

    Your unborn baby will start off as a embryo, a small sac or jeally bean. By the end of the first timester, your unborn baby will have the semblance of a human being, with arms and legs, but a larger head. At week 5 or 6, you'll be able to hear his heartbeat when you go to your prenatal checkups. He or she is already growing fingers and toes and major organs organs are already starting to take shape and develop. 

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    Over the course of the first trimester, you may not look pregnant yet, but your body is already working double-time. Some breeze through the first three months, while others could be put on bed rest. The changes in your body is mainly due to pregnancy hormones. Every pregnancy is different, but generally, here's what you can expect in the first trimester:

    Morning sickness
    Not all women experience morning sickness, and it varies. Some women get it in the morning, all day, and even beyond the first trimester. Nausea, vomiting are the two most common symptoms. Some women get severe morning sickness that may warrant medical attention. Eating bland foods, having small meals, and ginger tea helps ease morning sickness

    Fatigue
    Apart from morning sickness, some preggos also feel overly sleepy or tired even after just simple everyday activities. According to Parenting, increase in progesterone may have a  sedative effect, and your body needs more blood, too. Some women experience breathlessness, headaches, and heartburns, too, during the first trimester. Take cues from your body and don't exhaust yourself. Sleep when you can. 

    Discharge/bleeding
    Thin, milky discharge is normal. If you have foul-smelling, green or yellow and too much clear discharge, you should consult your doctor. Light spotting could be a sign of implantation bleeding, but other than that warrants a call to your doctor. OB-gyne Dr. Ma. Lourdes Poblete-Chan says significant bleeding, sharp dysmenorrhea-like pains, and cramping could be a sign of implantation or placenta problems

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    Food cravings or aversions
    Again, not all women have food cravings; some just have one while others crave for a different one every day. And it also depends on how much food you can keep down if you have morning sickness. Some preggos find out that they no longer like the taste of a favorite food or kitchen staple. 

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    Heightened sense of smell
    Speaking of the odors, a pregnant woman develops a sensitive nose. Just like food, she may suddenly not like her husband's aftershave. She could smell garlic even if someone's cooking a mile away. On the upside, you can detect tobacco smoke easliy so steer clear of it, as well as other harsh odors. 

    Breast tenderness
    Thanks to pregnancy hormones, your milk ducts are already preparing to produce breast milk for when the time your baby arrives. Your breasts may feel a little sore and may start to look larger and feel hevaier, and your nipples may appear darker, too.

    Frequent urination
    Your growing baby may not be large enough to press down on your kidneys yet, but it is already working overtime to flush toxins and waste out of your body. It should not discourage you from drinking lots of fluids. Remember, don't hold your pee for too long to prevent urinary tract infections.

    Constipation
    The muscle contractions that normally move food along through the intestines are slower now that you're pregnant. Plus, the extra iron you're getting could be a factor, too. You may also feel a little gassy and bloated. Increasing your fiber intake helps with constipation. 

    Skin breakouts
    Again, it's because of the hormones. Hold on before reaching your go-to anti-acne product. Some chemicals found in beauty products are not safe for you and your unborn baby so using mild soap is the safest bet. Consult your dermatologist to help manage acne breakouts. 

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    Mood swings
    Everything that happens to your body influences your feelings and mood swings. You may notice that you're too emotional or easily upset over little things. Some women also have a change in sexual appetite, but it’s perfectly okay to have pregnant sex, too, unless your doctor advised against it. 

    Weight gain
    Eat healthy -- and not for two. Depending on your original weight, you should gain only about three to six pounds or close to two kilograms over the first three months. Choose fruits and veggies, whole-grain and lean meat, instead of sweets and bad fats. 

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    Here is a rundown of some red flags you need to watch for from What To Expect:

    • Heavy vaginal bleeding
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Sudden thirst
    • Painful urination
    • High fever
    • Severe backache
    • Severe puffiness in the hands/face
    • Vision disturbances

    Pregnancy is not the time to get sick; prevention is key. Avoid going in places where there are large crowds. Practice handwashing. Get the okay of your doctor before traveling. If your doctor didn't tell you to stop, continue your exercises, but with caution, of course, so you don't overdo it. It's safe, too, to start a preggy-friendly fitness routine, such as yoga, Pilates, or swimming. Keeping active for at least 30 minutes will help you in the long run. 

    Lastly, say no to stress. Sure, you have to make a budget, make some healthy lifestyle changes, and an overload of hormones. Remember to pause and try not let the worrying get in the way of you enjoying having a bun in the oven. 

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