• What’s going on inside of you: Your uterus has grown more to accommodate your two-and-a-half-inch fetus, which looks a lot more human now. Although your baby’s head is still big in proportion to the rest of her body, her eyes and ears are moving into position, and her genitals are beginning to be discernible (but it will take a few more weeks before you can see anything on a sonogram). At this point, your little one has soft fingernails and taste buds, and floats in the amniotic fluid, which acts as a shock absorber.

    What you’re feeling physically and emotionally: Fatigue, nausea, constipation, indigestion, headache, faintness, and burning sensation will still be there. Your appetite will increase—but make sure you make the right food choices to meet your nutritional needs. While you’ll still be feeling moody and irrational, you may also be feeling more calm and settled as you get used to being pregnant.

    Staying fit: Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, having an exercise regimen is good for you. The most ideal is already exercising long before getting pregnant and simply continuing what your body is used to doing, but in moderation. If you’re starting just now, it would be wise to choose activities that do not put sudden strain on the body. Brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, calisthenics for pregnancy, and yoga are some of the things you can do.

    Testing, testing: See your doctor at least once a month in the first trimester, unless your doctor asks you to come in more often. Expect that at every prenatal check up, the doctor will take your blood pressure and weight, measure your belly’s size, and take the baby’s heartbeat. The doctor may order a battery of tests depending on your medical history, but basic prenatal tests are complete blood count, blood typing, hepatitis B screening, and urinalysis. An ultrasound is taken before 12 weeks to date the pregnancy, and a more detailed one is taken between 18 to 22 weeks to check for abnormalities, evaluate the condition of the fetus and the placenta, and more.

    For low-income households: Doctor’s fees and laboratory tests can be costly, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking care of yourself. Local health centers offer these tests at a minimal fee. You can also ask your hospital for package deals. “Most hospitals, at least here in Cebu, offer package deal services where prenatal check-ups are very minimal like P60 to P100, which actually serve as a deposit for the future admission,” says Cebu-based OB-GYN Ma. Lourdes Poblete-Chan. Lab tests are given at a 50 percent discount, and during delivery, the doctor and room are free.
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