What to Expect in the First Trimester of Pregnancy 

The first trimester of pregnancy, encompassing the initial 12 weeks, is a period of significant changes and developments. It’s a time when your body undergoes numerous transformations to accommodate the growing foetus, and understanding what to expect can help you navigate this journey with confidence. 

Physical changes and symptoms 

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a missed period, but many other changes soon follow. You might experience tenderness in the breasts, a result of hormonal changes preparing your body for breastfeeding. Nausea, commonly referred to as morning sickness, can occur at any time of the day and varies in severity. While the exact cause of nausea during pregnancy is not clear, it’s often attributed to the increase in hormones. 

Fatigue is another common symptom in the first trimester. The high levels of progesterone, along with lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production, can leave you feeling unusually tired. Frequent urination is also typical due to the increased blood flow to the pelvic area. 

Emotional changes 

The first trimester can be an emotional rollercoaster. Many women experience mood swings due to hormonal changes. Feelings of excitement mixed with anxiety are normal, as you start to think about the changes that come with parenthood. 

The growing embryo 

During the first trimester, the embryo undergoes significant development. By the end of the 12th week, all the major organs and body systems have started to form. The embryo becomes a foetus and measures about 6 centimetres long. Key milestones include the formation of the neural tube (precursor to the spine and brain), the heart beginning to beat and the development of arm and leg buds. 

Lifestyle adjustments 

It’s crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle during this time. This includes eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated and avoiding substances like alcohol, tobacco and certain medications that can harm the developing foetus. Prenatal vitamins, particularly those containing folic acid, are often recommended to support the baby’s development and prevent certain birth defects. 

Regular exercise can be beneficial, but it’s important to discuss with your healthcare provider what activities are safe.  

Medical care 

Regular prenatal visits are important during the first trimester. These appointments allow your healthcare provider to monitor your health and the baby’s development. Ultrasounds and various tests might be conducted to ensure everything is progressing as it should. 

A challenging and exciting time 

The first trimester is a time of significant change and development. While it can be challenging due to the physical and emotional changes, it’s also an exciting time as you begin the journey towards parenthood. Staying informed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular prenatal care are key to a healthy pregnancy. 

You can reach out to Dr Steven Tan about what to expect during this exciting time in your life. Aside from his expertise and experience in obstetrics and gynaecology, he is also known for his generous and warm bedside manner. In this period of significant change and development, it’s important that you have a doctor who is caring, patient and extremely family focused so that you’ll always feel at ease. 

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