Are you pregnant for the first time? Congratulations! If you’re looking for a helpful source on what to expect while pregnant, check out the article below.
Understanding the First Trimester of Pregnancy
A pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters, each lasting 12-14 weeks. The most significant developmental changes occur during the first trimester, which starts during week 1 and ends after week 12 of gestation.
The more you know about how your body is changing and how your baby is growing, the more prepared you will be to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Changes in Your Body
Every woman will have a different experience during pregnancy, but there are a number of physiological changes that are most commonly reported.
Tenderness of the breasts is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Breast tenderness is caused by the body preparing the milk ducts in the breasts to feed your baby.
Noticeable changes in menstruation may point to pregnancy. According to WebMD, light spotting is reported by 25% of women during early pregnancy. On the opposite spectrum, if you notice heavy bleeding and sharp pains in the abdomen, consult your healthcare provider. This may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy (which occurs when the embryo develops outside of the uterus) and may become life threatening.
WebMD also reports that hormonal changes during the first trimester often cause nausea in about 85% of women in the early stages of pregnancy. Nausea is usually more severe in the morning and is commonly referred to as “morning sickness.”
More than 60% of women report experiencing food cravings during the first trimester. Keep in mind that your tastes may change during this time, and you may be craving foods that you previously didn’t care for.
How Your Baby is Growing and Developing
The first month marks the development of the baby’s environment, and the structures that will provide nutrients and protection throughout the duration of the pregnancy. In the first few weeks, the placenta develops and blood circulation will begin.
By the end of the second month, the brain, spinal cord, and the central nervous system are developed and the baby starts to move. Arms, legs, Hands, feet, fingers, toes and eyes also begin to develop.
By the end of the first trimester, the baby will be about 3-4 inches in length and will weigh about one ounce. The baby is fully formed and able to open and close its mouth and make fists with its hands.
During the third month of gestation, doctors are able to offer a screening test to assess the risk that your child may have a genetic condition. Noninvasive prenatal DNA testing can be performed as early as week 10 without the risks of invasive procedures.
During your first trimester of pregnancy, or before pregnancy if possible, you will want to consider whether or not you want to perform genetic screening and testing. Being prepared with an answer when your physician presents you with the option will make you feel more confident in the process.
Today’s partnered post is provided by outside contributor, Sara Stringer.