Trimesters: First Trimester
The first trimester is the first division of pregnancy. Beginning the first day of your last period, the first trimester lasts twelve weeks.
The first week or two of the first trimester, you are not actually pregnant. Pregnancy occurs at conception which typically happens around week two or three of the first trimester.
In the first couple of weeks after conception, your body starts to product the hormones needed to support the baby until he has implanted into your uterus. This change in hormones often noticeably affects women. Women complain of bloating, mild cramping, breast sensitivity, more frequent urination, and some nausea. Many women do not notice these symptoms because they are common premenstrual symptoms. When her period is a day or two late, however, a mother may start to wonder if something more exciting is happening.
As the weeks go by, you may not notice any physical changes but you may feel more symptoms. Your body is being flooded with new and more hormones so morning sickness is very common. In addition, you may start to experience mood swings, anxiety, and crying. It may seem like you are repeating puberty.
- Morning sickness
- Breast tenderness
- Frequent urination
- Metallic taste
- Small weight gain or loss (3-5 lbs)
- Cravings or distaste for certain foods
- Mood swings
- Unusual and more dreams
- More difficulty concentrating or remembering things, aka “pregnancy brain”
First Trimester Changes in Baby
The first trimester is the most vital of the three trimesters for the baby. All of the baby’s major organs are being built at this time.
- Optic nerve and lenses of eye begin to form
- Size of a grain of sand to an orange seed
- Heart is beating
- Arm and leg buds form
- Skin is forming
- Size of a nail head or sweet pea
- Face is forming
- Kidneys, liver, and lungs are beginning to form
- Hands and feet start to develop
- Size of a blueberry
- Brain is growing (100 cells/min)
- Arms, legs, hands, and feet further developing
- Mouth and tongue are forming
- Kidneys are in place and ready to start working
- Size of a raspberry
- Fingers and toes are starting to form
- Lips, nose, and eyelids are forming
- Hair follicles and nail beds are forming
- Intestines are forming
- Touch receptors are forming
- Tastebuds have formed
- Brain is developed enough to start moving baby’s limbs
- Retina has formed
- Size of a medium green olive
- Baby can hiccup and touch face now
- Fingers and toes are no longer webbed
- Bones are developing in the arms and legs
- Size of a prune
- Baby is now considered a fetus
- Bones and cartilage are forming
- Indentations for knees and ankles are beginning to appear
- Arms with elbows are beginning to flex
- Tooth buds are forming
- Stomach is beginning to produce digestive juices
- Kidneys are producing urine
- Boys are producing testosterone
- Making practice breathing motions
- Skin is becoming less translucent
- Weighs about a quarter ounce and about two inches long
- Girls are developing ovaries
- Baby is really beginning to move: stretching, somersaults, rolling
- Sucking thumb
- Weighs half an ounce and about 3 inches long, size of a plum
- Digestive system is beginning to contract its muscles
- Bone marrow is producing white blood cells
- Pituatary gland is producing hormones
- Touch receptors have developed on the genitals, hands, and feet
What To Do in the First Trimester
This is a very exciting time and you may feel like it will be forever before your baby is here. However, it will come faster than you think. You will probably be on Pinterest searching for nursery ideas, spending evenings tossing names back and forth with your husband, and day dreaming about what your child will be like. This is such a fun time but you also need to keep in mind a few things to keep you and baby healthy throughout the pregnancy and for birth.
You need to start taking a prenatal vitamin immediately if you haven’t already been taking one. This will help prevent neural tube defects.
Make an appointment with your doctor or midwife. If you do not have someone you trust, ask some of your friends or ask in a Facebook group for suggestions and recommendations.
Check out what your insurance covers. All insurances must cover the cost of a breast pump but there may be other services and items that are provided through your insurance as well, including childbirth education, chiropractic care, and possibly other alternative medicine treatments.
You need to be more conscientious with your health now. Make sure you are eating properly and drinking plenty of water. It might be a good idea to talk with a nutrition counselor just to make sure you are not missing out on something important.
If you are not a regular exerciser or if you are a major exerciser, consider starting or adapting your routine for your pregnancy. Now might be a good time to take a group class specifically for pregnant women. You will be getting your body in shape for carrying your baby and birthing him while forming wonderful relationships with women in the same life stage as you. These relationships can really be helpful in the future. If you are in the Grapevine, TX area, I highly recommend a prenatal dance class led by my friend and fellow doula, Callie.
Start thinking about how to announce your pregnancy. You may also need to consider speaking with your boss if you work for someone.
Educate yourself. Do your research on everything. Learn about what exams and screenings may be recommended and decide if they are ones you feel comfortable with. Consider what type of birth you are interested in pursuing. What neonatal testing, treatments, and vaccines do you want performed on your child. Ask lots of questions. Keep a notepad for writing down questions to ask your doctor or midwife at your appointments. Research birth locations, doulas, lactation counselors, moms groups, pediatricians, birth photographers, etc. There is so much to learn. Don’t overwhelm yourself, though. You have nine months. Check out a few things every day and you’ll be an expert at what you want and will feel calmer and more prepared once labor day arrives.
This first trimester is such a fun and exciting time. Physically and emotionally, you may not feel like a million bucks but your future is changing and you have a growing blessing in your womb. Enjoy this time but also take care of yourself and your baby. And, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,”
If you are in the Denton, TX area and are interested in hiring a doula for your birth experience, contact me today to schedule a free consultation. If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in checking out my Comfort Measures in Labor page.