March 31, 2008

First Trimester of Pregnancy: Week by Week Symptoms

Posted in Category : Women's Health

A pregnancy is divided into three trimesters and each trimester comprises of three months or thirteen weeks. The first trimester is regarded as the most delicate phase of the pregnancy, as there are several precautions you need to take during this time. During the first trimester of pregnancy, you will go through an invisible and amazing transformation. The best part is the transformation happens quite quickly. Knowing about the physical and emotional changes you may go through will probably make it easier for you to face the next few months with a higher level of confidence. Given below are the pregnancy symptoms, week by week, of the first trimester:

Week 1:
You are not actually pregnant at this point and in fact it will be the first day of your menstrual cycle. Though your baby has not yet been conceived, this week is regarded as a part of the gestation period.

Week 2:
As the progesterone levels in your body increase, your uterus becomes thicker and is starts laying down several extra small blood vessels. Your period should have stopped by now and your ovary will soon release a ripened egg.

Week 3:
This is the week in which you will conceive, though you will be totally unaware of your pregnancy. Your body will produce a hormone known as Human Chorionic Gonadtrophin HCG). This hormone makes the ovaries produce more progesterone; it also suppresses your immune system, so that your body does not reject the baby as a foreign object. Because of this, you will be more susceptible to common ailments.

Week 4:
Many women begin to first suspect that they are pregnant by this week, mainly because they miss their period. You may also experience a few early pregnancy symptoms, like swelling and tenderness in your breasts, darkening of the areoles, drop in body temperature, dizziness and implantation bleeding.

Week 5:
As your pregnancy progressing to the 5th week, the tenderness in your nipples and breasts may increase. Some of the other symptoms you may notice during this week include backache and mild stomach cramps. In case the cramps are severe and are accompanied by vaginal bleeding or discharge, it is important to check with a doctor.

Week 6:
During this time, you may need to pass urine more often, especially in the middle of the night. This symptom may temporarily abate for a while after a few weeks. You will also begin to feel a bit more tired than normal.

Week 7:
Morning sickness may begin or worsen in the seventh week of pregnancy. There is no specific way to deal with this symptom as what may work for one woman may not necessarily work for the other. Some of the other symptoms you may experience at this time include food cravings or aversions, mood swings and irritability.

Week 8:
Towards the end of the second month a tiny bump appears at your midsection, though your pregnancy may not be quite evident as yet. You may continue to experience the same symptoms as the last week, in addition to acne, skin discoloration, nosebleeds and bleeding gums.

Week 9:
Due to the development of ducts and glands, your breasts will be bigger than before. As the supply of blood increases in the area, small bluish veins can be seen on your breasts. Choose a good-fitting maternity bra for increased comfort.

Week 10:
As the levels of hormones increase in your body, you are bound to experience wild mood swings, constipation and flatulence. Following a healthy, high-fiber diet may ease constipation to a great extent.

Week 11:
Your sensitivity to smell should increase during this time and certain scents may make you sick. The temperature of your body increases, causing you to feel hot and sweaty quite often. At this time, your emotions will still be a little erratic, but this problem should reduce soon.

Week 12:
You should notice a decrease in the frequency to urinate; your uterus grows out above the pelvis, reducing the pressure on your bladder. Your baby bump may be a bit visible, so this is the right time to invest in a few new clothes.

Week 13:
Just before you enter your second trimester, you may notice stretch marks on your thighs, breasts and tummy. Don’t be worried if you experience a pulling sensation in your stomach; this happens when the ligaments supporting your uterus begin to stretch. Most of the discomfort you have been experiencing so far begins to disappear.

First Three Months of Pregnancy Precautions

The first trimester is the most sensitive phase of pregnancy, as the fetus is still being developed. Since your baby’s vital organs are being formed at this point, any disruption in the fetal development could have a lasting impact. Take precautions right in the beginning, to avoid any complications. Make sure that you:

  • Quit unhealthy practices like drinking alcohol, smoking or taking harmful drugs
  • Avoid any contact with animal excrement, especially kitty litter. A parasite known as toxoplasmosis usually present in animal excrement can attack the fetal brain and cause severe damage
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after gardening or touching soil
  • Steer clear of any foods or products that contain lead
  • Restrict your consumption of caffeinated foods and beverages as they cause restlessness and increase your heart rate
  • Wash all your food thoroughly before eating them. Make sure that all the foods you eat have been cooked and stored using the right hygienic measures

Regular visits to your doctor will also help you deal with all the side effects arising from your pregnancy.