The first trimester
marks the beginning of an important, sensitive and meaningful journey
for women, as well as couples and families. Women who are pregnant
for the first time have much to learn and experience. So do new
The table below
is meant to answer four questions frequently asked by women and
their partners during early pregnancy. Still, we appreciate that
no matter how much you read or how many question you ask in advance,
the bottom line is "this is new" and "this is different"
from anything you have experienced in the past. Enjoy your journey,
and take care.
About Your First Trimester
happens during the first prenatal medical visit?
pregnancy will be confirmed and a due date calculated.
visit will involve a complete history and a physical exam.
Your general health will be assessed and you will receive
a pelvic examination to view the cervix and assess the structure
of your pelvis for the future delivery.
practitioner will inquire about your past medical history.
Be prepared to discuss your family history for chronic diseases
or risk of genetic disorders.
practitioner will want to know the outcomes of any previous
will ask about any medications you may have used, as well
as use of street drugs or alcohol.
tests will need to be done, and why?
will have a Pap smear to check for abnormal cervical cells.
urine will be checked for glucose, protein, blood cells
will have blood drawn to determine your blood type and Rh
(Rhesus) factor. They will do blood counts to make sure
you are not anemic. Your blood will also be screened to
make sure you are immune to Hepatitis B, and Rubella (German
may be screened for sexually transmitted diseases.
may be screened for genetically carried diseases.
should have a TB (tuberculosis) skin test.
will my body change?
may notice breast changes, including fullness, tenderness,
more visible bluish veins and darkening of the nipple pigment.
probably will have to urinate more frequently. This is related
to changes in blood volume and improved filtering action
of the kidneys.
may be much more tired than usual. Listen to your body and
know you need more rest. Take time to relax, and adjust
the pace of your activities.
may have nausea,
excess salivation and/or vomiting. This can occur any time
of the day or night. Pregnant women often have food aversions,
and "once favorite" foods may send them running out of the
room. On the other hand, food cravings can be common.
and bloating can be complaints in early pregnancy. Try eating
smaller, more frequent meals. Limit fatty foods.
can become a problem. Relieve constipation
by drinking plenty of fluids, eating a diet higher in fiber
and getting regular exercise.
may occur more frequently. Try to get enough rest and relaxation.
Be conscientious of good posture. Massage the neck, shoulders
and head. If you need a pain reliever, be sure to check
the safety with your doctor. Most over-the-counter pain
relievers are not recommended during pregnancy. Complexion
problems may occur because of hormonal changes.
Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet, take a prenatal
vitamin and drink plenty of water. Keep your skin clean.
have some concerns. Am I doing everything I can to insure this
pregnancy goes well?
of depression, anxiety, fear, or mood swings. All of these
feelings are understandable. Some of these feelings may
be because of hormonal changes. However, the news of becoming
pregnant, even when the pregnancy was planned, can be quite
overwhelming. If these feelings make you uncomfortable,
or persist, be sure to talk to your health care provider.
of miscarriage. Most pregnancies proceed without complications.
Your health care provider can give you appropriate advice
and guidelines if you have known circumstances that put
you at risk for miscarriage.
what to eat or what supplements to take. Follow a healthy
diet for pregnancy and be sure to get the needed vitamins
about the safety of the baby or the pregnancy. Childbearing
and birth are vunerable times for women. While medical science
has made tremendous strides in keeping both mother and child
safe, there can never be a guarantee that all will go "as
planned". Relax and know your body will know what to
do, and when to do it. At the same time, there are steps
you can take which will increase
the odds that this will be a healthy pregnancy.
gain concerns. Gaining
enough weight is important for a healthy pregnancy outcome.
On-the-other-hand, excessive weight gain can increase chances
of problems at time of delivery and future difficulty with
weight control for you. Review the guidelines for appropriate
weight gain based on your age, pre-pregnancy weight and
number of babies you are expecting.