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Pregnancy: the first trimester - explanations

Written by The Plusbaby Team

pregnancy

Many changes occurred during the first trimester of pregnancy

The route of the pregnancy is different for everyone. The first trimester of pregnancy is the time when you have to adapt to changes in your body, your hormones and your experiences. The most important thing you can do is inform yourself about what to expect. Plusbaby has put together all the information you need to know during this first trimester of pregnancy.

What is the first trimester of pregnancy?

The first quarter of pregnancy extends from the 1st to the end of the 12th week of pregnancy, starting on the first day of your period. Most women discover they're pregnant between the fourth and seventh week of their pregnancy. So it's likely that you'll go halfway through the first trimester without knowing you're pregnant! That's why it's advisable to start taking prenatal vitamins several months before you try to conceive, not just after you've discovered you're pregnant.

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After the first three months, come the second and third trimesters. The second trimester takes place between weeks 13 and 26 of pregnancy, and the third trimester between weeks 27 and 40, until the baby's birth.

How can you tell if you're pregnant?

The only definitive way to know if you're pregnant is to take a pregnancy test and consult a doctor. However, there are certain warning signs that you may be pregnant. Delayed periods, intense fatigue, breast enlargement and morning sickness can be the first signs of pregnancy.

There is a reliable pregnancy indicator present in the body. It's the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as hCG. It is this hormone that is detected in your urine when you take a pregnancy test. So what does this hormone do?

What is the hCG hormone during pregnancy?

Every month, during the ovulation period, the egg travels down the Fallopian tube to meet a spermatozoon. If the sperm meets the egg, fertilization can take place! The egg then continues its journey for 4 to 5 days, gently descending into the uterus before implanting. This implantation triggers the production of the hormone chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is detected by a home pregnancy test.

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The hormone hCG, present only in pregnant women, is secreted by the placenta when the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall: this is known as implantation. The role of hCG is to maintain ovarian secretions, or what is also known as the corpus luteum, to prevent the return of menstruation and thus maintain the survival of the egg.

The baby during the first trimester of pregnancy

The egg is fertilized by the sperm at the end of the second week, and this is also when the baby's sex is determined.

Although it may not be obvious from the outside, the baby grows faster during the first trimester than during any other part of pregnancy.

At around six weeks into the first trimester, the baby begins to develop bones, hair and nails. Many things develop around the eighth week of pregnancy, including the digestive system, eyesight, sense of touch and brain.

At 5 weeks, the baby's heart begins to beat. Its head takes shape, and its arms and legs begin to appear slowly. At 10 weeks, he takes on a more human appearance. Eyes, mouth and separate little fingers become more noticeable. By this time, the baby's bones are forming and all the parts of his body are in place and ready to develop more rapidly.

The first six to eight weeks are a crucial period in your child's development, when the amount and type of vitamins your body needs change.

Although a healthy pregnancy diet can help you cover all your nutrient requirements, you may sometimes need a helping hand. For example, your body needs more folic acid and iron during pregnancy than it would normally. It can be difficult to get enough of these two nutrients from the diet, so prenatal vitamins can take up the slack. Some research indicates that taking prenatal vitamins can also limit the risk of low birth weight, and folic acid (vitamin B9) helps prevent neural tube defects, serious problems of the spinal cord and brain.

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Your body during the first trimester of pregnancy

During the first trimester of pregnancy, it's unlikely that anyone will be able to tell that you're pregnant. In fact, many parents wait until the end of the first trimester to break the news to friends and family.

You'll notice a host of physical changes in your body. Nausea and vomiting are the most recurrent symptoms in the first trimester. Around 75% of pregnant women experience nausea, and 50% experience vomiting. These symptoms begin around the 3rd week of pregnancy and cease, for the vast majority, towards the end of the first trimester. However, some women may experience them as late as the 20th week of pregnancy, and even right up to delivery.

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Digestive aversions are a very common symptom in pregnant women. And this, throughout pregnancy. Feel like sweet or salty, fruit or red meat. Listen to your body and give it what it wants, as long as it doesn't harm your health.

These changes are all linked to the new hormones secreted by your body to support your baby's development and growth.

To promote your baby's development, make sure you get enough protein, folic acid, calcium and iron, and follow a balanced diet.

You start to put on weight and your appetite changes too. Your hormones are acting up again! With a first pregnancy, a woman's belly may take some time to appear, as the uterus slowly expands. But for a woman who has already experienced pregnancy, as early as the 3rd month your belly can start to show. So be indulgent with yourself and welcome these changes.

Hormones and mental health during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is accompanied by hormonal changes. Many women experience mood swings, excitement, depression and stress. These mood swings are due to significant changes in your hormone levels, which affect your neurotransmitters. Specifically, estrogen and progesterone levels skyrocket during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and directly affect your levels of serotonin, a hormone that has a major influence on your mood. Whatever your emotions, remember that you're not alone and that it's all part of the learning curve.

We all go through new emotions when faced with a new situation. Pregnancy is an important life event. Talk about it with your partner, a friend or even a professional. This will help you feel more serene during those first emotional months.

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