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First Trimester Pregnancy Signs

First Trimester Pregnancy Signs: Part Five

We discussed early fetal growth in the weeks after implantation and common early pregnancy symptoms in Part 4. We also saw that implantation spotting, missed period, morning sickness, nausea, sore breasts and nipples, elevated frequency of urination, strange food cravings, and hunger pangs are among the earliest pregnancy symptoms and can continue into your first trimester. We also discussed how and when to take your home pregnancy test.

first trimester pregnancy
Image courtesy of pregnancybirthbaby.org.au

We’ve been together for about 3 to 4 weeks after you ovulated and became pregnant and are in the first trimester. The embryo is rapidly growing, with the foundations of liver, tissue, heart, and nervous system growth already in place. The fetal period of conception continues until the eighth week of your pregnancy. The majority of the vital organs and smaller, developing limbs have formed during this crucial stage. The neural tube- the future spine and nervous system and the essential mechanisms for blood supply are also emerging. The circulatory system, in particular, develops in tandem with and under the neural tube.

The fetal heart starts to beat during the fourth week of pregnancy, pumping blood from the yolk sack into the placenta. The early development of the spinal cord and brain can now be seen inside the central portion of the neural tube.

The sensory organs and tissues are now moving. Sensory placodes form in close proximity as the brain grows, including lens structures that will eventually grow into the pupils and nasal and tiny aural features that will ultimately develop into the nose and ears. About the fourth week, “pharyngeal arches” emerge, which look like fish gills that have a very different purpose, eventually exfoliating into a variety of anatomical structures, including the chin, lips, teeth, tongue, spine, voicebox, throat, and other main glandular characteristics.

First Trimester Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

You must be sensing something now inside. You should have a lot of the Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone running through your bloodstream, in addition to the early signs mentioned above. This would end in a positive pregnancy test, with a very prominent test line. The level of hCG in your system can be a good predictor of fetal growth and early pregnancy health. Low levels of hCG may be a sign of pregnancy complications, such as ectopic pregnancy. However, a urine pregnancy test cannot have quantitative hCG data; the findings of a quantitative hCG pregnancy blood test can only be determined and interpreted by a doctor.

During the embryonic stage, you may find yourself naturally hungry. However, you can have adverse reactions to such foods that have little to do with morning sickness. Strong food and odour aversions can develop, and if the thought of eating a particular food disgusts you, avoid it. Other heavy food cravings can serve as a substitute.

Morning sickness is another pregnancy symptom that may worsen when hCG and progesterone begin to flow freely into the bloodstream. When you get down to the end of the first trimester, you can see a drop in morning sickness. Weight gain is an apparent part of conception, regardless of any negative symptoms or stomach pain. You will gain anywhere from 2.7kgs to 5kgs during the first trimester. Your doctor will be able to assist you with dietary concerns as well as important maternity milestones that signify improved health.

Finally, miscarriage (spontaneous termination of pregnancy during the first 20 weeks) is possible during the first trimester. Miscarriage is relatively normal, with up to 25% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, despite the fact that many women are unaware of it. Some pregnancies can terminate even before you can notice the first signs of conception. Such pregnancy is called  “chemical pregnancy,” in which enough hCG is generated to register a positive pregnancy test. Still, subsequent tests reveal negative findings (as hCG production stops following a very early miscarriage).

A miscarriage is often caused by anomalies or complications in the early stages of pregnancy. Around half of all miscarriages are thought to be caused by chromosomal defects. Abdominal cramps or pains, aches in the lower back, and menstrual bleeding are all signs and symptoms of miscarriage. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, on the other hand, does not always indicate that you have had a miscarriage. In fact, only about half of all cases of bleeding during pregnancy end in a miscarriage. If you bleed, see the doctor right away. Although a miscarriage may be distressing and heartbreaking, it is a natural occurrence, so you are not alone. Any questions you may have may be directed to your doctor.

 

What should you be doing during your first trimester?

A healthy pregnancy diet and overall hygiene are cornerstones of pregnancy health during this crucial stage of embryonic development. Live right, eat healthily, and consume fresh, organic foods wherever possible. Also, some varieties of fish that can contain elevated levels of mercury should be avoided. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or seafood as well. Sushi and sashimi are off the table for the time being. Since they don’t include chemicals or feed ingredients, organic or free-range meats are perfect. During early pregnancy, folic-acid-rich leafy greens or prenatal vitamins are important, particularly for neural tube development.

Ensure that you are in a positive frame of mind as well. Stress is not good for your body as well as the developing fetus during your first trimester and pregnancy. If you feel stressed about the whole situation, and you might talk to your friends and family.

If you feel that the stress is too much to handle, you can even get professional help. Try incorporating meditation into your daily routine. Many expecting mothers find a painting or similar activates quite relaxing and soothing. If you are into any hobbies that don’t exert a lot, you can continue them throughout this pregnancy phase.

Final words

Pregnancy can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Things might feel very difficult, especially during the early parts of your pregnancy, but have patience. You will get used to the changes quickly, and other indications relating to pregnancy, such as morning sickness, etc., will also subside. Just try to enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can, and soon, you will have a little cherub in your arms! The Royal Women’s Hospital has so many online resources to help you during all stages of your pregnancy including your first trimester.


Fertility2Family Five Part series 

Part One: Ovulation To Early Pregnancy A Week By Week Cycle
Part Two: Ovulation to Conception and Fertilization of the Ovum
Part Three: Implantation, Progesterone, hCG Tests, & the Luteal Phase
Part Four: Pregnancy Symptoms, Morning Sickness & Fatigue
Part Five: First Trimester Pregnancy Signs