The First Trimester – What To Expect: Mom and Baby
– MOM –
Your body is going through some very rapid and miraculous changes. Hormones are flooding your body and directing it to do just what is needed to create a new life within you. This is a beautiful gift that the female body has been given, but at times the side effects mommalab may leave you reeling. The purpose of this article is to make you aware of what those potential side effects are so that you can face them head on and with confidence, knowing that they are normal, only temporary, and oh so very worth it.
Often referred to as morning sickness during pregnancy, but has been known to strike at any time of day – each woman is different, and some may not experience it at all. It is likely caused by all those hormones we mentioned above which can cause the stomach to empty much slower. Pregnant women also tend to have a heightened sense of smell and this can trigger the nausea. To lessen this nasty side effect try eating small frequent meals with lots of fluids and do the best you can to avoid any known smells that may add to the nausea.
Very early on those same hormones may cause your breast to feel sore, tingly or fuller or heavier. It is a good idea to use an extra supportive bra at this time or a sports bra.
This can be a tough one – especially at night or at work. You may find yourself running to the bathroom at awkward or inconvenient times due to the extra pressure you ever enlarging uterus is putting on your bladder. Remember it is good to relieve yourself and trying to “hold it” can lead to urinary tract infections. Fluids are very good and important for both mom and baby right now so don’t avoid drinking, but do consider cutting out extra caffeinated beverages which actually cause you to urinate even more. Another awkward side effect is leaking which can occur when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. If this happens to you trying wearing a light panty liner for a simple added sense of security throughout the day or night.
This is very common in early pregnancy. Remember your body is working major overtime now and the increased levels of the hormone progesterone can also make you very sleepy. Rest whenever you can. Make sure you are well nourished; getting enough protein and iron is important and stay physically active. You do not want to overdo it but exorcise is still very important and will help you feel better in many ways. Plus you want to stay fit for when baby arrives.
Remember how we said those hormones cause your stomach to empty slower? Well this is a very good thing – it allows way more nutrients to enter your blood stream and reach your developing baby. The bad news is it also can cause mom to have frequent heartburn/constipation. Eating smaller meals and avoiding certain foods such as acidic or spicy ones will help with the heartburn. To relieve the constipation try eating lots of fiber, drinking plenty of water, and staying active which will keep your metabolism moving and promote overall good health.
Pregnant women are prone to fairly quick changes in mood. You may feel happy or even ecstatic one moment and weepy and depressed the next. Remind yourself that this is normal and temporary. Look to your partner, family, or friends for support. If the mood swings or negative emotions become too extreme please consult you physician.
It takes the sperm about 12 hours to reach the egg. While many may swarm the egg, only one will penetrate and this will begin the process of fertilization. Your body creates EPF – (Early Pregnancy Factor) an immunosuppressant protein which prevents your body from accidentally treating baby like a foreign body such as a bacterium or virus.
Nutrition is key during pregnancy; it is never too early or late to start. Many women begin nurturing themselves months before they conceive as a matter of preparation. However pregnancy is not always planned and many women do not realize they are pregnant until weeks after conception. If this is the case for you understand it is normal to feel concerned or guilty, but that there is no reason to believe baby isn’t perfectly healthy and proper nutrition from here on out will benefit you both.
Implantation occurs – congratulation you and baby are officially connected! The developing baby is now called an embryo from the Greek words meaning “to grow in”.
Growth of the embryo continues rapidly – however despite all that is happening within it is entirely possible that you are still completely unaware of your new pregnancy.
By the end of the third week you will likely have missed your first menstrual cycle. Baby’s body now has an identifiable head and tail section, and it is possible to see the implanted embryo with an ultrasound. This is a critical time for babies brain development and it is very important for you to stay well nourished and healthy – It is believed that viruses even the common cold variety may negatively influence baby’s brain development. Besides baby’s brain, baby’s heart is also developing now it is in the early stages – the tubes are fusing together and the first blood cells and vessels are being rapidly created. By the end of this week a primitive version of baby’s heart will begin to circulate the blood cells throughout its body.
The next four weeks your baby’s facial features will be developing. What begins as four folds of tissue at the base of baby’s head will become the raw material which will be molded into baby’s chin, cheeks, jaw, tongue, mouth, ears and neck. Your baby floats in a bath of amniotic fluid. This “bath water” must be changed out every 3 hours. Needless to say it is very important for mom to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. You will need to be drinking at least 13 cups of clean water a day to keep up with these increased demands on your system. During this week the tiny buds that will grow into arms begin to appear. Internal organs and baby’s spinal cord are also forming now.
This week baby’s brain body and head will grow particularly rapidly. The development of the nerve which takes in visual images will begin to develop. The tissues will be present to begin the development of baby’s reproductive system. This week the leg buds will begin to develop. Cups are formed that will one day hold eyeballs. Baby now has a tongue and primitive version of a mouth. Your baby’s arms may develop from buds into little flippers or paddles.
Baby’s hands will be developed now if they are not already present. The organs and facial structures are continuing to develop and part of they brain known as the cerebellum which controls muscle movement, and the pituitary gland which regulates hormones will begin to develop as well.
Cartilage is beginning to harden into bone. The early legs are there and knees and ankles begin to form. Eyelids and nipples are developing. Baby will now start to make spontaneous movements however he or she is still so small you will be unable to feel them just yet. Your baby is still less than 1 inch in length.
Baby’s primitive facial features are now almost fully formed, and the cartilage continues transforming into bone starting with the arms. Those little organs are beginning to function. The heart beats strongly now. The stomach can produce some digestive juices and the liver and kidneys are also just beginning to work. Baby’s reproductive organs are also developing and if it is a baby boy his testes will now secret the male hormone testosterone.
Baby has now graduated from embryo to fetus! During this week the fingernails, toenails, and hair follicles will begin to develop. The joints of the limbs and hips now resemble the adult versions. By the end of this week your baby will measure nearly 2 inches in length. Baby’s head now accounts for more than half of this length. The lower limbs are still quite small but already fully webbed with blood vessels. Your uterus is now about the size of a grapefruit. Baby’s skin starts to thicken and become les transparent. The colored portion of the eye known as the iris begins developing and the eyelids temporarily fuse shut.
Baby’s brain structure is now developed although a miniature version of what it will be at birth. Finger nails begin growing out of the nail beds, and sometime in the next three weeks baby starts to secrete urine into the amniotic fluid. This is completely normal and safe. The urine is sterile and the fluid is replaced every three hours. Tooth buds and permanent teeth begin developing this week, and a new reflex is developed called he rooting reflex. This means whenever baby’s face is touched he or she will open their mouth to find food. The pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder are now formed and baby’s little pancreas will soon start to produce insulin – a hormone critical for healthy digestion of carbohydrates. Baby probably weighs approximately half an ounce now and has grown to 2.5 inches in length.
Baby’s intestines are now located in its abdomen where they will remain. The vocal cords will develop however baby will not be able to make a sound or cry out until the amniotic fluid is replaced with air at birth.
Baby is now practicing inhaling and exhaling which will send amniotic fluid into its lungs. Do not worry this is perfectly normal and in fact critical for proper formation of he air sacs within the lungs. During this week the hands start becoming more functional and the external sex structures begin to be more distinguishable. The spleen will begin to remove old blood cells and produce antibodies. Baby may now be about 3 inches long and weigh a full ounce.