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1st Trimester Overview


Photo Credit: @babba

Welcome to your first trimester of pregnancy. At this point, the pregnancy has to establish itself within the lining of the uterus. We call this period implantation, which occurs about five days after conception. After implantation, the embryo undergoes rapid changes as it grows from a clump of cells into a recognizable lifeform. By the end of the first trimester, the baby has grown primitive versions of all the major organ systems. While your pregnancy implants and establishes itself within the uterus, your body is experiencing many changes. One of the first signs you will notice is a missing period. This may be the first sign that you are pregnant. But throughout your first trimester, many more changes will occur as your bump begins to form. Here is a download on what to expect in your first trimester.

Hormonal Changes

Your pregnancy is secreting the hormone beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which helps support your pregnancy in the first few weeks until the placenta is large enough to take over. It is the hormone detected in home pregnancy tests and is responsible for some of the symptoms of pregnancy. Your body is also producing the hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps to maintain a pregnancy but also contributes to the signs and symptoms you may experience throughout your pregnancy like mood changes, headaches, constipation, nausea, and weight gain. 

Managing Nausea

Nausea is one of the most common symptoms reported by patients in the early stages of pregnancy and affects about 50 to 90 percent of women. Nausea or vomiting itself is not dangerous in pregnancy, however, hyperemesis is a condition where severe nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance, which requires medical intervention from your healthcare practitioner.

To help cope with those common waves of nausea, eat little and often. Women often find that hunger can be a trigger. So keep a pack of saltine crackers in your bag throughout the day and on your nightstand to nibble on before getting up in the morning. This can help stop the cycle of nausea before it begins. Opt for bland foods, such as crackers or bread, overbold foods with a strong taste that can worsen symptoms. And add foods containing peppermint and ginger, such as ginger chews or peppermint tea, to your daily routine to help reduce symptoms. It is also important to stay hydrated during this time, which can be difficult if your nausea is severe. Drink small glasses of water or an electrolyte replacement sports drinks at least 30 minutes prior to a meal.

Find your triggers. Strong smells, perfumes or flavors can all trigger a bout of nausea for some women. So pay attention to what may bring on your nausea and avoid it whenever possible.

Various medications are also available for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is important to discuss medication management with your doctor to find the safest and best option for you. Every pregnancy is unique and it can be a period of trial and error to find what works, so don’t get discouraged if adjustments are needed.

Bloating and Breast Tenderness

Breast tenderness, as with most symptoms in the first trimester, will improve with time. A supportive sports bra may help reduce breast pain. To help with bloating, stay hydrated.

Feeling Fatigued

While it may be tempting to use caffeine as a stimulant, limit your caffeine intake as the effects caffeine has on your baby are still uncertain. Aim to have less than 200 mg daily, which is equivalent to a 12 oz cup of coffee or a tall cup at Starbucks.

Exercise can also improve energy levels throughout pregnancy. If you exercised before pregnancy, you should aim to continue your same regimen once you become pregnant. A regular workout routine can help reduce the risk of excessive weight gain, blood pressure issues such as hypertension and preeclampsia, reduce back and pelvic pain, improve mental health, and reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

How are you feeling in your first trimester? Tell us by joining the Perelel community on social or by subscribing to our newsletter.

Chan RL, Olshan AF, Savitz DA, et al. Maternal influences on nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Matern Child Health J. 2011;15(1):122-127.
Caffeine intake during pregnancy | American pregnancy association. Americanpregnancy.org.
Mayoclinic.org.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.