The first trimester refers to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and is a critical period where rapid development of the fetus occurs. During the first trimester, the placenta and amniotic sac develop to support the growing embryo. It is also when all major organs and body systems begin to form.
For the mother, hormonal and physical changes begin to take effect during this period. Rising hormone levels can cause symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and tender breasts. As the uterus expands, frequent urination also occurs, and many women also experience food aversions and smell/taste sensitivities during this time. These symptoms are normal signs that the body is supporting the pregnancy.
Overall this crucial period establishes the foundation for the healthy development of the baby over the following trimesters. This is also when it’s important to have a skilled Kissimmee gynecologist by your side to help you understand what to expect and ensure that both mother and baby have the best start to a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Common Symptoms During The First Trimester
Missed period and positive pregnancy test: One of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women is a missed menstrual period. This is usually the first clue that pregnancy has occurred. Pregnancy tests are used to detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta after implantation.
Fatigue: During the first trimester, hormone levels rise sharply in the body, particularly progesterone. This surge in progesterone is thought to be a key contributor to the fatigue many women experience. Progesterone helps to relax muscles and increase blood flow but can also cause side effects like extreme tiredness. This need for extra rest is understandable, as the body works diligently behind the scenes to develop the placenta during this time of rapid cellular growth and organ formation.
Nausea: Caused by hormonal changes, nausea is extremely common. For some women, it is mild, but others may experience severe vomiting.
Dizziness: Low blood pressure and extra blood flow demands from the placenta can cause lightheadedness when standing up quickly or in hot environments. Staying hydrated helps.
Headaches: Dehydration, hormone fluctuations, and increased blood flow are common culprits for headaches in early pregnancy. Getting extra rest can provide relief.
Food aversions and cravings: The smell or thought of certain foods may induce nausea, while strange cravings for non-food items like dirt or ice also occur. It is best to listen to your body’s cues and eat small, frequent meals.
Breast changes and sensitivity: Hormonal stimulation causes breasts to become tender, swollen, and slightly enlarged as they prepare to produce milk. Nipples may become extra sensitive.
Spotting: Implantation bleeding can occur in some women 6-12 days after conception as the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Light spotting is normal, but heavy bleeding requires medical attention.
Frequent urination: The growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, which can only hold smaller volumes as it is displaced. This leads to needing to urinate more often, sometimes as much as every hour.
Doctor Visits and Tests
At this first appointment, your medical history is reviewed, and a physical exam is performed. A urine test will confirm the presence of hCG and due dates are established.
Dating ultrasound (6-8 weeks)
An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce a visual image of the womb and early pregnancy. It dates the pregnancy more accurately than a menstrual cycle alone by measuring the embryo or yolk sac. This helps monitor growth and detect any issues.
Screening tests (10-13 weeks)
Blood tests screen for conditions like Down syndrome by measuring specific hormone and protein levels produced by the placenta. This can assess risk levels to determine if diagnostic testing is needed.
Checking baby’s growth and development
Your OBGYN will monitor your baby’s growth rate and heartbeat at each visit. Measuring the fundal height of the uterus will help indicate the appropriate size of your baby.
Addressing any concerns
Issues like nausea, food aversions, spotting etc. are evaluated, and safe treatment options will be discussed. Your OBGYN may also suggest that your vaccinations be updated.
Schedule Your First Trimester Visit With Woman’s Health Centers
The first trimester lays the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy, as this is when fetal organs develop and body systems form. While your symptoms may feel overwhelming, know that they are normal experiences as the mother’s body adapts.
Seeking support from a caring, compassionate, and highly skilled OBGYN is crucial here. Ultimately, understanding what to expect and having sources of support in place will help both mom and baby get the healthiest start. Call us today to schedule your first trimester visit with one of our dedicated OBGYNS today.