Your first trimester guide
Tips for the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy.
Congratulations – you’re about to be a mother! Becoming a parent is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also feel overwhelming at times and you likely have lots of questions. That’s to be expected and we hope this guide will be a useful companion throughout your pregnancy. During the first 13 week of pregnancy, your body is growing and changing, and so is your baby’s. Here’s what to know as you start this amazing journey together.
How you're feeling
Your body is about to undergo some major changes as it prepares to grow a new life.
You may start to experience symptoms such as nausea or fatigue – or you may find that you have an increased level of energy! Listen to your body and make adjustments to your routines as needed. Every woman is different, and so is each pregnancy.
Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
The earliest sign of pregnancy is a missed period for women who have a regular monthly menstrual cycle. Sometimes, implantation bleeding can occur. This is a bleed very similar to a light period or spotting. Though this is completely normal, you should check with your health-care provider if you experience any bleeding during your pregnancy.
You may also begin experiencing a handful of the symptoms below early on in your pregnancy such as fatigue, nausea or more frequent urination.
The changes in your hormones during your first weeks of pregnancy affect your whole body. While no two pregnancies are the same, some symptoms you may experience during your first trimester include:
- Breast tenderness
- Extreme changes in mood
- Nausea or vomiting (morning sickness)
- Frequent urination
- Weight gain or loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Leg cramps
- Lower back and pelvic pain
- Cravings for certain foods
- New dislike of certain foods
Symptoms in early pregnancy can be uncomfortable to say the least. For some relief, give these tips a try after checking with your health care provider first. Remember, choices should always be made based on your preferences and what is available to you.
- For nausea or vomiting, try ginger, chamomile, vitamin B6 and/or acupuncture.
- For leg cramps, try magnesium or calcium.
- For constipation, if dietary modifications suggested by your health-care provider are not working, wheat bran or other fibre supplements can be used for relief.
Healthy foods and regular exercise are important for your entire pregnancy. Continue your daily physical activity for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. The more active you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing body. Make sure to nourish your and your baby’s growing bodies with nutritious food. Make sure you are getting adequate energy, protein, vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of healthy foods, including vegetables, meat, beans, nuts, pasteurized dairy and fruit.
How your baby is growing
This period is the most crucial to your baby’s development. During the first trimester, your baby’s internal systems and body are beginning to take shape. These early organ and bodily developments include:
- Brain and spine
- Inner ear
- Cardiac tissue
- Cartilage for the hands, feet and limbs
- Muscles of the mouth, eyes and nose
- Webbed fingers and toes
Fetal growth can vary significantly for a number of reasons, but during the first trimester, your baby will grow from about 0.64 cm (.25 in) at the end of the first month (smaller than a grain of rice) to around 10 cm (4 in) by the end of week 12 and will weigh around 28 g (1 oz) [Figures from the Cleveland Clinic]. For information for your country, please refer to your ministry of health.
When should I meet with my health-care provider?
You should schedule at least one appointment with your health-care provider during your first 12 weeks of pregnancy, ideally as early as possible. For recommendations in your country, please check with your ministry of health or health provider.
Things to look out for
While all women experience pregnancy differently, you should speak to your health-care provider if you experience:
- Severe cramping
- A fever over 38° C (100° F)
- Odorous vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe vomiting