Best Way to Understand Your Baby’s First Trimester

In the first week, a fertilized egg changes into an embryo. This embryo develops a sac that will become the placenta. Once the pla­centa starts forming, the cells of the embryo begin to differentiate into cells specific to different parts of the human body. Your baby’s major organs—the heart, lungs, stomach, and brain—begin to develop. By Week six the major structures of the brain, head, and backbone have formed and the heart starts to beat. Next, the face, eyes, chest, and abdomen are discernible and the bones are no longer soft.

By Week 12 your baby is called a fetus. Brain and muscles are responsive to each other. Your baby will have every major part of its body by the end of this trimester, including its ovaries or testicles. Your baby will be about two and a half inches long and weigh about five-eighths of an ounce. However, it does not look like a real baby yet. It needs the next two trimesters to fully develop and function properly:

Babys First Trimester Best Way to Understand Your Babys First Trimester

  •  The baby’s heart begins to beat, although it’s very hard to hear even with specialized equipment.
  •  The baby’s sex can sometimes be determined by ultrasound, but* this can only be verified by collecting a sample of amniotic fluid and looking at the chromosomes. If you wish to know the sex of your baby, you’ll usually have to wait until the second trimester.
  •  A major organ is developing in your uterus—the placenta, an organ unique to pregnancy. Its purpose is to provide nutrients to your baby via large blood vessels. The baby’s large blood vessels lie next to your blood vessels. Nutrients and oxygen pass through walls of your blood vessels into the placental blood vessels. Your baby’s blood does not directly mix with yours. Waste is also trans­ferred from your baby to your system via the umbilical cord that connects your baby’s belly button to the placenta.

Important To Do’s in the First Trimester

There are seven actions to accomplish during this trimester. In fact, these actions remain important throughout the nine months you will be pregnant. If there are beneficial changes you didn’t make before pregnancy, now is the time to make them happen. Every positive action helps you and your baby to a healthier and more enjoyable preg­nancy experience. Remember, you’re in training for a very physical event, in fact, three physical events: the growth and development of your unborn baby, the birth of your baby, and the care of your body after delivery. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a much better chance of getting through all of these events with ease.

  •  Get early prenatal care with a qualified medical provider/ practitioner.
  •  Eat healthy foods. As we discussed earlier, what goes into your body has a major impact on your baby’s growth and development.
  •  Take prenatal vitamins prescribed by yourOBprovider. These provide a range of vitamins and minerals, and supplement your intake of iron, calcium, and folic acid.
  •  Stay away from harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, or substances not prescribed by your health care provider.

Tip: If you find it hard to give up an occasional drink with friends or after work to relax, try imagining you’re offering the drink to your baby. Ask for a soft drink or fruit juice instead.

  •  Get plenty of exercise. Most women don’t get enough. Now is the time, when you’re “off to a new start,” to change your habits. Exercise is often put off by women because they keep thinking they will have more time later to get around to it. Even if you have no idea how you’re going to fit one more thing into your busy sched­ule, sign up for a yoga or a swim class for pregnancy at your local’ community center. Sometimes the act of enrolling gets you going.
  •  Rest. We all know the benefits of rest. We just don’t follow through on what we know. Now is the time to go to bed earlier and take naps.
  •  Develop a positive attitude at the beginning of this pregnancy and enjoy the journey. Your pregnancy journey may take some unex­pected turns, but you don’t have to be thrown or discouraged. Continue to keep yourOBprovider informed about what is hap­pening to you. Trust that you can talk to him or her about any fear or worry, and that your doctor or midwife will help you to get through this journey safely. Everyone’s goal is a healthy baby.

Some Special Notes

If you have a chronic illness such as diabetes, talk with your doctor about the impact of the pregnancy on your illness and about your illness’s impact on the pregnancy. Make sure you understand what you need to do to stay healthy during the pregnancy. And be sure you know what symptoms to report to your doctor.

Babys First Trimester 1 Best Way to Understand Your Babys First Trimester

If you’re 35 or older, or if there’s a family history of certain diseases, ask your doctor about genetic testing. Most pregnant women, regard­less of age or family history, get a blood test called the maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein test (MSAFP). It looks for signs of neural tube defects and Down syndrome. Other tests screen for other genetic dis­eases.

The first trimester passes quickly for many women. As we noted ear­lier, you may not know you’re pregnant during the first six weeks and you may not be terribly bothered by morning sickness or fatigue in the second half. You usually aren’t “showing” in the first trimester, and many people may not know you’re pregnant. Even if you do have bouts of nauseia or feel very tired, your coworkers, friends, and family may not notijce that you’ve changed.

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