First trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester lasts 12 weeks, beginning with conception. During this trimester, substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs, certain medicines and illnesses can do the most damage to the fetus. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this trimester is also the riskiest for miscarriages, with approximately 80 percent occurring in the first trimester.
After eight weeks, the embryo becomes a fetus and is one inch to an inch and a half long. By week 12, the fetus begins to move more frequently, and its genitals are developed. Eyelids, toenails and fingernails appear.
From week one through four, women usually experience symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, constipation, bloating and heightened senses — such as taste and smell. Morning sickness begins around week six for some women. This may last until the second trimester.
Weeks seven and eight bring symptoms such as frequent urination, headaches and extra saliva. Reduced blow flow may cause some women to have dizzy spells throughout the day.
First Doctor’s Visit
Women should schedule their first doctor’s visit sometime during weeks six through eight or after their menstrual period is two to four weeks late. Some doctors will not schedule the first exam until week eight unless there is an issue.
During the first visit, the doctor will ask many questions about the woman’s health, habits and menstrual cycle. The doctor will also perform a number of tests or exams. Women of different ethnic backgrounds often take different tests because they may be at a higher risk for certain diseases.
Initial pregnancy exams and tests include:
- A physical
- A pelvic and rectal exam
- A complete blood cell count
- A urine sample
- A pap test
- Blood typing and screening
- A test for infections such as syphilis, hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV
- A test for previous exposure to chickenpox, measles or mumps
- A test for cystic fibrosis
First trimester of pregnancy: Exam Timeline
If the initial exam does not produce warning signs women generally see the doctor on a set schedule. Between the 10th and 14th weeks, women may be screened for substances that could point to risk factors for later complications. Between 24 and 28 weeks, pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that forms during pregnancy. Women who are at higher risk for gestational diabetes may be tested sooner.
Pregnant women typically see their doctor:
- Every four weeks until the 28th week
- Every two weeks from weeks 28-36
- Once a week from week 36 to delivery
The first trimester of pregnancy can be tricky. As much as possible try to visit your doctor at the appointed time and don’t miss any appointment. From this time going, you must stick to every little work of caution given you to ensure that you remain fit for you and your baby especially with respect to what you eat. Stay here for the next article on the second trimester