The first trimester
To read about how we got to know about our pregnancy, you may read (https://www.aakanshamahajan.com/post/j1-breaking-news-and-the-new-emotions)
Like many of the new mommies out there, I was also not clear about the concept of week-wise pregnant and month-wise pregnant.
All I always knew was what I was told by my mom and elders which was a little different from the week wise pregnancy commonly used by my doctor, and I kept getting confused for quite a few days.
So, I decided to read on my own and make a comprehensive chart of week-wise pregnancy.
Here is how it is:
The total pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (9 months plus 9 days)
Ist trimester: week 1 to week 13: Month1-3
IInd trimester- week 14- week 28: Month 4-6
IIIrd trimester- week 29- week 40: Month 7-9
In these trimester wise blogs, I will try to share all my experiences. The symptoms, issues, things to take care of, what to eat, what to avoid, what to prepare for, when to announce the news to friends and relatives and how to stay happy.
I wish and hope that this will be useful to my readers.
Trimester I: 18th October 2021- 17th January 2021
The beginning of anything new is always exciting. Most of my time was spent in reading and finding out what could be happening inside of me. I used to look at myself in the mirror and wonder what and how my body would change.
I read a lot and realised that reading really helps. I made my own personal notes which all helped me to jot down the essential points here.
1. Reading is crucial but we must read from authentic sources. I researched from multiple sources and from the entire lot of books which are available on pregnancy, I chose the following three books to be read over the course of my pregnancy:
a. Pregnancy notes by Rujuta Diwekar
b. My Yummy Mummy Guide by Karisma Kapoor
c. What no one tells you by Alexandra Sacks and Catherine Birndorf
2. There is nothing to be over concerned about. The most important thing is to stay happy and active- physically and mentally. Keep yourself as happy and as calm as possible. Everything will turn out beautiful.
So here is the comprehensive list of things which my mommy-to-be’s would need to know:
· What exactly is the first trimester of pregnancy?
It is the earliest phase of pregnancy and as mentioned it begins on the first day of your last period- before you are even actually pregnant and lasts until the end of the 13th week. It’s a time of great anticipation and of rapid changes for both of you and your baby. Knowing what to expect always help us get ready for the months ahead of us.
· Changes in the women’s body:
Pregnancy is different for every woman. In these months, a woman’s body goes through many changes. The body releases hormones that affect almost every single organ in the body. Some woman glow with good health during those 3 months and others feel absolutely miserable. And I fall in the later category. Some of the common changes which you might notice are breast tenderness, headaches, constipation, acne, discharge, fatigue, change in liking and disliking of food items, peeing a lot, heartburn, mood swings, morning sickness and weight gain.
I went through a major issue of morning sickness during the first three months of my pregnancy along with the outbreak of acne. No matter how hard I tried to eat clean and healthy, I used to vomit every single day. Sometimes even 3-4 times every day. However, it is only you who understands your own body so after a lot of hit and trial, I realised that staying empty stomach overnight was creating issue in my stomach and the only thing which prevented nausea was having one non- citrus food as soon as I woke up. So, I used to start my day with either an apple or banana and it resolved the problem to a great extent. Anything other than a fruit used to mess up my whole day.
· Visit to the doctor:
As soon as you realize that you are pregnant, you know it is time to visit your OB gynaecologist. During the first visit, a doctor takes a full health history and performs a full physical and pelvic exam. The doctor also:
o Performs an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy
o Perform a Pap test
o Takes the blood pressure
o Test for sexually transmitted infections, HIV and hepatitis
o Estimate your date of delivery or ‘due date’ which comes out to be around 266 days from the first day of your last period
o Screen for risk factors like anaemia
o Check thyroid levels and weight
At around 12 weeks, the doctor will perform a test called a nuchal translucency (NT) scan. This test uses an ultrasound to measure the baby’s head and thickness of the baby’s neck. The measurements can help determine the chance that your baby will be born with a genetic disorder called Down syndrome.
My first ultrasound:
· Checklist for the first trimester:
o Find a good gynaecologist near your place who can help you throughout your pregnancy and during childbirth. Make your first appointment as soon as you know you are pregnant.
o Talk to your doctor, you may have a lot of questions- ask them all- the medications you could be currently taking- are they safe or not, do you need to take folic acid and prenatal vitamins, how can you stay healthy, what exercises you may do and so on. Get clarity on everything.
o Make a week-wise calendar for yourself to be clear and sorted throughout your pregnancy.
o Find out about maternity and paternity leave, you and your partner may be eligible for.
o Check your health insurance policies to check if you have the coverage, you may want and need.
o As your breasts grow, you can go for a bra fitting store nearby to ensure you are using the right size.
o Start a pregnancy journal or memory book if this is something you think you would like to look back on the years to come. I ordered a personalised journal from www.happyhippo.in and you may also check those out. They have great stuff.
o If you like, start taking your belly pictures (however you may want to show off may be later- week wise or month wise)
o You and your partner may start to brainstorm name ideas and start putting a short list of baby names together.
· Baby’s development in the first trimester:
o During the first trimester of pregnancy, what starts as a tiny bindle of cells quickly turns into an embryo and then a fetus that’s about the size of a large plum. In these first few weeks of pregnancy, your little one’s brain, spinal cord, heart and tiny limbs- complete with fingers and toes will form. Meanwhile, your uterus is becoming a comfortable home for your little one, who will be nourished by the developing placenta and umbilical cord. By the end of third month of pregnancy, all essential organs and body parts will be in place- although in teeny-tiny size.
· Top food items for the first trimester:
o Asafoetida or hing:Hing has anti- bacterial and anti- viral properties and is a digestive aid. It will help keep the nausea and bloating down, stoke your appetite and help you eat better. It aids in absorption of nutrients from the daal. It also plays an important role to improve our moods and relieves fatigue or drowsiness that sometimes accompanies the first trimester. Use it in whichever form you wish to.
o Ragi or nachni or finger millet: To those who do not know, Ragi is a millet which is produced in largest quantity in our country. It is a nutrient rich food and from amino acids to calcium, iron to fibre, it provides us everything that we need in this crucial phase. It regulates our appetite and prevents over-eating, is very easy to both cook and digest and even keeps the lipids levels in check. Also, in long term, it is required for good lactation too, so it is a good idea to start including it in your meals, if not doing already. I prefer to make ragi rotis (add all kinds of attas- ragi, bajra, oats, wheat and barley). It is delicious, light and fulfilling. You can use ragi in any form (check internet for the various recipes)
o Beet: Beet has antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an excellent source of folic acid and contains high amounts of manganese, magnesium and copper, and even vitamins like B6 and C. This nutrition profile is good for nerve support, prevents calf pain and varicose veins too.
[Source:Book- Pregnancy notes by Rujuta Diwekar]
o Apart from these, drink lots of water everyday (only water and not the sugar loaded drinks), exercise everyday (basic ones after consultation with your gynaecologist), eat healthy and balanced home-cooked food (which has all the nutrients) and avoid junk food as much as possible.
I will not say that was able to do all of these, I had my own reasons for slipping from the regular routine, but I tried to follow it as much as I could. And it helped. Trust me, it did.
Listen to your body and do what makes you happy keeping in mind your and your baby’s health.
I hope this blog will be of some use to some of you.
Do share your thoughts/experiences in the comment section below.
Stay happy, stay healthy.
Have a great pregnancy to all the mommies-to-be.