The first trimester of pregnancy can be difficult for an expectant mother and is without doubt the time when a developing embryo is most vulnerable. Virtually every organ in your baby’s body is being formed during the first trimester of pregnancy. Thus, the embryo is particularly sensitive to assaults from the outside. If you take drugs, prescription or otherwise, drink alcohol, or are exposed to toxins or improper use of x-rays, this development can go awry and the result can be birth defects. Miscarriage also is more likely to occur during this critical first trimester. Often this is nature’s way of dealing with an abnormal embryo that could not have lived a normal life had the pregnancy been brought to term.
For you, the first 3 months of your pregnancy can be like riding a roller coaster. You are delighted and yet have some fears. If the pregnancy was unplanned, you may be losing sleep considering your options. Physically, you may feel drained and find yourself napping whenever you get the opportunity. In many women the first trimester of pregnancy is marked by bouts of nausea and vomiting. If you are considering becoming pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are already in the early stages of pregnancy, rest assured that these weeks will pass quickly and so will most of the symptoms.
The first sign for most women is a missed menstrual period. If your periods are usually regular and suddenly you are a week late and you have had intercourse during your cycle, have a pregnancy test. Sometimes a woman will have what appears to be a period even though she is pregnant; however, this bleeding usually is scant. Many pregnant women complain of breast tenderness. Your breasts may seem fuller and tingle. The nipples are often extremely sensitive. Sometimes the breasts actually hurt.
Morning sickness refers to the queasiness, nausea, and vomiting that are common during the first trimester. These problems, which often do not confine themselves to the morning, range from a slight upset stomach to incessant vomiting. This often begins a few days after a missed period.
Fatigue is common during early pregnancy. If you are home during the day, you probably find yourself lying down for a nap. Women who work outside the home often arrive home so tired that they cannot wait to get into bed.
Frequent urination is another sign of pregnancy. This occurs initially because of the hormonal effects on the bladder and later because of the growing uterus exerting pres- sure on the bladder. As the size of your uterus begins to increase in your abdomen, this symptom will diminish. However, in the final weeks of pregnancy it returns, and many women find themselves unable to sleep through the night because of the urge to go to the bathroom.
When you have missed a period and have some of these other symptoms, see your physician. He or she will confirm your pregnancy with a pregnancy test. Most women receive prenatal care from an obstetrician, a physician specially trained in the care of pregnant women and the delivery of babies. Some family physicians, especially in small towns, also offer this service to their patients. In some communities, licensed certified nurse midwives also provide maternity care.
Aside from the initial discomfort of pregnancy, the greatest threat in this first trimester is miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). Miscarriage and abortion refer to the termination of a pregnancy before the time the fetus can survive even for a few minutes outside the womb. This generally occurs after the 20th week after conception. If the abortion occurs spontaneously (spontaneous abortion), it is also known as a miscarriage. (Any fetus born dead after the 20th week is termed stillborn.) About 50 percent of all fertilized eggs spontaneously abort, most of them before a woman has any idea she is pregnant. The percentage of miscarriages in women who know they are pregnant is about 10 percent. Three-quarters of these miscarriages occur in the first trimester, most between the 9th and 11th weeks of gestation.
Conditions associated with miscarriage include age (women older than 35 years), difficulty in becoming pregnant, and a history of miscarriage. In the first trimester, miscarriage almost always occurs after the death of the embryo or fetus. The most common cause of miscarriage—an estimated 60 percent—is an abnormality in development, usually as a result of extra chromosomes. Other possible causes include chronic infections, unrecognized diabetes in the mother, and defects in the uterus.
Women who suffer a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) tend to blame themselves. "I exercised too hard." "The stress at work caused it." "The fall off my bike caused me to lose my baby." It is natural to seek an explanation when this sad event occurs. However, rarely is it the result of stress or trauma. So try not to blame yourself.
Read More About First Trimester Problems:
Pregnancy Week To Week 1- 40