Congratulations! Your obstetrician has confirmed you are indeed expecting a little bundle of joy. Read on to learn how your pregnancy journey will unfold from conception to birth, and you’re on your way to enjoying a healthy and happy pregnancy! Your first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts till the end of Week 12. Most women will discover their pregnancy around 5 -6 weeks into the first trimester.
What’s Happening in the First Trimester?
The fertilised egg implants in your uterine lining, which may cause some spotting known as implantation bleeding.
Development takes place most rapidly during these 3 months, as the cell layers continue developing into an embryo, then into a foetus.
By 11 weeks, your little one has developed 90 percent of his or her anatomical structure.
Starting On Antenatal Care
Antenatal care refers to the care pregnant mothers receive from an obstetrician throughout the course of their pregnancy.
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, see an obstetrician as soon as you can. One of the first tests in your first trimester is a dating and viability ultrasound scan to:
Ensure that your baby is in the right place and position i.e. not an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening
Determine your estimated due date (EDD)
Check for number of babies
Baby’s growth and development
At this stage, you will be able to hear your baby’s very first sign of life – their heartbeat.
In addition, your obstetrician will counsel you on the risk of genetic problems such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards syndrome or Patau syndrome, all of which increases dramatically if the mother’s age is above 35. These genetic conditions can be screened for using some non-invasive tests.
What are some of the non-invasive blood tests that can be performed during pregnancy?
OSCAR test – taking the mother’s blood to assess the baby’s enzymes or hormones to calculate the risk of getting Down’s Syndrome
Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT), which detects placental cells from the mother’s blood to assess the baby’s DNA to check for chromosomal abnormalities and even the gender of the baby. The blood samples will then be sent to laboratories in the US and results will be available in approximately 7- 10 days
If the above screening test results are positive, a Chorionic Villus Sampling (an invasive test to sample the placenta) or amniocentesis (sampling of the amniotic fluid) will be performed to analyse and determine the baby’s chromosomes in detail
As your body releases pregnancy hormones, you may notice several physical changes and symptoms in your first trimester, such as:
Nausea, with or without vomiting, either throughout the day or when triggered by certain smells
Swollen and tender breasts
Unpredictable mood swings
These symptoms vary between individuals; some women experience severe forms of sickness while others do not get any at all.
What Can I Do in My First Trimester?
These changes may seem overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time mother. To overcome morning sickness, eat slowly and in small amounts throughout the day, and avoid going on an empty stomach. Pinpoint and avoid the foods and smells which trigger your sickness. Drink plenty of fluids and consume fiber in your diet to manage constipation. It is important to avoid exerting yourself and get plenty of rest during this period to boost your energy levels.