First trimester of pregnancy, things to know

First trimester of pregnancy, things to know

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What a thrill the positive pregnancy test! When looking for a baby it is the crowning of a dream. When it comes to surprise it is a shock that then leaves room for joy and happiness. Either way, it's always a crazy adrenaline rush. As soon as you recover, however, you must immediately get in line and take care of yourself and the creature in your womb. The first trimester of pregnancy is in fact very delicate and, in some ways, a little more difficult than the other two. But with some foresight it will pass in the best way. 



First trimester and weeks of pregnancy

By convention, pregnancies are counted in weeks. On average they are 40, starting from the first day of the last menstruation. Calculating the weeks of pregnancy is one of the very first things you learn to do as soon as you get pregnant. The first quarter runs up to week 13 + 1.


Symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy

As we have already said when talking about pregnancy symptoms in general, it is not certain that every woman experiences them all. The disappearance of menstruation is the main sign that pregnancy is in progress and obviously affects everyone. This phenomenon is called amenorrhea. Again there are some exceptions. In fact, some women have losses in the very first period of pregnancy that suggest a false menstruation. But that's not the actual cycle.


In general, the symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy are: 

  • nausea and vomit. Responsible is human chorionic gonadotropin, the so-called betaHCG, the pregnancy hormone. Its increase is noticeable at the beginning and reaches its peak between the ninth week of pregnancy and the tenth week of pregnancy.
  • Tiredness and sleepiness. In the first period of gestation, future mothers turn into "dormice": they would also sleep standing up. Whenever possible, your body must be indulged, so if you can do it rest and "recharge your batteries". 
  • Implant losses. They differ from menstruation in several respects: they are less abundant, not always red, they last just 2-3 days. Not all women have them. Typically, they occur 7-10 days after conception.
  • Breast pain and tension. It is often so sensitive that it cannot even be touched. Start inflating almost immediately: you will quickly take one or two sizes more. 
  • Intestinal irregularities. Diarrhea or constipation may occur. All perfectly normal.
  • Mood swings. Your partner often doesn't know how to take you and what to tell you because you go from euphoria to crying for no reason. Blame it on hormonal fluctuations: it really is.
  • Changes in appetite. In some cases the hunger increases sharply, while in others the stomach seems completely closed. Listen carefully to what your body is telling you. 
  • Abdominal cramps. They look just like the menstrual ones, but they don't. 
  • White losses. It is called leukorrhea gravidarum and is a classic symptom that also occurs during the rest of pregnancy. The losses are very abundant, so much so that the panties get wet at times. They are not smelly or accompanied by burning or itching.

First trimester of pregnancy: what to do 

If menstruation does not appear or a few days before its supposed arrival, the thing to do is a pregnancy test. If you want to be really safe, get your betaHCG assayed in a testing laboratory. Alternatively, use the household ones: now they have a very high reliability. If the test is positive, notify the gynecologist: he will give you some telephone advice (for example, he may suggest a blood sample to evaluate the beta level) and will schedule the first visit, although not too soon. 



Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the first good rule of thumb when it comes to expecting a baby. Theoretically, if the pregnancy is planned, it should already have started at the conception stage, but that's okay even now. Here is a sort of "decalogue" to follow in the first trimester of pregnancy: 

  1. Take folic acid. Very important for cell division and for the prevention of neural tube defects, the recommended dosage is 0,4 mg per day. 
  2. Do not drink alcohol, do not smoke, do not use drugs. If you take medications for some chronic diseases, talk to your gynecologist right away. 
  3. Eat healthy. The diet must be healthy and balanced, complete with all the nutrients necessary for the development of the fetus. No junk food: it is true that it satisfies the tastes of the palate, but it is not good for you or for the child.
  4. No to a sedentary lifestyle. A little movement is healthy, clearly not overdoing it. Even a good half hour walk a day is enough to give benefits. Among these, the improvement of breathing and muscle tone, the production of feel-good hormones, relaxation. 
  5. Listen to your body. From the first weeks it sends clear signals. If you feel tired or fatigued try to rest. 

It is also helpful to understand if your work is compatible with pregnancy or not. If it forces you to do heavy tasks, stand for many hours or if it puts the baby's health at risk, it is advisable to talk to the doctor who will evaluate whether to let you go to early maternity. At that point, you must inform your employer of the situation.


The first visit to the gynecologist 

It is very important to determine if pregnancy is low or high risk. Therefore, an accurate identification of some factors is essential, for example gestosis or diabetes in previous pregnancies, maternal obesity, maternal diseases, blood pressure control. The interview to reconstruct the clinical history of the future mother is essential: for example, it serves to know if in the couple's families there are cases of genetic diseases or if they take particular drugs. Finally, the doctor calculates the expected date of delivery. 


Also, if it's been more than 18 months since the last one, you will need to get a pap smear. The obstetric visit serves to reveal the presence of any anomalies of the woman's genital system or infections. Ultrasound, which is performed transvaginally (i.e. internal), allows to confirm the time of pregnancy, the correct site, the number of embryos and the presence of cardiac activity. In this regard, we remind you that it is not possible to hear the beat at an early age. Therefore, the gynecologist will not schedule the first meeting too soon, precisely to avoid anxieties or disappointments. 

The risks of the first trimester of pregnancy 

Basically the greatest risk in the first trimester of pregnancy is that of a miscarriage, a much more frequent occurrence in this period than in the rest of gestation. Unfortunately, negative events can happen at any time, even if the danger is reduced as you get closer to giving birth. 

The causes of a miscarriage are many. Some risk factors are now known: advanced age of the woman (but also of the partner), abuse of alcohol and drugs, cigarette smoking, conditions of underweight or severe overweight, some maternal pathologies. Most often, there is a genetic defect of the embryo or fetus at the base. 

Symptoms of a miscarriage are not always there. Sometimes it is discovered by accident, during a routine visit in which the doctor notices that the little heart is no longer beating. In other cases, red or brown discharge occurs, with or without mucus, tissue or clots, abdominal pain, twitching, back pain. Sometimes the expulsion occurs naturally, while in other cases it is necessary to surgically intervene with a revision of the uterine cavity (curettage).

First trimester of pregnancy: what not to do 

Managing your pregnancy largely depends on how it proceeds. If it presents itself as problematic from the beginning (for example because there are maternal health problems or a threat of abortion), it is obvious that you will have to be extremely cautious. Often one is also forced to stay in bed. If, on the other hand, there are no particular ailments, you can continue to lead your life normally. 

However, there are some prohibitions. For example, it is highly recommended to avoid exposure to X-rays, especially in the abdominal area. There is a risk of fetal malformations, but obviously, depending on the situation, the doctor will be able to calculate the risks and benefits of choosing whether to have these tests performed or not. It is not true, however, that one cannot undergo medical examinations, such as those at the dentist. Dental care in pregnancy is very important and there is no reason not to do it.

Some restrictions relate to nutrition. In fact, there is a very precise list of foods that should not be eaten during pregnancy, even if for different reasons: raw meats and cold cuts, poorly washed fruit and vegetables (due to the risk of transmitting toxoplasmosis), raw eggs (salmonellosis), fish raw (salmonellosis, anysakis infection, hepatitis), unpasteurized milk and dairy products (listeriosis). As for toxoplasmosis, the ban applies to mothers who have not had it and are therefore not immune. It turns out with one of the very first tests that the gynecologist prescribes: the Toxo-test.

First trimester pregnancy tests 

Here is the list of exams that take place in the first quarter. Unless otherwise specified, the following are the responsibility of the National Health System:

  • First obstetric visit. 
  • Complete blood count. 
  • Hb - emoglobins. 
  • Blood group.
  • Indirect Coombs test.
  • Glucose. 
  • Rubeo-Test (rubella virus).
  • Toxo test.
  • Syphilis (Treponema pallidum).
  • Hiv.
  • Complete urinalysis and urine culture. 
  • Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  • Hepatitis C.
  • Obstetric ultrasound. 
  • Translucenza nucale.
  • Pap test.
  • Venous blood collection.
  • Villocentesis (if recommended by the gynecologist for risk factors, such as the advanced age of the mother).
  • Eight Tests (for a fee).
  • Fetal DNA test (for a fee).

Control of betaHCG

As mentioned above, betaHCG are hormones that are produced by the body once pregnancy begins. They are found in the blood or urine. The test becomes positive thanks to the presence of betaHCG. Their trend is growing throughout the first quarter and then settling down. In particular, in the first few weeks the value doubles every two days. A woman is pregnant with a value greater than 5 milliunits per milliliter.

Sometimes, even today, gynecologists prescribe the control of these hormones. Often it is the mothers who ask, perhaps because seeing that number written in black and white reassures about the progress of the pregnancy. However, betaHCGs are not recommended by the guidelines to see how gestation is going (it is the task of ultrasound) because the reference values ​​are very wide and may also change depending on the laboratory where the tests are performed. 

In some circumstances, however, the gynecologist deems the dosage of these hormones useful. If there is a threat of miscarriage or if the ultrasound is not very clear, the blood test may be useful. For example, if the betas double every two days, you can rest easy: maybe the pregnancy only started later. If, on the other hand, growth stops, the development of the embryo may also have stopped. In any case, follow your gynecologist. 

First trimester of pregnancy: weight

The question of weight in pregnancy is very important and absolutely a priority. It certainly doesn't have to become a fixation, but you must still be very careful not to overdo it. In addition to the fact that shedding the extra pounds after pregnancy may not be easy (especially if they are several), there are real repercussions on the health, both of the expectant mother and of the fetus. The golden rule therefore is not to overdo it. With the belly you don't eat for two, but you eat better. 

Very significant weight gain is not expected in the first three months of pregnancy. Belly begins to show at the end of the trimester, although you may notice some abdominal swelling first. The weight increase of this period serves as a reserve to meet the needs of the baby in the following months. 

Generally speaking, 1,5-2 kilos accumulate in the first trimester. It is not something that applies to all women, but an average. Some don't even take an ounce at first. Discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, discomfort due to some odors, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal disturbances mean that no kilos are accumulated. Do you need to worry? In principle no: there are the other two quarters to gain weight. But listen to the gynecologist and his suggestions. 

Read more: Excess weight, the risks for mom and baby e Weight in pregnancy: how to dispose of it after childbirth

The emotions of the first trimester of pregnancy 

Pregnancy arouses a series of very conflicting feelings in a woman. On the one hand there is the joy of being pregnant (with some exceptions of course: babies are not always sought, even today, but they arrive suddenly, perhaps for a "distraction"), the thrill of a new life, of two hearts beating within the same body. There is the desire to know this little one, he fantasizes about what he will be like, who he will look like, how he will grow up. In short, it feels like a parent still with the test in hand. 

On the other hand, it is normal for slightly more negative thoughts to trigger. For example, the working mom will have her brain at XNUMX per hour ("How do I tell my boss?", "How will I reconcile home and office?", "Will they ever get me a permanent contract while I'm pregnant?") . If there are other children there will be worries (“How will she take it?”, “Will I be able to love them both equally?”).

Sometimes the worries are economic ("Will we make it to the end of the month?", "How do we manage all the expenses for a newborn?", "Will we have to change the car?"). Or purely physical (“What if something goes wrong?”, “How do I do if they put me at complete rest?”, “My husband will still physically look for me now that I will turn into a 'whale'?”). 

Doubts and fears are completely physiological. There isn't a single pregnant woman who doesn't have any, they all go through it. But panicking leads nowhere. Face everything with the utmost serenity, having the gynecologist or midwife of your choice accompany you with confidence on this journey. 

The first month of pregnancy

It is the one that passes fastest of all. Nothing special seems to happen and instead it is the starting point of the journey to motherhood. The first month of pregnancy reaches up to 4 weeks and 3 days and is the one in which two very important events take place: fertilization and the discovery of pregnancy. Some women already distinctly perceive some symptoms and ailments, while others realize that they are pregnant only because menstruation disappears. The embryo is very small, but it already begins its development which is very fast. 

The second month of pregnancy 

The second month of pregnancy ranges from 4 + 4 (4 weeks and 4 days) to 8 + 5. It is almost certainly during this period that you will make your first visit to the gynecologist and that you will see your puppy for the first time on the ultrasound monitor: his beating heart is music to your ears. For those who suffer from the classic symptoms of pregnancy, in this period they could be felt more. 

The third month of pregnancy 

The last month of the first quarter goes from 8 + 6 to 13 + 1. At the end of the third month of pregnancy the risk of a miscarriage is greatly reduced and this means a good sigh of relief. Furthermore, in most cases the ailments disappear or at least are alleviated. The growth of the child continues to be very rapid: it is still impossible to hear him, but he moves a lot.

The weeks of the first quarter 

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 –7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12 – 13   

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