What to Expect in the First Three Months of Pregnancy
When you become pregnant, your body will naturally begin to focus on nurturing your baby. As a result, your body might sometimes neglect its own needs, and you may notice some of the following changes:
- You may feel more tired.
- You may need to urinate more frequently.
- You may have a heavy feeling in your pelvic area.
- Your breasts grow fuller and more tender, and your nipples may darken.
- Your appetite may change.
- You may experience mood swings as a result of hormonal changes.
- The appearance of your skin may change and wrinkles may become less apparent.
- Your hair may become less manageable.
Get Rest, Eat Well
Here are some things you can do to take care of yourself during the first trimester of your pregnancy:
- Get plenty of rest during the day by taking breaks or short naps.
- Avoid others who are ill or have a fever.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that contains all necessary nutrients.
- Drink plenty of water.
Weeks 1 to 4
After the father’s sperm fertilizes the mother’s ovum, the fertilized egg divides itself again and again as it travels toward the uterus. Within seven to 10 days, the cluster of cells attaches itself to the wall of the uterus and cell division accelerates. By the end of the first month, major organs begin to form and the fetus is about three-sixteenths of an inch long. At the same time, you may begin to experience morning sickness and crave foods you normally dislike or dislike foods you normally enjoy. This is because your body’s chemistry is changing. You may also begin to need to urinate more frequently because your uterus is growing larger and pressing against your bladder.
Weeks 5 to 8
Although the fetus is still tiny – about seven-eighths of an inch long and one-thirteenth of an ounce in weight – its brain and spinal cord are already forming. At this stage of development, the head is the largest part of the fetus and there are small folds of skin at the side of the head that will develop into ears. Teeth are beginning to form inside the gums, and tiny buds that should grow into arms and legs are present on the body. If your baby is a boy, its penis is beginning to appear. On your body, your breasts may still be sore and your nipples may be darkening. You may also feel tired and need to rest more often.
Getting enough exercise is important during pregnancy because it can help keep you healthy and feeling your best as your body goes through changes. In addition, regular exercise will help give you the tone and conditioning that will help your body during labor and delivery. Be sure to talk to your physician before you start an exercise program. Make sure to take these precautions:
- Allow five minutes to warm up before exercise and cool down afterward.
- Workouts should generally be 30 minutes to as much as an hour, but 30 minutes is sufficient. If your time is limited, try taking three, brisk 10-minute walks a day.
- Avoid activities that require sudden movement or that require a good sense of balance. (Your center of gravity is changing every day with increased blood and fluids for your baby.)
- You may want to compensate for the calories you burn, by consuming 100 – 200 more calories for every half hour of strenuous exercise.
- Drink one full glass of liquid for every half-hour of strenuous exercise in order to replenish what you’ve lost through perspiration.
- Don’t work out on an empty stomach. If you haven’t eaten for a while, have a snack 15 – 30 minutes before you begin.
- Dress appropriately in loose or stretchy clothes that breathe.
- Do everything in moderation. Make sure to take your time and don’t strain. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you exercise.
- Avoid exercising in hot weather or in warm, stuffy rooms.
- Whether or not you're doing formal exercise, try to get up and move around for five minutes every hour.
Weeks 8 to 12
The fetus is developing rapidly at this stage of pregnancy. Teeth are forming in jawbones and the ears are developing. Arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes have formed and nails are beginning to grow. At this stage, the fetus is usually about three inches long and weighs about an ounce. You may continue to feel tired and may be experiencing morning sickness. Try not to let yourself get overly anxious or stressed while you’re pregnant, as your baby my feel it, too. Here are a few things you can do to reduce stress and help yourself relax:
- Talk about what’s bothering you with a trusted person.
- Make a reasonable change in the situation that’s causing you stress.
- Take regular naps to help you regenerate.
- Eat a regular and nutritious diet.
- Find diversions, such as watching a movie, reading a book or meditating when you're stressed.