Have you just found out your pregnant? Congratulations! What an exciting time for you and your partner! The 9 months of pregnancy go by so fast, although those early weeks of pregnancy seem to drag on as you wait for your first scan and see your little peanut for the first time.
When you think of the first trimester, you’re probably thinking of morning sickness, extreme fatigue and mood swings. This may be your experience, or it may not. If you want to learn about some of the early signs of pregnancy take a look at my blog last month “Are you prepared for the first trimester of pregnancy?”
So what happens in the first trimester of pregnancy?
Conception takes place
Your little egg, that you’ve had waiting in the wings since you were in your mother’s uterus (hard to get your head around, I know), decides to mature and head down the fallopian tube to meet a waiting sperm. Your partners’ sperm might have just arrived, or may have been waiting for your egg for a few days. In any case, one lucky sperm has fertilised your egg released at ovulation, usually about mid month in your cycle. From then, your fertilised egg cells start to divide and multiply at such a rapid rate that by 12 weeks your little foetus resembles a miniature human.
Your placenta develops
This flat round organ is vital to the healthy development of your baby. It is the organ that transfers much needed nutrients to your growing baby, and also removes waste from your baby. It really is an amazing system designed to give your baby everything it needs to support its healthy growth.
Preparing your body for pregnancy is vital to ensure you have a good bank of nutrients ready to pass on to your baby, particularly if you experience morning sickness in the first three months and are unable to eat as well as you would like.
The neural tube closes
The central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord develops and becomes well formed in the first trimester of pregnancy. This of course is a vital system and requires a number of nutrients to develop properly. One of the most well know nutrients is folate. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, legumes and whole grains. During preconception it is important to ensure you are eating a varied wholefoods diet and take an appropriate supplement to ensure that your baby has what it needs to develop well.
Internal organs are developing
The liver, kidneys, heart, and even the reproductive organs begin to develop in the first trimester (to name but a few). It is hard to imagine that something so small can fit all this in! The first 3 months of pregnancy are such a critical time for your developing baby with all of those cells becoming organs and is why the miscarriage risk is at its highest in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Your baby has arms and legs
Your baby now has arms, hands, legs and feet. Your baby can move around and start those acrobatic skills you will start to feel in your second trimester of pregnancy. There really is nothing like seeing your baby’s arms and legs floating around for the first time.
With all of these changes going on inside you (and the above list doesn’t cover all of them), it is no wonder you are feeling tired, perhaps a little nauseous and even teary or irritable.
The good news is, by the second trimester most of you will start to feel better, have more energy and get back to feeling a bit more like your normal self.
How can you support you and your baby’s health in the first trimester?
- Rest when you can
- Try to maintain your exercise routine, or a modified version of it, depending on your energy levels
- Continue eating a varied and wholefoods based diet with lots of vegetables and fruit. (If you can’t stomach your usual diet, try bland foods regularly and eat what you can, when you can)
- Continue with your prenatal supplement prescribed by your naturopath
- De-stress with relaxation techniques that work for you such as meditation, prenatal yoga, reading, drawing etc.
Do you need some help through the first trimester?
Learning you’re pregnant can be daunting, even if you have been planning for pregnancy for some time. Growing a human takes a lot of energy and sometimes you may need some help to ensure you are doing all you can to support you and your growing baby.
A naturopath can help by ensuring you are eating a balanced diet, provide lifestyle suggestions and ensure your nutritional status is at its optimal level supported by appropriately prescribed nutritional supplements.
I can provide you support and guidance throughout your first trimester and beyond. Good luck on this amazing journey!