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What’s Happening with You

Physical Changes – Congratulations on your new pregnancy! While in the first three months of pregnancy you may or may not even know that you’re pregnant, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate that you are, indeed, pregnant:

  • Absence of menstruation - Keep in mind, though, that you may stain slightly at the time when you expected your period or when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus.
  • Fatigue and sleepiness - If you can, try to get into the habit of getting an extra hour of sleep each night or taking afternoon naps. Don’t be surprised, though, if you still feel tired, no matter how much sleep you get!
  • Frequent urination - For most women, this is something that will continue throughout the first trimester, subside in the second trimester, and return in the third.
  • Mild to extreme nausea, with or without vomiting - Although this is commonly called “morning sickness,” it can actually strike any time of day or night. Morning sickness and food cravings may intensify toward the end of the first trimester.
  • Heartburn, indigestion, flatulence and/or bloating.
  • Constipation - To avoid constipation, be sure to eat foods high in fiber, increase your fluid intake (especially water and fruit/vegetable juices, which can help to soften stools), and continue exercising.
  • Food aversions and/or cravings.
  • Increase or decrease in appetite - For those women who do suffer from decreased appetite or nausea, it is especially important to remember to eat a balanced, healthy diet. Always try to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Tingling, tender and/or swollen breasts - Women who experience breast changes prior to menstruation are most likely to feel these changes in pregnancy, as well.
  • Occasional slight headaches, faintness or dizziness - Many health care providers will say that it is okay to take Tylenol for headaches, even in the first trimester. Before taking anything, however, check with your own health care provider.
  • Skin problems, such as acne or rashes - Many products that are commonly used for acne or rashes are NOT safe for use during pregnancy. Check with your health care provider before using any products, even if they are over-the-counter.

Emotional Changes - Pregnancy can be an emotional roller-coaster for some women. The following are some changes that you may notice, even early on. For many women, these changes continue throughout pregnancy, while for others, the emotional changes are barely noticeable.

  • Irritability, mood swings, irrational behavior, and/or weepiness, comparable to premenstrual syndrome.
  • Apprehension, fear, joy and/or elation about your pregnancy.
  • Anxiety about motherhood and how it may affect your relationships, career and lifestyle.

What’s Happening with the Baby

In the first month (1-4 weeks), the embryo is really just a tiny speck the size of a pencil point. By the fourth week of gestation, the pregnancy may be visible by vaginal ultrasound. By the end of the second month (5-8 weeks) of pregnancy, the tiny tadpole-like embryo is about the size of a grain of rice. By the end of the third month (9-12 weeks), the embryo will resemble a very tiny human being, weighing an ounce and measuring approximately 1/4 inch long from head to buttocks, the size of a small strawberry. Bone is now beginning to replace cartilage.

Throughout the first trimester, the following will develop:

  • Placenta.
  • Major organs and nervous system.
  • Heart starts beating.
  • Lungs begin to develop.
  • Bones appear.
  • Head, face, eyes, ears, arms, fingers, legs and toes form.
  • Genitals develop.
  • Hair starts to grow.
  • 20 buds appear for future teeth.
Special Concerns

The primary risk for most women in the first trimester of pregnancy is early miscarriage. Following are possible signs of miscarriage:

  • Bleeding with cramps or pain in the center of your lower abdomen. However, pain on either side alone may be caused by ectopic pregnancy and also warrants a call to your health care provider.
  • Severe pain or pain that continues for more than one day, even if it is not accompanied by spotting or bleeding.
  • Bleeding that may be as heavy as a menstrual period.
  • Light spotting that continues for more than three days.

Call Your Health Care Provider - Pregnancy is not a time to ignore warning signs from your body. On the contrary, throughout your pregnancy you will learn to pay careful attention to what your body is telling you. If you are experiencing something out of the ordinary, it may warrant a call to your health care provider. If you experience any of the following, be sure to call your health care provider immediately:

  • Any of the above signs of a miscarriage.
  • Severe abdominal pain, especially if it is accompanied by bleeding, nausea, vomiting or swelling of the hands and face.
  • Slight vaginal spotting.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding, especially if it is accompanied by abdominal or back pain.
  • Bleeding from the nipples, rectum or bladder.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • A gush or steady leaking of fluid from the vagina.
  • A sudden increase in thirst if it is accompanied by a decrease in the need to urinate or lack of urination for an entire day.
  • Swelling or puffiness of the hands, face or eyes, especially if accompanied by headache or vision difficulties.
  • Painful or burning urination, especially if accompanied by chills and a fever over 102 degrees and/or backache.
  • Vision disturbances that continue for two hours, including blurry vision, dimming or double vision.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting, or vomiting more than two to three times a day in the first trimester.