Pregnancy Calendar

How long is one trimester of pregnancy and how to compose a menu to ensure you and your baby receive maximum nutritional value? What vitamins during pregnancy are recommended in the 1st trimester for the proper development of the fetus? Do all women experience nausea, fatigue, and a general feeling of being unwell during the first trimester of pregnancy? How to recognize disturbing symptoms in the 1st trimester of pregnancy? In this post, we introduce future parents to the general course of the first months of pregnancy.

How long is 1 trimester of pregnancy and how does the fetus change during this time?

The first three months of pregnancy, from conception to week 13 of pregnancy (tc), are called 1st trimester. Women who are expecting a baby for the first time may be surprised that the number of weeks, not months, is determined by the doctors how long it takes for one trimester. This is because the course of the entire pregnancy is very dynamic and the individual key stages of fetal development often occur almost from week to week. This is why some tests in the first trimester, and also in the following months of pregnancy, should be performed at specific weekly intervals, in which the selected parameters of the child's development can be best tested. In the first trimester, the embryo turns into a fetus, which at the end of the third month of pregnancy reaches a length of up to 1 centimeters and weighs almost 1 grams! It is true that it does not look like a typical newborn baby, but around the 3th week the fetus is already developed, among others: hands and feet, the eyes from the lateral position gradually begin to move forward, and the head and brain are almost half the length of the body. In the first trimester, the organogenesis process is very intensive, during which all organs and systems of the developing fetus are formed. In the following trimesters of pregnancy, they will mature and improve their functions so that the newborn baby can start functioning independently outside the safe environment of its mother's uterus.

What to eat in the 1st trimester of pregnancy and what products are better to avoid?

Diet and hydration are of paramount importance not only for optimal fetal development, but also for the health and well-being of a pregnant woman. What to eat in the 1st trimester of pregnancy? It is worth taking care of the variety, freshness and good quality of the food you eat. A large amount of raw, well-washed vegetables and fruits, whole grains, dairy products, meat and fish from proven sources are a way to have a healthy diet in the first trimester of pregnancy. When eating fish, try to choose smaller and non-predatory ones, as they accumulate less heavy metals. Include plenty of vegetables with each meal, preferably in the form of salads, and replace sweet desserts with seasonal fruit. Constipation, flatulence and malaise in the 1st trimester of pregnancy? Hydration is of the utmost importance here! Drink plenty of low-sodium spring water, preferably about 1 liters a day. The key to a healthy diet in the first trimester of pregnancy is to diversify and avoid highly processed foods, rich in simple sugars, a large amount of saturated fat, preservatives and sweeteners. Of course, from time to time every future mother has a craving for cookies with cream or pizza, and there is nothing wrong with that, provided that this type of products is eaten sporadically, and on a daily basis, healthy, wholesome women reign in the menu of women in the first trimester of pregnancy. meals. In addition to knowing what to eat in the first trimester of pregnancy, it is also worth paying attention to foods that are recommended to be avoided:

  • raw meat and raw fish: due to the risk of infection with toxoplasmosis. Tartare, raw meats (including prosciutto) and sushi with raw fish should be temporarily replaced with other delicacies, e.g. sushi with baked fish. When cooking meat, make sure that it is thoroughly cooked, baked or fried. During pregnancy, we also avoid eating a large amount of liver, which, although healthy and rich in iron, also contains a large amount of vitamin. A (and its excess may be harmful to the fetus);
  • cheeses made of unpasteurized milk: risk of listeriosis infection. The composition of the individual cheeses should be read carefully in this regard;
  • raw eggs: risk of salmonella infection. Soft-boiled eggs should be replaced with well-cut and cooked eggs during pregnancy. It is also worth avoiding desserts containing raw eggs, such as tiramisu or some puddings;
  • a large amount of caffeine: it is recommended not to exceed a dose of 200-300 mg per day. Unless your pregnancy doctor recommends otherwise, one cup of coffee is a pleasure that you do not have to give up during pregnancy. It is also worth limiting the consumption of large amounts of black tea, which also contains caffeine;
  • green tea: Recent studies have shown that due to the high content of polyphenols, excessive consumption of green tea in the third trimester of pregnancy may lead to premature closure of the arterial duct, increasing the risk of heart defects and hypertension in the fetus.

Since you already know what to eat in the first trimester of pregnancy, do not forget to also give up stimulants: alcohol (even in small amounts!), Cigarettes and drugs can lead to irreversible development disorders of the fetus.

What vitamins to supplement in the first trimester of pregnancy and is it necessary?

According to the recommendations of WHO (World Health Organization), a properly balanced and varied diet should be the basis for providing a woman with all the necessary minerals and vitamins in the first trimester and in subsequent stages of pregnancy. Nevertheless, the Polish Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (PTGiP) recommends supplementation:

  • Folic acid: It is very important for the proper development of the nervous system, including the neural tube. Recommended in the first trimester, folic acid supplementation in healthy women is 0,4-0,8 mg per day, however, taking into account the individual health condition and risk factors of a given woman, the attending physician may order a much higher dose for her.
  • Iron: supplementation with this element is not necessary in case of normal blood test results. Supplementation is recommended only in patients with anemia resulting from iron deficiency - the dose is selected by the attending physician.
  • Vitamin D: it is optimal to adjust the dose of vitamin D taken. D to its current blood level (the dose is selected by the attending physician), however, in accordance with the current recommendations of PTGiP, in pregnant women with no vitamin D deficiency, it is recommended to supplement it at a dose of 2000 IU per day.
  • Iodine: if the pregnant woman has no diagnosed thyroid disorders, iodine supplementation at a dose of 200 micrograms per day is recommended.
  • DHA acids (fatty acids from the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids): during the entire pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is recommended to supplement with a minimum of 200 mg a day. In the case of consuming a small amount of products rich in unsaturated fatty acids (e.g. fatty fish, linseed oil), the dose of DHA acids should be higher. A higher dose of DHA is also used in pregnant women at risk of preterm labor.

It is worth remembering that the routine supplementation of a large amount of vitamins in the first trimester of pregnancy is not recommended on your own, because the excess of some elements, e.g. iron or vitamins. And it can be detrimental to the development of the fetus. Supplementation of all vitamins in the first trimester and throughout pregnancy is recommended by the attending physician, who selects her adequately to the blood count results, comorbidities and the course of pregnancy.

Malaise in the 1st trimester of pregnancy - how to deal with embarrassing ailments?

Nausea, odor intolerance, "food cravings", frequent urination or back pain in the first trimester of pregnancy are just some of the symptoms accompanying the first months after conception. Malaise and bothersome symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy do not occur with the same intensity in all pregnant women - it is a very individual matter. Not only at the beginning, but during the entire pregnancy, it is worth showing special care and understanding: rest as often as possible, eat healthy food and drink plenty of water to help you deal with flatulence and possible constipation. Mood swings are caused by a storm of pregnancy hormones, so it is good to warn your partner and loved ones about possible sudden bursts of joy or tears. Common malaise in the first trimester of pregnancy is most associated with general fatigue and recurring nausea, which may be helped by the use of ginger. In the event of troublesome, uncontrolled vomiting, consult a doctor in charge of pregnancy. Back pain in the first trimester of pregnancy is caused by changes in the distribution of tension within the ligaments and pelvic muscles, which directly translates into discomfort, especially in the lumbar spine. If there are no medical contraindications, gentle body stretching exercises, such as yoga for pregnant women, will be helpful for back pain in pregnancy. It is also very helpful to use special pillows in the form of a croissant or a long cylinder, which will make it easier for you to find the most comfortable position for yourself while resting. Most of the bothersome ailments and malaise pass at the end of the 1st trimester, although this is an individual matter for each pregnant woman.

Disturbing symptoms in the 1st trimester of pregnancy

Should brown vaginal discharge in the 1st trimester of pregnancy be a cause for concern? This color of vaginal discharge means that it is colored with blood, which at the very beginning of the 1st trimester is most often caused by the fact that the embryo has just been implanted in the uterine wall. Brown vaginal discharge in the first trimester of pregnancy may also occur, inter alia, in as a result of slight damage to the vaginal epithelium after sexual intercourse or as a result of hormonal changes. Any change in the appearance and smell of vaginal discharge in the 1st trimester (and throughout the pregnancy) should be reported to your treating physician. Women very often observe an increased amount of vaginal discharge in the first trimester of pregnancy - this is a completely normal symptom, associated with an increase in the concentration of progesterone and estrogens. Such discharge should be odorless, transparent or slightly off-white. Other, disturbing symptoms of the 1st trimester, which are completely natural, include: lower abdominal pain, resembling the menstrual one, and breast tenderness and swelling. Periodic abdominal pain is related to the growth of the uterus, which pulls multiple ligaments and muscles along with it, causing them to become tense. In turn, the breasts, under the influence of pregnancy hormones, begin to prepare for milk production, becoming more tender and painful. Urgent medical consultation requires very severe abdominal pain, especially if it is accompanied by vaginal bleeding. The pregnant woman should always inform her gynecologist about all disturbing symptoms of the 1st trimester, who will answer all questions in a professional manner and refer the woman to possible further diagnostics.

What tests are performed in the 1st trimester of pregnancy?

Up to 10 weeks of pregnancy or at the time of the first visit to the gynecologist, the woman is referred for the following examinations in the 1st trimester of pregnancy:

  • Blood morphology
  • general urine test
  • determination of the blood group and RH factor (if the pregnant woman does not have a properly documented, previous blood group test) and testing of immune antibodies to red blood cell antigens
  • Cytology (unless it has been performed in the last 6 months)
  • Breast ultrasound
  • VDRL study
  • In women at risk, a fasting blood glucose test or OGGT test (glucose loading test)
  • HIV, HCV and HBS testing
  • Toxoplasmosis testing (IgG and IgM)
  • Rubella test (IgG and IgM)
  • Designation of TSH

The above examinations constitute the diagnostic minimum that should be ordered by a gynecologist to each patient. It is worth remembering that, if necessary, if a woman has chronic diseases before pregnancy, the gynecologist may also order other, additional diagnostics. In addition, the doctor will recommend a dental checkup to the pregnant woman, and during each subsequent visit, he will measure the woman's blood pressure and weight. In the first trimester of pregnancy, the gynecologist also screening the patient for the risk of depression (this screening test should be repeated in the third trimester).

What other tests in the 1st trimester of pregnancy await the future mother?

First of all, it is the 1st trimester ultrasound, also known as the genetic ultrasound. According to the recommendations of PTGiP, they should be performed between 11 weeks + 1 day and 13 weeks + 6 days. The most optimal term for this ultrasound examination is the period between 12 and 13 weeks of gestation, as the fetus is then the optimal size for the examination of CRL (seat-parietal length) and NT (neck translucency). What other parameters are assessed during the 1st trimester ultrasound?

  • the pregnancy age is confirmed - whether it is consistent with that calculated on the basis of the date of the last menstruation
  • the well-being of the fetus is assessed
  • a basic assessment of the anatomy of the fetus is performed

According to the current guidelines of PTGiP, each pregnant woman, apart from ultrasound examination of the first trimester, should also perform a double test, called the PAPP-A test. It is a fully non-invasive test, which is performed by testing the concentration of PAPP-A and bHCG in a blood sample taken from a pregnant woman. The combination of the 1st trimester ultrasound and the PAPP-A test allows with a high, almost 1% probability to determine whether the fetus has some of the most common chromosomal abnormalities. PAPP-A protein is also a determinant of placental function. The double test is reimbursed by the National Health Fund only for patients from the high-risk group, however, PTGiP recommends that it be performed in every pregnant woman.

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