Your First Trimester of Pregnancy, Week-by-Week
Every week of your first trimester is full of excitement—whether you know you're pregnant or not! From when to expect common pregnancy symptoms to what size your baby will be each week, here's everything you need to know about your first trimester of pregnancy.
You're actually not pregnant yet—the clock starts ticking on the first day of your last period. So even though pregnancies are said to be 40 weeks long, you only carry your baby for 38 weeks.
If you're trying to conceive, start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid; this B vitamin has been shown to help prevent neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida. Also quit any unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking.
Ovulation occurs during the second week of the first trimester. For the best chances of getting pregnant, have sex one to two days before your expected ovulation date.
Experts also recommend exercising for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days throughout pregnancy. There's no better time to start than now!
You may be pregnant but probably won't have any symptoms.
Don't take any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) without checking with your doctor. Particularly avoid all products containing vitamin A or its derivatives, such as Retin-A or Accutane. That said, many conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, require ongoing treatment, so talk to your doctor before discontinuing any necessary medications.
Get a flu shot if you haven't already; it's safe for pregnant women.
At this point in the first trimester, you'll receive a positive pregnancy test! You may be starting to feel bloated, crampy, tired, and moody. Many women also experience sore breasts, nausea/vomiting, and a frequent need to pee. But don't worry if you don't have any early pregnancy symptoms; that's completely normal.
Wondering what to do now? Invest in an extra supportive bra, especially if your breasts are expanding. Many women grow a full cup size in the first few weeks.
What's more, take care to avoid chemicals and secondhand smoke. Ask your partner to take over the litterbox duties (cat feces may harbor parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that can harm the fetus) and to pump the gas in your car.
Though the embryo is only about the size of a grain of sand, the heart is pumping blood, most other organs have begun to develop, and arm and leg buds appear. You may start to experience "pregnancy brain." If it helps, make lists at work and at home to keep organized.
Women who are five weeks pregnant should also make an appointment with their OB or midwife. Most caregivers want to see you for the first time between six and 10 weeks.
Now that the pregnancy is feeling more real, you might worry about miscarriage. Reassure yourself that aside from extreme behaviors, such as using drugs, there's nothing you can do to cause a miscarriage. Yet, some research links early pregnancy losses to consuming excessive caffeine daily, so to be safe, limit your intake to 200 mg or less each day.
Think about when you want to tell family, friends, and boss you're pregnant. Some women wait until after the first trimester, when miscarriage risk drops.
The embryo doubles in size but is still less than a half-inch long. As your pregnancy hormones increase, morning sickness may be worsening. Or you may be ravenous 24/7.
If you're nauseated, try eating several small meals throughout the day (especially ones with ginger and citrus), avoid strong odors, and wear acupressure wristbands.
Try not to overdo it on the chow: Weight gain should be minimal in the first trimester, but don't feel guilty if you give in to an occasional craving.
Your doctor may look or listen for the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound. Once you see or hear it, your miscarriage risk drops to about 2 percent. He'll also give you an official due date—though very few women actually deliver on that day.
Though your due date sounds very far away, start reading up on baby care now. You won't have time after your newborn arrives.
The pressure of your growing uterus on your bladder may cause you to leak small amounts of urine. As a solution, start doing Kegels. Here's how: Squeeze the muscles around your vagina as if you're stopping the flow of urine. Do several at a time, a few times a day throughout pregnancy. They strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles, helping with incontinence while preparing your body for delivery.
Your inch-long baby is now called a fetus. While the icky side effects of pregnancy may be starting to abate, your anxiety about having a healthy baby might be increasing.
If you will be 35 or older when you deliver, make an appointment to discuss genetic screening or diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS). They look for certain birth defects and are usually done between 10 and 12 weeks. Your doctor's office may provide counseling; if not, ask for a referral to a genetic counselor.
Your cravings may run the gamut from cheeseburgers to chalk (really!). Weird non-food cravings are known as pica and can reflect a deficiency in your diet. Call your doctor if you're experiencing pica.
Also make an appointment if you're having the nuchal translucency test, which screens for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. The test must be done between 11 and 14 weeks.
Note that by week 11 of the first trimester, nearly all of the fetus's organs are beginning to function, and genitals begin to take on male or female form.
Your uterus has begun to expand outside the protective pelvic bones. It will increase in size almost 1,000 times by the end of your pregnancy! You may really be starting to show now, especially if it's not your first baby.
From now on, steer clear of any activities that pose the risk of a fall or abdominal trauma, such as horseback riding. Also avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back—your growing fetus can place too much weight on a major vein, causing reduced blood flow to the uterus.
Now that you've finished your first trimester, you can start eating for two—a little. Plan on gaining about 12 pounds during the next 14 or so weeks. To support your baby's growth without gaining too much weight, aim to get 300 extra calories a day from healthy foods.
Start shopping for maternity clothes. Many shops have belly bumps to mimic your girth in later pregnancy.