A. The first trimester (1-12 weeks)
The first trimester is the first eight weeks of pregnancy and the 2 weeks in this trimester of pregnancy is considered as the highest risk of miscarriage due to natural death of embryo or fetus). In the period, the woman body hormonal change to prevent miscarriage, protect and nourish the fetus, may lead to certain physical and psychological symptoms.which is unique to each pregnant woman.
1.The journey of the baby
1.Weeks 1 and 2
You body is getting ready to prepare for the conception. Conception occurs about two weeks after your period begins.
2.Fertilization (week 3)
As an egg is fertilized by a sperm in one of your fallopian tubes called a zygotes.
3. Implantation (week 4)
The fertilized egg is moved down to the uterus and implanted into the endometrium.
4. The beginning of The embryonic period (week 5)
At this stage, the baby's brain, spinal cord, heart and other organs start to form and the embryo is now made of three layers where the ectodermal layer will grow the central and peripheral nervous systems, skin, hair, nails, sweat glands, etc.,the mesodermal layer, will grow to muscle, cartilage, blood vessels, kidneys and spleen, and the endodermal layer, will grow to the liver, pancreas, bladder, tonsils, thryroids gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system. As the stage the limb buds can be seen, eyes are forming. and the heart has divided into right and left chambers and begins to beat, and the primary airways have developed in the lungs.
5. The neural tube closes (week 6-8)
In the 6 to 8 weeks, the the neural tube along your baby's back is closing and the baby's heart the heart has divided into right and left chambers and begins to beat and pumping blood, and the primary airways have developed in the lungs. This is a rapid growth of the stage where all basic facial features will begin to appear.
6. (8-12 weeks)
a. Arms with tiny hands and fingers, and legs with the beginnings of knees, ankles, and toes begin to form. The baby is now moving about, although you probably won't feel this movement until about your 16th week and looks like a tiny human.
b. All baby's organs and systems have also begun to develop.
c. The head now appears very large compared to the rest of the body because the brain is growing rapidly.
d. The external genitalia is developing, but sex is still unable to determine under ultrasound.
e. Tiny ears and the beginnings of hair are forming on the head.
f. Finger and toenails are developing.
g. The mouth opens and closes and the baby will begin to move its hands, legs, and head.
h. The pituitary gland is starting to produce hormones, such as growth hormone, prolactin, corticotropin and others.
i. Weight gain for mother about 3-4 pounds
j.The brain, nerves and muscles are starting to function.
k. The palate has completely formed
At the end of the first trimester, the size of the embryo is about 4 to 6 millimeters long and the mother weight gain is about 3-4 pounds.
It is necessary to mention that the embryo cord is made up of blood vessels to transport oxygen and nutrient to the baby and remove the baby's waste.
1. Tender breasts
Due to the Increase of hormone production of progesterone, it usually would not occur until after you miss your period. Wearing a more supportive bra or a sports bra may help.
2. Morning sickness
Morning sickness makes up 75% of pregnant women and can start as early as 2weeks after conception due rapidly rising levels of estrogen and progesterone, with the symptoms are worst in the morning and ease up over the course of the day. In some women, the symptoms can strike at any time but for most women, they are last all day long. It is recommended to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day with plenty of fluids and avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse.
You may feel tired as your body prepares to support the pregnancy. Your heart will pump faster and harder, and your pulse will quicken. To combat fatigue, rest as much as you can. Make sure you're getting enough iron and protein. Include physical activity, such as a brisk walk, in your daily routine.
4. Increased urination.
As the uterus pressing on the bladder, it causes you to go to washroom more frequent. In some women, it causes leaking urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing.
5. Heartburn and indigestible
With the production of hormones progesterone and relaxin, they can cause the relaxation of the gastrointestinal linings smooth muscle, leading to slow-down of the digestive system in food digestion, causing heart burn and indigestion.
To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods.
Dizziness in first trimester is caused by blood vessels to relax and widen as a result of hormonal change in the woman body to pump more blood the fetus but the slower return of the blood to the woman vein can reduce the blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness.
7. Weight gain or loss
a. Weight loss
In some women, the physical symptoms can cause certain amount of weight loss. which could lead to weight loss. A small amount of weight loss during the first trimester of pregnancy may be nothing to be worry about.
b. Weight gain
Some women might experience weight gain in the first trimester, as it is the smallest amount of weight gain (around three to five pounds) will occur during the first trimester. First trimester weight gain should total right around three to five pounds.
8. Psychological change
Due to hormonal change that affects you psychologically, such as
a. A new baby adds emotional stress to your life.
b. Bouts of weepiness or mood swings.
To cope with these emotions, talk to your friend or counselor might be very helpful, especially if the feelings of anxiety and tension due to past feelings.
A.3. What you must aware of in the first trimester
1. Heavy bleeding
Spotting is normal, if you have heavy bleeding and bad cramping similar to period cramps and coupled with sharp lower abdominal pain, you should go to hospital right the way as it is a sign of either miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
2. Excessive nausea and vomiting
Excessive nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss, dizziness, dehydration. If dehydration. occurs, you must go hospital for treatment.
3. High fever
It may be sign of infection, report this to your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Vaginal discharge and itching
It may be a sign of infection, if left untreated, it can cause problem to your baby.
5. Pre-existing medical conditions
Certain pre-existing medical conditions if not under well-controlled, it can have serious problem to your baby’s health.
A.4. Herbs to protect your baby and enhance your baby's growth in first trimester
Please do not use these herbs until you have consult with your herbal medicine practitioner.
There is always controversy for using herbs in pregnant woman in the first trimester as the fetus has not been formed. Some herbalists suggested some herbs can be taken while many others do not. I will leave this A.4. blanks for the mothers to make their choices.
A.5. Chinese herbs protect your baby and enhance your baby's growth in first trimester
Please do not use these herbs until you have consult with your traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been around over 4000 years and is considered as one of the best in optimizing the condition of the mother by improving the pre-existing problems and recommending the proper diets and life styles. According to The TCM classic "Qian Jin Yao Fang" ("Thousand Golden Essential Prescriptions") by Sun Simiao in the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) says the baby is not formed in this period and the pregnant woman should not take any medicine for reinforcement.
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