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Your Pregnancy First TrimesterBACK

Pregnancy is a time of excitement, but is also a time of rapid physical and emotional changes. From fertilisation till the birth of your child, you and your baby will be undergoing a lot of changes. To help you understand these changes we've outlined the basics of pregnancy.

Fertilisation and implantation Fertilisation occurs in the fallopian tube when a single sperm penetrates the egg. At the moment of fertilisation, your baby's genetic make-up is complete, including its sex. The fertilised egg then travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus (womb) where, about a week later, it implants on the wall of the uterus where it grows and is nourished.

Verification of Pregnancy Your pregnancy can be verified by a simple urine test which gives instant result after you miss your period by a few days. A beta HCG blood test can also be performed to verify pregnancy. Standard laboratory tests are done in the first trimester of pregnancy which include haemoglobin, blood group and Rh typing, blood sugar, thyroid hormone levels, HIV, HBsAg and to rule out Thalassemia. These tests are necessary to help identify specific conditions that may affect your care during pregnancy. It is important to know the blood group and Rh factor. If you are Rh negative and your partner is Rh positive, check with your doctor about any special tests or care during pregnancy.

Your first trimester (weeks 1 to 12) Duration of the pregnancy is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period. As the fertilised egg grows the placenta (the organ through which your baby is nourished) develops and adheres to the uterus from where it draws nourishment.

You may experience the following signs in early pregnancy:
  1. Tiredness. Take adequate rest if you feel tired.
  2. Nausea, often called as morning sickness, can occur at any time of the day, but may be worse in the morning, when your stomach is empty. Eat a few unsalted biscuits or rusks before getting out of bed. Take small, light meals at frequent intervals.
  3. Vomiting. It can be controlled by tablets prescribed by your doctor, if required. In a few cases it may be uncontrollable and may require hospitalization.
  4. Aversion to certain smells and food.
  5. Breast tenderness.
  6. Frequent urination.
  7. Occasional pain in abdomen.
  8. Constipation. Add more fibre to your diet and take more fluids. (See article on constipation at http://www.vardaan.net/hl-chfd.php.)
  9. Pain in legs.

Discuss with your doctor before taking any medication as some medicines have been linked to birth defects if taken during the first trimester when the baby's organs are developing.

Staying Healthy

Good nutrition is extremely important during pregnancy, since what you eat nourishes your baby, too. Cut down on your use of salt and caffeine, drink plenty of fluids, and balance your diet with daily servings of cereals, vegetables, fruits, protein rich food such as fish, meat, eggs, beans, milk and dairy products. You should be taking iron and folic acid supplements.

Things to Avoid

  • Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and of having a low birth weight baby.
  • Alcohol has been linked with low birth weight, birth defects, and possibly mental retardation.
  • Medication of any type should be taken only on your doctor's direction.
  • Avoid intercourse.

Exercise

Exercise during pregnancy helps to tone up and strengthen your muscles, improve oxygen supply and can help you feel good both physically and mentally. Exercises like swimming, bicycling or walking are beneficial.

Kegel's exercises strengthen the vaginal muscles used in child birth. The Kegel's muscles are the ones you use to stop the flow of urination. The exercise is done by tightening, holding and then relaxing these muscles. Do them daily to help preserve the vaginal muscle tone. Vigorous exercise should be avoided.

Look for these signs
  • Risk of miscarriage is greatest during the first three months of pregnancy. If you experience any abdominal pain, unusual cramping, or bleeding, notify your doctor right away.
  • Also call your doctor if you have fever over 100 F.
Dr Rekha Khandelwal M.S. Chief Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

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