The First Trimester (0-13 weeks)
Hi! As one of the pregnant bloggers for ASTB, I thought I would produce a mini-series of four blogs breaking down the three trimesters of pregnancy and that all important fourth trimester (baby’s first 3 months of life) for you wonderful mums and dads to be.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I found the prospect of 40 weeks quite daunting and trying to work out what, when and why things happen seemed like an epic task with the vast amount of information on the internet.
I found the first trimester lasted forever! This all depends on when you find out you are pregnant, but if like me, you were only 2 weeks, then it does seem to drag! My dates were also wrong and at my 12 week scan I was only 10/5 based on the size of the baby, so I had to go back for a second scan! This meant I literally had a whole 12 weeks of the first trimester to worry, panic, feel excitement and get those dreaded first trimester symptoms...
How did you know you were pregnant? Apart from the obvious missed period and the fact that we were trying, for me, I also had a dizzy, spaced out feeling. Despite two failed tests, I just knew that I was, so waited a few more days and finally the test agreed!
Typical symptoms usually include:
Sickness (don't be fooled, this can happen morning, noon and night)
Period like cramps
Other cramps - legs, buttocks (my sciatic nerve trapped a lot during this time)
Urgency to pee
Extreme hunger or feeling completely off your food
Breasts getting larger
Food cravings or aversions
Every pregnancy is different, so if you have any concerns, see your GP. One person's normal is not another's, so do get things checked out for peace of mind.
I was lucky not to get sickness, nausea or exhaustion, but as someone who has suffered from IBS most of my life, even though I had got to a point of managing it, it became extremely bad again that I looked pregnant just from the bloating! My new found love of carbohydrates did not help either! That teamed with the massive appetite that plagued my first trimester, I was one of those pregnant people who put on about 5kg by 12 weeks!
Keeping it a secret
Now most people will tell you not to shout the news around as the first trimester is also the riskiest. Unfortunately with the symptoms mentioned above, coupled with any special occasions you are due to attend, people will definitely be playing the guessing game. Well done to those who do keep this to themselves, but how annoying are the friends who outright ask you if you are pregnant? In my opinion, it’s none of their business and they don’t know the ins and outs of your pregnancy or the journey you took to get there, so do not feel under pressure to answer them. I think it is your choice whether you tell someone or not.
As mentioned above, we had a scan at 10/5 and so decided then to share with our close friends. We had already told family members and a few of our besties were in the know. All of this is down to preference.
I enjoyed having a secret with my husband and telling people when we were ready was a great feeling.
These completely baffled me!
When and where was I supposed to go? Who do I see? And most importantly, when can I see my baby?!
I felt I was imagining the pregnancy and as no one actually checks you are pregnant, they just take your word for it, there were times I took extra tests just to make sure.
The first person to see is your GP. They should ask you questions about the start date of your last period, the length of your cycle and how you are feeling. They will also ask if you had taken a test - make sure you have! They will then talk about the local hospitals available and make a booking in appointment for you with a midwife at the hospital.
Booking in appointment
The booking in appointment is where you will meet a midwife. She will be armed with questions to ask you, so do go in prepared.
These will include
The same questions your GP asked you
Yours and your partners details and medical history
Family medical history (it’s worth asking your mum about any problems she had during pregnancy for this bit as well as general medical issues)
They will take your height, weight and blood pressure
They will take quite a lot of blood from you (mine included an extra vile due to a vitamin D deficiency that trends in my family, and low and behold, I’m now on vitamin D supplements!)
They will ask you how you are feeling and what they can do to help with any symptoms you are having
Feel free to talk to them about any concerns, pains or uncertainties. They are there to give you reassurance
They will also book in your 12 week scan and your 16 week midwife check up
They will talk through the screening tests that you are offered at your 12 week scan - these include the nuchal translucency test that measures the fluid at the back of a baby’s neck and can give an indication of the risk of Down’s Syndrome, as well as a blood test for Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ and Patau’s Syndromes
I have found out from other pregnant friends, that they have had a mixture of midwives throughout their antenatal appointments. I have been extremely lucky and have had the same midwife the whole way through. All hospitals are different, so ask the midwife at your first appointment what happens at your chosen hospital.
I also had a follow up appointment with my midwife to run through my blood test results. This was a quick 5 minute chat in which I could also quiz her about any extra concerns/symptoms that may have arisen within the twos weeks since I last saw her.
They will also give you a maternity folder for you and baby. Make sure you take this to every future appointment.
The 12 week scan
Firstly this usually happens between 11-13 weeks and you will need to remember to drink plenty beforehand as a full bladder will help push the uterus up to see better. (Just locate the toilets pretty quickly afterwards!).
So, this is it! The moment that we have all been waiting for! The moment you get to see your wriggly baby up on the screen and know for sure that there is something growing inside of you! I say wriggly, because although you cannot feel the movements, you may quickly realise how much babies like to move and sometimes play camera shy - mine decided to sleep on it’s tummy, so I had to cough and tap my tummy quite a lot to get baby to turn around.
Not just seeing, but hearing the heartbeat as well. The sonographer will check everything is developing well, including the skull, brain, arms, legs, stomach, bowel, pelvis, bladder and placenta.
As my dates were wrong, I got to see this twice. Once at 10/5 and another at 12/4. Due to the foetus being too small on the first scan, they couldn't take all the measurements that they needed so I got to return a second time. The difference to the baby in just two weeks is astonishing.
See the difference in 2 weeks! (photo of two scans)
Getting a scan photo can cost. Again each hospital is different, so check with your midwife, but do take some change with you. This can range from free to £10 for three prints.
They will offer you the choice on the day as to whether you would like to go ahead with the screening tests I mentioned above and if so, do be expected to give more blood.
At the end of this, you will have a beautiful photo to share with your nearest and dearest and an actual due date for the baby (remember only 1% of babies are born on their due dates, so use this as a guide).
That is the first trimester in a nutshell! Rest up, talk through any concerns with symptoms with your midwife or GP and look forward to that all important 12 week scan!