Nine Months: The first trimester of pregnancy is challenging; here's how to navigate it

Pregnancy brings joy, elation, and pride. But it’s hard to deny, it also does instill a certain apprehension. Feeling anxious and responsible for your little one’s wellbeing is natural once the countdown to the trimesters has begun.

And like a fish out of water, you’re greeted by changes you’ve probably not felt before, thus inherently making the first trimester a crucial point in the pregnancy. To make the process simpler, you could follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting.

The Discovery

A missed period is amongst the first signs that spell you’re pregnant. At other times, you may feel nauseous or have tender breasts. As your body begins to adapt to the hormonal changes, fatigue, frequent urination, and an unusual urge to sleep follow. These symptoms more often than not point that your baby has most certainly taken residence!

Taking a quick pregnancy test is the most immediate thing you could do to put any doubts to rest. The test looks for traces of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone secreted by pregnant women. As the pregnancy progresses, this hormone enables the functional mechanism of the ovaries to release another hormone called progesterone.

The Time Factor

Now, you may not always enjoy the nail-biting wait until a missed period to perform a urine pregnancy test. Maybe you’re contemplating a trip or are undergoing medical treatment; an early result would make a huge difference. The answer to this lies in the serum B-hCG test. It’s a simple blood test that can detect pregnancy nearly a week before a missed period.

Now that’s fast!

Braving The First Trimester

Once pregnancy dawns upon you, so does the realisation of possible risks. Don’t put off a doctor’s visit until later. Examining the risks in the first trimester will determine the normal progression of your pregnancy.

Here are common concerns that raise the risk bar for pregnancies during the first trimester and beyond —

  • Age

Unfortunately the saying ‘Age no bar’ doesn’t apply if you want a pregnancy that is devoid of complications. Since the quality and the number of eggs get affected with every candle you blow after you’re 30, it’s best to conceive early. Your chances of getting pregnant are higher between the age of 20 and 33. However, if for any reason, you intend to have a baby after you’re 35, freezing your eggs is a practical option.

  • Obstetric History

Multiple pregnancies or C-section births may have a significant impact and put you and the baby at risk. Giving birth more than 5 times is a red flag that calls for attention. Similarly, bleeding in a previous pregnancy, undergoing a surgical procedure, or suffering a miscarriage could affect the chances of a successful delivery. Family planning and guidance from your doctor could lower the development of any complications.

  • Medical Conditions

Letting your health go unchecked could be dangerous during the first trimester. Conditions like obesity, diabetes, impaired thyroid functioning, or anemia should be monitored to ensure they don’t interfere with the development of the baby. Similarly more immediate concerns like ovarian cysts or fibroids in the uterus are conditions that shouldn’t be left untreated for the sake of yourself and your little one.

  • Miscarriage

Miscarriages are unavoidable in a certain population, approximately 10-20 percent. However, doctors call it ‘nature’s quality control check’ as nearly 70 percent of such miscarriages are associated with a chromosomal abnormality. Doctors monitoring pregnant women often report incidents when they’ve been devastated after a miscarriage. However, the women are generally able to gain closure after tests are performed to prove it was a defective pregnancy.

Your Diet On The Radar

While conditions can be closely monitored to prevent your pregnancy from turning into a high-risk one, there’s certainly one thing you have complete control over — your diet. Eating right can prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies and protect the baby from abnormalities. Your diet must comprise a healthy combination of items from varying food groups. Include sources of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and fats. Increase your intake of iron and folic acid by consuming legumes and leafy green vegetables. Folic acid in particular is integral to a baby’s DNA synthesis and RBC production. It remains the most recommended supplement for pregnant women because of its efficacy in preventing neural tube defects in babies.

No More Bingeing

While you now know what you should eat, it’s best to stay wise about what you shouldn’t too! To make it easy to remember, we’ve called it the three ‘Cs’ — Coffee, Cola, and Chinese food. And if you think a quick snack with a packet of instant noodles wouldn’t do harm, think again. Processed food is best avoided as they’re packed with preservatives, trans-fats, MSG, and other unhealthy ingredients, which could disrupt hormones, lead to obesity, and cause blood sugar spikes.

And while you’d love to enjoy that ice-cream, treat yourself (and your baby!) to it just once in a while. Maybe you could keep it as a reward after a session of water aerobics?

Making The Doctor Your New Friend

It’ll be a long nine months before your baby is almost ready for the new world waiting outside. But while you may feel everything’s fine inside, don’t simply go by the absence of any unusual symptoms, There’s no substitute for an expert’s skill at scanning inconsistencies and complications. Have a nutritionist and a gynecologist oversee your pregnancy. While a nutritionist ensures you reach your ideal weight and eat healthy, your gynecologist will be an invaluable companion through your nine-month journey.

Watch this episode of 9 Months for more comprehensive information on dealing with the first trimester.


Updated Date: Oct 10, 2017 14:30 PM

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