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While pregnancy is the most joyful events in the life of a mother, the first trimester can be overwhelming for the first time mothers.  The first three months are marked by an invisible but amazing transformation in the mother as well as the baby.

The baby develops rapidly from a single cell, the embryo to 13 weeks when it has a fully developed heart with cardiac activity, brain, spinal cord and various other organs. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessary medications like Folic acid and avoid unnecessary medications that you may already be on to avoid and developmental anomalies in the baby.

The rapid hormonal changes with the onset of pregnancy bring about lot of physiological and psychological changes in the mothers body. Being aware of these changes and how to handle them makes you confidant to face the first trimester

Nausea /vomiting – This is the commonest problem faced by pregnant woman and is also called as “Morning Sickness “, but it may happen during any time of the day. It happens because of rising level of hormone Progesterone during pregnancy, which slows down your digestive system leading to nausea. To combat morning sickness, eat small frequent meals, avoid spicy food, and drink plenty of fluids, sipping on electrolyte drinks. Some home remedies can be to take dry toast, cracker, ginger or lemon ale.

Fatigue and Tiredness – Because ofrising Progesterone levels, expectant mothers feel fatigued and tired all the time. The nausea and vomiting, not being able to eat also depletes their energy reserves. To fight fatigue and tiredness, you need to take adequate rest and sleep well. Eating a nutritious diet and some form of exercise will also keep you energized.

Tender  and Swollen Breast – Breast tenderness is the first sign of pregnancy, starting as early as 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and may last during the first trimester. It happens because of hormonal changes associated with pregnancy.as the hormones settle, breast tenderness also settles, however changes in size and structure of breast keeps happening in preparation for breast feeding.

Food Craving and Aversions- It is fairly common to have cravings and aversions to specific food items. The hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) doubles every few days during your first trimester. The rapid increase of this hormone in the body causes food aversions. Plus, the digestion process slows down during pregnancy, so some formerly appealing foods become intolerable.

You can always consult your doctor for other alternatives for food aversions to make sure your body is getting all the necessary nutrients.
Heartburn- The increased production of progesterone, the hormone that relaxes muscles in preparation for labour and birth, is the main reason behind heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. Progesterone causes the valve at the top of the stomach to relax and allow stomach acid to flow into your esophagus, causing heartburn. To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried or spicy foods, citrus fruits and chocolate. Also, avoid lying down after eating and don’t eat too close to bedtime, so that your body has time to digest the food.
Constipation- High level of progesterone in the body slows down the digestion, less intake of fluids and inability to take good diet because of nausea, vomiting leads to constipation.

To combat this, take small frequent meals, high fiber diet and lot of fluids.
Frequent urination– Pregnant women need to use the washroom frequently and this is not limited to the first trimester only. This happens because of increase in blood volume during pregnancy, causing the kidneys to filter more fluid. In the latter half of pregnancy, it is because of the pressure on to the bladder caused by the growing baby inside the uterus.


Dr. Amita Shah

All stories by: Dr. Amita Shah
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