What to expect in your first trimester

What you need to know about early pregnancy.

Written by Danielle Wilkins

The first trimester of pregnancy begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. During these first few months, there is a lot happening in your body.

If you don’t already have one, now is a good time to find a good family doctor. Your doctor can help you with any questions or concerns you have at the beginning of your pregnancy. But here are a few things you might experience in your first trimester.

8 things you need to know about your first trimester

  1. You can expect to feel very tired. Extreme tiredness is often one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Listen to your body and get as much rest as you can, balanced with gentle exercise.
  2. You might experience ‘morning sickness’. Which can last all day. Many women will experience nausea and even vomiting. Try having small amounts of bland food regularly, even before you get out of bed in the morning. If you are struggling with severe nausea, there are some natural treatments which can help, such as ginger and supplementing with B group vitamins. If you are still struggling, discuss medical management with your doctor. A small group of women will require medical management.
  3. Headaches are not uncommon in the first trimester of pregnancy. Ensure you have adequate rest and are well hydrated. It is safe to take paracetamol for headaches.
  4. Your bowels may become sluggish and you may become constipated. Remember the three important factors for a healthy bowel habit - 1. fibre. 2. fluids. 3. exercise.
  5. Folic acid - called folate - is important. You should continue to take it throughout the first trimester, and remember not to take other medications without checking with the pharmacist or your doctor first.
  6. Maintaining adequate hydration is really important. If you are struggling to drink water due to the metallic after taste and your nausea, try soda water, warm water or herbal non-caffeinated teas.
  7. Vaginal spotting is not uncommon around the 5-6 week mark of the pregnancy. However if you are concerned about heavy bleeding or lower abdominal pain you should see your general practitioner.
  8. You will need blood tests and scans. There are important blood tests and ultrasound scans that need to be performed during the first trimester. Make an appointment to see your general practitioner by 8 weeks of pregnancy to discuss these tests.

The first trimester might be challenging--especially if you are experiencing extreme tiredness and morning sickness. But it is good to know that for most women, many of these symptoms will start to ease up in the second trimester.

Remember, if you have any questions, chat to your doctor.

Learn more about your pregnancy

In a series of three lessons, Obstetrician Dr Danielle Wilkins guides you through what to expect through first, second and third trimester - for both you and your baby. Visit Medibank’s School of Better to learn about your pregnancy.

Written by Danielle Wilkins

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