Pregnancy – The 1st Trimester
Pregnancy is usually thought of as a miracle and most couples look forward to having their first, or for that matter subsequent child.
For the first time mother, however, this is a time of different, new experiences ranging from excitement and joy to pain, anxiety and frustration. It is a time when many reassess their life’s purpose and their roles and often, the expectant mother faces not just mental and emotional challenges, but faces major physical changes and challenges.
The average pregnancy lasts about 280 days or 40weeks, from the date of conception to childbirth. Since the exact date of conception usually is not known, the physician determines an approximate date of birth by taking the date of the beginning of the last menstrual period, adding 7 days, counting back 3 months, and advancing the date arrived at to the following year. This is approximate, since pregnancy may be shorter than the average or can last as long as 300 days.
The 1st Trimester of Pregnancy
Signs that may point to pregnancy include:
Other signs of pregnancy include:
During the first 3 months (12 weeks) of pregnancy, or the first trimester, your body is undergoing many changes. As your body adjusts to the growing baby, you may have one or more of the above symptoms and may experience mood swings, and stress. Just remember that these things are normal during pregnancy, as your body is undergoing some dramatic changes. Most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And, some women not have any discomforts at all!
If you have been pregnant before, you might feel differently with this pregnancy. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy. And, as your body changes, you might need to make changes to your normal, everyday routine. Below, we look at some of the symptoms listed earlier and provide information on how you might deal with them:
During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even when you've had a lot of sleep at night. Many women find they're exhausted in the first trimester. Don't worry, this is normal! It’s just your body's way of telling you that you need more rest. After all, your body is working very hard to develop a whole new life.
Tiredness will pass over time and be replaced with a feeling of well being and more energy. When you are tired, get some rest. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night, and a nap during the day if you can.
If you feel stressed, try to find a way to relax. You might want to start sleeping on your left side, if you find it more comfortable. This will relieve pressure on major blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is even more important to be on your left side when you are lying down.
As the skin stretches and tightens your skin is stressed and usually itches. This itching can vary from mild to severe and the application of safe, nourishing essential oils can be of enormous benefit. A good skin moisturiser is vital at this stage and not just for your face either. Make sure your skin care products are natural and contain no artificial anything!
Wildcrafted’s Geranium & Aloe Moisturiser is an ideal product to use on any part of your body and contains nourishing essential oils that are safe and effective in controlling your itchy skin.
This is the time to take steps towards preventing and minimising stretch marks – prevention is always better and certainly easier than cure. So start using natural skin care products such as the Geranium & Aloe Moisturiser mentioned above at least 2-3 times daily, even if your skin is not itchy.
Ensure adequate intake of water to maintain a well-hydrated body. The skin requires considerable amounts of water and dehydration will not aid in the prevention of stretch marks.
Nausea and Vomiting
Usually called "morning sickness," nausea and vomiting are common during early pregnancy for many women, though, it isn't limited to just the morning. Although it can seem like it will last forever, nausea and vomiting usually go away after the first trimester. Try some of these tips to help your nausea:
Frequency of Urination
Running to the bathroom all the time? Frequent urination is common during pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, the growing uterus presses on your bladder. This is normal and will go back to normal after you’ve delivered your baby.
If you notice pain, burning, pus or blood in your urine see your health care provider right away. You might have a urinary tract infection that needs treatment.
As your uterus begins to expand, you might notice you're starting to get constipated. To prevent constipation, try to eat fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole grain cereals or breads everyday. Also, try to drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday. This is so important, it cannot be repeated often enough. Some of these servings can be substituted with fruit or vegetable juice. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other sodas), since caffeine makes your body lose fluid and won't help with constipation.
Eat lots of prunes, or drink prune juice that will make you get up and go…
Dizziness, feeling light headed, and even fainting can occur at any stage of pregnancy, since there now is extra blood going down towards your uterus and legs. You can help relieve these symptoms by lying down on your left side. Or to help prevent them, try moving around more instead of sitting or standing in one position for a long time.
It is also vital to continue to do some form of exercise. Walking is great and will keep your cardiovascular fitness up as well as help to promote circulation and general fitness – you do have a major job coming up in a few months and being as fit as possible will help your labour tremendously.
Varicose Veins and Haemorrhoids
During pregnancy, pressure on the large veins behind the uterus causes the blood to slow in its return to the heart. This can lead to varicose veins in the legs and haemorrhoids (varicose veins in the vagina or around the anus). Varicose veins look like swollen veins raised above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted or bulging, and are dark purple or blue in colour. They are found most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg, anywhere from the groin to the ankle. You can try to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy by:
At different times during your pregnancy, you might have cramps in your legs or feet. This is due to a change in the way your body processes, or metabolises, calcium. One way to prevent these cramps is to make sure to get enough calcium through non-fat or low-fat milk, and calcium-rich foods.
You can relieve leg and foot cramps by gently stretching the muscle. If you have a sudden leg cramp, flex your foot towards your body. If you point your foot to stretch your leg, the cramp could worsen. Wrapping a warm heating pad or warm, moist towel around the muscle also can help the muscle to relax.
If possible, you should think about having regular massages. The benefit of massage is many fold and not intended for this article, but includes promoting blood circulation, relief of tight muscles especially back and neck muscles, helps you to relax and unwind, etc. I cannot stress the benefit of massage enough and it’s a great way to relax and feel pampered.
Nosebleeds, Nasal Stuffiness, Bleeding Gums
These little discomforts are the result of hormonal effects on the tissues of your throat, mouth, and nose. They usually are not serious, and you might not even notice them. When you blow your nose, you might see a small amount of blood in the tissue. Blow gently, and stop a nosebleed by just squeezing your nose between your thumb and finger for a few minutes. See your health care provider, though, if you have nosebleeds that do not stop in a few minutes or happen often. Any nasal stuffiness that you have during pregnancy should not be extreme and can be helped by drinking extra water, or with using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom. Talk with your health care provider before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicines for colds or nasal stuffiness. You can help bleeding gums by brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily. Also make sure your vitamin C intake is adequate.
The first trimester is full of new experiences for first time mothers and it should be an enjoyable time in your life. Treat your body well, look after it and nurture your self and your baby and you shouldn’t have too many problems. Remember pregnancies and having babies is not new and has been going on for some time now. Stay in touch with your health care professionals and follow their advice.
Most of all, relax and enjoy your first trimester.
Visit our Book Store for books on Pregnancy
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Recommended natural skin care products for itchy skin:
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To Prevent Stretch Marks Before They Start
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Cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin is part of any good skin care regime.
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Wildcrafted Herbal Products make Toners specific for your skin type. They are designed to tone and invigorate the skin before using your moisturiser.
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Moisturisers nourish, hydrate and help to repair your skin. Wildcrafted Herbal Products have moisturisers for all skin types.
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