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What Happens During Your First Month Of Pregnancy

You may have just found out that you are pregnant, Congratulations! If you have been planning this then I’m sure you and your partner are elated and excited, all ready to embark on this journey. There are usually plenty of questions at this stage such as what are the things you can or cannot do or what are the foods you should avoid and the list goes on.

CHANGES IN MOTHER’S BODY AND HEALTH

You tend to feel tired very easily. Listen to your body and rest whenever you have the chance. During the 1st month of pregnancy, most women tend to have a poorer appetite. If you are experiencing ‘morning sickness’ during the first few months of pregnancy, your appetite can be affected. Morning sickness usually last the whole day, and evenings are usually the worst. Epigastric discomfort is very common too. Try to take small but regular meals- that would help alleviate some of these symptoms.

Urinary frequency is also a common complaint, especially at night when it disturbs your sleep. This is due to the expanding womb pressing on the bladder. Continue to stay hydrated, but reduce water intake after dinner.

FETAL DEVELOPMENT

During the first month, the blastocyst (a ball of cells) reaches the womb and implants itself onto the uterine lining. Some women may experience slight spotting at this stage, which is termed as implantation bleeding. After a week, the cells start to differentiate into the different organs and the external features are starting to form (embryonic stage). This is a crucial stage as the fetus is very susceptible to damage from the consumption of unsuitable medications, illegal drug use, smoking and getting infections like rubella.

The fetus’ limb buds, which look like paddles, are beginning to form. The jaw bones and the fetus’ heart start to form. Even the neural tube which will eventually become the baby’s brain and spine, has started to develop. In the later part of the month, the umbilical cord will be formed, leading to the placenta. The size of the baby is about 1.5cm at this stage.

COMMON QUESTIONS THAT MOTHERS HAVE

Can I exercise when I am pregnant? 

Yes. Exercise is safe in pregnancy. However, as most women tend to feel very tired and possibly ‘sick’ the first trimester, it can be tough to stick to an exercise regime. Start slowly and consistently. Rest if unwell.

Are there any foods I should avoid? 

  • Diet in pregnancy should not vary much from before pregnancy, such as a sensible diet that is low in fats and sugar. There are certain foods that should be avoided or taken in limited quantities throughout your pregnancy and that includes:
  • Raw or half cooked foods (sashimi, half boiled eggs). Make sure food is cooked thoroughly to ensure that pathogens are killed.
  • Soft unripened cheese
  • Intake of caffeinated drinks. Limit coffee to a maximum of 2 cups a day or 3 cups of tea.
  • Reduce intake of liver products due to high level of retinol content that may affect the fetus.
  • Reduce intake of deep sea fish like tuna, deep Atlantic cod fish, swordfish as these contain a high level of mercury. Vitamin A (tretinoin) and mercury have been associated with fetal deformities.

Our Obstetricians