1st trimester of pregnancy: development, care and examinations

1st trimester of pregnancy: development, care and examinations


The first trimester of pregnancy corresponds to the first 3 months and weeks 1 to 13 of pregnancy, being marked by the rapid development of the baby and the formation of the main organs, in addition to the placenta and umbilical cord. This is considered the most delicate phase of pregnancy and, therefore, the consumption of substances such as medicines, alcohol or cigarettes can seriously affect the baby’s development.

During the first trimester, many hormonal changes also occur in women, which are considered normal, but which can lead to the appearance of some symptoms such as morning sickness, excessive tiredness or breast sensitivity, for example.

During the 1st trimester of pregnancy, you must have your first prenatal consultation and the tests recommended by your obstetrician, such as blood, urine and fecal tests and the first obstetric ultrasound.

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Baby development

The baby’s development in the 1st trimester of pregnancy is marked mainly by the accelerated multiplication of embryo cells and the formation of the main organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, intestine, kidneys, bones and cartilage, as well as the neurons and small buttons that will give birth. origin to the arms and legs.

Due to the rapid multiplication of cells in the embryo, the first trimester is considered the most delicate, as some substances such as medicines, medicinal plants, alcohol or cigarettes can interfere with the baby’s development, potentially causing malformations.

At the end of the first trimester, the baby measures around 7.4 centimeters and the placenta and umbilical cord are completely formed, and will be responsible for carrying the nutrients and oxygen necessary for the maturation of all the baby’s organs, which will continue to develop until the end of pregnancy.

Changes in a woman’s body

At the beginning of the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s body produces the hormone beta-HCG, in addition to other hormones such as progesterone and estrogen, which allow the baby to develop in the uterus. These hormonal changes can lead to the appearance of the first symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness, excessive tiredness or breast tenderness, which can often be confused with PMS symptoms. Know how to differentiate the symptoms of pregnancy and PMS.

Additionally, a woman may experience pain in her pelvis as the normal hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the pelvic ligaments to loosen to accommodate the baby, as well as other symptoms such as heartburn, a burning sensation in the stomach, sensitivity in the gums or the urge to urinate frequently. . Check out all the changes in a woman’s body week by week in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Care in the 1st trimester of pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy is the most delicate period in the baby’s development, and it is important to follow all the obstetrician’s recommendations, take folic acid and/or other supplements recommended by the doctor, in addition to eating a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients necessary for the baby’s development and practice physical activities, as long as they are approved by the doctor. Find out what nutrition should be like during pregnancy.

Furthermore, it is important that women pay attention to the use of medications, avoiding use on their own and only using medications or taking vaccines with a doctor’s recommendation, as at this stage the arms, legs and organs of the forming embryo are very sensitive. to certain medications that can cross the placenta and cause defects in the baby.

Throughout pregnancy, it is also important to avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or drugs of abuse, as they can harm the baby’s development.

How to relieve 1st trimester symptoms

In the first trimester of pregnancy, some precautions are important to help alleviate discomfort that may arise, such as:

  • Morning sickness: eat small meals frequently throughout the day and stay hydrated. If your nausea is very severe, your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medication during pregnancy. Find out how severe nausea during pregnancy is treated;
  • Excessive tiredness: creating a routine of sleeping and waking up at the same time every day or sleeping a little during the day can help reduce tiredness and increase mood;
  • Breast tenderness: Wear a support bra to relieve tenderness, pain, or heavy breast sensations. This bra can also be used at night to support the breasts and alleviate discomfort;
  • Pelvic pain: Light stretching and gentle movement can help ease discomfort. However, if the pain does not improve, or if you have a fever, you should contact your doctor immediately;
  • Heartburn or burning sensation in the stomach: eating in small amounts and not lying down after meals can help alleviate this discomfort. Another important measure is to avoid drinking liquids during meals and avoid eating fried foods, spicy or highly seasoned foods. See other tips on how to relieve heartburn during pregnancy;
  • Gum sensitivity: You should use a soft toothbrush and continue brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Furthermore, it is recommended to consult your dentist to assess the health of your mouth and teeth;
  • Urge to urinate frequently: Do not hold urine, as leaving urine trapped in the bladder can increase the risk of urinary infection.

It is important to always follow the obstetrician’s instructions, according to the symptoms presented, in order to guarantee the woman’s health and allow the baby’s healthy development.

Main exams of the 1st quarter

As soon as the pregnancy is confirmed, an appointment with the obstetrician must be made by the 13th week of pregnancy to confirm the stage of pregnancy and clarify doubts such as the baby’s likely date of birth and care during pregnancy.

In the 1st trimester of pregnancy, prenatal care is carried out through tests that evaluate and monitor the baby’s development and the woman’s health, in addition to checking whether there is a risk of the mother passing on any disease to the baby.

The main tests requested by the obstetrician in the 1st trimester of pregnancy include:

1. Gynecological examination

The gynecological examination in the 1st trimester of pregnancy is carried out with the aim of evaluating the woman’s intimate region and, thus, identifying signs of infection or inflammation in the genital region, which is why some situations such as candidiasis, vaginal inflammation and cervical cancer , for example, when not identified and treated can influence the baby’s development.

2. Routine exams

At all follow-up appointments, the obstetrician may perform some more general tests to assess the woman’s health. Therefore, it is common to measure blood pressure in order to assess the risk of eclampsia, which can lead to early birth, in addition to also assessing the woman’s weight.

Another routine exam that is normally carried out is checking the fundal height, in which the abdominal region is measured with the aim of evaluating the baby’s growth.

3. Laboratory tests

Some laboratory tests may be recommended by the obstetrician in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, including:

  • Complete blood count;
  • Blood type, Rh factor and indirect Coombs test;
  • VDRL;
  • HIV;
  • Hepatitis B and C;
  • Thyroid, such as TSH, T3 and T4;
  • Glucose;
  • Toxoplasmosis;
  • Rubella;
  • Cytomegalovirus or CMV;;
  • Type 1 urine or EAS, and urine culture;
  • Feces.

In addition, during prenatal care, tests can also be carried out to identify other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can be diagnosed by examining vaginal secretions or urinalysis. If there is any change in any of these tests, the doctor may request a repeat of the test in the second trimester of pregnancy. Find out which tests are recommended in the second trimester of pregnancy.

4. Obstetric ultrasound

The obstetric ultrasound in the 1st trimester of pregnancy is transvaginal, which is normally performed between the 8th and 10th week of pregnancy and serves to confirm the gestational age, how the embryo is developing, whether it is in the correct place within the uterus, whether the pregnancy is one or more babies, in addition to checking the baby’s heart rate and allowing you to calculate the expected birth date.

5. Nuchal translucency

Nuchal translucency ultrasound is performed between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, and is used to detect malformations and genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome, for example. Find out how the nuchal translucency exam is performed.