For many couples who want to have a child, the positive result of a pregnancy test can bring overwhelming joy. However, if you’re an expecting mother, you might also feel confused or scared about the next few months. It’s normal to feel fear, but by arming yourself with knowledge, you’ll get through your first trimester as smoothly as possible. Just ask the majority of pregnant women who are already 3 months pregnant and beyond!
During the first month of pregnancy, the major sections of the fetus are developing. The fetal body prioritizes the creation of vital tissues, such as blood, to facilitate further development later in pregnancy. The placenta, which allows the baby to obtain nutrients from the mother’s blood, also develops during this time. After the first month, the baby is usually the size of a single grain of rice.
The second month of pregnancy is devoted to completing the neural tube, an area of tissue where the nervous system originates. Facial features, such as ears, start to form. The baby develops buds of tissues that eventually become limbs. The digestive tract also begins to form. After this month, the baby is already around an inch long.
Most substantial parts of the baby have structure during the third month of pregnancy. At the end of this period, the fetus bears a striking resemblance to a newborn. The baby can already make movements. The reproductive organs also start developing at this stage. After the third month, the baby is already up to four inches long.
The first signs of pregnancy usually involve full and tender breasts which might be overly sensitive. Another sign is light spotting, which is caused by the implantation of the baby in your uterus.
Your body releases surges of hormones as pregnancy starts, and these chemicals may have specific effects on your body. A common symptom is morning sickness, which can happen at any time of the day. You might also urinate more than usual. Your tastes and sense of smell might change, giving you aversions or cravings towards different types of food. You will also feel tired since your body is busy building another human being.
“Nausea and vomiting are common experiences in pregnancy, affecting 70–80% of all pregnant women,” says Noel M. Lee, M.D. You can curb nausea by eating slowly. You can split up your meals so that you only have to eat small amounts every few hours. As for food choices, you might want to stay away from fatty food or those that have strong tastes or aromas.
Make sure to consume plenty of water. Dehydration can weaken you, interfering with your daily activities. Finally, report any cases of severe nausea and vomiting to your medical professional.
In many cases, you will feel happy and excited that you’ll have a child soon. However, you might also feel exhausted from the different physical changes brought about by pregnancy. You may also feel confused about what to do next. Finally, you might even be fearful of anything that might happen to you or your baby.
Fortunately, you can relieve some of the anxiety by learning more about pregnancy. Knowing what to expect and what to do can help reduce your feelings of uncertainty. You should also rely on people you turn to for support, whether they may be your spouse, your relatives, or even your doctor. Finally, don’t hesitate to avail of mental health services if you feel that you need them.
At your first visit to the doctor, they will measure your overall health to ensure that there won’t be problems later in your pregnancy. In particular, they will assess you and your family’s medical history and offer screening tests for various genetic disorders. They will also set a due date for you based on when your last period occurred. Make sure to explain clearly anything that you might be feeling, even seemingly normal signs.
During visits to the doctor, you’ll be given a physical examination, as well as urine and blood tests, to check for any disorders that can impact your pregnancy. You might also undergo a pelvic exam and a culture to check for any sexually transmitted diseases that can harm your baby.
You’ll also have to schedule checkups every four weeks to ensure that any potential problems are solved as soon as possible. Feel free to say anything that may be on your mind, even if you think that the information is irrelevant. Giving your doctor more information helps them make more accurate decisions.
Inform your doctor if you’re taking any medications or supplements or if you encounter chemicals due to your work or place of residence. As early as now, start planning with your doctor about the details of your birth.
You need to take enough folic acid, especially during the first trimester. This substance is necessary for the proper development of the baby’s nervous tissue. Irene Hoesli, MD adds that “Increased folic acid intake preconceptionally and during pregnancy has been shown to help reduce the development of neural tube defects.” Folic acid deficiency can result in complications such as spina bifida, where the formation of the neural tube is incomplete. Disorders such as spina bifida can be challenging to correct and may lead to lifelong complications.
Aside from folic acid, you also need to get enough of the other nutrients that you and your baby need. In particular, make sure to consume enough protein to support the development of fetal tissues.
Eating a balanced diet should supply you with adequate nutrient levels. You can also opt to take multivitamins, but make sure to consult your doctor first. Getting too much of certain nutrients such as vitamin A can have serious consequences.
Now is the time to quit smoking and drinking. Cigarette smoke contains various toxins that can damage your baby’s body and cause congenital disabilities. Your baby is also sensitive even to small amounts of alcohol. Smoking or drinking during pregnancy is dangerous, especially during the first trimester when most organ systems are still developing. If you continue these habits, your chances of having congenital disabilities or miscarriages increases. Dr. Richard H. Schwarz, MD warns, “drinking heavily throughout pregnancy increases your risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).”
Consult with your doctor for advice on how to stop smoking. You might want to enroll in a program that helps you curb your desire for tobacco. Drinking any amount of alcohol is prohibited during the first trimester. Later in your pregnancy, it might be permissible to consume some alcohol as long as your doctor gives you the green light. However, never drink enough alcohol to make you drunk.
As a general rule, avoid fermented foods such as most cheeses. Avoid raw or undercooked food, including meat that is not well-done. Contracting an infection during the first trimester results in a higher chance of inducing complications.
Limit your consumption of oily fish to only twice a week, but make sure to eat some. These food items have proper nutrient levels, but they may also contain some pollutants that can harm your baby. In particular, limit tuna consumption and avoid shark or marlin, as these fishes contain significant amounts of mercury.
Don’t drink too many caffeinated drinks. It’s best to take in less than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily. High caffeine levels can increase the chances of miscarriages or low birth weight.
Any sensations of pain, including severe headaches, are significant. Watch out for blurred vision, swollen extremities, or fever. If you experience extreme thirst and urination, you might have gestational diabetes. Burning sensations, significant bleeding, and thick discharges from your reproductive organs are also valid cause for concern.
When in doubt, you should report to your doctor any sign or symptom that you’re unsure of.
You should continue exercising. Physical activity will strengthen your body, preparing it for later months of pregnancy and childbirth. Exercise is not harmful to your baby, which is protected by your womb and the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. That said, avoid activities with a significant risk of injuries such as skiing or rock climbing.
Make sure to continue meeting guidelines for aerobic exercise and strength training. Now is also a good time to do pelvic exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your abdominal organs. Pelvic exercises reduce your chances of experiencing complications during childbirth and help you recover faster.
By keeping these ten questions and answers in mind, you can ensure the best outcomes for you and your baby when you’re 3 months pregnant.