Fact of the blog: the single cell of the fertilised egg divides to produce the 6 billion cells of your fully grown baby.

My Top tip:

Give yourself a break. The biggest task the human body will ever perform is growing a baby so take every opportunity to put your feet up.

Trimester 1

1 You might think it takes 9 months to grow a baby but did you know your full term pregnancy is 40-42 weeks which is actually more like 10 calendar months.

 

2  By 12 weeks your baby is fully formed. From then on the organs grow and develop but everything is formed, including some parts of the brain!

 

3  It’s advisable to take folic acid only for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Don’t waste your money on tablets beyond this point; by this stage your baby is fully formed so folic acid is no longer required. It’s also worth noting that although the NHS still advise folic acid there is more of a focus on dietary folate intake because of conversion to B9. The bottom line is that folic acid can not replace folate completely and eating folate rich foods (leafy green veg) is best.
UK Chief Medical Officers and NICE guidelines now encourage all pregnant women to take Vitamin D throughout their entire pregnancy as supplementing with 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily helps the baby’s intestines to adequately absorb calcium and phosphate.

 

4  The impact of work and your environment, as important as they are, generally don’t get covered enough in the first trimester. Consider what you are exposing yourself to whilst your baby is forming vital organs and brain tissue; are you absorbing harmful chemicals, pollution or doing any heavy lifting? These influences can get dismissed, especially before your pregnancy is showing, but we don’t know how much these can impact your pregnancy. If you are concerned about your work responsibilities, talk to your HR department or occupational health representative as soon as possible and be open to considering alternative duties if necessary.

 

5  Your baby is developing in response to your lifestyle cues. For example, your growing baby reacts to the amount of food you eat, the types of food you eat and the stress levels you experience. Your baby receives a little part of everything you do in preparation for the environment in which they will be born into. I know it’s obvious but try to eat well, sleep well and manage your stress from the beginning of your pregnancy. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and improve sleep. Try just 10 minutes a day, it takes time to really reap the benefits but starting now will help you. Mindfulness in pregnancy is key.

 

6  Although your baby is still very small you may be surprised at the need to pee more often (now and throughout.) Right now your baby is low in your pelvis, below your belly button, so s/he puts pressure on your bladder from an early stage. Don’t worry this is normal unless you have additional symptoms such as burning, stinging, a change in urine colour or smell. Let your midwife know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and she will send off an MSU (mid-stream urine specimen) for laboratory testing.

 

7  You may find you get sore and uncomfortable boobs, particularly around the nipples, with some women experiencing shooting pains. Your daily shower may even feel unbearable. This is related to a surge of oestrogen and an important hormone known as HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is also responsible for maintaining your pregnancy and is the hormone detected in pregnancy tests. Whilst your boobs will continue to change as your pregnancy progresses, and again after birth, ill-fitting bras will press uncomfortably on your sensitive breast tissue. Whatever style bra you go for just ensure you get the right size, it’s important to get measured by 15 weeks and again around 32-34 weeks. I think sports and adjustable bras are great.

 

8  ‘Morning sickness’ is common – around 80% of women experience it, caused by the presence of HCG. It’s a pain when you aren’t telling your colleagues and have to go to the loo often or look randomly peaky. Ginger is thought to be a natural anti-sickness so perhaps try ginger biscuits or tea. You may also want to leave a snack by your bedside like a banana or biscuits to eat as soon as you wake up. This trick helps most women as it’s worse on an empty stomach and when your blood sugar level drops. Eating early helps you get ahead.  It can be a sign of a healthy pregnancy but if you don’t get morning sickness don’t panic; you’ve just had a lucky escape!

 

9   Excessive vomiting (hyperemesis) is not normal. There’s a big difference between ‘morning sickness’ nausea, occasional vomiting and not being able to keep anything down. You can become dehydrated quickly so it’s vital you are getting the hydration, vitamins and nutrition you need. Call your midwife or doctor if you think you are developing hyperemesis. You may need intravenous vitamins and fluids (a drip).

 

10 It’s ok to feel like you really aren’t yourself – you’re growing a baby. During Trimester 1 you are creating and building the most important parts of your little human. Your body is running a marathon every day, you just can’t see it. After these first 12 weeks your body mainly has to grow the baby. But right now there are things you can’t even imagine going on. This is the hardest and possibly most important part of the journey which is often overlooked because you can’t SEE the baby. So give yourself a break – you’ve earned it!