First Month of Pregnancy – Symptoms, Precautions and Care

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First month of pregnancy

Being pregnant is one of the biggest joys in the world. We will discuss various symptoms, precautions and care tips that will effectively help you to sail through the first month of your pregnancy.

What You Experience in the Early Stages of Pregnancy

Our body’s anatomy is impeccable, and any changes that happen within can be experienced immediately. The same goes in the case of pregnancy, which means as soon as you get pregnant your body signals you about the same. These symptoms may be very mild, such as breast soreness, fatigue and feeling of sickness. However, not all women may be able to register them in the initial stages of pregnancy. For most women, missed periods during the first month of pregnancy may be the first symptom.

Some women may experience the first month of pregnancy spotting, which is considered normal in most cases. However, if you experience any kind of spot, you should consult with your doctor immediately to avoid any complications.

Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms in the First Month

As you enter in your first month of pregnancy, you may experience many signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Though these may appear more like pre-menstrual symptoms and may confuse you.

Here are the signs to help you understand what happens in the first month of pregnancy:

  1. No Periods: Missed periods is one of the major indications of pregnancy. As soon as you conceive, your body starts releasing progesterone hormones. These hormones are responsible for stopping your periods also.
  1. Slight Spotting: When the egg attaches itself to the uterus in the process of fertilization, some amount of cramping and spotting may be experienced. Mostly it may be noticed while washing or wiping your genitals. Though most cases of the first month of pregnancy bleeding or spotting are considered normal if you notice any abnormal amount of blood or spotting, then you should seek immediate medical help.
  1. Breast Tenderness: Your breast may feel sore or tender to touch. This is quite similar to your pre-menstrual symptoms. Your areola may become darker, and you may even notice veins on your breasts.
  1. Changing Moods: Due to the major hormonal changes happening in your body, you may feel your moods to change quickly. One moment you may feel happy and gay, and the very next moment may invoke the feeling of despair. You may find yourself snappy for no reason. These are all very normal symptoms of pregnancy.Mood swings during pregnancy
  1. Frequent Loo Trips: The changing hormones lead to more blood flow around the pelvic region. This aids in thickening the uterine lining for optimal foetal growth and development. To handle the increased body fluids, the kidneys are required to work more. This entire process may make your uterus feel full and thus, the frequent trips to the loo.
  1. Tiredness: There is so much going inside your body in pregnancy. Therefore, you may find yourself low on energy and more tired than usual. The feeling of being tired and exhausted may lead to sleeplessness too.
  1. Change in Food Habits: You may develop a liking towards certain food items, and on the contrary, you may despise some food items. It is very normal for you to have an aversion to your favourite food and you may crave the ones which you disliked.
  1. Morning Sickness: Most pregnant women may experience nausea or vomiting in the initial stages of pregnancy. This can be experienced within three weeks after conception. Some women may feel nauseous all through the day whereas others may feel this around a particular time of the day.
  1. Heartburn: Heartburns are very common in pregnancy. The various changes happening inside the body are responsible for acid refluxes and heartburns at the onset of the pregnancy. Heartburns are also very common in the later stages of pregnancy when your growing baby pushes the intestines and stomach.
  1. Heightened Sense of Smell: Many women experience heightened sense of smell in pregnancy. You may like certain smells and may not be able to stand the other few.Pregnancy sense of smell
  1. Irregular Bowels: The increased levels of progesterone in the body make changes in the way various muscles function. This changed hormonal level makes the muscles to work slowly, and thus the food may pass slowly through the intestine, leading to irregular bowel movement or constipation.
  1. Giddiness: The presence of progesterone may cause blood pressure to become low and may make you feel giddy or dizzy.
  1. Back Pain: The ligaments covering your pelvic region loosen up. This results due to increased levels of progesterone in the body. The loosened ligaments in your rear may cause back pain.
  1. Hunger Pangs: Diet plays an important role in pregnancy, and your body may also guide you towards the same. You may find yourself hungrier than usual and may crave for food often.
  1. Headaches: At the beginning of your pregnancy journey, a lot going on inside your body. The increased hormones, blood volume and stress, may cause random headaches.

These are the initial symptoms that you may experience at the beginning of your first trimester. Along with these symptoms, you may notice many changes in your body too.

Changes in Body During Initial Month of Pregnancy

Though in the first month of your pregnancy, you may not notice any evident physical changes, you may see the following changes in your body:

  • Your breast size may increase due to the increased secretions.
  • You may feel bloated, and your clothes may feel little tight around the waist.
  • Your nipples and areola may turn bigger and darker.
  • You may experience increased vaginal discharge.
  • You may experience occasional spotting (not all women experience this).
  • You may feel giddy and dizzy.
  • You may feel lethargic and tired.

Tired woman

These are some of the changes that you may experience in your first month of pregnancy. It may take a few more months for your baby bump to show, because in most cases your first month of pregnancy belly will not show that you are pregnant.

Development of Your Baby in the First Month

When you become pregnant, this is how your baby development takes place in the first month:

  1. The Process of Fertilization: The process of fertilization may happen anytime within forty-eight to seventy-two hours after sexual intercourse. Your baby comes into existence as soon as ovum and spermatozoa unite with each other. At this stage, your baby can aptly be called as a zygote. The zygote multiplies very fast, and this is how your unborn baby’s growth and development starts.
  1. The Process of Implantation: The zygote thus formed starts to travel through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. The zygote then divides into morula – a solid cluster of cells, by around the fourth day. In the next few days, the morula divides into the blastocyst and tries to attach itself to the uterine wall for nutrition. As it implants itself, the embryo gets surrounded by the yolk sac and some blood vessels to obtain nutrition until the placenta is formed.
  1. The Process of Development: Around the third to the fourth week, your baby’s heart will start beating. Though your baby will be just the size of a pea, the arms, legs and lungs will begin to form. The baby’s face starts forming too, which will include ears, eyes, mouth and nose.

Diagnosis and Tests Involved in the First Month of Pregnancy

You must plan a visit to meet your doctor the moment you suspect that you are pregnant. Your doctor may suggest following diagnosis and tests to establish your pregnancy:

  1. Medical History and Physical Examination
  • You will be asked to share your last menstruation’s duration, flow and frequency.
  • Your doctor may want to know about your method of contraception if any.
  • You may need to take a physical examination to find out any pregnancy-related complications that may have faced in the past, such as ectopic pregnancy, tubal disease, tubal ligation, tubal manipulation, and inflammatory disease.
  • You may be asked about your conception methods in detail, in case you underwent any fertility treatment.
  1. Lab Tests
  • Your urine sample will be taken to establish the presence of hCG hormone. A blood test may be suggested in case the results are not convincing.
  • The hCG hormones are monitored closely to check if they are growing slowly or at a lower rate, which could indicate an ectopic pregnancy.
  • The higher levels of hCG can mean chromosome abnormality, molar pregnancy or multiple gestations.
  • To establish any kind of abnormality or risk in pregnancy, serum progesterone will be measured.
  • To establish the progesterone levels in the body dipstick, ELISA will be used.
  1. Ultrasound Scan

Ultrasound scans are very effective in establishing a pregnancy. The transvaginal ultrasonography is very beneficial in establishing gestation diabetes and intrauterine pregnancies. The vaginal scans are better than the normal abdominal scans because of higher frequency and better resolution of the image.

Ultrasound test

First Month Pregnancy Care Tips

Once your doctor confirms your pregnancy, the following pregnancy care tips may come handy:

  1. Prenatal Care: You may start with your prenatal care routine, which should include taking your vitamin supplements. Folic acid is the most important supplement that you may start taking as soon as you plan to get pregnant till the conception. Folic acid ensures a healthy pregnancy and also reduces your baby’s risk of having any neural tube defects.
  1. Prenatal Appointments: You may start planning for your prenatal appointments with your doctor. You may choose and compare various options available and narrow down to the one best suited to your requirements. Choosing the right doctor may seem to be tedious, but it is very important. You may also take references from family and friends for the same.
  1. Choosing a Caregiver: You may also like you narrow down on your caregiver. Recommendations from friends and family may prove to be helpful.
  1. Refrain from Self-medication: It is suggested that do not take any over-the-counter medicine before consulting your doctor. When in doubt, consult your doctor to avoid any probable complications.
  1. Health Insurance: Most workplaces have health insurance plans for their employees that cover the cost of prenatal care and delivery. It is suggested to get in touch with the HR or human resources department to know in detail about your maternity perks.

Making a journal and keeping it up-to-date is a good idea to monitor any pregnancy. This way, not only you, but your caregiver will be able to keep a tab on your progress and overall health.

Precautions to Take During 1st Month of Pregnancy- Do’s and Don’ts

For a healthy pregnancy and birth, you will be required to make some lifestyle changes. These changes may include some dos and don’ts that will help you to progress smoothly in your pregnancy.

What You Should Do

Following are few of the things that you should do

  1. Increase Your Fluid Intake: It is very important to stay hydrated during pregnancy as dehydration may lead to complications. The best way to keep remain hydrated is by increasing your daily water intake. You may put an alarm that reminds you to drink water. Alternatively, you may drink fruit juices, vegetable juices or soups to up your fluid intake.
  1. Include More Fibrous Foods: The changing hormones may lead to constipation. Therefore, it is suggested to increase that your first month of pregnancy diet should include more fibrous foods in your diet. Legumes, leafy vegetables, cereals and sprouts are good ways of eating fibrous foods.
  1. Exercise: It is important to exercise in order to stay healthy and fit. The same applies to pregnancy as well. You should do mild exercises to help your body function properly during pregnancy. Walking is the ideal way to exercise without causing any unnecessary exertion to the body. However, it is best to get in touch with your doctor before following any exercising routine.
  1. Get Adequate Sleep: Your body is undergoing a lot of changes in pregnancy, and this may make you very tired and exhausted. Therefore, it is very important to get ample rest and sleep when you are pregnant, in order to regain your lost energy.Woman sleeping
  1. Stay Positive: Both your physical and mental health can impact your unborn child. Listening to good music, reading a good book or any activity that makes you happy should be followed religiously.
  1. Maintain Vaginal Hygiene: With your hormonal levels taking a jolt in pregnancy, you may become more prone to vaginal infections such as vaginal candidiasis. Therefore, it is important to maintain good vaginal hygiene to keep any such infections at bay.

What You Should Not Do

Here are some things that you should refrain from doing in pregnancy:

  1. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages: Do not consume caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee or cola in pregnancy. The caffeine may cause insomnia, heartburn and anxiety in mommies-to-be and it may also cause risk to your baby’s health. You may have preterm labour, or your baby may have low birth weight.
  1. Avoid Unhealthy Food: Eating unhealthy or junk food increases your chances of gaining more weight and thus, increases your risk of having gestational blood pressure and diabetic during pregnancy. Fried and oily food affect your immune system, and the unhealthy fats are also not good for you or your baby. Thus, these are food items to avoid in the first month of pregnancy.
  1. Avoid Alcohol: Mothers who consume alcohol during their first month of pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects. There is a higher risk of a baby having congenital birth defects at birth.
  1. Avoid Smoking: Smoking may cause severe health complications in your unborn baby. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at risk of delivering babies with low birth weight or breathing problems. Not only active smoking but passive smoking can also be fatal for your unborn baby’s health.
  1. Avoid Tight or Fitted Clothing: Your body goes through many physical changes in pregnancy. In order to keep your body comfortable, you should wear loose clothes that helps your body relax. Refrain from wearing tight fitted clothes, especially around your abdominal area.
  1. Avoid Doing Strenuous Chores: Bending or lifting heavy weights is strictly prohibited in pregnancy. Such activities may put unnecessary pressure on your abdominal region, which may harm your baby.
  1. Avoid Long Journeys: The first month of pregnancy is very critical, and thus, you should refrain from putting your body under any kind of stress. Long travels should be avoided in the first trimester.
  1. Avoid Sauna and Hot Baths: You should avoid taking a sauna or hot water baths in your first month of pregnancy. Exposing your body to temperatures that is more than your body’s temperature can be fatal for your unborn baby. High temperatures may affect the foetal growth and development.

Other First Month of Pregnancy Precautions

Apart from the above-mentioned dos and don’ts, you may follow some of the following precautions too:

  • Refrain from having sexual intercourse in the initial two months of pregnancy or else follow safe methods (talk to your doctor about the same).
  • Do not expose yourself to harsh chemicals.
  • It is very important to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check. Therefore, you must eat right.
  • Avoid coming in contact with pets poops (cats, dogs, birds etc.).
  • Exercise caution while working in your kitchen garden or lawn. It is advisable to wear gloves.
  • Avoid exposure to video terminal displays.

Tips for Fathers-To-Be

Just the way a mother-to-be needs to be careful about her unborn baby’s wellbeing, so does the dad-to-be. Here are some tips for the father-to-be:

  1. Know About Prenatal and Postnatal Care: It is very important for a would-be-father to learn about pregnancy. This will guide you help your partner also. The best way to muster up pregnancy knowledge is through books by well-renowned authors. However, you may also browse the internet about the same. Talking to your doctor about your various concerns and worries is also a good way of learning about pregnancy.
  1. Dealing with the Paperwork: Pregnancy may involve paperwork, especially when insurance is sought. You may help your partner with all the paperwork, and handling her financial aspects will be very helpful.
  1. Be Patient: Pregnancy may make women emotional, irritable or cranky. This is very normal because there is a great hormonal upheaval going inside her body. You may find her food cravings unreasonable too. But it is recommended to keep your calm and be patient with your partner. Taking the high road and being compassionate in such situations would be a great idea.Happy couple

You are at the onset of your pregnancy journey in the first month of pregnancy, and you have eight more months to go. Though you may get tired and exhausted, holding your baby for the first time in your arms will make you forget all your pains and aches.

Also Read: First Trimester Care

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