During pregnancy: First trimesters

Pregnancy lasts about nine months, or 40 weeks and is divided into three stages or trimesters. This guide will tell you what to expect at each stage as well as giving practical advice about what preparations you should be making.

First trimester (weeks 1-13)

Your body

The first trimester can often be the worst, with many women experiencing morning sickness and fatigue as their body adjusts to being pregnant. Morning sickness is caused by an increase in the levels of hormones in the body and despite the name can actually happen at any time of the day or even night. If you find that your morning sickness is very bad, you might want to speak to your doctor as it is possible to become dehydrated if you are very sick.

It’s important in the early stages of pregnancy to stay as healthy as possible and avoid coming into contact with anyone who may be ill. Chicken pox and rubella are dangerous if encountered at this stage of pregnancy. Also you should avoid environmental hazards such as cat litter trays as they contain lots of bacteria which may be harmful.

Your body may also experience other changes such as bleeding gums. Make sure to practice good dental hygiene and make an appointment to see your dentist - NHS dental treatment is free in pregnancy.

Your baby

Your baby will develop and a phenomenal rate during the first few weeks of pregnancy. By week seven it will have the beginnings of limbs, the brain is developing and even the buds for teeth!

In week eight, fingers and toes will form and your baby will begin to move, although it is too early for you to feel this yet.

At the end of the first trimester your baby will weigh about 18g and measure about 7.5 cm and will have defined shape. Internal organs such as lungs will have developed and facial features will be appearing. At this stage the head accounts for half the total body length.

Useful advice

  • Confirm your pregnancy - you can get a wide range of very accurate pregnancy testing kits at pharmacies.
  • Visit your doctor to have you pregnancy officially confirmed.
  • Understand your antenatal care - Read up about what you will need to do during your pregnancy regarding diet and fitness and get as well as advice about things to avoid.
  • Decide where to have your baby – it’s not too early to start making decisions about the kind of birth you want to have and also where you want to have your baby.
  • Know your maternity rights and benefits.
  • Apply for a maternity exemption certificate.
  • Make an appointment with a dentist for your free dental check-up.

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