Pregnancy – 1st Trimester
First trimester begins at day 1 of your last period and ends on week 12 of pregnancy. During this trimester, the fertilized egg gets implanted on the wall of your uterus and starts developing. The baby during the 1st trimester is referred to as an embryo. By the end of week 12, the embryo looks like a tiny human being with muscles, bones and all the other body organs nearly formed.
Changes you experience during 1st trimester
The bodily changes experienced during the first trimester is different for every woman. The following are the symptoms associated with the first trimester
- Morning sickness
- Frequent urination
- Swollen breasts
- Food cravings
- Emotional ups and downs
- Changes in libido
First trimester tests
Tests for detection of pregnancy:
Pregnancy is detected by checking the presence of Human Chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) (also referred to as the pregnancy hormone) in your urine or blood. This hormone is produced by the placenta when the embryo gets implanted in the uterus. If you have a doubt that you may be pregnant, your doctor would advise you to take these tests to confirm pregnancy.
- Blood test: This is a lab test in which the levels of HCG in the blood is analyzed. It is an extremely sensitive test and yields accurate results. This test can confirm pregnancy earlier than the urine tests. The level of HCG above 25mIU/mL is considered positive for pregnancy.
- Urine/ Dipstick Test: This test detects the presence of Hcg in the urine. The dipstick test most commonly used test to detect pregnancy as it is easy to perform, can be done at home The test kit is commercially available in the pharmacies. Read the instruction manual given in the test kit to interpret the result properly.
Other tests performed during the first trimester:
Blood tests: A sample of your blood would be taken to assess the following
- Blood type and rhesus factor: Determination of blood group and Rh factor is important for rule out materno-fetal Rh incompatibility.
- Complete blood picture (CBC): This test is done to observe the levels of blood components (RBCs, WBCs & platelets). Low levels of white blood cells indicate infection. Hemoglobin levels and red blood cell levels are regularly checked throughout pregnancy to detect anemiad. Testing for genetic disorders: Based on your racial, family and ethnic background, your doctor may ask you to undergo tests to assess for genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia
- Thyroid test: A woman with hypothyroidism is at a great risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. The thyroid test measures the levels of thyroid hormones- T3, T4 and TSH. Low levels of thyroid hormones indicate hypothyroidism.
- Blood sugar test: Diabetes can pose great risk to the health of the mother and the fetus. Your blood sugar levels would be measured when you are fasting and after having a meal (post prandial) to detect diabetes.
Urine Tests: You would be asked to give a sample of urine to assess the following:
- Urine glucose levels: Maternal diabetes can result in adverse complication in the fetus as well. Owing to high sugar, the fetus grows larger than normal, may have jaundice and may be delivered preterm. Therefore, urine glucose checks are necessary to maintain healthy sugar levels.
- Assessment of albumin levels- Increased levels albumin in urine would indicate pregnancy induced hypertension. Pregnancy induced hypertension is a life-threatening condition for the mother as well as the fetus. It may cause growth retardation in the fetus and premature delivery.
- Assessment of kidney infection: Presence of pus, WBC or blood in urine is indicative of kidney infection.
Ultrasound scanning: During the first trimester, you would be taking your first sonogram at around 6-8 weeks. The purpose of this scan would be: to confirm pregnancy, to rule out ectopic pregnancy and to assess for fetal heart-beat.
At 11- 14 weeks of pregnancy, you may be asked to take a scan in combination with the blood test to screen for Down’s syndrome.
Dos and Don’ts during 1st trimester:
Here are some precautions that you need to take for a healthy first trimester.
- Consume a healthy and balanced diet: Consume the foods which are rich in fibre, proteins and folic acid. Taking small meals frequently would keep you high on energy the entire day.
- Do Exercise regularly: Exercise strengthens your musculoskeletal system and alleviates stress during pregnancy. Walking and yoga are most recommended exercises for pregnant women.
- Improve your Sleep duration and quality: Increase sleeping hours to adjust yourself to the physical and hormonal changes happening in your body.
- Increase your Water intake: Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to keep yourself well hydrated.
- Avoid consuming coffee excessively: Coffee contains caffeine which when consumed excessively may causes birth defects in baby. Caffeine may also cause anxiety and heart burn in the mother.
- Limit Alcohol intake: Overconsumption of alcohol leads to abnormal fetal growth and may cause birth defects in the fetus.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can cause low birth weight and lung disorders in the baby.
- Avoid Lifting heavy weights: Lifting weights more than 25kgs is not advisable as it may overstress your joints and may cause joint injury.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
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