During the first trimester of pregnancy, which lasts approximately fourteen weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period, your body is hard at work forming one of the most intricate and complex works of nature. By the end of your first official month of pregnancy (six weeks after your last menstrual period, but four weeks since conception), your developing child will have grown an astonishing 10,000 times in size.
Month One Checklist
- Evaluate your doctor, midwife, or group practice and decide if it's right for you and your pregnancy.
- Discuss any possible on-the-job hazards with your doctor or midwife.
- Evaluate your diet and begin taking prenatal vitamins if recommended by your doctor or midwife.
- Get up to speed on your health insurance coverage for prenatal visits, delivery, and the care of your child.
- If you smoke or drink, quit now.
- Prepare a budget to save for when your baby arrives.
Your Baby This Month
Making its longest journey until the big move nine months from now, your developing baby (called a zygote, or fertilized ovum) travels from the fallopian tube and into the uterus (or womb). By day four, the zygote has formed a small solid cluster of cells known as a morula.
By day five or six, the morula grows to a blastocyst. Within days, the blastocyst nestles into the nutrient-rich lining of your uterus (the endometrium) as implantation begins. About fifteen days after conception, the blastocyst becomes an embryo. Next to the embryo floats the yolk sac, a cluster of blood vessels that provide blood for the embryo at this early stage until the placenta takes over.
As month one draws to a close, your baby's heart is beating, lung buds have appeared, and construction of the gastrointestinal system and liver are underway. The neural tube, the basis of the baby's central nervous system, has developed and the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain are defined. He (or she) is starting to look more like a person, too. Arm and leg buds-complete with the beginnings of both feet and hands-are visible. It's an amazing list of accomplishments considering your baby is about the size of a raisin (less than ¾ inch long).
Your Body's Changes
At this point in your pregnancy, you might not notice any significant changes in shape and size. You may feel some of the following changes, though. Note which you are experiencing so you can look back on the progress of your pregnancy and discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider.
- You feel slightly bloated, and your waistband begins to feel a bit snug.
Your breasts are starting to increase in size.
The areolas around your nipples enlarge and darken.
Your breasts are more tender.
Vaginal secretions increase, similar to those you get premenstrually.
You may feel tired and run down. (Grab a nap during the day or make an early bedtime a priority.)
You may feel faint or dizzy. (Sit or lay down on your side as soon as possible. Try not to lay flat on your back as this can make the dizziness worse.)
On Your Mind
Pregnancy is a time of great anticipation as you head out into uncharted waters. Worries about the baby's health and the possibility of miscarriage are common fears early in pregnancy. Although it may be easier said than done, letting go of your anxieties, at least for a little while, is the best thing for you and your baby right now.
Here are some ways to deal with anxiety about miscarriage and stress about the pregnancy:
- Designate a certain area of your home, like your bedroom, a worry-free zone, and then stick to a vow to let your anxieties go when you are in that space.
- Use an aromatherapy candle you like to help you relax.
- Play soft music or nature sounds.
- Incorporate soothing scenery in the form of photographs and posters to relieve your anxiety.