Pregnancy period is a very crucial time for both mother and the baby. It has to be dealt with sensitivity and care. During all the trimesters of pregnancy, a woman has to be aware about her baby's development and take care of herself as well. With every stage, the baby grows a little and it becomes even more important to visit the doctor as per the appointments. Pregnancy can put a lot of pressure on the body of a woman. From handling mood swings, tiredness to several cravings, it demands a lot out of you. The baby also requires many nutrients for growth and development. Taking proper diet and following all the doctor's guidelines ensures a healthy pregnancy period. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Aditi Dani, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecologist, Masina Hospital, about the baby development, symptoms and self care tips for each trimester of pregnancy.
Stages of pregnancy
The very first indication that a woman is pregnant is when she is regularly menstruating and suddenly does not get her menses. The first confirmation can be done either by urine pregnancy test or with a blood pregnancy test which is known as HCG. According to Dr. Aditi Dani, here are the details about the three trimesters for a healthy pregnancy:
First trimester of pregnancy
In the very initial stages, when they have missed their period, a woman generally doea not get any other symptoms. She might just have a little bit of tiredness or more giddiness. It is after 6 weeks or one and a half months, when the woman starts noticing that they are getting a little nauseated. And, may have a lot of acidity issues or won't feel like eating anything, due to the common issue of foul smell. If they enter the kitchen and someone is cooking, it may cause the woman to become very nauseated and could make her puke. However, it is not necessary that all pregnant woman may feel the same symptoms. Some may feel anything for the first three months and will go through it like a breeze. Some other first trimester symptoms include back pain, little heaviness in the lower abdomen, irritability due to change of hormones and the passing of white discharge.
This is a very important part for the child because the baby is growing from a single cell to millions of cells, where it comes in the form of a baby. This is called as the development stage of the embryo. And extremely crucial stage of development because anything you take from the outside has an effect on the baby. Early baby is called an embryo. A little pea sack is developed in this stage and after 6 weeks a flicker or heartbeat is first observed during ultrasound test. During this time, the hands and legs cannot be observed as it is just a lump kind structure with a flicker of heartbeat.
Self care tips:
It is very important to have folic acid as it helps the cells to grow. Certain types of drugs are not recommended during pregnancy and have to be first checked with your physician before taking it. Even for nausea and vomiting, there are different type of drugs which are to be taken. Adequate eating is also very important and it is recommended to eat after every 2 hours. Whatever the pregnant woman wants to eat, should eat. But, junk food and foods with a lot of oil and spices should be avoided. And, the focus should be on the food items that provide you with a lot of micronutrients and proteins. Small nutritional meals are advised by the doctors as well.
There are no dietary restrictions like non vegetarian foods or fruits like mango and papaya in the first three months. However, raw papaya should be avoided as its seeds are abortifacient. Pulp of ripe papaya is good and contains beta carotene and gives you vitamin A. If health does not allow, it is advisable to not travel. However, if the woman is healthy, she can continue her routine work and go to work like normal human beings. The woman should get her blood sugar test and thyroid test done in the first trimester. If diabetic or on thyroid medicine, they have to stay in constant touch with the doctor.
Second trimester of pregnancy
Known to be the most comfortable of the three trimesters. The vomitting starts to reduce in these three months and the woman gets a little more comfortable and is more willing to eat and is basically more happier. The baby weight is also not very excessive which causes discomfort. Generally, no major issues happen in the second trimester. Small weekend trips might also be possible during this period.
After the third month, the fetus starts developing limbs and other body parts like nose can be observed in the scan. By 16-18 weeks the baby is completely formed. During this time, an anomaly scan is done which detects any major abnormality in the baby and is the perfect time for this test to be done as the baby is small enough, so it can be visualised completely. Enough amount of fluid is present around the baby, with the help of which every organ can be clearly seen like the eyes, nose, the hand, the fingers, the toes, stomach and even the whole spine.
Self care tips:
Iron and calcium intake should be looked after in the second trimester and following a healthy diet is important. Do not deprive yourself from food whenever you feel hungry as the nausea is gone and normal appetite is back. You can even do light exercises like walking and cycling, after asking your doctor.
Third trimester of pregnancy
The baby starts to put on weight which can cause discomfort. And, tiredness also sets in as the baby is heavy now. Back ache, knee pains, leg cramps are very common during this period. So, the pregnant woman might have joint pains and might feel pain while walking. Breathing, sitting and sleeping can also cause discomfort because of the size of the baby. During the ninth month, when the woman is close to her delivery, she might want to go the washroom more regularly because the head of the baby is dipped into the bony pelvis and the urinary bladder gets a lot of pressure. A lot of pain in the lower stomach may be experienced and is often confused with labour pains sometimes, as the pubic bone is under a lot of pressure due to the weight of the baby. Woman are noticed to have swelling in the feet as well.
In the third trimester, majorly the baby gains weight and the size of the baby also changes. As by the ninth month, the baby grows and develops fully inside the womb and it is time for the delivery process to start. Fetal development still continues in the third trimester and your baby might also start opening his or her eyes. This is the time when the doctor briefs you about the baby's health or if the baby is placed well in the womb or not and what is the type of delivery they are looking at.
Self care tips:
It is very important for the woman to take walks and focus on her posture to make sure it is good. She should sit properly and should avoid bending awkwardly as it easy to have muscle cramps in the third trimester. The joints have loosened up because of the pregnancy so they are easily prone to sprains. Some mild exercises are also advisable. Nutrition in the third trimester plays a major role because that is the time when the baby may put upto 2-3 kilos of weight. A lot of pregnancy issues may come up during this trimester, like pregnancy induced hypertension. The visits to the doctor become very frequent in the third trimester too.
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