First Trimester Overview

So, you have had your positive pregnancy test! Firstly, congratulations! There is no doubt you are experiencing a variety of emotions right now and that is totally okay! In the following article I will go through some of the changes you will experience, how your baby is growing during the first 12 important weeks and other tips and information you may find helpful.


The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and ends at week 12 of pregnancy. By the time you find out you may already be 5 to 6 weeks pregnant – nearly halfway through the first third! A lot is happening with your baby at this point but lets concentrate on you for the time being. You may well be experiencing some pregnancy symptoms by this point which could include:

  • The most obvious – a missed period or positive pregnancy test! 
  • Fatigue – are you taking naps after never doing so before?
  • Nausea – the dreaded morning sickness (which isn’t actually morning sickness, it’s all day, night time and evening sickness!)
  • Tender and possibly slightly larger breasts.
  • Frequent urination – more toilet trips needed?
  • Mood swings – snapping at your partner for no reason? Crying because you cant find any peas during your weekly shop? Welcome to pregnancy!
  • Slight weight gain/bloating – it’s hard to tell at this point which one of the two you are experiencing!
  • Smell sensitivity – this was a strange one for me, I couldn’t go into Tesco at one point because of the smell of the bakery!
  • Food aversions or cravings – is your favourite treat now making you want to puke? Or are you wanting to eat something you previously hated? Another weird pregnancy symptom!
  • Funny, metallic taste in your mouth

Emotionally, you may be finding things confusing at the moment, you may be feeling anxious, delighted, exhausted and exhilarated, sometimes all at the same time. Make sure you speak to your loved ones and express any concerns you may have. Support goes a long way.

When you find out you are pregnant, make sure you book an appointment with your doctor. They will discuss with you what will happen next, assess your overall health in preparation for your pregnancy and refer you to your local midwife. You should receive information from your doctor regarding folic acid supplements, nutrition, diet and food hygiene, lifestyle factors and antenatal screening tests.

The screening tests include:

  • Screening for Sickle Cell Disease
  • Infectious diseases
  • Scans
  • Screening for Downs Syndrome

After being referred to your midwife you should receive your booking in appointment between 8-12 weeks.

During your booking in appointment you will receive a lot of information but please don’t be worried. Your midwife will discuss the following:

  • Your baby’s development
  • Diet and exercise
  • Screening tests
  • Antenatal care and education
  • Maternity benefits
  • Options on where you can have your baby

You should expect to receive some notes and a care plan to take home with you and also receive additional support if you feel this would benefit you.

You will have your height and weight measured plus a BMI calculation, your blood pressure will be checked and your urine will be tested for protein (be prepared to pee in a lot of pots throughout pregnancy!)

A dating scan will be arranged for you too, normally at around 12 weeks.

This is a lot of information to take in and you may be feeling very overwhelmed just reading this but you are going to be in the best hands and everything will be okay! These appointments are there to support you and keep you and your growing baby healthy.


The First Trimester for your baby

Most of us normally get our positive test by week 4-5 of pregnancy. Which is around the time we start developing those pregnancy symptoms!

At week 5, the embryo is roughly the size of just a grain of sand! How can such a small thing create such symptoms for us!? The heart is pumping and other organs start to develop. Arm and leg “buds” appear.

By week 7, the embryo has already doubled in size but is still less than half an inch long. Your hormones will be increasing by this point.

At week 8, your doctor will look or listen to your baby’s heartbeat via an ultrasound. You will also receive an official due date!

By week 10, your baby is now called a foetus. Your baby can now stretch the spine and eyes, eyelids and eyebrows are more developed.

At week 11, all of the organs are beginning to function and your baby will begin to take either male or female form.

The final week of the first trimester, week 12, your baby is now 3 inches long, about the size of a plum. Finger and toe nails are forming, bones are forming and a fine layer of hair covers the body.

It is important to remember that the first trimester of pregnancy tends to be the hardest. You are no doubt on an emotional roller-coaster ride and may well be finding this time challenging. Remember that it is completely normal to feel this way. Even if pregnancy isn’t quite what you expected it to be at the moment. Keep talking to your family, share how you are feeling and if needed, speak to your GP about your concerns. Remember, the not so nice symptoms are only temporary and won’t last forever, as hard as it may be right now. Make sure you are looking after your mental health and rest as much as you can! Growing a baby is a tough job! And one you are totally going to smash.

There are many online forums for new mums to be and you won’t be the only one who is finding pregnancy slightly hard. Talk to others, make some new online friends and have a good moan about the less attractive side of pregnancy! It may even make you feel slightly better.


by Kayleigh



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