The First Trimester

YOUR FIRST VISIT: This is a thorough examination including an extensive personal and medical history, physical exam, and blood work. The blood tests check your blood type, blood count (to check for anemia), immunity to rubella (German measles, hepatitis, and syphilis). We also do a pap smear, cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and urine screen. If there is anything special in your medical history, other tests may be done. We will discuss the results on your next visit.

EARLY PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS: Your body is already undergoing many changes to accommodate your growing baby! Many early pregnancy symptoms, while not pleasant, are normal. These may appear in one pregnancy and not the next, or vice versa. They include:

What to do: Increase nighttime sleep and take a nap, if possible: Do only the essential housework or get someone to help with care for your older children. Listen to your body and do what you can. This will pass!

Nausea and/or vomiting
What to do: Eat small frequent meals of any food that sounds appealing. Some people find that potato chips, gatorade, ice cubes (crushed), and foods with ginger help. Avoid large, heavy, fried meals. If your prenatal vitamin makes you sick, you may stop taking it for a week. Be sure to keep drinking li- quids.

Frequent urination
What to do: Continue to drink to thirst and don’t try to hold it.

Breast tenderness
What to do: Wear a well fitting bra (such as a sports bra).

Mild menstrual cramps
What to do: These are a sign of your uterus growing and do not require treatment.

WARNING SIGNS: You may contact one of the doctors by calling the office number, (626) 796-9114, any time of the day or night. Please call if you experience the following:

Bleeding: like a period, with clots, or spotting that lasts more than three days.
Cramping: any severe cramping or a sudden increase in cramping.
Lower abdominal pain: that is severe or located on one side, or a sudden onset.
Extreme nausea and vomiting: accompanied by decrease in urination, inability to keep any fluids down, or with a weight loss of more than 10 lbs.

LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS: There is no better time to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Your baby will thank you and you will have a more comfortable pregnancy if you do. Diet: you are eating for two, but one of you is only an inch long! You need 300 more calories a day which is the equivalent of two glasses of low fat milk. While you shouldn’t eat anything and everything, there are ways to modify your diet to achieve the 25 to 30 pound weight gain recommended for average weight women:

75 grams of protein
2000-2500 calories per day
30-40% of calories from fat
4 servings of dairy (or a calcium supplement if dairy foods aren’t eaten)
Avoid soft cheese (cocique, feta) and raw fish or meat
Nutrasweet and caffeine in moderation appear to be safe, but it is best to avoid them.

EXERCISE: If you are already involved in an exercise routine you may continue with a few adjustments until around five months. We recommend keeping your heart rate below 140 and for no longer than a half hour of aerobic activity. Low impact aerobics, stationary biking, walking and running (if you already do so) are okay. If you aren’t exercising, now is a great time to start an exercise program of walking for twenty to thirty minutes per day. This will help increase your energy and contain your weight. If you have a history of complications we may tell you not to exercise. No scuba or sky diving, please.

SEX: It is okay, in the absence of any pain or complications, to continue your normal sexual relations. You may notice an increase or decrease in sex drive, and either is normal.


It is now three inches long.
It weighs about one ounce.
It has a strong heartbeat, although we are unable to hear it before 12 to 14 weeks.
It has facial features, and its elbows, knees, fingers, and toes have formed.
It has a brain, organs, and body systems, all of which are developing rapidly.
Credit: Images reprinted from Planning for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond
(American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

Written by

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