The First Trimester

8-weeks-pregnancy

By the middle of the first trimester, your body will begin to show changes, the beginning of the baby bump!

The First Trimester represents the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy.

Most care providers will want to see you for prenatal care approximately once a month, which means you will probably have two or three visits with your care provider during the first trimester.

At each visit you should expect to be checked for:

  • Blood Pressure
    If high blood pressure as a result of pregnancy becomes an issue, it is important to identify this early, when lifestyle and diet changes can be most effective as a method of treatment.
  • Listen to the Baby’s Heart Beat
    A strong heart beat is a sign of a healthy baby and can be extremely reassuring. A doppler fetuscope is an instrument for picking up the heartbeat which can be heard through headphones or from a speaker.
  • Measure your fundal height – This is one of the best way’s to track the growth of your baby and to detect if there is one or more babies growing in your uterus!
  • Weight Gain
    This is another way to monitor your babies growth
  • Palpation of the uterus to check your babies position and growth and the number of babies.
  • Urine dip stick is often done to check for possible urinary track infections, and to check for protein and glucose.

Your first prenatal visit

Your care provider will ask you about your medical and reproductive health history. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about what to expect over the course of your pregnancy as well as labor, birth, and postpartum care.

During prenatal visits the midwife and her client are getting to know each other and forming bonds that will help you both during the birth. You might want to find out if water birth is an option, who all will be at the birth, will you be able to have friends or family members there if you’d like, etc.

Also at the first visit you may be getting lab work done to monitor your health.

Establishing Your Due Date

Your care provider may recommend an ultrasound during the first trimester to establish your due date. If you have been keeping good track of your cycles and you are regular, and there are no medical reasons to do an early ultrasound, then many women choose not to do this. There is some evidence that when the fetus is developing in those early weeks that it may be better to not expose them to ultrasound unless necessary. You can use a due date calculator to establishing your due date calculated from the date of your last menstrual cycle.

This early estimation will be corroborated with measurements of your growing belly and weight gain that will correspond to the growth of your baby. The experienced midwife can also gauge your baby’s growth along with your predicted due date by feeling the baby’s size while palpating your belly.

Many hospital based care providers schooled to be dependent on technology have literally lost “touch” with this more natural approach. Doctors in clinical settings may never physically touch their “patient,” a sharp contrast with the personal relationship of midwifery care, where touch is a communication that establishes connection, confidence, trust, and ultimately, love.

Next: The Second Trimester

By drsuparna http://www.flickr.com/photos/74896762@N00/ [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The human fetus at 10 weeks.

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