Prenatal & Postnatal

Three trimesters of pregnancy: What to expect and what to do?

Pregnancy is an adventure that millions of women around the world experience every day. For some women it happens easily and unexpectedly, without even seeking it. While others struggle for many years and experience frustrations and great psychological burden, until they hold the highly anticipated baby, in their arms. Whatever is said, the right age to become a mother varies from a woman to woman. It basically, all depends on the individual and her personal experience. In any case, pregnancy is always a dive into the dark. A wonderful and unforgettable experience. Preparation is the best way to deal with it. While the baby is developing, during the three trimesters of pregnancy, many things change.

This is a period of nine months long and demanding. Where many things happen and endless questions are created in the mind of the expectant mother. Over the weeks, step by step, the pregnant woman will learn to translate the signs of the body. To discover how her child is growing and what to do, to maintain the health of both.

First trimester of pregnancy (1st-13th week)

At this stage of pregnancy nothing is still visible on the outside. Although, the first trimester is the most important stage of pregnancy, during the three trimesters. The reason? It’s the period of time that will determine, whether the pregnancy will continue or not. Hormones, especially progesterone and estrogen, increase, causing small and big changes in the body. The woman, begins to feel the first symptoms. Like nausea, chest tightness and sensitivity to the taste and smell.

From the sixth week the size of the uterus increases. While around the tenth week the expectant mother begins to gain some weight and her appetite increases. The heart and lungs begin to work harder. Blood volume increases, while heart rate and blood pressure drop. Mild pain similar to that of menstruation occurs and is sometimes accompanied by a light vaginal bleeding. Many women are often concerned. However, that isn’t always a symptom of miscarriage. Although, so far, the cause of this situation remains unknown.

What to do during the first trimester of pregnancy?

First of all, x-rays should be avoided, especially in the abdomen. In addition, the expectant mother should take better care of her health by keeping the nutrition under control and avoid doing some moves. After finding out she is pregnant, she should stop drinking alcohol, smoking and any medications that could seriously affect the health of the fetus. The right amount of folic acid is necessary, in order to enable the proper development of the fetus. Also, to avoid the appearance of spinal defect.

Some basic tests should be performed, during the first trimester. After the 6th week, the first ultrasound is performed. Which confirms the existence of cardiac function of the fetus. Then, a series of blood tests, known as prenatal tests, are performed. At 11-12 weeks, the woman undergoes ultrasound examination of the cervix. That is to evaluate the possibility of abnormalities in the fetus.

Second trimester of pregnancy (14th-27th week)

In the second trimester, the woman’s body undergoes changes and the fetus continues its intrauterine development. After three very special months, the woman can now feel more relieved. In this stage of the three trimesters, nausea and vomiting decrease, until they disappear.

Meanwhile, the body adapts to the child’s development. The breasts swell and the nipples become darker and larger. The expectant mother is gaining weight, thanks to an intense appetite. In fact, it’s important not to eat for two. But to follow a proper nutrition by eating small meals and choosing healthy foods. As the waist disappears, the legs become heavy and standing causes fatigue. The baby’s first movements are felt by the mother. The mother-fetus bond becomes stronger and the fetus responds to external stimuli. This is the sweetest moment of pregnancy. While the woman has more energy and excitement. She feels bliss and dreams of holding her little one, in her arms.

What to do during the second trimester of pregnancy?

During this period, the B-level ultrasound examination will take place. An extremely important ultrasound examination. It takes place between the 21st and the 25th week of pregnancy. It provides us information, about the anatomy of the fetus. Also, during the 26th-28th week, the pregnant woman will undergo the sugar curve or glucose tolerance test. Which measures the body’s ability to use glucose for energy production. It is useful for the early diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

Third trimester of pregnancy (28th-40th week)

At the last stage of three trimesters, the abdomen becomes quite large. The size of the uterus increases. While the baby is usually placed upside down, ready to be born. The fetus grows, reducing the space of the other organs and raising the diaphrag. So much, so that the woman’s breathing is more frequent and shallow. Meanwhile, the abdomen descends in anticipation of childbirth, compressing the bladder and causing a constant sensation to urinate. The expectant mother, begins to think of the moment when the baby will come out into the world. She starts to prepare everything for her arrival. Impatience, fear and worries develop. A mixture of emotions that overwhelm the woman.

What to do during the third trimester of pregnancy?

The nutrition during this period should be especially careful, because the baby needs iron and protein. To reduce swelling, it’s better to reduce salt intake. Finally, for a good pregnancy outcome, the woman undergoes a series of tests. Such as, fetal and maternal vascular doppler. Biophysical profile, fetal heart rate monitoring and uterine contractions.

These are the main things you must know, about the three trimesters of pregnancy.


Sofia Kalogirou

Obstetrician-gynecologist surgeon

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