Normally pregnancy lasts 40 weeks starting from the date of your last period. Additionally, those 40 weeks are divided into 3 trimesters: first trimester – from the beginning to the 13th week of gestation; second trimester – from 14 to 27 weeks of gestation; third trimester – from 28 weeks of gestation until birth.
Each stage of pregnancy is associated with many and mostly positive emotions, but it has its own peculiarities . However, sometimes problems can occur for which every woman should be prepared.
Light bleeding or spotting is common during the first trimester. In most cases, it is not a cause for concern, especially if it is not accompanied by other symptoms (for example, abdominal pain). However, it is absolutely necessary that you get examined by an obstetrician-gynecologist to rule out some serious complications.
NAUSEA AND VOMITING
Almost all pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting during the first trimester. This is due to increased levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). Sometimes the vomiting is so intense that it poses a serious risk to the mother (extreme dehydration and inability to take in nutrients), which in turn affects the baby. Such a condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum and is fortunately rare.
Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. The reasons for them are plenty: chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo, infections, endocrine and autoimmune disorders, etc. Symptoms of miscarriage include severe abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, nausea and/or vomiting.
An ectopic pregnancy is implantation of the embryo outside the uterine cavity, most often in one of the fallopian tubes. Because the fallopian tubes cannot increase in size like the uterus, the growth of the implanted embryo can cause them to rupture. The characteristic symptoms are amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for a few months), severe pain on one side of the abdomen, bleeding. Ruptured ectopic pregnancy as well as miscarriage require urgent medical intervention.
CAN I PREVENT SOME PROBLEMS?
Unfortunately, most first trimester complications are beyond the pregnant woman’s control. What you can do is take care of both your emotional and physical health: stick to a balanced diet and exercise regime, stop smoking and alcohol consumption. And most importantly – if you have concerns that something is wrong, seek promptly medical help!