Pregnancy Journey: A Glimpse Into The First Trimester
Congratulations and welcome to your maternal journey!
This journey starts from day one right after the fertilization takes place. Pregnancy is initiated by a series of biological changes which takes place in a woman’s body, depending on the growth and development of the baby. Pregnancy-associated experiences are distinct for every woman. Some women experience glowing skin and good health whereas, others might feel low with various symptoms like morning sickness, tiredness, etc.
A typical pregnancy term from fertilization to birth lasts for approximately 280 days or 40 weeks (9 months).This journey starts with excitement towards experiencing a new life growing inside the womb. However, with passing days or weeks, the expecting mom can experience ups and downs due to fluctuating hormonal levels.
What to expect during the initial phase of pregnancy?
Pregnancy demands major changes to support the overall growth and development of the fetus. The changes in the hormonal levels affect the senses of sight, smell, and taste. Some of the remarkable pregnancy correlated changes include heart and kidney functions, elevated body fat levels, change in breast shape and structure of the uterus.
The hormones responsible for such change in the mother’s body include:
● Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
● Human placental lactogen
Such changes are often challenging for pregnant women during the initial phase of the journey. However, as months pass by, the change in hormone levels will help the mom- to –be to cope up with the situation.
Nausea and vomiting, sense of balancing, mood swings, and skin changes are some of the remarkable ones. Some of these symptoms sustain for several weeks or months and at times are even temporary.
How to calculate your due date?
After getting confirmation about the pregnancy, it’s natural for all expecting mothers to calculate her due date for the delivery. The expectant mother might be unaware of her menstrual cycle or ovulation period during the first two weeks of pregnancy. There are many due date calculators that come in handy. But note that these can only give you approximate dates and the not the exact ones.
The easiest way to calculate the estimated due date for the delivery is based on the date of your last menstrual period. The due date calculation is performed by the addition of 280 days (40 weeks) to the first day of your last menstrual period (considering a 28-day cycle).
Estimated Due Date= Last menstrual period + 280 days
A typical pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks, but certain factors also play a crucial role in determining the due date & influence the length of any healthy pregnancy. These include maternal age, birth weight, length of the conception period, rising level, length of pregnancy in previous child’s birth etc.
Pregnancy Trimesters At A Glance
A normal full-term pregnancy is subdivided into three trimesters: first, second and third trimester. Each trimester lasts for about 12 and 13 weeks. Take a look below to know how long is each trimester:
- The first trimester starts from week 1 and ends at week 12.
- The second trimester ranges from week 13 till the end of week 26.
- Finally, the third trimester begins with the start of week 27 till and ends at birth.
First trimester: What can you expect?
The initial first trimester witnesses several remarkable changes in the mother’s body. This trimester leads to major changes in a mom-to-be. A pregnant woman experiences a bunch of symptoms during her first trimester as she gets adjusted to fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy.
Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is one of the primary hormones that help detect pregnancy. This hormone can be detected in a woman’s blood or urine right from the time of conception. The presence of this hormone in blood and urine is widely used for the confirmation of pregnancy. Rising level of hormones like estrogen and hCG are responsible for the bouts of nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy.
High level of progesterone during the first trimester contributes towards an extreme feeling of tiredness and sleepiness. The expanding uterus during the first trimester results in the frequent urination due to the pressure exerted on the bladder.
Other significant symptoms during the first trimester include swollen and tender breasts, decreased movement of the digestive system, constipation, heartburn, bloating and excessive gas formation. The heartbeat also increases to an extent to pump surplus blood to the uterus.
Moreover, the first trimester also poses fluctuation on the emotional balance of the expecting mother. These emotions can result in severe mood swings like fear, anxiety, weepiness, episodes of sudden excitement and depression.
While we are discussing the first trimester and what to expect during this trimester, it is important to get yourself tested for various genetic conditions. This helps you understand the risk factors better and make an informed choice.Prenatal Screening tests are normally done in the first trimester to detect any abnormal or genetic conditions that the baby may inherit. Let’s take a look at Prenatal screening and its benefits in the below section.
Prenatal Screening and its benefits
A healthy baby starts with a healthy pregnancy. This pregnancy, ensure a healthy journey for you and your baby with early and routine prenatal screening check-ups.
The prenatal tests are beneficial in the early detection of a baby’s birth defect or genetic disorder. These tests help parents to understand the medical situation while making certain health care decisions. The typical prenatal screening basically depends on the reports of maternal blood test and ultrasound scan.
There are several test panels available specifically for the first, second and third trimesters. Couple of them is targeted to check the mother’s health status while the others are specific towards seeking information about the growth and development of the fetus.
Prenatal Screening Service Providers in India
A number of eminent labs in India conduct routine prenatal screening with high confidentially and accuracy. Some of the leading ones include:
- Apollo Centre for Fetal Medicine is one of the reliable prenatal screening test providers in India. They provide prenatal screening options like combined first-trimester screening or NT scan, non-invasive cell-free fetal DNA test (NIPT), quadruple test and genetic sonogram for the detection of Down syndrome. Some of the other available tests include pre-eclampsia screening and pre-term labor screening.
- LifeCell Diagnosticsis one of the leading prenatal diagnostic labs in India. They possess state-of-art laboratories which follow the global quality standard to provide world-class diagnostic service towards prenatal screening.
- LifeCell also has an operational network spanning over 200 cities across India. It is India's first commercial lab to provide Penta marker screening, QF-PCR, integrated hemoglobinopathy screening with HBB full gene sequencing and free genetic counselling services.
Over 5 lakh expectant mothers trust LifeCell's Prenatal Screening tests for the early detection of genetic abnormalities like Down Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome, and Patau Syndrome, etc.
- Medgenome Labs Ltd.is one of the trusted diagnostics labs that provide prenatal screening services. Some of their major tests include cytogenetics, karyotyping +FISH for the detection of trisomies 13,18, 21 and X, Y.
- DNA Labs India is a major diagnostics labs in India that cater to non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). Some of their high accuracy tests include diagnosis of the three most common trisomy conditions present at birth like Down Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome, and Patau Syndrome.
- Dr. Lal PathLabsis also one of the most reliable diagnostics labs in India. Some of their major contribution towards prenatal screening tests involves tests like FISH for the detection of trisomies (13,18, 21 and X, Y), combined risk assessment (Biochemical risk + Nuchal translucency), etc.