The 3 Trimesters! From The Womb Into Your Arms (Part I)

So you've taken a home pregnancy test and it looks positive. You almost jump and stop short because "nooo" you can't jump now. In fact your happiness is now replaced with worry. Did you just eat a big piece of Papaya for breakfast? You colored your hair last week (will it be okay)? A thousand things run through your mind. Feels familiar? Well, I can vividly remember most of those beautiful days spent waiting to hold my bundle of joy. So, with the idea of decoding "what to expect", for all you to-be-moms, I've chronicled the three trimesters of pregnancy with some tips that might help you through this beautiful journey.
What To Expect: The First Trimester (week 1 to 12)
  1. An appointment with a gynecologist for a urine and blood test called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to confirm your pregnancy. Don't forget to make a note of the first day of your LMP (last menstrual period) as your doctor will ask you this.
  2. You will have the first ultrasound at approximately eight weeks to check for a fetal heartbeat and growth. The most wonderful experience, it will be a combination of nervousness and you will feel like you have "butterflies in your stomach". Pelvic exams and  transabdominal ultrasounds will be common from now. Your doctor might perform a transvaginal scan during the first examination by inserting a plastic wand inside the vagina. It is perfectly normal, might hurt a bit but does not harm the baby.
  3. Your Due Date, yes, this will be shared with you and might seem like a long wait. Generally, the due date is calculated based on the first day of your last menstrual period. As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, the most accurate way to date your pregnancy will be the baby's crown to rump measurement via ultrasound. Remember: to be prepared for slight changes in your due date based on the final ultrasound.
  4. Food aversions and a strong sense of smell are common during the first trimester. I was a "happy vegetarian" before pregnancy and craved non vegetarian when I was pregnant. So some foods that you once loved and enjoyed might suddenly become repulsive and "yucky".
  5. Morning sickness, spotting, tender breasts, cramping, and fatigue are the most evident signs of pregnancy. However, all these symptoms might not be immediately obvious and in case you see any signs of spotting (pink or red spots, brown discharge etc.) be sure to make an appointment with a gynecologist immediately. Remember: Morning sickness might begin much later in your pregnancy so don't be concerned if you have not been feeling this very obvious symptom of pregnancy.
  6. A Down syndrome test performed approximately between 10 and 12 weeks. This will be a routine blood test and scan to check for any chromosome abnormalities. The test might be performed by another certified doctor (recommended by your gynecologist) so ensure you clarify as many doubts you might possibly have. 
  • Take note of your gynecologist's email address and contact details. It is very important to confirm and discuss how you can reach out to her in case of questions or an emergency. Remember: most doctors might not be available 24 hours and do not prefer phone calls after hours. So It's advisable to ask your doctor who you can alternatively consult in case she is unavailable or in an emergency.
  • Download a good pregnancy app that will help you track your baby's growth, save important reminders, appointments etc. I used the BabyBump Pregnancy application because it has everything from chat forums to a baby bump and weight tracker. 
  • Be prepared to hear all sorts of body terms (ha ha!) and acronyms like US, LMP, LP, HPT (home pregnancy test) etc. from your gynecologist. Remember: your baby's well-being is of primary concern so take all advice seriously. Discuss any medication you might be taking because unless prescribed, any medicine in pregnancy is a no-no unless approved by the doctor.
  • Sign up for any newsletters, offers and promotions that will be beneficial in the months ahead. Several brands offer free seminars, offers and special discounts for moms-to-be so don't miss out on these wonderful opportunities.
  • The nine months ahead might give you some free time and if you're looking to create a memory and keepsake collect as many pictures to create a "baby book". Ultrasound pictures, baby pictures from magazines, your own baby pictures are a good start. You can involve a friend to make it extra fun.

The first trimester might actually leave you wondering if everything you heard about pregnancy is true (or not). You might not feel the glow (yet), be tired as hell, and see your hair fall out in clumps with a few pimples or spots on your face. Rest assured, this is just the beginning and as soon as you begin to enjoy this phase, you'll find yourself in the next.