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Pregnancy

What to expect during your first trimester

Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you've just found out that you are pregnant, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about what's happening to your body and how your baby is growing. On the other hand, if you think you may be pregnant, you will want some information about pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy tests and the stages of pregnancy.

Pregnancy

What are my chances of getting pregnant?

If you are sexually active and not using the birth control pill or a condom, your chances of getting pregnant increase around the 10th to the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. During this time, the ovary releases an egg that, if not fertilized, will be flushed out with the rest of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) during a period. If you have sex during this window of approximately three days, you have a very good chance of getting pregnant. Even with protection, your chances of getting pregnant are increased if you miss a birth control pill or experience a condom breakage.

Signs of early pregnancy include:

  • Morning sickness, which can actually happen at any time of the day and is characterized by nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness, weakness and fatigue
  • Tender or sore nipples and breasts
  • Frequent urination

Often, women who experience pregnancy symptoms at this time might mistake them for the stomach flu. A pregnancy test can be obtained at any pharmacy or drug store. A hormone indicating pregnancy will be released in your urine if you are pregnant – the test is able to detect that hormone. Many women also see their doctor if they think they are pregnant. The same hormone will show up in a blood test, and unlike the over-the-counter pregnancy tests, which can bring up a false reading, the blood test is almost always accurate.

Stages of Early Pregnancy

The first trimester of your pregnancy lasts for approximately three months. During this time, your baby is growing from an embryo into a fetus. The baby develops eyes, ears, a nose and fingers. You will also be able to hear your baby's heartbeat around your sixth week of pregnancy. By the 13th week, your baby's organs will be formed, it will have a clear gender, and it will have fingernails.

A pregnancy calendar and week by week pregnancy guide is helpful for women who have just become pregnant. They give a week-by-week breakdown of the symptoms you should expect, what your baby looks like, how he or she is developing and potential problems you might face during each stage of pregnancy.

During these early days, it's important to be very careful. Do not do any heightened exercise or anything that requires a lot of effort, as the risk for miscarriage is high. Many women wait until after their first trimester has passed to resume activities that may be deemed too dangerous during this time period.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman's life. Keep yourself informed at every stage and you will enjoy becoming a new mother.

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