Important Information About Your First Trimester

28 January 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

If you have recently discovered that you are expecting a baby, it is crucial to make an appointment with your obstetrician. During your first appointment, you will receive several medical tests and that information will be used to determine the best way to monitor your pregnancy. This allows the doctor to check for any problems that could impact you or your baby, so early and regular prenatal care is the best thing you can do for your baby.

You probably know that your pregnancy is divided into three sections known as trimesters. Each trimester is approximately 13 weeks and your pregnancy will be dated from the first day of your last menstrual cycle, until and unless an ultrasound determines a new due date as your pregnancy develops.  

Important Tests During The First Trimester  

At your first appointment, you should expect an in-depth exam, a series of blood tests and if necessary, an ultrasound. An ultrasound can be used to date the pregnancy if you are unsure how far along you are.

Common blood tests check for:

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Rh factor
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV
  • Immunity to German measles    

It is also not unusual to receive a complete blood panel, to check for low grade infections or other problems that could occur, including drug or alcohol use in some instances. You will usually be asked to see your obstetrician monthly at this point. Between 10 and 12 weeks, women over 35 or who are otherwise at risk for having a baby with genetic defects may be asked to receive a chorionic villus sampling, which is a low-risk test of fetal tissue.  

Dietary Choices During The First Trimester

The first 13 weeks of pregnancy are often challenging, especially if it is your first baby. Morning sickness is common, but usually abates by the second trimester. You should speak with your doctor about any medications that you take, including supplements, vitamins, etc.

Plan to avoid any uncooked or undercooked foods, including:

  • Poultry
  • Seafood and shellfish 
  • Beef
  • Eggs       

Your obstetrician may also recommend avoiding:

  • Raw milk
  • Cold Pate
  • Soft cheeses
  • Deli meat 
  • Fish with mercury    

In conclusion, prenatal care can screen for and even prevent many serious problems that could impact both your pregnancy and baby. Unfortunately, babies that do not receive prenatal care are smaller at birth and are five times more likely to pass away in the first year of life than the babies of moms who did receive prenatal care. The best gift you can give your unborn child is early, regular care throughout your pregnancy.