Pregnancy First Trimester Problems : When to See the Doctor

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It is said that Pregnancy is like a roller coaster ride. Your body is going through a major change and you may feel mixed and extremely strange feelings and sensations during this time – both mentally and physically. First three months of pregnancy are considered very gentle and you need to be very cautious about your health during this period. You may face some health challenges during this time too. Let’s take a look at Pregnancy First Trimester problems of health that an expecting mother can expect 🙂

Some quick facts about the Pregnancy first trimester

  • The first trimester is of 12 weeks at the end of which your baby would be completely formed including the growth and development of organs along with the brain
  • Folic acid is an essential nutrient to take in the first 12 weeks for proper development and growth of the baby in this phase
  • Only 85% of the pregnant women experience morning sickness during pregnancy due to the HCG hormones produced by the placenta
  • Morning sickness is more likely observed in the morning due to reduced blood sugar levels which can be treated by having ginger biscuits or lemon water
  • To keep control on first trimester health problems make sure to keep yourself hydrated every day. It is helpful in reducing the feeling of nauseousness.
  • Occasional vomiting is highly faced by many women, but hyperemesis or excessive vomiting is not normal as it can lead to dehydration and loss of essential nutrients like vitamins which need quick attention of the doctor
  • Nearly 20% of pregnant women observe bleeding during pregnancy which is normal and doesn’t mean miscarriage, however, getting some advice for the same from the doctor is highly advised
  • The good hormones or oestrogen levels in the body support the bloom theory which means during pregnancy the hair of women would grow, become glossy and thicker
  • As the baby grows, it places additional pressure on the bladder which increases the need to urinate or pee frequently. This is one of the major first trimester problems. One should see the doctor if along with frequent urination other symptoms like change in the color of the urine, change in the urine odor, stinging, and a burning sensation is felt

First Trimester Problems : Health Issues of the First 12 weeks

No doubt, the entire journey of pregnancy is a roller coaster, the first trimester comes with an exciting and emotional touch, especially, if it’s your first child. Noticing certain changes in the body, dealing with some irritating symptoms, etc. make prenatal care essential in this phase.

For some women with a healthy pregnancy, the first trimester is pleasurable as they face limited symptoms. However, others need to pay additional attention in the early months while keeping a watch over the severity of the symptoms which can result in an unwanted situation.

Through this blog, lets today focus on all the problems or symptoms that you might face during the first trimester, tests for the first trimester, and when to see the doctor.

First Trimester Problems of Health and When to See a Doctor?

After conceiving, here are some of the common health problems or pregnancy symptoms most of the women face with their severity levels.

Health Issues in First Semester of Pregnancy

1. Vaginal Bleeding

Also termed as spotting, vaginal bleeding is something that is common during pregnancy. Many times, when the fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus or gets implanted properly inside the uterus, women observe spotting which is completely different from menstrual bleeding. But when the vaginal bleeding is heavy it can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Hence, if you are experiencing heavy bleeding along with bad cramping which is similar to cramping pain during periods, this can be a sign of miscarriage which needs immediate attention from the doctor. On the other hand, if the bleeding or spotting is accompanied by lower abdominal pain that is sharp, it can be due to ectopic pregnancy that comes with other complications. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg gets implanted inside the fallopian tubes. So, notice the type of pain and bleeding you are having.

Meanwhile here is a guide on how to stop periods early?

2. Excessive Vomiting

Vomiting, morning sickness, or nausea is one of the common or normal symptoms of vomiting in the first trimester. Most of the women suffer from it. But if you are throwing too much that even liquids are not getting settled or you are not able to urinate, it is the right time to see the doctor as soon as possible. Excess vomiting can result in dehydration, dizziness, weight loss, imbalance of electrolytes, etc., which is not good for the expecting mother or the baby. Too much vomiting is also observed when the mother is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum which is one kind of extreme morning sickness that lasts for the entire pregnancy. Again, if you can’t keep the food down for incessant two days, if you are having high fever along with vomiting, or if you think of suffering from food poison, you need to see the doctor at the earliest.

3. High Fever

Minor fever during pregnancy can be normal for some days, but if the fever is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it is surely alarming. Such high fever can be due to certain infections which could be dangerous for the baby. Some women have fever along with other symptoms like joint pain and rashes which happen due to an infection termed as cytomegalovirus, parvovirus, and toxoplasma. Among all these infections, cytomegalovirus is an infection that can lead to congenital deafness which is quite uncommon. So, if you are suffering from high fever for days along with other symptoms like joint pain, rashes, flu, and body ache, get your flu vaccine and contact the doctor as soon as possible.

4. Vaginal Itching and Discharge

Normal vaginal discharge is very common even during pregnancy. But sometimes, the vaginal discharge can be a result of any sexually transmitted disease or treatable infection. Sometimes, vaginal discharge and itching can occur when the amniotic sac gets ruptured which can also mean you can move towards preterm labor. On experiencing vaginal discharge, don’t be shy to talk with the doctor regarding the discharge and itching as treating it at the earliest can be helpful for the baby too.

5. Burning When Urinating

Any time during the pregnancy, when you suffer from a burning sensation or pain when urinating, it should not be left untreated. Expecting mothers might have such issues due to some urinary tract infection or bladder infection. If the pain or burning is due to some infection, treating the infection would help in relieving the pain for a healthy pregnancy. If the issue is left untreated, it can result in issues like infection, serious illness, preterm birth, pre-term labor, etc. So, when urinating becomes painful, make sure you seek the advice of your doctor.

Meanwhile, are you suffering from shingles while you are pregnant? Here is a guide on how to treat Shingles in Pregnancy.

6. Severe Headache

Do you have a headache occasionally? In pregnancy, this is a common symptom. This can be due to the unexpected changes in the body and hormones. But this can surely be dangerous if the severe headache is accompanied by blurred vision, dizziness, and fainting. A severe headache can reduce the flow of blood to the baby and can also add to the health issues for the mother. When fainting along with headache is observed, look for a comfortable place to sit and relax, have someone with you when moving out, sleep on the left side, and drink water to hydrate yourself. Still, make sure you talk to the doctor regarding the severe headache.

7. Swelling of One Leg or Calf or leg pain

This isn’t common in pregnancy. Swelling or pain in the calf or leg can be due to a blood clot present in the leg or calf. The clot can travel to the lung which can be dangerous. If you are having any history regarding blood clots, or any of your family member is having any such issues, you need to inform the doctor about it as the swelling and pain in the leg or calf can be due to any blood clot present in the leg.

8. Pre-existing Chronic Diseases

Are you having any pre-existing disease? If yes, any changes in the conditions should be well monitored and noted when pregnant. Such chronic conditions include diabetes, thyroid, asthma, lupus, and high blood pressure. If the condition worsens or is not controlled properly, it can have a serious impact on the health of the baby as well as the expecting mother. For example, if the thyroid hormone is either too low or high, it can increase the chances of suffering from a miscarriage. Similarly, the changes in blood sugar levels can increase the risk of fetal abnormalities or miscarriage. Hence, during pregnancy make sure your doctor is aware of any pre-existing chronic disease and proper management of the same is carried out for a healthy pregnancy journey.

Apart from all these, the women also need to work on other issues like stress management, cramping in your legs, chest, or arms, unusual abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhea, etc. All these can be managed with ease during a minor stage. However, if the issue turns severe, it is the right time to consult your doctor at the earliest.

What are the prenatal tests for the first trimester?

Just as working on the symptoms and their severity is essential during pregnancy, prenatal tests are equally important to check the health of the mother and the baby. Through prenatal tests, the doctors can determine conditions that can risk the baby with issues like preterm birth if proper care isn’t taken on time. The prenatal tests during the first trimester include screening tests and diagnostic tests. The screening tests help in determining any possibilities that can be problematic while the diagnostic tests would accurately examine the issues if any with the fetus.

The foremost test is carried out by the doctor to confirm the pregnancy and check on any possible risk or health issue. The doctor carries out an entire physical examination which includes weight assessment, pelvic and breast examination, and blood pressure check. In case the expecting mother is due for the routine cervical test of the PAP smear test, the doctor would also recommend the pelvic examination. The test is carried out to detect any changes in the cervical cells that might result in cancer. When carrying the pelvic exam, the doctor would also check for any infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any other sexually transmitted disease.

For confirming the pregnancy, the doctors would ask for a urine pregnancy test that checks the hCG levels in the body. The urine is also tested for any other signs of infection, sugar, and proteins. On confirmation of the pregnancy, the due date is also calculated on the basis of your last menstruation cycle. The doctor might also go for an ultrasound for figuring out the due date.

A blood test is also carried out to check things like:

  • To determine the blood group and Rh factor
  • If your Rh is negative and that of your partner is positive, there are high chances of your body developing antibodies which can be dangerous for the baby
  • To check the red blood cell count for determining anemia
  • To see if you are suffering from HIV, syphilis, or Hepatitis B
  • To check your immunity to fight against rubella and chickenpox
  • To find if the mother is suffering from spinal muscular atrophy or cystic fibrosis

Apart from all these routine tests, other tests for the first trimester include:

1. First-trimester screening

This test is carried out through an ultrasound test and a blood test. Through this test, the doctors can determine if there is any risk regarding chromosomal abnormality or birth defects like heart issues, down syndrome, etc. for the fetus.

2. Ultrasound

This is among the painless tests carried out through sound waves that help in creating images of the baby, his position, and size. The ultrasound is done in the initial phase of the first trimester to determine the pregnancy date. Again, it should be noted that women with high pregnancy risk might have to go for multiple ultrasounds in the first trimester.

3. Chorionic villus sampling

Also termed as CVS, this test is done to check the cells that arrive from the placenta for determining the risk of a chromosomal abnormality like Down syndrome. This test is usually carried out from 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy and comes with sure results if the baby will have any chromosomal disorder.

4. Cell-free DNA testing

One of the rare tests done in the first trimester, cell-free DNA testing is done to check the DNA of the fetus in the blood of the mother. The test is carried out to learn about any chromosomal disorder and is done on the 10th week of pregnancy. If the results of the test are abnormal, further diagnosis or tests need to be carried out. Such tests are only recommended to women having a baby with any kind of chromosomal abnormality.

Apart from all these, the doctor might also suggest you test the urine, blood pressure and weight at every visit until delivery to check on issues like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

For the couple with any health issue or personal medical history, the doctors might also suggest other tests to check if the baby is at any risk of hereditary conditions like toxoplasmosis, thyroid disease, hepatitis C, Tay-Sachs disease, cytomegalovirus, tuberculosis, fragile X syndrome, and Canavan disease.

Bottom Line

The first trimester is surely gentle and needs additional care for both the mother and the baby. As every mother might suffer from particular symptoms during the first trimester, keeping a watch on its severity is equally essential to avoid any unwanted situation. Additionally, for remaining safe during this initial phase completely, make sure to say no to drugs, smoking and alcohol, fasting, hot showers, hot tub, Jacuzzi, tanning bed, etc.

Remember, by taking required precautions, having a healthy diet, and going for all required tests, you can surely enjoy a healthy pregnancy not only for the first trimester but the entire pregnancy phase.

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