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What takes place during the first trimester?

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First trimester is counted from the first day of your last menstrual flow to the last day of week 12.  In the first two weeks, the pregnancy does not actually exist. These are weeks before conception. This period is the most critical and delicate trimester in pregnancy. The baby develops rapidly from fertilization in the fallopian tube to implantation of the zygote in the uterus.  The cell division continues rapidly to blastocyst and then to morula which has about 15 cells. The morula divides into two parts: the embryoblast and trophoblast. The embryoblast develops into embryo while the trophoblast gives rise to placenta.

Organogenesis takes place in the first trimester. Different cells differentiate into organs which specialize to form body systems. 

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At 11 weeks of pregnancy (nine weeks after fertilization), all body organs are developing. At 12 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo has developed into fetus and the baby is about 62 mm in length. The placenta conjoins the baby with the mother. Nutrients and oxygen pass through the placenta from the mother to the fetus while excretion products from the fetus to the mother. The placenta also serves as endocrine organ. It secrets human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) hormone, estrogen and progesterone. These are required to maintain pregnancy and prevent the occurrence of miscarriage.  Estrogen stimulates breast development in readiness for lactation (milk secretion) and progesterone prevents premature uterine contraction and sustains the growth of the inner layers of the uterus.  Progesterone may disrupt your sleep pattern.  After birth, hCG test may be used to determine if all placental tissues have been removed.

 

Feto- placental circulation provides blood and oxygen to the fetus and eliminates carbon dioxide. Immunoglobulins pass through the placenta to provide immunity to the fetus and acts as a barrier protecting the fetus from disease causing micro organisms. However, infectious diseases may pass through the placenta from the mother to the fetus.  The placenta becomes fully developed by the twelfth week.

Besides the baby, you will also experience hormonal changes that will cause transformations in your body. You will display early symptoms of pregnancy such as tenderness of breasts, missing periods, constipation, heartburn, nausea and vomiting. Your breasts will become larger and nipples will darken. You may experience frequent urination since the uterus exerts pressure on the bladder. You may feel like taking a nap during the day and staying awake at night. These symptoms constitute what is term as morning sickness. Morning sickness may occur in the morning, afternoon or in any part of the day. It improves as the pregnancy progresses. There are a number of activities that can help you reduce the severity of morning sickness. These include: eating little balanced diets with plenty of fresh fruits, avoid fatty foods, have adequate rest and regular exercises. If these symptoms become severe, consult your doctor.

 



 
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