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Being pregnant is one of the biggest joy a woman can experience in her lifetime. Before you are even sure, you see unusual changes in your mood and body, for instance, you don’t get your periods on time, you are tired and nauseatic which raises a doubt in you- Am I pregnant? Here in this article, we’ll be discussing various signs and symptoms, physical changes, diet, diagnostic tests you should follow and several do’s and don’ts when you are first-month pregnant.

  1. Common signs and symptoms for 1st-month pregnancy
  2. Baby during 1 month of pregnancy
  3. What to eat during the 1st month of pregnancy
  4. Exercises to follow during the first month of pregnancy
  5. Tips for 1st-month pregnancy

As a woman enters her first month of pregnancy, she may experience varied signs and symptoms.  Although these signs are very similar to the menstrual symptoms that may confuse you, missed periods are one of the signs most women rely on. These signs are different for every woman and are experienced at different times as well. Some might feel the signs in the first week only and some might get them after the third week of pregnancy. Following are the signs and symptoms you can expect when you are the first month pregnant.

  1. Missed Periods- Many of you might fail to realize that you have missed your menstrual periods or might confuse with implantation bleeding. Missed periods is often a noticeable symptom for many, however, for those of you who generally have their periods irregular, this sign could just mislead you. (Read more: Periods during pregnancy)

  2. Slight spotting- Also known as implantation bleeding, spotting happens after 10-14 days after you have conceived a baby. This spotting is particularly lighter in colour and flow than your normal menses, but still can be confused with a menstrual period.  

  3. Tender breasts- Tender breasts can again be confused with your premenstrual symptoms (PMS), but tenderness during pregnancy is more extreme than what you get during menstruation. Increased hormone levels during this time increase the blood flow and lead to changes in breast tissue giving a feeling of swollen breasts, that is unusually sensitive to touch, sore and tingly.

  4. Mood swings- During pregnancy, your moods are just unpredictable. You might realize that you are not able to control your emotions. This is because there is a considerable change in your hormone levels which can affect your neurotransmitters levels. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that regulate mood.

  5. Increased vaginal discharge- During the first week of pregnancy, you might experience an increased thick or milky white vaginal discharge, normally around the time of a missed menstrual period. This happens because of increased estrogen levels, leading to increased mucus discharge.

  6. Fatigue- During the early pregnancy, you might feel fatigued, which is common among expecting mothers. This is possibly due to the hormonal changes. This generally lasts till you are 12 weeks pregnant.

  7. Morning sickness and Nausea- Morning sickness generally include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, headache and confusion. This can happen at any time of the day and night, irrespective of its name as morning sickness. For every woman, the symptoms are different. This may or may not be felt at 4 weeks and usually subsides when you reach the second trimester.

During the first month, a fertilized egg grows into an embryo. The embryo enters the uterus after 3 days of conception. Almost after a week, the embryo attaches onto the uterine cavity that stays there throughout the pregnancy.

In the second week, the foetus feeds on the mother’s supplies for nutrients. This is when the umbilical cord and placenta begins to form. The neural system begins to develop.

In the third week, organs begin to form. The heart is formed. The neural system continues to develop into the spinal cord and the brain.

In the fourth week, the arms and legs begin to develop; eye-sockets are formed and the rudiments of almost all the internal organs are finished. The size of the fetus is 4mm now, comparable to a rice grain.

You must be well aware that you need to have extra nutrients and maintain a healthy diet when you are pregnant. It's not about you but your baby this time. Want to know what you should eat when you are the first-month pregnant? In this section, we have various foods for you that you may include in your diet at first-month pregnancy. Following are the foods you should eat to keep you and your baby healthy.

  1. Folate-rich foods: Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) – serious birth defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly). It is therefore important for pregnant women to consume folate-rich foods and folic acid supplements. Legumes, eggs, leafy greens, broccoli, beets, bananas are the foods rich in folate.

  2. Vitamin B-6 rich foods: Studies have established that taking vitamin B6 can help improve nausea, for many pregnant women.  Wholegrain wheat and other cereals, seeds and nuts, fruits such as bananas, fish, and lean meats are rich in Vitamin B6 and should be taken by pregnant mothers.

  3. Fruits to eat during first-month pregnancy: Oranges and mangoes can be a source of Vitamin C, folic acid while fruits like apricots, pears and pomegranate can provide plenty of iron, calcium, vitamin K, potassium and fibre. Fruits are also a rich source of iodine from the usual diet.

  4. Dairy products during early pregnancy: Dairy products contain high-quality protein namely casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium and provides high amounts of phosphorus, various B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Furthermore, pregnant women are susceptible to get constipation due to increased levels of hormones. It is therefore recommended to drink milk and consume more dairy products starting from early pregnancy.

  5. Eggs during first-month pregnancy: Eggs are a rich source of protein that is much needed by you and your baby during early growth. Eggs also contain Vitamin-D and Vitamin B-12 required to build up the immune system and nervous system respectively. Instead of eating raw or unboiled eggs, it is advised to eat boiled eggs during pregnancy as this will eliminate any harmful bacteria that is present in the egg.

  6. Iron-rich foods during first-month pregnancy: Dried fruits, dark leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, beets and sprouts are rich in iron. Iron-rich diet is required for increased haemoglobin levels and for healthy baby growth.

  7. Fibre-rich foods during first-month pregnancy: Pregnant women often have to deal with constipation, diarrhoea or haemorrhoids. Consuming foods rich in fibre content can help them prevent all these. Fibre-rich foods can help them slow the digestion of food and regulate blood sugar, help prevent constipation and pregnancy weight gain. Oranges, apples, carrots, brown rice, oats, lentils, almonds and coconuts are foods rich in fibre.

  8. Protein-rich foods: Protein is vital for your baby’s growth. It acts as a building block required to create skin, muscle, hair, and bones. Eggs, meat, fish, lentils, soybeans, nuts, grains are all rich in proteins. You, therefore, need to put extra attention on your protein intake starting from early during pregnancy.

Exercising is an easy way to considerably improve mental and physical well-being during and after pregnancy. Low-impact exercises, such as walking, yoga, and swimming, tend to be safe at any stage. Exercise can help you regulate weight gain, equip you for carrying more weight, and get you in shape for childbirth. However, it is always important to consult your gynaecologist before choosing any of these. 

Do’s in 1st-month pregnancy

  1. Once you have your pregnancy test positive, call your gynaecologist for your prenatal appointment.
  2. As prescribed by your doctor, you’d need to get some tests done including a pregnancy confirmation blood test, hCG test and progesterone levels.
  3. Stay hydrated, as you may feel constipated.
  4. Start eating foods that are beneficial for you (as stated above).
  5. Do take proper sleep
  6. Do have sex, only if your gynaecologist allows you to. Your baby positioning might be low.
  7. Take your prenatal supplements wisely, as prescribed by your doctor.
  8. Stay away from infectious things and surroundings
  9. Do meditate
  10. Take care of yourself

Don’ts in 1st-month pregnancy

  1. Don’t overeat- thinking its for two
  2. Don’t smoke or take alcohol
  3. Don’t do any vigorous exercises
  4. Don’t eat raw meat
  5. Don’t consume much caffeine
  6. Don’t take drugs
  7. Don’t diet in pregnancy
  8. Don’t go to a sauna and hot baths
  9. Don’t take any unprescribed medicines 
  10. Do not stress yourself
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References

  1. Noel M. Lee, Sumona Saha. Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy . Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2011 Jun; 40(2): 309–vii. PMID: 21601782
  2. H. Danielewicz et al. Diet in pregnancy—more than food . Eur J Pediatr. 2017; 176(12): 1573–1579. PMID: 29101450
  3. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Stages of pregnancy.
  4. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Body changes and discomforts.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Fetal development