On 27 April, Dr Dharshini from The Obstetrics & Gynaecology Centre was invited to speak at the “Pregnancy to Newborn Care” seminar organised by the lovely ladies from Octopusmama at Bove, Suntec City.
Dr Dharshini shared to a full-house crowd about the changes women can expect with each of their pregnancy trimesters. For ladies who missed the session, here are some key highlights of her talk:
First Trimester Changes
- Bleeding – About 25% of pregnant women experience slight bleeding during their first trimester. Early in the pregnancy, light spotting may be a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus.
- Breast tenderness – Sore breasts are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. They are triggered by hormonal changes, which are preparing your milk ducts to feed your baby, and will probably last through the first trimester.
- Constipation – During pregnancy, the muscle contractions that normally move food through your intestines slow down because of higher levels of progesterone. Add to that the extra iron you are getting from your prenatal vitamin, and the result is uncomfortable constipation and gas. A tip from Dr Dharsh is to take probiotics, which she recommends can be found in kefir milk that can be made at home.
- Fatigue – Your body is working hard to support a growing fetus, which can wear you out more easily than usual. Take naps or rest when you need to throughout the day. Also make sure you’re getting enough iron (too little can lead to anemia, which can cause excess fatigue).
- Food cravings and aversions
Second Trimester Changes
- Most early pregnancy symptoms will ease up or even disappear.
- You will likely feel less queasy (which means food may finally smell and taste good for the first time in a long while), your energy levels should be picking up, and your breasts will still be bigger but feel a whole lot less tender.
- Most amazing of all: You finally get that baby bump deserving of people giving up seats for you!
- Congestion – As blood flow is increased to your body’s mucous membranes (including your nose). You may even find yourself snoring for the first time.
- Mild swelling of the ankles and feet – Starts at about week 22 of pregnancy (though sometimes earlier) and lasts until delivery.
- Sensitive gums and even some bleeding.
- Leg cramps, which usually start in the second trimester and last through the third.
- Dizziness caused by lower blood pressure due in part to all the extra blood your body is pumping. Some women might feel faint when standing up too quickly from a sitting position.
Last Trimester Changes
- Abdominal achiness: As your round ligaments (which support your lower abdomen) stretch to accommodate your growing bump, you may feel cramps or sharp pain.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Your body’s way of preparing for labor, you’ll start to feel these irregular practice contractions now until real labor starts.
- Varicose veins: Special TEDs stockings may help.
- Stretch marks
- Backache: As the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens your joints and your growing belly pulls your center of gravity forward, you may start to have an achy back — another reason to put your feet up.
- Lack of bladder control – Kegel exercises will be useful.
- Leaky breasts – Your body’s warming up to feed your baby.