All About the First Trimester
For most women, the first 12 or so weeks of pregnancy are the most consuming because everything is all so new, so exciting, even overwhelming. To satisfy the little voice inside your head that keeps asking questions, here's a primer. Keep it handy.
Although leaking urine shouldn’t be an issue in this trimester, it’s never too soon to start strengthening your pelvic-floor muscles. Contract and relax them throughout the day, as though you’re stopping and starting the flow of urine.
Women generally start taking childbirth-prep courses, such as Bradley or Lamaze, during the second trimester, but classes fill up quickly. Research the options in your area (your doctor or midwife and local hospitals probably have lists), and sign up early. While you’re at it, look into breastfeeding and newborn-care classes, hospital tours and, if needed, big-sibling classes.
Fifteen to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually in the first trimester. Many women blame themselves when it happens, but there is no evidence that emotional stress, physical activity or sex causes it. If you begin spotting, bleeding or cramping, call your doctor right away. If you do miscarry and need help coping, ask your doctor to recommend a support group or find one online. Helpful books include Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D. (Fulcrum, 1999); and Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss by Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D. (Taylor, 2000).
Call your doctor for an appointment as soon as you believe you are pregnant. Some will want to see you right away, others not until you are eight weeks pregnant. Try to schedule prenatal visits so that your partner can come, too.
If you take a pregnancy test on the first day you miss your period, there’s a 10 percent chance that you’ll get a false negative reading, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you mistakenly believe that you are not pregnant, you might not avoid potentially harmful substances. In the interest of safety, assume (and act as if) you are pregnant and retest a week later.