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Monday, August 09, 2010 - First Trimester of Pregnancy

Even though it isn’t always noticeable on the outside, women going through their first trimester of pregnancy are experiencing many changes.  Here to discuss the first trimester of pregnancy is Dr. Gisele McKinney, an OB/GYN on staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women.

  1. So even though a woman may not have necessarily be “showing” yet, what are some of the physical signs she can look for to let her know she may be pregnant?
  1. One of the most common signs of early pregnancy is nausea.  We’ve all heard of morning sickness, and it is definitely common for most women in their first trimester because of all the hormonal changes in the body. Women may also experience unexplainable fatigue.  They’re tired and aren’t sure why.  This is caused by the body preparing to support the pregnancy by sort of kicking into overdrive.  The pulse quickens, the heart begins to pump harder and faster – things like that.  These circulatory changes, coupled with increased hunger and stress, can also cause a woman to feel mildly dizzy. Women also can experience heartburn and constipation, which is caused by slower digestion.  During pregnancy, the body moves food through the system slower so that more nutrients from the food can be absorbed.  This is great for the baby’s development and the mother’s nutrient intake, but can also result in uncomfortable consequences. In many cases, women also experience a need to go to the bathroom more frequently because the uterus begins to grow and press on the bladder.  This can also cause accidents when women sneeze, cough or laugh.  It’s important for women to urinate whenever they feel the need to in order to avoid urinary tract infections, and also to avoid drinking lots of caffeinated beverages, which can make you urinate more frequently. Of course if any of these symptoms is severe and accompanied with a great deal of pain, or if you begin bleeding, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Q.   Those were some of the physical changes, but what about a woman’s emotions?  How can pregnancy change things like mood and feelings?

  1. Well, for many women, pregnancy can bring about a lot of emotional stress.  Women worry about the new baby’s health and development, financial demands, how it will affect their jobs, and other general life changes that will come with the arrival of a new baby.  All the stress coupled with the hormonal changes can leave women feeling like emotional basket cases.  A good thing for women to remember is that these feelings are perfectly normal.  It can also help to go to your partner, family or friends for support and encouragement.  If mood swings are severe or very intense, you should discuss it with your doctor.
  1. How about relationships?  How can pregnancy affect your relationship with your significant other?

A.    Sometimes when women shift into the role of becoming a mother, they lose some of their identity as a partner or lover, and may not put as much effort and energy into those roles.  It’s important to have good communication with your partner so that both of you can be open, honest and supportive of each other’s needs and feelings so that the pregnancy and the experience of parenthood can be as positive and enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

For more information on your first trimester or to schedule an appointment with Dr. McKinney, call (337) 480-5510.


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