Number 1 priority: your first scan
It’s time for the first scan, which usually takes place around the twelfth week of pregnancy. It allows you to find out the date when your baby was conceived, because all embryos are the same size at this stage. It also allows abnormalities to be detected, if there are any.
Your baby’s development
Over the course of this month, your baby will triple in size. Nerve cells develop, the skeleton continues to form and the joints become functional: the fingers can bend inside the hand, but none of these movements are controlled by the brain yet. Your baby is no longer an embryo but a fetus. The sensory organs develop, the eyes take their final place and the eyelids cover them. The mouth starts to join together and the lips take shape and the nostrils form. Your baby moves more and the suction system develops. Your baby measures 12cm and weighs about 65 grams.
Practical steps to take
- Think seriously about where you’d like to give birth (in hospital, at a maternity unit either in hospital or in the community, at an independent birth centre or at home) and confirm your choice with your midwife.
- If you’re still smoking, it’s advised that you stop immediately if you want to avoid complications with your pregnancy. Any doctor will tell you that tobacco is dangerous for the fetus. Smoking can cause a premature birth, slow down in utero growth (length and weight), deformities such as cleft lip and palate, as well as postnatal colic. Even if it’s really tough to stop, you mustn’t neglect the health of your baby - and your own health. There are aids available to help.
- If you have a pathological pregnancy, you will be monitored more closely. You will be advised not to exert yourself and you might be confined to bed in order to avoid miscarriage or premature birth. Keep in mind that many women experience premature births, which can lead to problems later on, so stay vigilant.
- For your health, your pleasure and that of your partner, don’t stop having sex unless you have been advised to do so. After all, the baby you’re carrying is proof of your love! Don’t neglect physical intimacy, even when you're pregnant. Continue making love: it’s essential. Your desire will decrease during the first three months, but it will return again around the fourth month.
- If you bleed a little after making love, this is normal. It’s caused by the penis’ contact with the cervix which is fragile during pregnancy. You might also have contractions after reaching orgasm because your body produces oxytocin and prostaglandins that are also present during childbirth.
- Try to make time for yourself. It’s important to rest, because with all the changes that are going on, you’re more fragile and sensitive. It’s normal to feel a bit down, but don’t face it on your own. It’s important for your partner to be there for you during this stage.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Force yourself to eat even if you’re still feeling nauseous. It’s important so that your baby doesn’t suffer from deficiencies. Don’t forget that your baby gets his/her nutrients from you!
- It’s advised to eat at least one fruit and vegetable with each meal, but make sure you wash them well. You don’t need to take food supplements unless you’re diet isn’t sufficiently balanced.
Enjoy a special time
Overcome stress and the blues so your baby can develop in the best possible conditions. Surround yourself with family and friends. Make the most of this special time and enjoy the first scans. Your other half will get more involved and his awareness of the process will be increased tenfold when he sees his baby in black and white for the first time.
After the nausea and the vomiting, you’re now faced with ongoing change. Fortunately, the unpleasant little troubles of the first three months disappear gradually.
Number 1 priority: your first scan