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The First Trimester

3rd Week

  • Two –chamber heart develops
  • Brain and spinal cord start to appear

4th Week

  • Arm and leg “buds” grow
  • Brain begins sending signals

5th Week

  • 5-8 vertebrae develop
  • Beginning of eyes, ears, and mouth are present
  • Embryo is ¼” long

6th Week

  • Heart develops outside the chest
  • Intestinal tract forms
  • Spinal extension “tail” appears
  • Ovaries or testes cells appear
  • Size is comparable to small coin

7th Week

  • Eyelids develop
  • Mouth opens
  • Heart moves into chest cavity
  • Lungs begin functioning
  • Liver produces blood cells
  • Kidneys produce urine
  • Muscle and nerves connect-baby moves

8th Week

  • Called the “fetus”
  • Physical structure is complete
  • Fingers grow on hands
  • Toes grow on feet
  • First true bone cells occur
  • Genitals appear
  • 1.2” in length
  • Weighs 1 gram

10-11 Weeks

  • Eyelids secrete “glue” to keep eyelids closed while inner eye develops (re-open about 7 months)
  • Outer ear appears at base of jaw on neck (it slowly moves up to skull as outer and inner ear merge into one)
  • External genitalia seen (sperm in testes/eggs present in ovaries)

12-14 Weeks

  • Face is “human”
  • Fetus swallows
  • Placenta functions for the exchange of nutrients and waste and produces hormones
  • Reflex movements-kicks, smiles, frowns
  • Cartilage is replaced by calcified bone
  • 3” in length
  • Weighs 3/5 – 1 oz

The first trimester and your body


For most women, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. High levels of estrogen and progesterone cause women to stop menstruating during pregnancy, Instead these hormones thicken the lining of the uterus to nourish the growing baby. The uterus increases in size and weight throughout pregnancy. By 12 weeks, the uterus is the size of a grapefruit and has grown to just above the pubic bone. The placenta is almost formed.


The vagina thickens, softens and becomes blue in color because of the increased blood supply to the area. A thin, mucous discharge is common, due to the increase of hormones.


The breast become noticeably larger, the veins are more prominent and the areola darker in color. Women often feel a tingling sensation because of increased circulation to the breasts and growth of the milk-producing glands. Small, round elevated areas may appear around the areola. These are the oil glands, which enlarge as the breast prepare for breastfeeding.


The need to urinate more often is common, because the growing uterus is pressing on the bladder.


Many pregnant women feel nauseated or vomit during pregnancy. This is called “morning sickness,” although it may occur at any time of the day. A woman may also have indigestion or heartburn. These symptoms are caused by changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.


It is important for a pregnant woman to rest more as her body adjusts to the changes of pregnancy. Try to take rest periods for 15 minutes twice daily and plan for longer stretches of sleep at night.

Emotional changes

A woman often becomes pre-occupied with her pregnancy. She many draw inward and think about the changes in her body, her fears and her dreams. She many feel happy or stressed at times about being pregnant. It is also common to have mixed feelings about the pregnancy. These feelings are not wrong or bad. When a woman shares these feelings with her partner or significant other, it may help.

Mood swings are common. Feelings may intensify, and often a woman may find herself laughing or crying over small things.

From L to R


Judy Laney, CNP

Randall Starcher, MD

Jason Hoppe, DO


Megan Staub, MD

Diane Kreitzer, NP

Julianne Yang Kar, MD

Sunitha Jagadish, MD

Melissa Vassas, DO

Eldy Lazaroff, NP

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