The Mother’s Physical Symptoms
The first obvious symptom of pregnancy for most women is missing a period. This is usually accompanied by increased breast fullness and tenderness, as the usual pre-menstrual levels of discomfort persist and increase. Many women (about 50%) experience ‘morning sickness’ - nausea and vomiting which can actually occur at any time of day.
This usually starts about 2 weeks after the missed period and lasts up to the third month. It seems to be caused by the higher levels of sex hormones being produced and the body adjusts to this within the first 12 weeks. Women often develop strong aversions to certain smells and flavors beginning around this time.
This sensitivity to aromas must be considered during treatments. Feelings of tiredness and fatigue are common, although there will be few visible signs of pregnancy to justify this tiredness to others!
Other symptoms of early pregnancy are dizziness and fainting, possibly caused by fluctuations in blood pressure and sugars and frequent urination due to over-activity of the kidneys. Skin and hair may become oilier as metabolism increases and some women find they develop blemishes or even acne-like lesions.
The Mother’s Emotions
For most women the knowledge that they are pregnant is joyful and exciting and something they may have long hoped for. However, there may be anxieties about the way in which their life will change and the new responsibility of becoming a mother - this is especially true for first babies.
Women may experience dramatic mood swings between these two states. In subsequent pregnancies there may be concerns about the financial implications of having another baby and how other children will accept their new brother or sister.
Most women will become very aware of their own health at this time, giving up alcohol and smoking to avoid harming their baby.
Eating organic foods, taking appropriate exercise and mental disciplines like meditation and visualization are also important considerations for some.
The Developing Baby
During the first trimester, the baby develops from just one cell in size to about 15cm in length and 10g in weight. Although there are hardly any visible signs, it is the most dramatic stage of development for the baby.
The limbs and all the major organs are fully formed by the end of the second month, so the baby is vulnerable at this stage to damage from diseases such as Rubella or the influence of toxic substances like drugs.