Pregnancy / 4 November, 2017 / Etienne Horner

The First Trimester Questions You Need Answering!

1) When should I expect to get morning sickness, how long does it last and is it really only refined to the morning? Will morning sickness affect my baby?

Nausea and vomiting affects 50-90% of all pregnant women. It can be one of the first symptoms of pregnancy and usually begins around 6 weeks. It’s called morning sickness but can actually occur at any time of the day.

Why women get morning sickness is still not quite clear, changes in hormone levels is most likely one of the leading causes:

  • HCG/Progesterone/Prostaglandins/Estrogen/Cortisol
  • Typically only occurs within the first trimester and rarely for more then 17 weeks
  • It is not at all harming for the baby
  • It can be very stressful for women as women with morning sickness tend to be very anxious about outcome and are desperate for relief – seeking acupuncture, massages and nutritional advice

2) Are antibiotics safe to take in the first trimester?

Yes, antibiotics are safe in pregnancy; there are specific antibiotics which are allowed to take in pregnancy and they do not affect the fetus. Your GP/Obstetrician will advise as to which antibiotics are save to take in pregnancy.

3) What can I take if I have a headache or the flu, is it best to look into alternative therapy, or can I have ibuprofen or paracetamol?

The “ONLY” save pain-relief in pregnancy is with PARACETAMOL; of course an alternative approach is an option but is sometimes a little time consuming and therefore not always ideal. However, the alternative approach is helpful for many symptoms in pregnancy!

4) I’m always grumpy, exhausted and emotional – is this normal? What should I expect in terms of hormones and mood?

Mood changes in pregnancy can be big as hormone levels are changing massively. It’s very individual as to how women react but yes, it can affect mood big time. Normal reactions in pregnancy can also include anxiety, fear and ambivalence. These symptoms can also be mediated by social, cultural, economic and emotional factors. Don’t forget the reaction of men to their pregnant partners – this is very common too!

Exhaustion is often due to lower iron levels and women thinking they just can get on with life as before. They often do much too much work and forget that they are pregnant…

5) Is spotting / bleeding normal, or does it mean I am having a miscarriage?

Approximately 20% of women bleed in the first trimester and of these women only one half will sadly have a miscarriage. The most likely cause however, can be the implantation of the fertilised egg or a hormonal bleed when the period would usually be due.

There is also a possibility that the bleeding is coming from the cervix (neck of the womb). A raw area on the cervix can bleed after opening the bowels when constipated or also after intercourse by touching the cervix. This bleeding usually stops over a few hours and is not harmful for the baby.

All bleeding in early pregnancy is very worrying and therefore it is best to be seen and checked by the doctor.

6) Is it common to be worrying about miscarriage and are there any extra precautions I should be taking?

Miscarriage is very worrying but we have to be aware that “it is common and at the same time, not that common”. Most pregnancies go well and end with a healthy baby. It is more worrying once one has had a miscarriage and is pregnant again. Nothing will help the anxiety, just take day by day and week by week and hopefully the pregnancy will continue this time. There are actually not many extra precautions than basic down-to-earth way of life principles. If there is a reason for the miscarriage then of course there may be extra precautions.

7) I’ve gone off sex, is this normal and what should I do about it?

Sex in early pregnancy varies from couple to couple. It also depends on the change of hormone levels and many other factors but all is normal which may mean lots of sex or no sex in early pregnancy.

8) Is feeling constipated and needing to wee often normal? In terms of other aches and pains, what is normal to expect?

Constipation is due to lack of fluids as well as the change of hormone levels. Progesterone levels are very high and affect the movement of food through the digestive tract. It can also be caused by the iron in the multi vitamins, which women generally take in early pregnancy. Plenty of fibre in the diet helps as well also regular exercises.

9) Is it safe to fly in the first trimester?

Most women are at low risk and can expect no problems with travel during pregnancy. I generally advise not to fly in the first trimester if women had several pregnancy losses or several attempts to get pregnant; this is because I want to make sure that if they lose the pregnancy again is has happened under the best circumstances with nothing in the way to influence pregnancy outcome.

10) I’m worried about what to eat and drink, what should I be steering clear of?

There are many differing view points around, but basically healthy eating with lots of fluids is the simplest advise to give. If morning sickness is present, healthy eating and drinking becomes very difficult; therefore eating anything is helpful, and any non-alcoholic drinks (even sweet drinks) are good as long as there’s fluid intake and some nutrients. Once you feel better you can revert back into the healthy way of eating and drinking.


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