First Trimester

Welcome to the first trimester! This is a very exciting time for you, and this section will tell you what you can expect in your first trimester of pregnancy (Weeks 1-12). 

There are many physical and emotional changes occurring at this time. Many couples find the first trimester both an exciting and stressful period, because they’re still adjusting to the idea of having a baby.

Prenatal vitamins should be started if you’re not already taking them. Routine visits occur monthly, and the baby’s heartbeat may be heard as early as 10 weeks.

Primary discomforts in the first trimester are:

Nausea—A little more than half of all expectant women experience the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Increased levels of hormones that sustain the pregnancy can cause morning sickness. Morning sickness does not necessarily occur just in the morning.

Fatigue—During the first trimester you will see your body undergoing many changes as it adjusts to your growing baby. This may result in fatigue due to the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy. During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even when you’ve had a lot of sleep at night. Once your body has adjusted to the increased demands placed upon it, you should have more energy.

Urinary frequency—The uterus is growing and starting to press on the bladder, causing the need to urinate more frequently. Also, there is an increased volume of body fluids in pregnancy, and the kidneys are very efficient at clearing the body of waste products. The pressure on your bladder is often relieved once the uterus rises into the abdominal cavity at around the fourth month.

First Trimester: Required Pregnancy Laboratory Tests

Throughout your pregnancy, certain blood and urine tests will be needed. These tests may take about an hour to complete. The following is a brief description of these tests and why they’re required. For more information, contact your provider’s office.

First trimester (1-12 weeks):

  • CBC (complete blood count): Checks for signs of anemia or infection.
  • Type and Rh: Determines your blood type and Rh factor.
  • RPR (rapid plasma reagin): Screens for syphilis, required by the State of Illinois.
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus): Screens for the AIDS virus. Take consent form to lab before test.
  • Hepatitis B: Screens for liver disease.
  • Rubella titer: Determines your immunity to “three-day measles.”
  • Antibody screen: Determines which antibodies are present in your blood.Tests take about one hour to complete.

Additional Testing

*These tests may be performed if indicated:

    • Glucose load (50 grams): Screens for diabetes if at increased risk for diabetes..
    • Pap smear: Screens for cervical cancer and HPV is over age 30.
    • GC (neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia: Screens for sexually transmitted infections.
    • Cystic fibrosis: Screens for lung and pancreas disease, conducted upon request. (optional test)
    • Sickle cell and herpes typing
    • TSH: Thyroid disorder
    • Urine culture: Infection detection
    • Varicella: Determine immunity to Chicken Pox* Additional testing may be ordered at Provider’s discretion.
    • Urine Specimen: At each appointment, a urine sample is required to check sugar and protein levels. Specimen containers are available at the reception desk. Give your sample to the medical office assistant before examination. Testing is available at:

Christie Clinic on University

  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Christie Clinic on Windsor

  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Saturday 8-10 a.m.

Christie Clinic in Mahomet

  • Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Christie Clinic in Tuscola

  • Monday-Friday 8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

First Trimester Screening: Nuchal Translucency

At Christie Clinic, we understand that your primary concern is your child’s health. That’s why we provide advanced first trimester screenings to detect possible birth defects.

During our nuchal translucency test, we use ultrasound to measure the “clear space” behind your baby’s neck. This pain-free screening allows our certified sonographers to better identify chromosome abnormalities that cause conditions such as Down syndrome or Trisomy 18. The complete screening includes an ultrasound and lab work.

Down syndrome

Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a genetic defect that occurs in approximately one in every 800 births. This birth condition is the result of an additional chromosome 21, which causes mental retardation, distinct physical features, heart difficulties, and hearing and vision deficiencies. However, with proper care and education, many inpiduals with Down syndrome can live independent and fulfilling lives until 50 or 60 years of age.

Trisomy 18

Even more rare than Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 (or Edwards syndrome) occurs in only one out of every 6,000 babies. This rare condition is caused when a child is born with an extra chromosome 18.

Unfortunately, Trisomy 18 has fatal consequences. Most babies with this birth defect will die before birth, and only a small number live up to one year.

If your child receives positive test results for either Down syndrome or Trisomy 18, we’ll provide all of the care and counseling you need to make decisions that are in the best interest of your family and your baby. For more information,call Christie’s Department of OB/GYNat 217-366-1255 or visit

First Trimester: FAQs

  1. Can I videotape my obstetrical ultrasound?
    Please be advised that our department follows the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s recommendation that prohibits videotaping ultrasounds. However, we are happy to provide you with still pictures of your unborn baby as a memento.
  2. How do I relieve constipation?
    We recommend a fiber diet, including apples, cider, fruit juice, raisins, and bran. Also make sure to exercise and drink plenty of water.
  3. Is vaginal spotting normal?
    Yes. Minor spotting typically occurs during the first four months and can be treated with bed rest. Spotting is often caused by either vaginal exams or sexual intercourse and will stop within 24 hours. However, any bleeding should be reported immediately.
  4. How do I relieve nausea?
    Eat dry foods (crackers, pretzels, etc.) and small protein snacks (cheese, peanut butter) every one to two hours. If nausea persists, take Dramamine® or Unisom®, and vitamin B6.
  5. Is it safe to travel?
    If you’re not experiencing any pregnancy complications, you may travel up to week 36. After week 36, we recommend staying home (i.e. traveling no farther than an hour away) in case you deliver prematurely. Long trips should be discussed with your doctor.
  6. Can I still have sex?
    Absolutely. Sexual activity will not harm you or your baby. However, there are times when pelvic rest may be ordered (e.g. spotting).
  7. Can I use a midwife for my obstetrical provider?
    We currently offer three nurse midwives for low-risk deliveries.
  8. Do I have a choice of where I deliver?
    Christie Clinic is proud to be the first multi-specialty group in the Champaign-Urbana area to offer patients choices for delivery. When choosing Carle Hospital or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign, we recommend that you consider your insurance coverage. Some companies have preferred providers, which could affect the level of coverage at one location versus another. BE SURE TO CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER PRIOR TO MAKING A DECISION.

First Trimester: Comfort Measures

1 to 12 weeks

Fatigue Take short, 15-minute naps throughout the day.
Nausea Eat dry foods (crackers, pretzels, etc.) and small protein snacks (cheese, peanut butter) every one to two hours. If nausea persists, take Dramamine® or Unisom® and vitamin B6.
Headache Relax, massage neck or temples, and apply ice to forehead. If headache persists, take Tylenol®.
Gas/Constipation Consume more fluids and fiber, especially bran. Exercise regularly.
Low cramps Normal, unless persistent or accompanied by bleeding. If this occurs, call the office.
Mood changes Normal

First Trimester: Things to Purchase

At Christie Clinic, we understand the excitement that comes with purchasing items for you and your baby. That’s why we’ve compiled a basic list of recommended items to help steer you in the right direction.

Pregnancy books

  • Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth
  • Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Equipment, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More!

Pregnancy calendar

  • Follow each step of your baby’s growth and development with a helpful 40-week pregnancy calendar.

Pregnancy Journal

  • Keep track of your thoughts, questions, and emotions as you embark on a special nine-month journey with your baby.