The first three months of pregnancy

What happens in early pregnancy?

A lot happens during the first three months of pregnancy (also known as the first trimester), both for you as parents-to-be and for your baby.

As a father, you can get involved in the pregnancy from the start. For example, you can come along to scans and visits to the doctor and midwife. Then you will also get a better idea of what to expect. Many men find that visits to the doctor and midwife are where they gradually realise what their approaching fatherhood really means.

If you and your partner want to attend antenatal or parenting classes, you can also start looking into what’s available in your area.

What happens with your partner

Your partner may feel the first signs of pregnancy right from the start. These include tiredness, nausea, mood swings, frequent urination and breast pain and swelling. The hormones and changes in your partner’s body can make her feel insecure, overwhelmed and easily excited or tearful. You may feel insecure and overwhelmed too, at the thought of becoming a father. You can help each other by talking about how you feel and what you are looking forward to.

A tiny person is forming

From conception, your baby’s hair colour, eye colour, potential height and gender are determined by your genes and your partner’s. At first, your baby will be a tiny dot, but after three months it will be big enough for you to see the head, arms, legs and heartbeat on a scan.

The first examinations

During the first three months, a number of new things happen. Among these are the first examination at the doctor and the first scan of the baby, called the nuchal translucency scan.

The first medical examination
At the first medical examination, your partner will be measured and weighed, and the doctor will fill out some paperwork about your partner’s health and work situation. The doctor will also ask both of you about your family medical history. The doctor will record all the information in a maternity record – a record that will follow you throughout your pregnancy.

The nuchal fold scan
The first scan of your baby is taken between the 9th and 13th week of pregnancy. When the nuchal translucency scan is done, the mother will be examined to see whether there is more than one baby, and check that the foetus is positioned as it should be and the heart sound is normal. This scan is also used to assess whether there is an increased risk of the unborn child having Down’s Syndrome.

Seeing your baby on the scan for the first time can be a great experience. There will be two scans in the course of the pregnancy – the nuchal fold scan and the deformity scan – unless you choose to pay for more scans from a private provider.