Talking About Pregnancy: The First Trimester

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An ultrasound image

The first three months of a pregnancy are called the first trimester. A trimester is three months of a pregnancy. There is, of course, the second trimester and the third trimester. A trimester means "one third."

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Christine and I just finished the first trimester of her pregnancy. And it was, for me as a dad-to-be, an exciting time. And for Christine a mostly exciting time. I say mostly exciting because... there's a term called morning sickness. It's not really a sickness. It's the feeling of being sick – and also of throwing up sometimes – that some women have in the beginning of a pregnancy.

We have now read many books on pregnancy and I can tell you that some women have morning sickness very bad. They are sick for three months straight. Other women don't have anything. Christine was in the middle. She had one very bad day and a week where she felt sick the whole time.

Unfortunately, her morning sickness came during a vacation to visit my parents in the U.S. That means that, while we were planning on traveling, she was throwing up and so we didn't travel.

It was good for me because I spent more time with my parents. I think it was a little nerve-wracking for Christine because we didn't know she was pregnant then, we just knew she was sick.

We hoped to have children and so we talked about "Is this a sign that she could be pregnant?" And my mother – who already has six grandchildren, but what grandma has too many grandchildren? – the first thing she thought was "is Christine pregnant?" And, of course, we were all... not excited, but maybe nervous, or we were anticipating maybe being pregnant.

Before we flew back to the U.S., Christine took the first pregnancy test and the result was positive. Of course, she's a very cautious person, so when we got back to Germany she bought two more tests and took them both and the results were positive. And, she still didn't believe it... because we wanted to have children and we don't believe good news.

So, she went to her gynecologist (a gynecologist is a doctor only for women) and the gynecologist gave her an ultrasound.

An ultrasound is a machine that lets the gynecologist look inside Christine's stomach. It uses sound waves. At the top of this post on the blog there will be a picture of our most recent ultrasound. It's how you can see inside a woman to see how the baby is progressing. And the ultrasound showed that Christine was pregnant. And, of course, then we were excited.

A couple smiling

And then we starting talking about how many things do we have to get done before the baby comes. How much will our life change? Should we move into a new apartment or not?

Our apartment now is at the top of six flights of stairs and there's no elevator. (A "flight" is a series of steps between two floors). So we still talk about maybe finding a new apartment.

A tall building

And the first trimester is normally when any major problems in a pregnancy are going to happy. That's why you don't announce a pregnancy until after the first trimester. And, it's also I think very difficult to keep the secret of "we are pregnant" during this first trimester. We are excited, we are hopeful. And, I am very glad that we made the announcement because... I like talking and keeping this gigantic thing secret was very difficult for me.

And keeping the secret was difficult for another reason: because we started changing our plans. We changed our vacation plans for 2009, so that we would do most of our traveling in early 2009 and not later. And we started talking about moving. And, of course, we couldn't tell our families why we had these plans to change. We only said "Oh, we're thinking of only traveling in the first half of the year."

And now that everyone knows that we're expecting a baby in August, it's definitely nice to talk about it.

This lesson was written by Toby, an American English teacher that lives in Germany. Toby is the creator of Bite Sized English.

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