The first trimester of pregnancy is a joyous time, but it can also be a whirlwind period. Although it will take a while for your pregnancy to be visible, your body will go through a number of changes right away, and no matter how much you prepare, the experience will likely come as a bit of a shock.
Your first trimester will be a whirlwind time, full of changes in your mind, body and lifestyle. To help you prepare, here are 11 things you can expect in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy!
When you become pregnant, your body is flooded with hormones to help prepare for the nine months ahead, and this will result in a number of physical and emotional changes. These should never be a cause for concern – this your body literally getting ready to take care of your child. Nonetheless, it might take some getting used to!
Some things will merely be surprising, others may be physically uncomfortable, and some emotionally taxing. Knowing what changes are coming can help you face the months ahead with self-assurance, so let’s take a look at some things to expect during your first trimester.
Sore Breasts and Breast Growth
Sore or tender breasts is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy that women notice first, aside from missing one’s period. This is merely a reaction to the hormones that are preparing your milk ducts for breastfeeding. By week 6 you may even be shocked at how much they have grown! This is all very normal.
Spotting or Bleeding
Roughly 25% of women experience some spotting or light bleeding during their first trimester. This may be normal – bleeding may be a sign that the embryo has made its way to the uterus. However, heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain or consistent cramping is not normal and will require immediate attention from your doctor. These might be symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Morning Sickness, Nausea, Food Aversions and Cravings
Morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy is most common during the first trimester and is another one of the common early signs that you’ve fallen pregnant. A common misconception is that nausea during pregnancy only occurs in the morning. While for many women it is worse in the morning, subsiding over the course of the day, it can also occur at any time and at varying degrees of severity.
Nausea typically starts within 4 to 8 weeks after fertilisation, with the 6-week point being the most common. It usually lasts for around 6 weeks and begins to subside around the 13-week mark. However, this is different for every woman!
Morning sickness and nausea throughout the day will likely go hand in hand with some kind of food aversions. In some cases, this goes way beyond an aversion, to the point of it being that some certain foods make you sick to the stomach to smell or even think of.
If you are steering clear of certain foods during your first trimester, it is important to consider whether this means you are missing out on the nutrients they offer. If you are, you should consider where else you can get them.
Conversely, you might find yourself craving certain foods – this is normal too, and is ok to succumb to from time to time, as long as you are getting enough nutrients in your diet.
During your first trimester, you may find yourself taking more trips to the bathroom than usual. There are two reasons for this. First, it’s likely you’re drinking more water due to dehydration (your body will need more and more fluids as your baby grows).
Secondly, while your baby is still very small at this stage, your uterus is growing constantly, placing pressure on your bladder triggering the need to pee. Don’t hold on, and don’t stop drinking fluids!
When you become pregnant, your body floods itself with the hormone progesterone. This causes the muscles that push your food through your intestine to slow down, causing constipation and bloating. Increased iron intake (an important element of your prenatal vitamin) can also contribute to this. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fibre and drinking plenty of fluids. This will help!
Cramping is another common early warning sign of pregnancy. As your uterine muscles prepare to support your fetus, they may cause a cramping sensation to occur. This is normal, but if you experience severe cramping or abdominal pain, see your doctor.
Fatigue and Sleepiness
As soon as you fall pregnant, your body will begin working overtime to prepare for your baby. A huge amount of energy is immediately channelled to your placenta and this can cause fatigue and sleepiness (or dizziness and lightheadedness), which is only exacerbated by the increased levels of progesterone pumping through your body. Rest and sleep all you can. You’ll need the energy!
The hormones present during your first trimester can cause the passage between your stomach and esophagus to relax, resulting in heartburn. This is very common, affecting roughly half of pregnant women and starting around the second month.
During your first trimester, you need around 150 extra calories to help fuel everything that is happening in your body. It’s recommend that you gain around 1-3 kilograms (this will depend on your height and pre-pregnancy weight). But remember, you should be getting these calories from nutritional sources.
Changes In Libido
With all these hormones racing through your body, you may find your libido changing too. You may find yourself with an increased sex drive (you may even find sex more pleasurable), or you may have none at all. It’s different for everyone, so listen to your body, talk with your partner about it, and go with the flow.
With all that is happening during your first trimester – increased hormones, stress, fatigue, morning sickness, lack of sleep, and the reality of pregnancy – you might find yourself going through a rollercoaster of emotions. You might be elated, sad, excited and terrified all in the same day. Let your emotions out, and talk openly with your partner, friends or family – it’s all part of the journey.
If you have any questions regarding a new pregnancy, planning for a pregnancy, or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Dr Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in the Hills District of Sydney and will be more than happy to offer advice and compassionate care in every way possible.