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What to Expect During Pregnancy - Trimester by Trimester

Updated on September 3, 2014

There are few things in life as exciting, nerve-wracking, stressful, wondrous, and at times, extremely unpleasant, as pregnancy. Your body, mind, spirit, and emotions are taken on a bit of a roller coaster ride that you – for the most part – have absolutely no control over. You are no longer simply a person, you are essentially a host environment, and your little guest is quick to make him or herself at home.

Each woman’s journey on this roller coaster will be different, so it can’t be said for certain which particular symptoms, changes, and ups and downs you will experience. Whereas one woman may experience horrible nausea and discomfort, another may not even know she’s pregnant until she delivers (strange, but true – just watch the Discovery Health Channel).

To that end, I won’t say that this is what you should expect during pregnancy, I’ll simply say this is what you could expect during pregnancy based on my experience and what other woman have shared with me about their pregnancies.

What to Expect During the First Trimester

  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • An aversion to various scents (I couldn’t stand the smell of pomegranate potpourri)
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom (your body starts producing more fluids)
  • Feeling sluggish and constantly wanting to sleep
  • Nausea – it may occur during a specific time of day or may last all day long (see my article about relieving pregnancy nausea here)
  • An aversion to foods/beverages you’ve always loved (I couldn’t stomach bananas, prunes, and oatmeal, and had real difficulty even drinking water)
  • An affinity for food/beverages you’ve never really liked (I never really drank lemonade or ate oranges until I got pregnant)
  • Vomiting – definitely consult your doctor if it gets excessive
  • Blood tests – it’s a good idea to ask your doctor what’s involved – fasting, drinking fluids, etc. – so you’re prepared
  • An early ultrasound – you’ll need to down 40 ounces of water for this one
  • A neuchal translucency ultrasound (it’s recommended for all women and tests for down syndrome – you shouldn’t have to drink extra fluids for this one)
  • Feeling like “what have I gotten myself into” – even if it was a planned pregnancy
  • Weight loss – especially if you’re nauseous or vomiting
  • Monthly doctor visits

What to Expect During the Second Trimester

  • Decrease and eventual disappearance of nausea (although certain foods/beverages/smells may still turn your stomach – just try to avoid them)
  • An increased appetite (try to snack on fruits and veggies)
  • Slight boost in energy (you’ll still be fatigued, but not so lethargic as during the first trimester)
  • More blood tests, including one for gestational diabetes, which typically requires you to drink sugar-laden fluids and then wait an hour before having blood drawn (some are more involved though so definitely ask your doctor about the process)
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom (the baby is growing and putting more pressure on your bladder)
  • The 20-week ultrasound (this is when you’ll find out the sex of the baby)
  • Weight gain – definitely invest in some maternity clothes (I liked Gap and Old Navy)
  • Random emotional breakdowns (I cried my eyes out one night for no apparent reason)
  • The onset of back and hip pain – it will only get worse unfortunately and sleeping will become more and more of a challenge
  • Flutters and kicks from the baby

Monthly doctor visits

What to Expect During the Third Trimester

  • A possible return of nausea (it happens in about 10% of woman, but may not be as severe as it was during the first trimester)
  • An increased appetite, but an inability to eat more than just a small meal at a time because the baby is squishing your stomach
  • General fatigue
  • Shortness of breath after doing just about anything, including bending over, which becomes quite difficult (invest in some slip on shoes)
  • More weight gain
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom (the baby is not only pressing on your bladder, he or she may seem to be kicking, poking, or bouncing on it)
  • Back, hip, and leg pain
  • Discomfort standing, sitting, lying down, or walking – unfortunately there’s really no position to be in that’s comfortable
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Lots of kicks, somersaults, pokes, etc. from the baby (it’s kind of neat to see your stomach ripple)
  • The 36-week ultrasound (this is when you’ll find out the position of the baby – hopefully it’s head down)
  • Doctor visits every two weeks until the final month, at which point they are weekly

You may experience some, all, or none of the symptoms and changes notated in these lists. Or you may experience something that isn’t listed at all. Everyone’s experience really is different. I hope yours is enjoyable, but if it isn’t, that’s okay (mine hasn’t been) – just do what you can to make it through and keep reminding yourself that eventually this baby will make its appearance and you’ll get your body back. Best of luck!


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    • GiblinGirl profile image

      GiblinGirl 4 years ago from New Jersey

      I've actually heard that some women's hair and skin gets really nice - it's likely because of the hormone production and the prenatal vitamins. I wish my hair had gotten shiny - most of the time it looks like a rat's nest :)

    • holly-turner profile image

      Holly Turner 4 years ago from Falmouth

      Great post, seems random but when my friend was pregnant she reported during her second trimester that her hair got really shiny and didn't ever look as greasy as she was used to. Apparently this is normal but I can't remember why!