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What to Expect in Your First Trimester of Pregnancy

Updated on July 23, 2012

Pregnancy – Your First Trimester

So you’ve probably taken an at home pregnancy test (a few times over, even) or have had your pregnancy confirmed by a doctor by now. YOU’RE PREGNANT!! Congratulations!! Unplanned or planned, this is a HUGE, life changing event, and it may take some time to get used to! Here is what you can expect in your first trimester….

Emotions: Your hormones are surging like crazy. In fact, in most healthy pregnancies, they are doubling every other day. No wonder you feel every emotion in the book. You may be feeling elated that you’re FINALLY pregnant, if you’ve been trying for awhile. You might feel depressed and freaked out if this was unplanned. Either way, it is normal to feel some depression and anxiety – your life is truly about to change forever. You may also feel weepy or irritable. You can thank your hormones for this! Emotions in the first trimester are up and down, and all around. Just take comfort that they will even out in the coming months!

Exhaustion: Feel like you haven’t slept in weeks? This is totally normal. And unfortunately, it will stick around for a good few months. Luckily, most women report this gets better into the 2nd trimester. You won’t just feel tired, or worn out. You will feel like you’ve been up for days, and no increase in sleep seems to help! Try to take small afternoon naps if you can, and try to hit the sack a little early each night – if you can. This might help, but again, sometimes the only relief is getting out of the 1st trimester. Your body is hard at work creating a life!! Of course that would be exhausting.

Nausea: Some women sail through their 1st trimester with little to no nausea. Others are hit like a ton of bricks with it. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to worship the toilet Gods every morning, unfortunately the verdict is that you may not get much relief until your 2nd trimester. The good news is that most women who experience morning sickness do feel relief after the first 12 or so weeks. There is definitely a range in the severity of morning sickness that you may feel. Some women get a little nauseous in the morning, especially before they’ve eaten. They might feel a little queasy when they get too hungry and need to eat. It comes and goes, and sort of feels like you’re car sick. Other women feel like they’ve got the flu every single morning – so much so that they spend a good part of their morning routine throwing up. The extremely unfortunate ones are sick all day long, and throw up multiple times a day. If this is you – talk to your doctor. There may be something they can give you to help. Your priority needs to be the intake of fluids. You want to make sure you’re not dehydrating yourself. Don’t worry about not keeping enough food down to feed your baby. At this point, your body is able to nourish it even if you’re having trouble eating. Just try to eat when you can! It may even actually help you feel better. Also, some women say that ginger helps. Try ginger tea, or ginger candies. Some prenatal vitamins even have ginger in them to help ward off the nausea. And don’t worry if you can’t take your prenatals at this point. While not ideal, your baby will be ok. Just make sure you can keep down a folic acid supplement containing at least 800mg of folate.

Increased Urination: Having to go a lot more than usual? This is totally normal in pregnancy. In the later months, it will be due to your enlarged uterus pushing on your bladder. Right now, it is most likely due to your increase in hormones.

Food Aversions or Cravings: Most women experience some sort of food aversion or craving at some point in their pregnancy. Some don’t start until the later months. But especially if you are experiencing morning sickness, there are probably a few foods that are turning you off at this point. Stay away from the foods that make you sick or don’t sound good! In the later months, you may start craving certain things – sometimes this is your body telling you that you need more of that particular nutrient. Craving meat? You may need to up your iron intake. Craving fruit? Maybe you need more vitamin C. Your body is pretty good at telling you what you need.

Sensitive Sniffer: While not all women feel this one right away, others notice it even before they know they’re pregnant. You may suddenly start to smell things at a stronger level than you used to. For example, an old dog pee stain might start to smell again (even though it is totally clean and you haven’t smelled it for years!). You may smell certain foods more than you used to. The dog’s breath that never bothered you before might completely make you sick now. Or, your co-worker’s perfume or body order might start bothering you. What’s to blame for this freaky pregnancy symptom? You can thank your hormones again!

Enlarged/Sensitive Breasts or Nipples: For some women, this is one of the first things they notice that might alarm them of their pregnancy. For others, it can take a few weeks to feel. Some don’t notice much of a change in their breasts at all, until after they give birth. Every woman is different! Most will notice either enlarged or heavier breasts, painful breasts, or sensitive/painful nipples. Some women can grow a cup size or two in pregnancy! This can be quite painful – especially wearing a bra throughout the day. And unfortunately there isn’t much relief to this symptom. And the worst part is that after you have the baby – they will most likely hurt even more, due to your breast milk arriving. Don’t worry if you don’t have this symptom, however. Not all women experience painful, enlarged breasts during pregnancy.

Cramping: This can be a scary one. You can definitely expect to feel a bit of cramping every once in awhile during your 1st trimester, and often, all throughout your pregnancy. As long as they aren’t worse than menstrual cramps, and don’t accompany any bleeding, they are most likely a normal part of your pregnancy. This is due to your growing uterus. As it stretches and enlarges, it can give you some cramping. Don’t be alarmed unless you also experience bleeding. This can even be normal, but it is important to check with your doctor is you have cramping with bleeding.

Spotting: While this is not considered a “normal” pregnancy symptom, it does seem to be very common among pregnant women in their 1st trimester. Most websites will tell you this is often a sign of an impending miscarriage. While this CAN be true in some cases, it is NOT true for all women. Spotting can occur for a number of reasons that are perfectly normal. You could be experiencing implantation bleeding – when the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. This often happens before you know you’re pregnant, however. Another reason for spotting in the 1st trimester is a blood clot in the uterus. These are common, and often go away on their own. Your doctor will want to monitor it, as the really large ones do have the potential of having problems, but most are small, cause no harm to the baby, and go away on their own. They can cause a bit of spotting. Another reason for your spotting could be intercourse. Irritating the cervix can slough off a bit of blood in intercourse. This is totally normal. Keep in mind spotting should typically be a small amount, and usually brown or pink. If you are seeing red blood, in any amount, or a lot of any color (enough to need a tampon), you definitely need to see a doctor. You could still be just fine – but it’s important to get looked at. Some women experience red blood their entire pregnancy for totally unknown reasons. So don’t freak out! Just call your doctor to be safe.

Bloating: Feeling like you’re gaining weight? You probably are! This could be due to bloating in early pregnancy, however. Most women put on 5-10 pounds in their entire 1st trimester, so your pants are probably starting to feel a big snug into your 2nd month. You’re most likely not showing yet (although some smaller framed women, or women who have already had babies can start showing around 10 weeks or so), but bloating could be causing you to have a bit of a pouch in your belly, or an enlarged waist. Bloating tends to go down a bit into your 2nd trimester – drink lots of water and cut down on your salt to combat it now.

Check out my other hubs on Pregnancy!

Early Signs You May be Pregnant – Before the Missed Period

Trying to Get Pregnant? What to do to Prepare & Increase Your Chances of Conceiving


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    • Ashley Gray profile image

      Ashley Gray 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks Ardot, I couldn't agree more!! :)

    • Ardot profile image

      Ardot 5 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful hub. Pregnant women are such a beautiful thing, vibrant and radiant, courageous in the face of pain and discomfort. In the name of the new life that they will bring into the world they will destroy any challenge that gets in their way. A force of nature to be reckoned with for sure.

      Useful hub for all those soon to be new moms out there, You can do it, you're a woman, nothing will stop you.