You’re expecting a baby! Congratulations! These first few weeks can be quite the whirlwind of emotions: excitement, nerves, anticipation, joy, hesitation, gratitude. You may still be keeping the news to a select few members of your support system, or maybe you’re shouting from the rooftops! Maybe you’re feeling a little tired or nauseated. Maybe you don’t really feel different yet.
Whatever you’re feeling in this first trimester, you’re likely not alone (even though it might sometimes feel like it if you’re waiting for the second trimester to share the news). There are so many new physical sensations and emotions you could be experiencing – whether now or in the near future. It’s a lot to take in. At the same time, you might be wondering what to expect over the next couple of months.
The first trimester is a time of incredible change, even before you can see that growing bump on the outside. Knowing what to expect and which first trimester products to invest in can help you feel prepared and comfortable during this key early stage of your road to motherhood.
Big changes in the first trimester
You probably don’t need maternity clothes just yet, but your body goes through some pretty radical changes during the first trimester.
- You might feel especially aware of your bra. Swollen or tender breasts are often one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Brought on by hormonal changes, this tenderness can start after conception and typically continues for a few weeks as your body adjusts. In the meantime, a soft and comfortable bra – like the Bamboobies everyday bra – and looser clothing can minimize discomfort. You can also try a cold compress or warm shower for pain relief. Just be careful of strong water pressure aimed directly at your front, as that might be more painful than helpful. Another thing to consider is the potential for stretch marks as your breasts grow. Because stretch marks are essentially the breaking apart of fibers just beneath your skin, they can cause some discomfort and itchiness. Applying a stretch mark cream can help minimize discomfort and relieve itching. You can also start applying a cream or belly balm to your belly, hips, and thighs to help condition your skin before it begins to stretch to curtail the effects of stretch marks throughout your pregnancy.
- You could experience pregnancy nausea or vomiting. Despite its name, morning sickness – the term for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy – can happen at any time. While symptoms might be more common earlier in the day (hence the name), some women experience it more in the afternoon or evening, and some feel ill all day. Regardless of when or how often you find yourself feeling a little unwell, you can find morning sickness relief by snacking on something bland (like crackers or dry toast), sipping on water, ginger ale or getting some fresh air. If you don’t think you can stomach even a few sips of water, you can try an acupressure wrist band, which can reduce nausea and vomiting by putting light pressure on an acupressure point on your wrist.
- You probably feel exhausted. Beyond the obvious – your body is growing an entire person – there are a few things that can add to fatigue in the first trimester. The hormone progesterone ramps up production, your blood volume rises while blood pressure decreases, your blood sugar levels might noticeably drop, and nausea and middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom can interfere with your sleep. To make matters worse, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend keeping caffeine consumption below 200 mg per day (which is equivalent to about two 8-ounce cups of black coffee). Some women find their fatigue subsides briefly in the second trimester before returning in the third (when the effort of carrying around your baby inside you plays a major role). In the meantime, you should try to rest as much as you can (naps are your friend when you’re growing a baby), eat well and stay hydrated, and get some exercise.
- You have to go to the bathroom more often. You might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to wait for a mostly grown baby to press against your bladder to send you to the bathroom several times a day. We alluded to increased blood volume when we talked about pregnancy fatigue. More specifically, the volume of blood in your body increases by 50% during pregnancy to support your uterus. This extra blood leads to extra fluid for your kidneys to process. What does that mean? Simply put, you’re going to have to go a lot more throughout your entire pregnancy. But that’s not all! Remember that increase in progesterone we talked about? Not only does it make you tired, but it also slows down your digestive system, which can leave you feeling a little backed up. The iron in your prenatal vitamin doesn’t help anything. Be sure to get plenty of fiber in your diet, and stay hydrated (even if that does mean more trips to the bathroom).
- You may be noticing some food cravings – and some definite aversions. You might not be dipping pickles in ice cream (or maybe you are; we’re not judging), but it’s likely that you’ve noticed there are some foods you just can’t get enough of, and others that you can’t stand. These changes to your taste buds can be largely attributed to – you guessed it – hormones. Aversions may also be due in part to that supercharged sense of smell. It’s ok to indulge your cravings, in moderation, as long as you’re maintaining a generally healthy diet and aren’t craving non-food items like clay or dirt – a condition known as pica. If that’s the case, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider.
This is an exciting time, and the fun is just beginning! Enjoy the miracle happening in your body, and do what you can to keep yourself healthy and comfortable, mama!
Healthline: When Is the Best Time to Announce Your Pregnancy?
Mayo Clinic: 1st trimester pregnancy: What to expect
Parents: How to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Mayo Clinic: Morning sickness
Forbes Health: 5 Best Morning Sickness Remedies
Murfreesboro Medical Clinic & Surgicenter: Why do you feel tired during pregnancy?
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy
Healthline: Welcome to Pregnancy Fatigue: The Most Tired You Have Ever Felt
Huffpost: 7 Awesome Things Your Body Does During Pregnancy
Grow by WebMD: First Trimester of Pregnancy