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The First Trimester Of Pregnancy: What To Expect?

  • timeline Anoush Gomes
  • 5 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Pregnancy brings about lots of changes in the mother’s body. The first trimester of pregnancy leads to changes that all soon-to-be mama’s should understand. Knowing what’s normal and what’s not can help not only ease your pregnancy but also your mind. While physical changes are expected due the body’s hormonal fluctuations, emotional changes are also to be considered. Furthermore, there are first trimester symptoms to be aware about such as bleeding  or cramping during early pregnancy.

When does the first trimester of pregnancy begin?

The first trimester begins on the first day of the last period – so technically speaking, it starts because you’re pregnant. The trimester ends at the 13th week and 6 days of pregnancy. This short time actually sees the mother’s body going through drastic changes. 

Watch the video below by Dr. Deepa Nambiar to understand the early signs of pregnancy.

What to expect from the first trimester of pregnancy?

(1) Morning sickness

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

This dreadful symptom can actually happen in the morning or the evening. Women usually experience this during the end of the first month of pregnancy. While the cause can be the increase of hormone levels, which is hard to help, there are ways to reduce the severity.
– Try to eat something every few hours. An empty stomach can aggravate morning sickness.
– Take small bites when eating, and eat slow
– Avoid high fats/high sugar content foods in your diet
– Stray away from smells that make you nauseated
– Keep hydrated

If you’re vomiting more than 3-4 times a day, it is NOT normal and needs professional attention. This could be Hyperemesis Gradvidarum, which is severe morning sickness that causes other symptoms such as dizziness, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances and weight loss.

(2) Swollen breasts

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

This symptom is usually a tell-tale sign of pregnancy, and also one of the earliest. This occurs because of the hormonal fluctuations/changes that’s occurring. Specifically, milk ducts in the breast are readying themselves to feed the newborn. Sore breasts are expected to be a symptom for the complete first trimester and can be present in the next trimesters. Mothers often use double support bras for comfort.

(3) Bleeding during early pregnancy

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

It is normal to have slight bleeding or spotting during the first trimester. This normally occurs because embryo implantation has taken place.
Continuous bleeding or Heavy bleeding or excessive cramping is NOT normal. If you experience any of these, call a doctor to rule our conditions such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

(4) Vaginal discharge

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Discharge, otherwise known as leukorrhea, is normal during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is usually thin in consistency and white in colour. Wearing thin panty liners should increase comfort. Should the discharge change in consistency or colour (to green, yellow or red) or you experience any symptoms like itching, burning or difficulty urinating, speak to your gynecologist immediately.

(5) Changes in bowel movements

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Pregnancy sees the drastic elevation of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone, unfortunately, reduces the speed at which food is moved through the digestive tract causing constipation. Furthermore, prenatal vitamins usually involve iron supplements which can contribute to constipation as well. Incorporation the right amount of fiber in your diet can help your bowel movement regulate and become more comfortable. Pregnancy increases metabolic activity of the body and staying hydrated is also key along with moving your body a bit. Don’t make any changes to your physical activity routine or diet without speaking to your gynaecologist.

(6) Increased urination

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Your tiny human may be small, but during the first trimester, the uterus too grows in size. This pressure on the bladder is what leads to the increased frequency of urination. There is also an increase in the blood volume during pregnancy, which leads to the kidneys processing more fluids that make their way to the bladder. There are ways to help relieve some of the discomfort:
– Try to not drink anything/or drink only sips of water at least 2 hours before bedtime
– Avoid caffeine, it’s a diuretic. Too much caffeine is not good for the baby too.
It is important to remember that should you feel the urge to pee – even if it’s annoyingly often – don’t hold it in which can lead to urinary infections. Relieve your bladder whenever you need to.

(7) Acid reflux/heartburn

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Progesterone, yet again, is to blame – it’s job is to relax smooth muscles such as your lower esophagus. Because the muscles are now loose, stomach acid and food is now not kept in the stomach. Instead, acid reflux is the result.
– Eat small meals frequently (Every 2 hours)
– Avoid fruits with high acids such as citrus fruits (on empty stomach), fried or spicy foods
– Sit up for at least 30 minutes after a meal, don’t lie down right away. You can walk inside the house/room for ten min
– Double up on pillows during the night to avoid discomfort

(8) Emotional changes

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

While mood changes are not new to women, pregnancy mood changes can be overwhelming. While happiness and delight is part of the mix, addressing your anxiety and exhaustion should also take priority. During the first trimester of pregnancy, changes in the body can seem steep and sudden. Feelings of dread and insecurity can also creep up. There are ways to emotionally and mentally check in with yourself to make sure your wellbeing is well kept for your journey ahead with your newborn.
Ask questions: if you have a doubt, read about it, ask a relative or friend. You can talk to a doctor if your questions still need to be answered. Don’t wallow yourself in fear and doubt.
– Cater to your feelings: If you’re feeling scared and sad, acknowledge this. This is the first time before you move forward to a solution.
– Understand you’re not alone: Besides friends and family, there are support groups both online and offline that can quickly help you navigate your first trimesters of pregnancy.
– Speak to a therapist: If things become too overwhelming, speak to a professional to help seek out and follow through with the best solutions for you.
– Check in with yourself: The body goes through a lot of changes while pregnant and sometimes that can take a toll on us mentally. If you’re feeling well enough to take a stroll or engage in a safe-for-pregnancy hobby, then do it. This small time for yourself can help keep your mind calm.


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    Anoush Gomes

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