Changes in Your Body During Pregnancy – First Trimester
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The first trimester of pregnancy can be exciting and scary. A person’s body goes through a lot of changes. Some of these changes may begin before you even know or confirm you are pregnant. It can help to know what to look for and expect so you can prepare.
Path to well being
How do I know I’m pregnant?
A missed period is usually the first sign of pregnancy. You may also have some mild cramping and a little bleeding when the fertilized egg implants itself in your uterus.
If you’ve missed your period and think you may be pregnant, you can try a home pregnancy test. These tests are very accurate if you take them a few days after you expected to get your period.
Your healthcare provider can confirm your pregnancy and talk to you about prenatal care.
Why do I feel so tired?
Feeling very tired is another common symptom of early pregnancy. Your body is working hard to adjust to all the new physical changes. This can cause extreme fatigue. You may need to sleep longer than usual at night and take short naps during the day, if possible. Your energy will most likely return in the second trimester of pregnancy.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness consists of nausea and vomiting. It is caused by pregnancy hormones. Many pregnant people have it to some degree in their first trimester. Despite what it sounds, morning sickness can occur at any time of day. Certain foods or smells might make you feel sick and sometimes vomit. Some people seem to feel sicker when their stomachs are empty. Morning sickness usually goes away by the second trimester.
What other changes can I expect during the first trimester?
Frequent urination. Towards the end of the first trimester, you’ll feel like urinating more often as your growing uterus pushes on your bladder. You may leak a little urine when you cough or sneeze because of the extra pressure on your bladder.
Lightheadedness. Your body is working overtime to make extra blood to support your growing baby. This can cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Hunger, fatigue or stress can also cause these symptoms.
Heartburn. The muscles that break down food become more relaxed during pregnancy. Hormone changes also slow down this process. Food also stays in your stomach longer to give your body more time to absorb nutrients. All these things can cause or worsen heartburn.
Constipation. You should be taking a prenatal vitamin that contains iron. The iron in the vitamin can also lead to constipation. The slow process of breaking down food also can cause constipation, gas, and bloating. Your healthcare provider may suggest taking fibre supplements or a stool softener to help with constipation. If you have severe problems, contact your healthcare provider. They may want you to take a different prenatal vitamin.
Visible veins. Your body makes extra blood and your heart pumps faster to meet the needs of pregnancy. This can cause the blue veins in your belly, breasts, and legs to become more noticeable. You may develop spider veins on your face, neck, or arms. These are tiny blood vessels that branch out from a central area, like the legs of a spider.
Skin changes. You may notice that your skin looks more rosy and shiny. Some people call this a “pregnancy glow.” It is caused by increased blood circulation. Pregnancy hormones can cause extra oil on your skin. It may cause you to have flares of acne.
Breast changes. Most people notice changes in their breasts early in pregnancy. The hormones in your body change to prepare for breastfeeding. As this occurs, your breasts may feel tender and swollen. You might notice small bumps forming in the area around your nipples. Your breasts will continue to grow and change throughout your pregnancy. They may feel even bigger and fuller later on.
Vaginal changes. The lining of your vagina will become thicker and less sensitive. You may notice a thin, whitish discharge, which is normal during pregnancy. Mild vaginal bleeding (“spotting”) is also common and normal. However, you should contact your healthcare provider if you have any vaginal bleeding. If the bleeding is severe or painful, go to the emergency room.
A growing belly. Your waistline will begin to expand as your baby and your uterus grow larger. (Depending on your size before pregnancy, you may not notice this change until the second trimester.)
Emotional symptoms. You might feel moody, forgetful or unable to concentrate. These symptoms can be caused by fatigue, pregnancy hormones, and the emotions that can go along with being pregnant.
Things to consider
Keep in mind that each pregnancy experience is unique. Even the same person may have different changes in their multiple pregnancies. For each change, your symptoms may be mild or severe. Do not worry if the changes do not happen at a certain time. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.