What to Expect: The 1st Trimester

Ok, so here comes some more research. For me, I was dying to know what I was supposed to be feeling and what I wasn’t. It’s such a surreal feeling, being pregnant but really not having any true confirmation until that first US, so I wanted to glean as much knowledge of symptoms as I could.

I’m going to list the most common pregnancy symptoms, and when they typically peak and wane back off in the first trimester. I will then list some uncommon symptoms that should warrant a visit to your doctor ASAP. Keep in mind, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. These are all pulled from different websites and books (cited below).

Most common 1st trimester symptoms.

  • Nausea!!! Or Morning Sickness – up to 85% of us experience it!
    • Thought to increase due to rapid increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormones
    • Also thought to be caused by a natural instinct in mothers to avoid certain foods during pregnancy that can harm the fetus
    • If this is effecting you, try smaller meals frequently throughout the day
    • Nausea is though to peak with rising levels of hCG, meaning that you should see the peak sometime between week 7-9 and then decrease around weeks 12-14
  • Heightened sense of smell
    • Due to the increase in estrogen
    • Typically increases during the first trimester and may stay elevated throughout pregnancy
  • Tender, swollen breasts
    • Typically peaks around weeks 4-6 and tapers of following the first trimester
  • Darkening areolas with possible bumps
    • The bumps are called Montgomery tubercles and will help lubricate your nipples if you breastfeed
    • Typically seen developing between weeks 6-14 and then remaining darkened throughout pregnancy
  • Increased urination
    • Typically peaks between weeks 9-16 due to changes in blood volume and pressure on the bladder and then again as you near birth as baby moves downward in the pelvic cavity, again causing pressure on the bladder
  • Fatigue
    • Typically peaks during the first trimester due to increased levels of energy being utilized for formation of the placenta and the third trimester when baby’s growth increases exponentially and you may have more trouble sleeping
    • Fatigue is also thought to increase due to increasing levels of progesterone
  • Food aversions or cravings
    • Also thought to be caused by a natural instinct in mothers to avoid certain foods during pregnancy that can harm the fetus
    • Typically peak between weeks 6-10 and may remain throughout pregnancy
  • Dizziness
    • May start noticing symptoms between weeks 4-8. These symptoms may remain throughout pregnancy
  • Heartburn – progesterone relaxes smooth muscles leading to this
    • Typically this increases with progesterone increase, with increased symptoms beginning around week 12 and worsening throughout pregnancy
  • Constipation
    • Your bowel motility slows down due to increased levels of progesterone, so again you may notice this symptom begin between weeks 6-12 and remain throughout pregnancy
  • Slight bleeding
    • 25% experience spotting around 5-10 days after conception (implantation)
  • Bloating and passing gas
    • Again, this is linked to progesterone so you may see these symptoms begin between weeks 6-10 and increase throughout pregnancy
  • Milky white vaginal discharge
    • Thin, white milky discharge is actually normal during pregnancy
    • This healthy discharge typically increases around weeks 10-13 and may increase throughout pregnancy. It is thought to increase due to increased blood flow and fluids in the body as well as increasing levels of estrogen
    • If you notice anything that is foul smelling or green or yellow in color TALK TO A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
  • Mood swings
    • Thank you hormones!! Mood swings are thought to peak around weeks 6-10 and then again just before delivery due to our ever changing hormones
  • Headaches
    • Again, typically peaking in the first and third trimesters.
    • During the first trimester, they are usually attributed to the increase in hormones and blood volume changes
    • During the third trimester, they are typically attributed to poor posture due to the extra weight!
  • Missed Period!!!
  • Uncommon symptoms warranting a doctors visit
    • Significant bleeding
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Severe dizziness
    • Rapid weight gain or loss
    • Sudden thirst accompanied by decreased urination or weight gain/loss
    • Fever over 101.5 with chills and/or backache
    • Severe puffiness in hands or face
    • Vision disturbances





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