The moment you find out that you’re expecting a baby can be one of the most exciting times of your life! But it can also be overwhelming as you wonder what the three trimesters ahead have in store for you, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. Specifically, you might be wondering exactly what to expect from the first trimester.
Your baby is developing quite a bit during your first trimester — as soon as six weeks you can hear their tiny heart beating, and by the end of the first trimester, their bones, muscles, and all of their organs have formed. But even with all that development, your baby is still very small.
So while you won’t see much of a baby bump during your first several weeks of pregnancy, you’ll notice plenty of other changes in your body. Here are a few things you can expect during your first trimester and how you can best prepare.
Four Changes To Expect In Your First Trimester
Most women feel fatigued during their first and third trimesters, so don’t worry if fatigue hits you hard in the first several weeks — your body is hard at work, your little one is developing, and you’re getting used to many physical and emotional changes.
Hormonal changes can be blamed for much of the extra fatigue and sleepiness. Plus, your blood sugar and blood pressure levels are usually lower, which contributes to your tiredness.
However, physical and chemical changes in your body aren’t the only causes of fatigue. The emotional highs and lows related to this exciting but overwhelming time in life can also influence your energy levels.
How To Prepare
Prepare yourself emotionally for a little bit of pregnancy fatigue. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find that you’re too tired to do what used to be no big deal. Make a point to get in bed earlier, cut yourself some slack during the day, and maybe even take a nap.
Give yourself some TLC and take care of you and baby with safe, natural, and relaxing products, like Mustela’s Soothing Moisturizing Balm, crafted specifically for expecting moms.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Let your partner, friends, or family know when you need an extra hand.
Finally, lying on the couch isn’t the only way to deal with the extra sleepiness you’re experiencing. In addition to making time for cat naps, carve out some time to be active. If you already have an exercise routine, keep it up! Just be sure to ask your doctor if you need to make any changes to your current routine now that a baby is on the way.
And if you aren’t already an active person, start slowly but start somewhere! Being active is always an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and that doesn’t change when you become pregnant.
By moving your body and getting your blood pumping, you can lower the risk of gestational diabetes and delivery complications. It might also help with uncomfortable back or hip pain, swelling, and constipation.
2) Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common and dreaded part of the first trimester. Contrary to its name, the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness can hit any time of the day. It’s not dangerous to your or your baby, but you should contact your doctor if you can’t stop vomiting, can’t keep liquids down, or have additional symptoms.
While not all women experience nausea and vomiting, over half of pregnant women do. Morning sickness usually starts around week six, and you can expect to have some relief at the end of your first trimester.
How To Prepare
If you like ginger, go ahead and stock your kitchen with ginger tea, ginger ale, or ginger drops. They can help settle your stomach so you can get on with your day.
You may also want to invest in essential oils. You can use oils like peppermint, lemon, or lavender to fight off morning sickness through aromatherapy. Just use a couple of drops of oil in a diffuser or massage the oil onto your wrists or the bottoms of your feet.
One more tip: put a couple of drops of oil on a cotton ball and keep it in a sealed container in your purse. Pull it out whenever you feel a wave of nausea and you’ve got aromatherapy on the go!
To keep morning sickness at bay, make sure you eat small but frequent meals and avoid napping immediately after eating. Staying hydrated is also important, so keep your water bottle with you during the day.
If you just can’t seem to shake morning sickness and need some extra help, ask your doctor. He or she can give you a safe anti-nausea medication that will get you back on your feet.
3) Breast Changes
Morning sickness isn’t the only change that kicks in around week six. Thanks to pregnancy hormones, you’ll also start to notice that your breasts are bigger, more tender to the touch, and a little swollen. They might feel like they do right before your period. Nipples also tend to become sore and a bit larger.
How To Prepare
Get ready to buy new bras. As your breasts grow, you’ll need to buy new bras to fit your new size. Some women go up one or two cup sizes over the course of their pregnancy. If your breasts are tender, make sure you look for something that will fit comfortably and help relieve some of the soreness.
With an increase in breast size, you’ll also want to be proactive about preventing stretch marks. Ward them off by gently applying Mustela’s Stretch Marks Prevention Cream. And since you can use this nourishing lotion on your growing tummy as well as your breasts, you can hit two birds with one stone.
For very sore nipples, consider investing in breast pads. The soft cotton will provide some relief for tender nipples. Plus, if you decide to breastfeed your little one, your breast pads can double as nursing pads later.
Itching is often another side effect of breast changes during pregnancy. Try Mustela’s Soothing Moisturizing Balm to relieve tightness and itching while moisturizing your skin. Because the balm is safe for breastfeeding moms and babies, you can also use it after giving birth.
Finally, if you can’t get comfortable in bed due to breast pains, try sleeping in a loose sports bra. Keeping your breasts in place might relieve some pain and help you get to sleep.
4) Cravings And Food Aversion
Another change to expect during your first trimester is a shift in your appetite and diet. Many women start to experience both food cravings and food aversions during those first few weeks.
Food cravings might just mean that you desperately want to munch on a certain kind of food — spicy food or ice cream, for example. Or it might mean you crave unusual combinations of food, like the infamous ice cream and pickles.
Typical food cravings are expected, but if you begin craving non-food items (like dirt, soap, or chalk), you’re experiencing something called pica. This might mean that you have a mineral deficiency. It’s important to never give in to these cravings because eating non-food items could be dangerous for you and baby. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you’re dealing with pica.
In addition to a strong desire to eat certain foods, you may also find yourself disgusted by other foods. That’s called food aversion. And oddly enough, your food aversions might even be foods that you used to love.
How To Prepare
Stock your kitchen. It’s OK to give in to your cravings every now and then. But if you’re always craving junk food, go ahead and stock up on healthy alternatives that you enjoy. You can also opt for the lower-calorie version of whatever you’re dying to eat, like frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
It’s also OK to listen to your body if you’re disgusted by particular foods. If your food aversion is a food that’s important to the health of you and your baby, try sneaking it into your diet in a different way. For example, hide a bit of spinach in a smoothie and you might never know the difference.
In the midst of all the new emotions and physical changes you’re experiencing, don’t forget to enjoy your pregnancy and the excitement that it brings. In just a few months, you’ll be holding your sweet baby and first trimester woes like morning sickness will be a thing of the past!