Pregnancy can feel like a rollercoaster rids. Just when one thing seems to fade away and resolve itself, another pops up to take its place! During pregnancy, the female body experiences so many changes on a weekly basis that feeling a wide range of physical shifts is not only totally normal, but healthy.
It means that the baby is growing and that the body is doing what it’s meant to do. All of these common symptoms can be frustrating—no one likes to smell their favorite food and suddenly feel grossed out, get heartburn when they eat a tasty meal, or deal with strange pregnancy dreams that wake them up in the night! And, of course, nobody likes waking up with morning sickness. However, this is all just part of the package when it comes to pregnancy.
So, what can pregnant women expect from one trimester to the next? Well, every single pregnancy is a little bit different, but there are certain symptoms that commonly show up right away, while others can take quite a while to notice and may not occur until the third trimester. Here are 10 pregnancy symptoms that come on early, and 10 that come on later.
20 Early: The Nausea Starts Right Away
According to The Bump, morning sickness is probably one of the most common pregnancy symptoms—and in fact, for many women its one of the first signs that they are pregnant! In fact, over three-quarters of women experience morning sickness of some kind. Some lucky ones only feel a bit nauseas when they wake up, while others will find themselves unable to keep much down throughout their entire first trimester.
Yes, severe morning sickness can absolutely be a rough thing to go through, but the good news is that this symptom is temporary and won’t occur after the first trimester.
19 Late: Exhaustion Reaches A New Level
Is it normal to feel a bit more tired than usual throughout the entire pregnancy? Yes, of course—after all, growing a tiny human being is no joke! That takes a ton of energy. According to Web MD, exhaustion really reaches a whole new level in the third trimester.
And it’s easy to see why—that baby bump is unmistakably big, and the baby itself is bigger than before. It’s totally normal to need lots of extra sleep in the third trimester. Sure, the second trimester can be tiring, but energy levels really do drop significantly in the third trimester.
18 Early: Cravings Kick In
Those famous pregnancy cravings waste no time—they start right away! According to Baby Centre, many women say that pregnancy cravings are another one of the very first symptoms that they experience. These generally aren’t a big deal—unless a woman finds herself craving something that isn’t food. That can be a sign of a nutrient deficiency, and any woman in this scenario should definitely contact her doctor or midwife.
But other pregnancy cravings for things like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for breakfast? Nothing to be too concerned—there’s nothing wrong with sweets for breakfast once in a while!
17 Late: Back Discomfort
Babies are heavy—even before they are born! According to Mayo Clinic, almost all women will experience back pain in the third trimester. Predictably, the closer to the due date they get, the more back pain and discomfort they will feel.
This is definitely a nuisance to deal with, and of course, relaxing and getting comfortable (and staying off your feet when possible) can make it easier to cope, especially if the pain gets in the way of your usual activities. However, it’s the kind of symptom that you can only truly find relief from after the baby is born!
16 Early: Heightened Sense Of Smell
Have you ever heard that pregnant women have a much stronger sense of smell than the average person? This is not a myth—this is actually a well documented symptom. According to What to Expect, many pregnant women will notice that their sense of smell suddenly feels like their superpower in the first trimester.
This actually has an evolutionary purpose! Thousands of years ago, pregnant women needed to be sure that they could smell if something was wrong with their food—after all, eating something that had gone off could affect them and the baby, so it was an advantage.
15 Late: Feeling The Baby Kick
When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she will probably wonder when she’ll be able to feel her baby kick. This is a highly anticipated moment because it’s the moment that makes it all feel real for the first time! But when does that really happen? When can those very first kicks be felt?
According to Today’s Parent, those first kicks don’t start happening until the second trimester. For most women, they will start to feel little movements around 18 to 22 weeks—although some say they feel their babies start to move as early as 16 weeks!
14 Early: Food Aversions
We all know that pregnant women can get some serious food cravings—but what about other food related symptoms? As it turns out, the flip side of food cravings are food aversions, and these are no fun to deal with. According to Mama Natural, just as food cravings can begin during the first trimester, so can food aversions!
And yes, these can even apply to foods that you used to love! It does happen that some pregnant women develop aversions to foods that were previously their favorites. It’s also fairly common for pregnant women to have aversions to red meat.
13 Late: Swollen Feet And Ankles
Yes, everyone knows that pregnant women will need maternity clothes: after all, weight gain is simply a normal and healthy part of pregnancy, and no one can fit a big baby bump into normal jeans! But did you know that many pregnant women also go up a shoe size later in their pregnancies?
Yup, according to Mom Junction, pregnant women will usually notice their feet and ankles swelling by the third trimester. And here’s the funniest part—sometimes, a woman’s feet will not go back to their original shoe size even after the baby is born! They’ll stay a size bigger.
12 Early: The Pregnancy “Glow”
Ah, the famous pregnancy glow—isn’t that the part of pregnancy that every woman looks forward to the most? All of the other symptoms can seem like a bit of a drag, but who doesn’t want glowing skin like never before? According to Trimester Talk, some women may start to notice a pregnancy glow towards the end of the first trimester.
Why does this occur? Well, it’s mainly because of hormonal changes in the body that can affect the appearance of the skin. Sometimes we complain about our hormones, but you can actually thank them for that lovely pregnancy glow!
11 Late: Noticeable Heartburn
Anyone can experience heartburn—even when they’re not pregnant—but it is a very common pregnancy symptom. While some women start experiencing it as early as the first trimester, not all will. But according to Healthline, by the third trimester, almost every pregnant woman deals with it! This is because pregnancy can affect your digestive system and make women more sensitive to certain foods.
Luckily, there is some relief available. For pregnant women dealing with heartburn, it’s wise to avoid any foods that might cause the feeling—many pregnant women find that avoiding spicy foods can really help the issue.
10 Early: Headaches And Migraines
Headaches are no fun, and migraines can downright debilitating—they can completely interrupt your life and leave you laying in bed all day with the lights off. There are a whole other ballgame, and unfortunately, many pregnant women do find themselves experiencing migraines.
According to Web MD, women who experienced migraines every once in a while before getting pregnant are likely to have more frequent and stronger migraines during pregnancy, and this symptom will likely show up during the first trimester. Hormonal changes can also trigger more frequent normal headaches for women who do not get migraines—it’s very common.
9 Late: Varicose Veins
If you’re not familiar with the term “varicose veins,” we’ll give you some quick background info: basically, when someone has varicose veins, it means that the blood vessels in their legs are visibly larger and swollen.
According to What to Expect, it’s very common for pregnant women to notice varicose veins on their legs. It becomes more likely as the pregnancy goes on—in fact, many women will start to notice them when they reach their third trimester. They usually do not cause a problem, but some women may find that their legs do feel heavy and achey at this time.
8 Early: Dry Eyes
You might not expect that dry eyes would actually be a pregnancy symptom—but sometimes it seems like anything goes when you’re expecting! According to Mayo Clinic, getting dry eyes during the first trimester is actually fairly common. And like so many other seemingly random changes that can occur during pregnancy, this is caused by hormones going haywire.
Luckily, there are plenty of over the counter treatments for dry eyes that can be purchased at pharmacies—you can get drops for dry eyes for just a few dollars. However, this could make it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses at times.
7 Late: Braxton-Hicks Contractions
This is one of those symptoms that doesn’t start to occur until the baby is almost get to come out into the world. You probably know what contractions are, but what are Braxton-Hicks contractions? According to Web MD, some women do experience these false contractions early on, but Braxton Hicks contractions generally start happening later in the pregnancy.
They are your body’s way of getting ready to go into labor—but they are NOT real contractions. Feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions does not mean that a woman is about to give birth and needs to get ready that very moment.
6 Early: Constant Bloating
Have you ever come across photos of women showing off their baby bumps only a few weeks into pregnancy? Maybe you’ve wondered if it’s really possible to have such a noticeable bump so early on in pregnancy. Well, the answer is… not quite.
According to Healthline, almost all pregnant women experience some serious bloating in the first trimester! However, this is not the same thing as a baby bump. When it’s just bloating, it will look more obvious later in the day after the woman has eaten a few meals—but a bump will generally be the same size throughout the day.
5 Late: Weird Pregnancy Dreams
Everyone has some pretty strange dreams once in a while—in fact, you probably remember a few of the weirdest ones that you’ve ever had! But many pregnant women report that their dreams just seem to get weirder and weirder as their pregnancy goes on.
According to The Bump, having these strange dreams might have you waking up asking “Huh? What’s going on?” But the goods news is that it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you! Obviously, pregnancy can be a stressful time, but don’t let your subconscious cause you to be even more anxious about silly things.
4 Early: Emotional Rollercoaster
Yup, the endless emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy really does seem to start right away—and that’s totally normal. According to Mama Natural, women experience a whole wide range of emotions when they first find out that they are pregnant, and how a woman feels about it can change from moment to moment!
One minute she might just be so excited, daydreaming about decorating the nursery and buying cute little baby clothes, and the next minute, she might be wondering how on earth she and her partner are going to raise a human being for the next 18 years or more!
3 Late: Shortness Of Breath
Whenever someone feels like they are short of breath, it’s normal for them to feel concerned—after all, unless you’re exercising, it can be a little worrying to feel that way out of the blue! But according to Mayo Clinic, feeling short of breath during the third trimester is usually considered to be normal.
In fact, it often occurs simply because you have to expend so much extra energy just to move around as you usually would! Of course, if a pregnant woman is feeling short of breath in her third trimester and has other concerns, she should call her doctor.
2 Early: The Body Changes Start
According to Baby Centre, the average woman will gain between 28 to 35 pounds during a normal pregnancy. Sure, falling slightly outside of those limits is probably fine (but of course, a doctor or midwife will have the final say on that), but overall, that’s the expected normal gain.
Some pregnant women may be surprised at how early this gain actually starts. Yup, it begins during the first couple weeks, and some women may even notice that they’ve gained a pound or two before they even find out that they are pregnant! Babies sure do grow pretty quickly.
1 Late: Difficulty Sleeping
Yes, we’ve already mentioned that crazy pregnancy dreams have the potential to keep a woman up at night—but there are other reasons that a pregnant woman might have some difficulty falling asleep at night! According to Trimester Talk, women often find that by the time they have a noticeable bump, they need to sleep on their left side to truly get comfortable.
And as that bump continues to get bigger and bigger into the third trimester, every sleeping position will feel a little uncomfortable! Combined with the exhaustion of pregnancy, it is no fun to have trouble sleeping at night.