It is no secret whatsoever that the body goes through some pretty weird changes while a baby is growing inside. Somehow, females are pretty used to this, given the bodily changes that start happening as soon as puberty kicks into gear. Apparently, the body of a woman just isn’t meant to stay the same for a long period of time.
When it comes to pregnancy, however, the changes are the most rapid that the female body gets hits with. Sure, it’s a 9 month process, but those 9 months do not seem long enough given what goes on to the inside and the outside of the body. Moreover, the 9 months is hardly long enough since there are changes happening in each trimester, and these changes are very distinct.
Each trimester is broken down to roughly 3 months. Good thing 9 is such a divisible number! In each of these 3 months, so many different things are happening. In fact, trimester 1 and trimester 3 are hardly comparable at all. In the former, the baby bump isn’t even visible yet the uterus is changing in ways you didn’t even know it could change. In the latter, the uterus has settled down somewhat and is just going with the stretchy flow, yet the bump is protruding like you’ve got a thousand pillows stuffed up your shirt.
Of course, there are reasons and explanations why each trimester is characterised by such different symptoms. Take a closer look at the different things going on with the body in each trimester!
15 Trimester One - The Changes Are On The Inside
In the case of trimester one, it really is what’s on the inside that counts. This is the time that is crucial to the baby’s development and ensuring that the womb is going to be a warm, cosy home for the growing fetus.
While not much is happening on the outside, physically, for you, so much is going on inside with the baby. This is when the cluster of cells are bouncing around and figuring out where they need to be. It only takes 3 weeks for the baby’s heart to start beating and flowing blood to where the organs are going to grow. It is a truly remarkable time.
On the outside for you, there’s no glowing pregnancy bump, just a whole lot of nausea and morning sickness while your hormones are raging out of control. Just remember, it’s all for the baby! And trimester one is said to be the worst, so it’s only going to get better.
14 Trimester One - Sets The Pace For Blood Flow
During the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, there’s a little blastocyst embedding itself on the uterine walls. This is what is going to grow into a cluster of cells which will become a growing baby. It starts small, but it sure does get big. Throughout these 13 weeks, the cells aren’t the only thing getting ready to grow inside the uterus. Another organ is also growing, which is called the placenta.
The placenta is what ensures the baby is getting the right amount of nutrients and oxygen. This is where the umbilical cord stems from. It is the placenta that sets the pace for the flow of blood in mom’s body and it establishes this in trimester one. The placenta starts off requiring low amounts of oxygen, but as the baby grows, it gets more demanding. Therefore, the blood flow around your body fluctuates depending on what the placenta requires. The more it needs, the more blood you pump.
13 Trimester One - The Heart Rate Races
Given all the changes that are happening inside the body during trimester one, certain organs have to pick up the pace and make sure things are working efficiently. The heart is one of these. The heart rate increases somewhat during trimester one to accommodate for what’s happening in the uterus.
The normal resting heart rate of a pregnant woman will be higher. This isn’t a sign to worry in any way, it is just because the heart is working harder to pump more blood. Even though in trimester one the baby doesn’t need too much blood as it hasn’t developed its own circulatory system, mom still has to pump for two. Since the placenta is growing in trimester two, this new organ is pretty demanding and asks the body for more blood. The heart does deliver, it just has to pump a bit faster to make sure everyone is happy.
12 Trimester One - Dizziness Is A Thing
During pregnancy, there is a lot happening to the internal workings of the body. This can bring out problems that might not have been experienced before. In the case of dizziness, especially in trimester one, it's because of blood vessels changing in ways they haven’t changed before.
Basically, during pregnancy, the blood vessels dilate and the blood pressure levels can drop quite suddenly. Even if you’ve never had issues with blood pressure before, it might just hit you hard once baby starts growing. Generally speaking, a bit of light headedness and dizziness is pretty harmless, but it is needs to be taken seriously enough. The last thing you want while growing a baby inside you is to have an unnecessary fall. Some basic things you can do during pregnancy is avoid standing for long periods at a time and ensure you’re eating properly to regulate blood sugar levels and of course stay hydrated.
11 Trimester One - Hormones Bring Out Nausea
Yes, this is another thing that expectant moms can thank the hormones for. Nausea, or morning sickness, is a really common occurrence amongst pregnant women. Ironically enough, it can strike at any time of the day, not just the morning. So be on guard for bouts of this nastiness firing away through the night as well.
The reason for the nausea is mostly because of the rising levels of progesterone and estrogen in the body. These two devils, when working together, cause the stomach to empty more slowly. On top of this, they also make pregnant women more sensitive to certain smells and odours, which can trigger the icky feeling in the tummy, which is probably still full from breakfast 8 hours ago.
There are some remedies, such as drinking plenty of ginger based drinks and eating foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. Other than that, it’s just a matter of riding it out through the trimester, knowing it will go away by the next one.
10 Trimester Two - Baby Grows, Body Grows
This is the trimester that is very much about everything growing. During trimester one, the baby was more or less organising itself inside the womb to figure out what growth patterns are going to happen. This is when the cells were grouping together and everything was getting into place. Now, things are where they need to be and they are ready to start growing.
As the baby grows inside the uterus, the actual uterus grows as well. Over the course of pregnancy, the uterus grows from the size of a peach to the size of a watermelon to accommodate the pregnancy. Trimester two is something of a cantaloupe sized stage. Now, as the uterus grows, other things have to grow to deal with this sizable change. This is where the baby bump comes into play. During trimester two, your stomach will start growing out and protruding, making it harder to hide the fact you are pregnant. Loose t-shirts aren’t going to cut it towards the end of trimester two if you’re trying to cover up the bump!
9 Trimester Two - Milk Production
Although new moms won’t be producing full scale amounts of breastmilk until baby is out of the womb and ready to suckle, the production process begins back in trimester two. This is when increased levels of hormones stimulate the mammary glands. This also encourages the milk ducts in the breasts to grow. The milk ducts are lobes found in the mammary glands, at the tip of the nipple.
After birth, the breasts also produce something called colostrum. This production process also begins in trimester two in some cases. This colostrum is a thick, yellowing substance that is jam packed with antibodies to help keeps baby strong. However, because as a newborn, your baby’s belly is so small and can’t fit much in, most of this colostrum is kept in the reserves for later on. In the first few weeks of bringing your baby home, your breasts will produce milk on a supply and demand basis.
8 Trimester Two - The Uterus Grows Too
It is hard to imagine exactly what a uterus looks like and how it gets to be so stretchy. However, pregnancy is the time to really high-5 the uterus (not literally) on its incredible ability to adapt to the growing baby. If there is one part of the female anatomy that is up for a challenge, it is the uterus.
If you think about blowing up a balloon, that is pretty much what happens to the uterus during pregnancy. However, it isn’t a few big puffs of air type scenario, but rather an elongated process over 9 months. At the beginning of pregnancy, the uterus is just an innocent orange or grapefruit sized thing chilling out in the pelvis. A fertilised egg certainly changes that.
Along comes trimester two and the uterus has grown to the shape of a papaya fruit. It’s not round anymore and it doesn’t even fit in the pelvis. Now it is somewhere between the navel and breasts, shifting organs around the body in its pursuit for comfort. Hence why ligament pain starts in trimester two!
7 Trimester Two - Golden But Also Painful
They call this the ‘golden period’ because the initial bumpy rollercoaster of internal chaos of trimester one is slowly dissipating. Many of the unpleasant effects, such as nausea and cramps, have done their time and have made you suffer enough. They are bowing down, which is lovely. Unfortunately, they are being replaced by other demons waiting in trimester two.
As golden as it is, trimester two isn’t all fun and games. Your sleep patterns will regulate nicely (hopefully) and there will be less draining fatigue that initially hit hard in trimester one. Tiredness is still a thing, but generally not as forceful as it was at first.
However, trimester two is its own ball game. Here there is back pain from the growing bump, abdominal pain, and leg cramps as the pelvis is starting to widen. Oh, and this is when constipation starts. So as much as you need to use the bathroom, it’s much more about number ones than twos during trimester two!
6 Trimester Three - The Home And Literal Stretch
It take long enough to get here, but in trimester three the home stretch is finally in sight. Really, month 7 or 8 is the beginning of the home stretch, and it’s still going to feel like a century away until that baby is ready to come into the world.
The fetus is still growing in weight and size, so the home stretch means that the uterus is still stretching on the inside and the belly is still stretching on the outside. Trimester three is what you can steadily blame for the inevitable stretch marks over your belly.
Trimester three is also a time to start stretching, in a very literal sense. This is an ideal time to do some prenatal yoga stretching classes to get your body into tip-top shape for the birth. Stretching will also help relax your bones, muscles, and ligaments that have gone through one intense process over this journey!
5 All Trimesters - The Digestive System Makes Mom Bloat
Along with all the other joys (sarcasm alert) of bodily changes during pregnancy, expect to add bloating to the list. Yeah, that delightful feeling after going all out at an all you can eat buffet and having to loosen the belt a few notches is just part of the pregnancy deal. No buffet included, unfortunately.
Bloating is a really common pregnancy symptom and it occurs throughout all the trimesters. You can pretty much thank progesterone for this. It is affectionately called the ‘puffy hormone’ as that is exactly what it does, makes things puffy. Progesterone is what slows muscles down, including the muscles in the digestive tract. This means that things are a little slower to digest and foods stay in the tracts for longer, resulting in constant bloated feelings. At the expanding uterus wreaking havoc with the rectum and you’re in for a bloated delight. Ugh, thanks for that, pregnancy.
4 All Trimesters - Toilet Breaks
There is a reason for the saying; when one has had too much to drink and constantly needs to use the bathroom, they say she is ‘peeing like a pregnant lady’. This is because pregnant women do need to urinate more often than they don’t. Even better, this can happen during any trimester, at any time. Be ready, expectant moms!
The explanation behind needing to pee so often is a pretty simple one. Basically, there is a whole lot of extra pressure on your bladder. That uterus that used to be the size of a peach is on its way to growing to the size of a watermelon. When was the last time you had a watermelon on your bladder? Exactly! This amount of pressure makes it harder for the bladder to stay strong in the wake of essentially being crushed. And when the baby starts using the bladder as a squeeze toy, well, just stay close to the restroom at work!
3 All Trimesters - Burning Love
Yes, as the heart fills with the love for the baby that is growing inside, expectant moms also feel a slight burning sensations. Perhaps this is just the inexpressible adoration burning through, but actually it is good old fashioned heart burn.
Pregnancy speeds certain things up, like emotional imbalances, but slows others along the way. Since the digestive tract is slowed down. The reason it slows is so that the nutrients have time to divide between mom and baby, and they have enough time to be absorbed into the bloodstream and passed into the placenta. While this is obviously important, it does lead to heartburn, which isn’t so comfortable.
There isn’t much you can do about it, apart from bulking up on foods filled with fibre. This is going to be your diet’s best friend for those 9 months. Also, regular physical exercise helps to keep the intensity of heartburn at bay.
2 All Trimesters - Sleepiness All The Time
This is ranked as one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy throughout all of the trimesters. It can also be taken as a good excuse for extra nap time, by playing the whole pregnant lady card. Everyone has extra sympathy for someone who is pregnant, after all!
Fatigue can hit pretty hard during the first trimester. This is when there is a surge in progesterone production. Really, it is like someone poured a whole heap of progesterone into a bucket and dumped it over mom-to-be. The thing with progesterone is that it makes you totally sleepy.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much to fight this fatigue. Likewise, the fatigue that hits later in pregnancy, which is more from the physical effects and growth of the baby bump, can’t be combatted too easily. There is only one method to reduce fatigue, and that is sleep. No chances for caffeine during these 9 months in sleepy town!
1 All Trimesters - Emotional Rollercoaster
If there is one thing that is common between all the trimesters, it is the fact the hormones are going into overdrive. In many ways, it is as though someone put all the hormones into a washing machine and pressed the highest possible spin cycle. Yeah, the hormones are truly raging.
Of course, there are plenty of scientific and biological explanations for why the hormones are doing what they’re doing. They certainly are going through a lot of changes and processing quickly to accommodate the growing baby. And of course, you’re the one who suffers. For expectant mom, the changes in estrogen and progesterone mean there are emotional mood swings, there are changes to hair growth, and things are just getting bigger. When you put all three of those together, it is no wonder that moms-to-be feel like they’re constantly on a rollercoaster going up, down, and all over the place without warning.
Sources: Mayoclinic.com, Healthline.com, Ucsfhealth.com, Whattoexpect.com