Pregnancy starts with a bang — in more ways than one. The changes that go through a woman can make her feel like she is a soldier at war, dodging IEDs and landmines at every turn. And she can't help but be rocked by a few of the explosions that go on in her body and in her mind, especially in the first trimester.
The pregnancy starts with some fireworks in the bedroom, and it continues with the surge of hormones that act like TNT on the body. Those hormones can cause emotional explosions and an energy A-bomb that can blast away any of the momentum to getting through the day. Women who suffer from morning sickness know all about projectiles, and the bomb can also go out the back end. By the end, a woman won't know where to feel safe among the blasts.
The battlefield of the first trimester is filled with ticking time bombs — from the first pregnancy test on down to the countdown to the second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage comes down while the energy goes up. The blasts in between can make those three months very interesting.
Here are 15 explosive details about pregnancy in the first trimester.
We all know how pregnancy starts — with some fireworks. For some women, it doesn't happen with a plan, but others need to map things out and figure out the perfect moment. Yet, when the woman's body is ready and her partner is in the mood (all the time, of course), that's when things can get real. A little bit of loving can go a long way, if you know what we mean.
When the fireworks happen, the sperm and egg meet and then cells start multiplying. The process ignites and that is the first of many miracles that lead to a beautiful baby.
We all enjoy some fireworks in the bedroom, and if they come in the name of baby-making, that can be all the more hot and exciting. We love it when the sparks fly and we can start the countdown to baby's arrival. It's an explosive beginning to pregnancy and parenthood.
The very beginning of pregnancy is an incredible blast off. The sperm reaches the egg, and it is amazing to think how one cell becomes two, which becomes four and then eight and then 16. Cell division happens at a rate that no one can imagine. And that group of cells, known as a blastocyst, starts out just as one growing grouping that is spherical and special.
The blastocyst isn't a baby — yet. But it has such potential. Within five days of conception, the growth is amazing — to the point where it is now considered one of the best ways to do in vitro fertilization. A blastocyst IVF method has a great success rate, while cutting down the potential of triplets or more. That stage is so explosive and amazing that there are just a few more days of cell division before the cells begin to shape into different parts of the body — the one-chamber beginnings of a heart, the neural tube and digestive track, the very beginnings of baby's face. It all starts with the blastocyst, and that is an explosive truth.
After the cells have divided and the blastocyst has formed, there is another explosive moment that is necessary for the embryo to take hold and become a pregnancy — it has to implant into the womb. The implantation detonation happens about 10 days or so after conception.
Sometimes, it is so explosive that it can cause some bleeding. Since it comes just about the time when a woman is expecting her period, it can be confusing for her to figure out what is going on. Generally, though implantation bleeding is lighter than a normal period. It is not the brighter red color that usually comes with menstruation. It's usually either more pink or a darker, rusty color. It can come in a regular flow or with irregular spotting. And unlike a period, it doesn't have any clumps in it. The good news is that the implantation bleeding is usually over within a couple of days, and then the pregnancy can begin.
Once the embryo implants, women experience a surge of hormones like a TNT explosion. Instead, though, the initials are hCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. The hormone is one of the biggest indications of pregnancy, and in fact, it is the hormone that most home pregnancy tests measure, but we'll get more into that in a moment. For now, we want to discuss the explosion that happens in a woman's body to give her body the hormone it needs.
The hormone is made by the cells in the placenta, which is the part of the blastocyst that remains attached to the uterine wall while the remainder forms the embryo. The placenta acts as the baby's source for blood and food as it grows, so its work is very important, and that is why hCG levels can often indicate the health of the pregnancy.
At the beginning, the level of hCG rises quickly. For 85 percent of normal pregnancies, the number doubles every 48 to 72 hours, peaking between eight and 11 weeks. Then the hormone levels off until the very end. That initial explosion can be a doozy though, accounting for most of the first trimester pregnancy symptoms.
11Pregnancy Test Time Bomb
One of the most tense times of a woman's life is the three minutes she has to wait after peeing on a stick to determine if she is pregnant. The pregnancy test time bomb has a countdown that can kill, whether the women is hoping for a plus or a minus.
And even with the results, it can still feel like the results are real until the truth is revealed by a doctor or a midwife. That's because some women have a hard time trusting pregnancy tests. They aren't always accurate, but most of the time that they show positive, it is likely the truth. A false negative is much more likely, mostly because it tests the hCG levels and sometimes a woman can get anxious and test a little too early. Most of the time, a woman should wait until a missed period to test, and if the results are negative but she still suspects a pregnancy, she should wait three days and test again. (As we mentioned before, the hCG level would double in 72 hours, so she has a shot of reaching the test threshold quickly.)
That three-minute countdown can feel like an eternity, but soon the time bomb will go off and the most exciting news of a woman's life could be at the end of it.
So much happens in those first few weeks of pregnancy that the body kind of goes crazy. A lot of that can be attributed to the crazy hormone surge that we just described. And as those cells multiply, the mom-to-be's body is going through a lot more than normal. She can feel like she is hit with an energy A-bomb, wiping out all of the energy that she once had and leaving her longing for a nap.
The energy drain can also come from the increase in blood that happens in early pregnancy and in the fact that all of the energy is going toward supplying the baby with nutrients and allowing its growth. For some, the fatigue can come on all at once, leaving a path of destruction as a woman crawls her way to the couch. The energy A-bomb does its work quickly, and sometimes the only way to solve it is to take a nap.
Some explosions aren't so quick. Instead they are part of a slow burn and that can be even more painful. That is just like the first trimester, when some issues in the digestion can cause heartburn like you can't imagine. The slow fuse burning sensation can grip the chest and the throat and leave a woman feeling all kinds of hurt.
Some women have never been gripped by the kind of heartburn that pregnancy can bring. It can be hard to figure out how to solve it, and the morning sickness can bring everything up further. Of course, it's that hCG and other pregnancy hormones are the culprit. They relax the valve that keeps stomach acids in the stomach, allowing them to creep up into the esophagus.
Some women can avoid the burn if they skip fried foods, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit or spicy foods. But of course, sometimes a craving can strike and the slow fuse can begin again.
This leads us to one of the worst, most well-known first trimester pregnancy symptoms. Yep, that's right. We are talking about the explosions that can burst forth from the mouth and lead to projectiles all over the floor — morning sickness.
About 90 percent of pregnant women experience nausea in the first trimester, but luckily only half of them or so end up actually throwing up. The explosions aren't pleasant, but they can actually be a good sign since morning sickness is caused by hCG and low levels of the hormones could be an indication that things aren't going well.
A fraction of moms-to-be, though, suffer morning sickness so severe that they lose weight and can even suffer from dehydration that can send them to the hospital. Called hyperemesis gravidarum, it can even last throughout the pregnancy and it may require medication. The kinds of bombs with projectiles are not pleasant at all, but they aren't the only explosions that can mar the beginning of the baby's development.
While all those explosions are going on in a woman's body during the first trimester, a mom-to-be also is likely making some major changes in her life as she prepares for her little one. There is a long list of dos and don'ts as far as diet during the pregnancy to give the baby the best shot at development, and some of those can mess with the mother's system.
Notably, doctors recommend limiting caffeine to about one cup of coffee a day. Many women regularly consume more than that, and so they make major changes to reduce their consumption quickly. That can lead to a terrible caffeine crash.
And that can lead to all kinds of explosions in the head, as women suffer caffeine headaches and other ailments. It can feel as if the dynamite is going off over and over again as they body adjusts to its new normal of caffeine intake but pretty soon things should level out and the explosions will stop.
We've already talked about the projectiles that can come out one end during pregnancy, but there are also some sonic booms that can blast out the other end. Many women are susceptible in the first trimester to what can only be described as explosive farts.
The digestion slows quickly in pregnancy, pretty much as soon as the embryo implants and the hormones start to surge. Many women experience extreme constipation, yet at the same time, the gas stores up. But at some point it has to come out. For some women, the gas goes out the mouth in the form of burps, but for others it happens in uncontrollable, smelly explosive farts. They can be noisy and embarrassing, but sometimes there is little a woman can do to stop them.
The explosions can happen early, but for some they can last throughout the pregnancy, in a never-ending embarrassing, volatile situation.
With all that is going on in the first trimester, sometimes it can be tricky to figure out where the danger zones are. Life can be full of landmines, especially thanks to the strange, surprising smells that can change everything.
A preggo has a heightened sense of smell, as well as aversions that can make her crazy. She can gag at the smell of her favorite fruit one day and be turned off by the scent of her favorite candle the next. Some even feel their stomachs turn at the smell of their husband's cologne, which can make home life miserable.
The olfactory landmines can make walking through the mall a dangerous endeavor, while some women find it impossible to cook dinner or make it through a social event. The explosions can be hard to predict and knock a woman right out, and sometimes pregnancy can feel like an all-out war on her senses.
Some women can't imagine eating much of anything at the beginning of their pregnancy, but by the end of the first trimester, most moms-to-be experience an appetite explosion like they have never imagined.
Around 11 or 12 weeks, usually the hormones start to level off and so does the nausea. The baby has been taking up all the energy and all of the food, and at some point a prego is going to realize that she feels absolutely ravenous. She will feel an ache in her belly that makes her realize that she never actually felt hunger before. This feeling is entirely different, and while the baby soon will make it so that there isn't much room left in the stomach, when it is empty, she will experience an explosion to her appetite that she has to fill immediately.
Her appetite explosion will help her gain back the pounds she lost in the first few weeks of nausea and then some.
3Pressure Cooker Building Up
The first trimester is exciting for moms-to-be. Knowing that a baby is on the way can bring such joy, but it can also create a lot of anxiety. No matter how much a family has planned, the sheer financial burden is enough to make a woman feel the pressure.
Add on to that the medical terminology and treatments, the career wants and needs, the insurance issues and the way it changes relationships. The responsibilities quadruple with a new baby on the way, and that can be hard to take.
The pressure cooker bomb begins to build from the very beginning — from the first time the doctor discusses the delivery bill or the new parents take a stroll through the baby aisle. It may not explode in the first trimester, but the pressure is definitely building.
We've talked about how the hormone hCG can act like TNT on the body, but it can also play havoc on the emotional side of a mom-to-be. Women — and their partners — are used to dodging the grenades that can be lobbed during PMS. But during the first trimester, the hormones are even more out of balance, so those dirty bombs can be even harder to predict.
The emotions can sprint from joy to rage to sadness and back in quick succession, thanks to the hormones coursing through the first few months of pregnancy. A partner can tip-toe around one issue only to find that the mom-to-be has an entirely different reaction the next time. She could find herself in tears over the last pickle in the refrigerator and then rage at the traffic on the way to the grocery store.
The mom-to-be is a victim to her own emotional grenades during the first trimester, and all too often she has no idea how to get through the battle.
While there are plenty of explosions that rock the first trimester, we wanted to end on a positive note. The very best way that things explode during those first three months of pregnancy is how the heart bursts with joy and with love.
It may happen when the pregnancy test comes out positive, but that isn't the moment for everyone, and that is OK. Maybe it'll happen at the first doctor's appointment, when you get to heart the baby's little heartbeat for the first time. Or perhaps it will come when the mom-to-be shares the news with her family or when she walks through the baby aisle and picks out her baby's first onesie.
No matter when it comes, it's an amazing feeling that makes all those other explosions — from the gas to the projectile vomiting to the energy A-bomb — all worth it. We can't think of a better explosion, at least until the love bomb hits after the baby's birth.
Sources: Parents, American Pregnancy, What to Expect
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