For some reason, when we hear about pregnancy, we usually think of the second and third trimesters, both in terms of how a woman looks and how she feels. We tend to forget that a huge number of changes also occur in her body during the first trimester, which encompasses the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In a certain way, these changes can be even more significant, because they set the course of the entire pregnancy. During this stage, a woman experiences hormonal surges, her body starts changing dramatically, and the fetus grows and develops at an incredible pace, although she doesn't even look pregnant yet.
It means that we should talk about the first trimester much more and help women learn everything about it, so that some of the unexpected symptoms don't make them surprised or anxious. In this case, they won't worry about morning sickness taking place in the evening, as well as about extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, increased sense of smell, and weird dreams. All these symptoms are completely normal for the first trimester, but few women know about them. At least, few of them knew until now...
Because now we're going to discuss the 20 most common things no one tells us can happen in the first trimester!
20 First Symptoms Feel Pretty Much Like PMS
At the earliest stages of pregnancy, it can be hard to determine the symptoms, because they are so similar to those of PMS. Among others, there's bloating, change of bowel habits, tender girls, and even moodiness. To some women, it feels almost exactly like when their period is about to start. For this reason, it's hard to understand whether you need to buy a pregnancy test or just wait for your menses to begin a bit later than usual.
Unlike what they show in the movies, morning sickness doesn't begin so early. It usually kicks in after you have already taken a pregnancy test and determined that you're expecting.
19 Morning Sickness Is Actually Any-Time-Of-The-Day Sickness
Speaking of morning sickness, don't expect it to affect you only in the morning. A lot of women experience this unpleasant symptom at any other part of the day, as well. Some feel fine in the morning, but start nauseating in the evening, while others feel sick all day long. And of course, there are lucky ones, who don't feel it at all.
Usually, morning sickness begins after the 6th week of pregnancy and it can last right till the end of the first trimester. To alleviate your condition, What to Expect advises to take smaller but more frequent meals and drink ginger tea. If the symptoms make you worry, talk to your doctor.
18 You Get A Superhuman Sense Of Smell
Have you ever dreamed of having a superpower? During pregnancy, you're about to have at least one – your sense of smell is going to be supernatural. Or, at least, it will change.
When you're in your first trimester, a lot of things will smell either more strongly, or differently than they did before. Keep in mind that you can never guess what smells are going to bother you more. It can be something as simple as the smell of food. For example, a mom from Mom.me shares, "My poor hubby could only eat cold things for weeks because I couldn't stand the smell of cooking food."
It doesn't necessarily have to happen to you too, but keep in mind that this kind of sensitivity can occur.
17 Keep It Secret And You Won't Get Unwanted Advice
As soon as everyone knows that you're pregnant, expect all people around you, from your best friend to a co-worker you barely know, to want to give you some piece of advice or another. They'll want to share their take on how you should eat, what you should or shouldn't do, and why you're "doing everything wrong".
Probably, you don't really want them to do it, because you prefer to learn all this info from more reputable sources (such as your ob-gyn). So it's a good idea to keep your bump under wraps for as long as possible. It'll let you come to your own decisions about your and your baby's health and lifestyle.
16 Doctor Won't Want To See You Right Away
You might want to visit your doctor right away after getting a positive result of your pregnancy test. However, your MD won't be too happy about it. Carla Wiking from Moms.me shares, "I remember being so excited after seeing those little blue lines that I immediately called to make an appointment with my ob-gyn. I was shocked when the receptionist told me that they didn't want to see me for at least four more weeks!"
In fact, ob-gyns recommend getting an appointment only after week 8 or so, because before then the fetus probably won't even show up on an ultrasound and it'll be impossible to hear its heartbeat. Before then, you should visit a doctor only if you have certain concerns about the health of your baby or yourself.
15 The First Trimester Can Be A Weird Experience
Carla Wiking, a mom from Mom.me, says, "Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. You know that you are pregnant, but you don't feel pregnant." Why does it happen? Mostly because you don't really have physical manifestations of pregnancy just yet. Your belly isn't big and round, you don't get any kicks, and you don't really feel that this teeny tiny baby is already there. Basically, you just probably feel sick, tired, and moody during most part of the day (if you're lucky, you might experience only one of these things).
So you can be super excited at times, but mostly you're going to have to try hard to wrap your mind around and finally realize that it's actually happening.
14 Veins Become More Visible
Another quite unexpected thing that happens at the first stages of pregnancy is the change in a way your veins look. It happens due to the fact that your circulation increases and your heart needs to work more intensely to pump faster and meet the needs of pregnancy. According to Family Doctor, these changes in your body make veins in your legs, belly and mammary glands more visible. Besides, spider veins (tiny vessels branching out from a certain area like a spider's legs) can develop in your arms, neck, and face, as well.
So if you notice this side effect, don't worry. It's normal.
13 It Feels Like You've Been Shot With A Tranquilizer
Growing a brand new human being in your belly is more exhausting than you think, especially at the first stages of pregnancy. It means that in the first trimester you're going to be bone tired and you'll need a lot of rest, sleep, and nap. Don't deny it and don't make yourself go over your limits. This is the stage when you have to give in as much as possible. Nap whenever you can and go to bed early whenever you can. This way, you'll save the precious remains of energy.
And don't worry that it'll be this way throughout pregnancy. It shall pass and in the second trimester, you'll feel more energetic.
12 The Baby Develops Faster Than You Can Imagine
During the first trimester, your baby develops at an incredibly quick pace. From just one fertilized cell your fetus turns into a peach-sized being that is ready for further development in the subsequent weeks.
Bodily systems, organs, and limbs are rapidly growing and developing. By week 6, the baby will have all four limbs and by week 10 it'll also have fingers and toes. Eyesight and sense of touch and taste will develop by week 8, at the same time the baby's brain will be wiggling the developing limbs, and by week 9 or 10 you'll be able to hear your tot's heartbeat for the first time! Amazing!
11 You'll Need More Fluids (And You'll Extract More Fluids)
Right from the beginning of your pregnancy (and till its end), you need to get used to the fact that you're going to pee... a lot. It's caused by two reasons. First, it's the production of the hormone progesterone that increases the frequency of going number 1. And second, it's because your fetus is positioned low in your pelvis at this stage and, thus, it creates pressure on your bladder. This pressure isn't as big as it's going to be at the latest stages of pregnancy, but it's enough to make you visit the loo more often.
Partly due to frequent urination (and partly due to hormones), you'll also be more thirsty than ever, so keep water handy all the time.
10 You Might Have Crazy Dreams
It's a surprising aspect of the first trimester, but quite a few women share that they had weird dreams at the initial stages of pregnancy. Carla Wiking from Mom.me even claims, "I have never had stranger dreams than in my first trimester of pregnancy. "
You might ask, in what way these dreams seem so strange. In fact, in many ways. They can range from psychedelic trips to spicy fantasies, they can become more vivid and memorable than ever, and they may also go beyond anything you usually consider normal.
These dreams are probably caused by the hormonal shifts in your body, or it can also be the way your mind handles the huge changes that are happening at the moment. Whatever it is, expect your nightlife in bed to get crazy.
9 Your Hair Looks Awesome
Finally, we'll talk about one of the pleasant aspects of being pregnant. Of course, you're likely to feel tired and nauseated most of the time, but if you take a minute and look at yourself in the mirror, you might feel much better. You'll probably see that your hair became extra full and bouncy. How nice, isn't it?
Although your hair will look so great at the beginning of pregnancy, you should still take care of it and remember that due to the same hormonal changes it's likely to start falling out more than ever after you give birth to your child. So enjoy having this huge bunch of hair at the moment!
8 Cravings Can Get So Real So Fast
Above you can see a photo by user pet_shop_kins that is captioned: "Today's craving!!! Jicama with Chile, Lemon, salt, and chamoy sauce." And it's nothing compared to the foods and combos some other future moms crave. You might want to eat nothing but doughnuts and peaches for a week. Then you can suddenly "need" to eat some watermelon. And then, in the middle of the night, you'll cry for potato chips.
At the same time, some of your favorite foods might start looking disgusting to you and even if you're known for eating everything, you can suddenly become a picky eater at this stage. However strange these changes may seem to be, they're actually absolutely normal.
7 But "Eating For Two" Isn't Necessary
In fact, eating for two is not only unnecessary, but it's also not recommended. At this stage, the baby is so small that they don't really need much more than what you usually eat. And they certainly don't need twice as more.
So don't use pregnancy as an excuse to eat bigger portions, especially when it comes to fast food and other unhealthy products. If you do, you won't benefit your baby and, on top of it, you'll also open your way up to increased body mass and pregnancy complications resulting from it. So keep on eating normally and stay healthy. If you need any more nutrients, talk to your specialists and start taking prenatal vitamins.
6 You're Not Yourself
Hormonal changes happening during pregnancy are so huge that they can turn you into a completely different person. Even the calmest and most reserved women become moody and emotional, especially during the first trimester.
You may feel excited at one moment due to seeing a video with a cute puppy chasing its own tail, but the next moment you can suddenly feel depressed because your favorite participant had to leave X-Factor. And then, your friend will tell you that you look pretty today and you'll rejoice again until another trivial thing changes your mood once more.
It's all completely normal, but if mood swings make your worry, talk about them to your specialist.
5 You Get The "Pregnancy Glow"
Along with fuller and bouncier hair, you're also likely to have this special look that's commonly known as "pregnancy glow." Interestingly, as per Uber Kids, this is caused by hormonal surges and, mainly, the hormone estrogen that's actively produced during the first trimester. Probably nature lets it happens to make the woman look more attractive and keep the male around, so that she had protection at this stage, when she's the most vulnerable.
Another reason for skin changes is increased circulation and production of extra skin oil that makes your face more rosy and shiny. Watch out so it doesn't become too shiny, because oily skin is prone to acne outbreaks.
4 You'll Feel Short Of Breath
A lot of expecting moms have no idea that feeling short of breath is very common, especially during the first trimester. Amy Thompson from Living Free with Amy T shares, "I can understand if at the time I had been carrying a 6-pound baby, but this also began pretty early. Just walking into work would wear me out."
But we don't want shortness of breath to take you by surprise and want you to be ready for it to happen. Take rest whenever possible and if you feel like you need a moment to regain your breath, take it slow. And remember that you'll feel much better soon!
3 Feeling Too Warm All The Time
We're not talking about the sensual kind of overheated (this one depends – some women feel it a lot, while others don't feel it at all). We're talking about sweating buckets kind of stuff.
If you're unlucky enough to have your first trimester during summer's heatwave, make sure that you have a good fan or, better, AC at home and in your office. Trust me, you'll want to literally live right next to it 24 hours a day because you're going to feel warmer than anyone else around you in the first trimester.
To deal with this sudden heat, wear clothes made out of natural fabrics, drink a lot of water, and try staying away from the sun during the day.
2 You Get A Metallic Taste In The Mouth
A lot of women have a weird metallic taste in their mouth during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some of them say that it gets so strong that it makes them feel as if they have a penny in their mouth. It's partly the reason why you might suddenly dislike some of your favorite foods and drinks – the presence of this persistent taste can make them disgusting.
But don't worry too much. This side effect is caused by the production of estrogen and it usually fades away after the first trimester, when this hormone becomes a bit steadier. Meanwhile, to alleviate this weird taste, try drinking lemonade or orange juice.
1 You'll Do A Lot Of Google Searching
Hannah Gale, a blogger and a mom from the United Kingdom, says on her blog, "I pray that no-one ever has to look through my recent search history because it'll for sure make me look like the craziest woman in this solar system."
It should sound like a huge relief for all those women, who have been googling the weirdest information ever during the first trimester. But don't be shy of doing it, because it's completely normal, especially if it's your first pregnancy. You want to know a lot of everything and you can't ask it all at your ob-gyn appointment, so why don't you take advantage of the age of information we live in?