Your first trimester of pregnancy is a roller coaster for you and your body. In addition to the overwhelming joy and fear you may be feeling during the start of your pregnancy, you may also experience a number of physical symptoms that can have you wondering: Is this normal?
At his practice in San Antonio, Texas, Christopher Serrano, MD is an OB/GYN who specializes in pregnancy and prenatal care and understands the many questions and concerns you may have during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. If you’re expecting, here’s what you can expect during your first trimester.
Am I pregnant?
Your first trimester covers the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, which begins on the first day of your last menstrual period. What does this mean? For a portion of your first trimester, you may not even know you’re pregnant.
For most women, missing their period is the first clue that they may be pregnant. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may start taking home pregnancy tests before your period is due, but this may lead to inaccurate results. The Mayo Clinic says you get the most accurate results from a home pregnancy test if you take the test the day after your missed period.
During the first few weeks, you may also experience physical symptoms such as cramping or mild bleeding when your egg implants itself into your uterus. Though too early to test, these may be early signs and symptoms that things are about to change.
Morning sickness and fatigue
Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyful, happy experience, right? Well, your body may say otherwise. Due to the hormonal changes that occur during your first trimester, you may prefer your bed to any other activity.
You can blame your rising human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones for your first trimester morning sickness. This hormone is produced by the cells that surround your embryo, which eventually becomes the placenta.
Don’t be fooled by the name — your morning sickness (nausea and vomiting) can occur day or night. For most women, this side effect of pregnancy generally disappears when hCG levels decrease as you enter your second trimester.
During the early stages of your pregnancy, your body is also producing tremendous amounts of progesterone, which helps thicken your uterus to support the implantation of your egg. However, these high levels of progesterone also make you feel extremely tired, even after a full night’s rest.
Your transforming body
During your first trimester of pregnancy, your body is physically changing. Some of these changes you can see, such as your swelling breasts as they get ready for breastfeeding, your glowing skin due to an increase in blood circulation, and your growing waistline as your uterus expands.
In addition to the visible changes that occur during your first trimester, you may also experience physical symptoms from these changes, such as an increase in urination due to pressure placed on your bladder from your growing uterus. Heartburn and constipation are also common symptoms of pregnancy that begin during the first trimester as your digestive system slows down to improve nutrient absorption.
Other common symptoms you may experience during your first trimester include:
- Food cravings and aversions
- Rapid shifts in mood
- Difficulty focusing
- Visible veins on your belly, legs, and breasts
You can also expect vaginal changes, including a thickening of the tissue and a decrease in sensitivity. You may notice vaginal discharge and mild spotting. Though spotting is normal during the first trimester, you should contact us immediately for an evaluation.
The emotional and physical changes that occur during your first trimester of pregnancy are dizzying. But we can help you make it through. For comprehensive prenatal care, contact Dr. Serrano by phone or online to schedule a consultation.