The first trimester of pregnancy can be so... boring. For those who have eagerly anticipated pregnancy, there's a big rush of excitement and joy over finding out about being pregnant. And then, there's nothing. Or at least, it often feels like nothing. There's no belly to show for, no kicks to feel, and no ultrasound pictures to ogle over.
There are, however, may new symptoms and sensations that go along with your first trimester. And behind the scenes, your body is working and changing drastically. In fact, of all the changes and development that happens throughout pregnancy, the most and the most critical ones happen in the first trimester.
Before we talk about symptoms and signs you may experience, let's first understand what's happening in your body during the first trimester. The first trimester is the period from the first week of pregnancy through the 13th week of pregnancy. Since most people don't know they're pregnant until somewhere between 4-8 weeks, the first trimester feels a lot shorter than the other two. That said, your body is doing a whole lot:
- dramatic increase in hormones, including hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), hPL (human placental lactogen), progesterone, and estrogen changes
- increased blood volume
- uterine expansion to accommodate a growing baby
- increased heart rate
As a result of these bodily changes, you will likely experience several different physical changes and sensations, too. Everyone experiences pregnancy differently, so if you are not experiencing some of the signs from the list below, it does not necessarily indicate a problem. Of course, if you are concerned about anything, it's always good to call your OB or midwife.
Cramping - Due to changes and growth of the uterus and hormones.
Frequent urination - Not because baby is pushing on the bladder (that happens much later), but because you have extra blood flow that's getting processed through the kidneys.
Bloating - Thanks again to hormones and uterine changes.
Nausea and/or vomiting - Aka, morning sickness... which should really be called "any time of the day" sickness. This is caused by the increase in hormones and may start around 6 weeks and should let up around 12 or 13 weeks, but may continue throughout pregnancy.
Breast tenderness - With the increase in hormones, your breasts will begin to swell and feel sore, similar to how they feel before you get your period.
Moodiness - As you might imagine with such an influx of hormones, your mood and emotions will likely be running high and low.
Light spotting - Light spotting is normal during implantation. Heavier spotting could indicate that something is wrong and would warrant a call to your care provider.
Light headedness or dizziness - Caused by hormones, though it could also be due to low blood sugar (which frequent meals and snacks can easily cure).
Tiredness or fatigue - With everything that's happening, your body is working overtime! This will cause you to feel more tired, or even exhausted.
Increased vaginal secretions - Thanks to, you guessed it -- hormones! Increased discharge and mucous is important in preventing infections from traveling to your uterus.
Food aversions and increased sense of smell - All of your senses become heightened during pregnancy, and there's nothing more apparent, for some, than the sensitivity to smells and foods.
Headaches - Many people report increased headaches during the first trimester, which are due to increases in progesterone and changes in posture.