Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. But the first trimester is definitely no walk in the park! With it can come many uncomfortable symptoms as you wait to find out more about your pregnancy. That first doctor’s appointment can feel like it’s forever away! In this post, I’m covering common first trimester symptoms and what you can do to ease them.
None of the information in this post should be used in place of medical advice. These are simply my opinions based on experience and research. Always consult your healthcare professionals if you have concerns.
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1. nausea – “morning sickness”
I’m not sure who coined the term “morning sickness” but I personally have a big bone to pick with them. Unfortunately, nausea can hit you at any time of the day…and it does for me. Nausea is perhaps the most common first trimester symptoms affecting up to 85% of pregnant women. I’ve found keeping my stomach full, crackers become my best friend, can help keep the nausea at bay. Sucking on peppermint like these tummy drops can also help alleviate the symptoms. If neither of those work for you, you can check out this great list of 38 cures for morning sickness. Hopefully one of these will help you!
If your morning sickness is severe your doctor may be able to prescribe something to help. If you aren’t able to even keep liquids down you definitely need to see your doctor ASAP as dehydration isn’t good for you or the baby.
2. cramping/stretching feelings
Even in the early weeks of pregnancy, your body is already preparing for the journey ahead. You may feel slight cramping or stretching in your uterus as things begin to move and expand to prepare to make room for a baby. By the end of your pregnancy, your organs will have shifted all around. Your uterus will grow from about the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon by the 3rd trimester!
When to be concerned: If you are having extreme cramping, especially if it’s partnered with bleeding you should make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Staying hydrated may help to ease some uncomfortable feelings.
Bleeding and spotting can be normal during the first trimester. Early on it could be implantation bleeding which some women can mistake for the start of their period. According to WebMD, 20% of women will have some bleeding during the first trimester. Light spotting is generally not a cause for concern, especially if the blood is dark or brown which indicates it is old blood. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or clots you should make an appointment with your doctor right away as it could be a sign of an issue. Getting rest and taking it easy is a good idea while pregnant, especially if you are experiencing spotting.
Things like spotting can lead to a lot of anxiety. Those first weeks can be nerve-wracking. (Spoiler alert: the anxiety/worry about your child will be ongoing from this point forward! Each trimester will bring its own worries and then they’ll hand you a small child that seems determined to take itself out. Just make sure you speak with your doctor if your worries seem extreme.) You generally will not see a doctor until 8-10 weeks if you have no history of reproductive issues, although this can vary widely depending on your country and doctor.
There is simply very little you or your doctor can do at this point in time. Miscarriages are most common in the first trimester, approximately 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage at some point in their life. The best thing you can do is try to get some rest and try not to worry too much as stress is bad for mom and baby. At one of your first appointments, they will typically do an ultrasound to check that your pregnancy is viable by looking at how many weeks the baby is measuring and to listen for that sweet sound of a heartbeat!
The cravings, it’s common knowledge that pregnant women can crave some really odd combinations. You may even find yourself craving things you normally wouldn’t touch. Carbs and extremely sweet or salty things are common cravings. Try to keep the junk cravings under control if you can to avoid putting on too many pounds. Odd cravings are one of the more enjoyable parts of pregnancy, except when it’s 2 AM and you only want that salad from that one store that is closed! Prepare your husband to make lots of runs to your favorite fast food restaurant, maybe even at 2 AM lol.
6. food aversions
Everyone loves to talk about what and how much a pregnant woman can eat…but they don’t talk as much about all the things that will turn your stomach. The worst one for me was coffee. I am generally a coffeeholic, but somewhere around the mid-point of my first trimester I suddenly find that the smell of coffee turns my stomach, let alone trying to choke any down. Fortunately, the aversion did pass and later in my pregnancy, I was able to stomach coffee again, although I stuck to decaf much of the time to limit my caffeine intake.
Coffee and meat are two common aversions during pregnancy. I remember during my first pregnancy just seeing a photo of meat on the wall at a restaurant made me feel nauseous! Don’t try to force yourself to eat something that is turning your stomach. Just try to make sure you are eating as balanced of a diet as you can. Taking your prenatal vitamins can help ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients. Although, swallowing vitamins can also be hard in the first trimester. I found gummy vitamins like these ones from Target were much easier to get down.
7. sore breasts
Extra soreness and tenderness in your breasts may be one of the first signs that you are expecting a new bundle of joy. You may also notice an increase in size. These are both due to hormonal changes as your breasts prepare to feed your new baby, whether you plan to breastfeed or not your body will be preparing for it! Wearing a more comfortable bra, or one in a larger size may alleviate a bit of the uncomfortableness. Just don’t run out and buy a bunch of new bras just yet as your breasts will continue to grow and you don’t want to replace your bras over and over again.
Creating a baby is tiring work. I’m never sure if my exhaustion the first trimester is from being pregnant or due to the severe cut back in my caffeine intake. Regardless of the reason, I’m left feeling tired and drained. Take a nap when you can or give in and go to bed early. That can be easier said than done if you have other kids. Now is a great time to call on family or other mom friends to take your kid for an hour so you can get some much-needed rest.
You may find yourself feeling light-headed or dizzy even in the early weeks of pregnancy. This is generally caused by the rapid hormone changes your body is experiencing. Getting plenty of rest and hydration may help some. It may also help to get up and down more slowly as a quick change of altitude can cause dizziness even if you aren’t pregnant. If you are experiencing dizziness avoid hikes or other activities where dizziness could cause issues. Definitely, check with your doctor if the dizziness is truly interfering with your daily life.
I don’t remember experiencing chills with my first pregnancy so it surprised me when I experienced it during my second pregnancy. This is another lovely symptom brought on my those hormone changes. If the chills are accompanied by a fever or other concerns see your doctor as it could also be a sign of something like a bladder infection or other internal infection.
11. emotional roller coaster
No amount of PMS can prepare you for the emotional roller coaster that you are likely to become during pregnancy. Even if you are generally fairly even-keeled you may suddenly find a song on the radio or even a story on the news suddenly has you choked up. Embrace the emotions because there’s not much you can do about it. The emotional roller coaster is likely to continue throughout your pregnancy. This can also lead to problems with your husband, co-workers, family, etc. If you are feeling especially feisty just give them a heads up that you are feeling like a charging rhino at the moment so they can be prepared. Your partner will need to learn to not take everything too personally during this time. When you’re a bit more in your right mind try to apologize for what your emotions made you do.
Adjusting to all these changes can feel a bit overwhelming. Now is a great time to rest and start looking at cute baby stuff. Just avoid googling your symptoms as doctor google will almost always lead you down a dark path. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about any of your symptoms. You may also find it helpful to join an online group through Facebook or another platform where you can discuss your symptoms and not feel such a crazy person. It may even help to lessen the urge to strangle your husband when he makes light of your symptoms…mine seems to think my being nauseous is funny for some reason!