What to Expect During Your First Trimester

By: Siobhan O'Grady

What to Expect During Your First Trimester

For women, being pregnant is very exciting time. However, not all women experience pregnancy in the same way. Some  women experience discomfort from the onset of pregnancy while other women feel great and are glowing. Pregnancy is a roller-coaster- different for every woman, and a time where we have little to no control over the physiological changes taking place within our body.

The first trimester of pregnancy lasts for 13 weeks. During the first trimester, significant changes happen to the body. It is necessary to educate yourself on what to look forward to and what to do as the pregnancy begins.

Here are some of the changes you’ll expect during the first trimester:

Morning sickness

This is a common first trimester symptom along with nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness affects about 85% of women. During the first trimester, the hormone chorionic gonadotropin is increased which results in nausea. Eating small frequent meals will help, along with taking your daily prenatal vitamins.  If nausea is severe and continues, your doctor may prescribe an anti-nausea prescription medication. 

Food aversion and loathing

This symptom of pregnancy is very odd and unpredictable. Indulging to your cravings is okay as long as you’re eating healthy foods.  You may find yourself enjoying odd combinations of food such as "pickles and ice cream" or certain foods that you previously loved, may disgust you.  Eat well and have fun with your new found likes and dislikes.

Tender breasts

This is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. During the first trimester, your breasts may feel sore and tender. They could also become enlarged and swollen. This is due to hormonal changes happening in the body and it could last until the end of the first trimester. During your pregnancy, your breasts undergo changes to prepare the milk ducts for feeding and nursing.

Increased urination

Urinary changes also occur during the first trimester. While the uterus expands, the unborn baby pushes down and pressure is put on the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles. As a result, temporary problems of controlling the bladder happen such as frequent urination and urine leakage when coughing, sneezing or laughing. Incontinence may occur but is more severe during the last trimester. Pregnant women experience increased thirst hence, urine production is increased too. But, don’t limit your fluid intake, staying hydrated is very important for your health and the development of your baby.

Mood swings

Pregnant women experience extreme emotions due to hormonal changes. Increased fatigue could also cause mood swings. It’s normal to be in high spirits one minute and be depressed or cranky the next minute. It is important to have a large support system and hopefully a spouse who is understanding and sympathetic to the emotional and physical changes that are happening to your body. 


Fatigue is the most commonly shared side effect of pregnancy.  As your body invests enormous amounts of energy into the development of your baby; feeling tired especially towards the end of the day is completely normal.  Also, an increased level of progesterone is produced by the ovaries thus, making you sleepy most of the time. Another cause of fatigue is decreased iron in the body. As the baby grows inside, he/she will take the amount of iron needed. As a result, your body lacks iron which can cause fatigue and could lead to anemia.  Iron is usually added to most prenatal vitamins but can cause constipation, so be sure to let your physician  be aware of any changes in your bowel movements. 


As the uterus expands, an increased pressure in the stomach is felt and the muscle contractions in the intestines slow down due to increased levels of progesterone. These changes could result in indigestion, bloating, gas, and constipation.

To help you with these changes, you must increase your fiber intake and drink a lot of fluids.


The blood vessels widen and the body’s blood pressure falls during pregnancy  causing dizziness. To avoid bouts of dizziness, do not stand for long periods and slowly rise after sitting down.

A lot of body changes happen during the first trimester. It is necessary to have your prenatal visits to monitor your health as well as your baby’s. Seek immediate care if you’ve encountered problems during your pregnancy.