The first twelve weeks
Beginning your pregnancy journey brings with it a rush of emotions. Between the joy of bringing life into the world, the stress of impending responsibility, and the rush of hormones amplifying all of these emotions by ten, it’s not uncommon to feel a little overwhelmed.
Don’t worry – we’ve been giving birth for centuries, and each generation has learned a thing or two about pregnancy which they’ve passed down. With a wealth of wisdom behind us, we know more about the maternal journey than ever before.
So, if you’re feeling worried or overwhelmed, there are plenty of places you can turn to for advice. Here at didofy, we’ve broken down what you can expect from that first trimester, and what you can do to aid a smoother pregnancy.
What is the first trimester?
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are commonly known as the first trimester – these are the initial three months of your journey to motherhood. Your pregnancy technically starts from the first day of your last period, but you’re not likely to notice until roughly 3-4 weeks later when your next period doesn’t arrive.
At four weeks, the pregnancy hormone will probably start to kick in, and you may experience some early pregnancy symptoms. By the second trimester, these should settle down, and by the third you’ll nearly be ready to welcome your little one into the world!
What’s happening to your little one?
By week four, your baby is about the size of a poppy seed (2mm long), and will be roughly the size of a plum by the time you enter your second trimester at week twelve!
Their face tends to start taking shape around week five – though their eyes will stay closed up until roughly 28 weeks. Arms and legs will begin to form around week six, and by your eighth week your little one will turn from an embryo into a foetus. At your 10 week scan, you may see your baby moving.
Early pregnancy symptoms
During your first trimester of pregnancy, there are a number of common symptoms you might encounter. You may experience a lot of these, or you might not have any symptoms at all. They include:
- Sore breasts
- Nausea (especially morning sickness)
- Frequent need to pee
- Milky white discharge
- Mood swings
Other reported symptoms in the first trimester include a heightened sense of smell, a metallic taste in your mouth, and light spotting – however, if you do experience bleeding during pregnancy, it’s important to get your doctor to check it out. In fact, if you’re concerned about any of your symptoms, the best course of action is to discuss it with a doctor or midwife.
Coping with symptoms
While many of these symptoms should pass by the second trimester, we know (as parents ourselves) just how difficult it can be to live with them. Three months can feel like three years when you’re feeling nauseous every morning.
Here are some tips from the NHS for coping with first trimester symptoms:
Though nausea can affect you at any time of day, the frequency and intensity of it when you first wake up has led to the common term ‘morning sickness’. The NHS recommends eating 6 small meals a day, getting plenty of rest, following a healthy diet and drinking lots of water. Other things that people find help to ease nausea include sucking on ice cubes, wearing acupressure wristbands, or consuming ginger (e.g. ginger tea, ginger biscuits).
With your hormone levels changing drastically, you’re likely to experience sudden changes in mood during your first trimester. Not to mention the incredible array of emotions you’ll be feeling from the sheer fact that you’re bringing a new life into the world! Now more than ever you need to make sure you’re looking after your mental health.
Try experimenting with meditation and mindfulness to help calm yourself and reduce stress. Talk to friends, family, your partner, your doctor or your midwife – you have a whole support network around you to guide you through this difficult emotional time. Check out the official NHS advice for coping with your mood during pregnancy.
Bloating and heartburn
As your baby is growing and developing, they may press against your stomach, and your hormonal changes will only contribute further to any digestive issues. In the first trimester, issues such as bloating, indigestion and heartburn are common – though very unpleasant.
To aid with these symptoms, try to address your eating and drinking habits. Try to eat little and often, rather than three large meals each day, and avoid eating less than 3 hours before bed. You may also find that cutting out caffeine, spicy and fatty foods can help.
The beauty of pregnancy
While you’re going through these turbulent first few weeks, remember that you are carrying a little human inside of you. You are incredibly strong, and you will be a fantastic parent to this little bundle of joy! Beyond the nausea, hormonal changes and tiredness, pregnancy is a beautiful thing.
For more advice and pregnancy tips, you can find plenty of articles over on our blog.
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