Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is a very exciting time in your life – a time that you will, in the future, look back on with fondness. The first trimester of your pregnancy is, indeed, a time for celebration. This is also a time for a clear headed realization that everything is about to change.
During the first trimester, you can expect a lot of changes to happen in your body. It can get quite overwhelming if this is your first pregnancy. Then again, a pregnancy is never the same, so it can still be confusing even for mothers who are going through it the second or the third time and so on.
In other words, there’s no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to your pregnancy. It is not all rainbows and butterflies. And it can even be a stressful time especially if you are caught off-guard by things you did not expect to happen.
To make the first trimester of your pregnancy a blissful time, here are some of the things you can expect and plan for.
1. Changes in your skin
Your pregnancy will definitely affect your skin. Hormones will cause your blood circulation to increase, causing your skin to look rosy. They may also cause your oil glands to secrete extra oil and make your skin look glowing. These explain the phenomenon behind your “pregnancy glow.”
However, your skin, which has become oilier than usual, may also experience acne breakouts. Oftentimes, the breakouts concentrate on the face, especially on the t-zone. But like many pregnancy-related issues, the acne often goes away on its own after your baby is born.
Aside from acne, you may also experience increased pigmentation resulting to dark spots. This often happens to your armpits, nipples, and inner thighs.
2. Morning sickness
You have probably heard of morning sickness, but are you ready for all-day sickness? Despite the name, nausea and vomiting can actually occur any time. While it often begins in the morning, it can go on throughout the day, so be prepared to manage it to avoid getting dehydrated.
To cope with morning sickness, it’s best to avoid foods and smells that trigger it. You also need to avoid running on an empty stomach as it can induce nausea. At night, put some light snacks and water on your bedside table – nothing too heavy, just enough to fill your stomach. We also recommend that you drink a lot of water and take your prenatal vitamins.
The good news is that while morning sickness feels icky, it typically goes away after the first trimester.
3. Smell sensitivity
When you’re pregnant, you will realize just how many interesting smells you encounter in a day. During pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, you will have an incredibly heightened sense of smell. It can trigger nausea and morning sickness, so you learn to avoid unfavorable scents early on.
The strange thing about pregnancy is that it can turn even your favorite smells against you. For example, you might have loved the smell of food sautéed in garlic pre-pregnancy, but it’s a totally different game now. The same smell you used to love can make you clamp your nose in disgust this time!
To avoid this, stick to foods with neutral or no odor. As much as possible, go outside to breathe in fresh air, too.
4. Exhausted and emotional
It’s perfectly normal to feel extreme fatigue especially during the first weeks of your pregnancy. Your body is working double time – even triple time – to manufacture a new human being! If you’re feeling faint and tired, remember that it’s okay to take things slowly and rest.
You may also feel extra emotional due to an increase in the production of hormones. This can be surprising especially when it seems that you have no control over your feelings. Again, this is completely normal. It does not mean you are going crazy, and it does get better the further you are at your pregnancy journey.
While you’re busy looking after the health of this new person inside you, don’t forget to take care of your own, too. Eat healthily and sleep well.
5. Strange and vivid dreams
Hello, pregnancy! Hello, strange, weird, and perplexing dreams! Don’t worry – you are not alone. A lot of women report getting more intense and more interesting dreams early in their pregnancy. These dreams are caused by many factors including hormonal fluctuations and stress.
In the first trimester, these bizarre dreams can vary from dreams about food (more about weird cravings later) to vivid dreams about giving birth. Oftentimes, they are just dreams about the most ridiculous setups, but if you dream about something that is particularly upsetting, don’t keep it to yourself. Talk to your partner, a family member, or anyone you trust about them.
Remember that while dreams are harmless, they sometimes reflect the anxiety that you are feeling. Take some time to de-stress and rest.
6. Weird cravings
You’re not weird for having weird cravings! This inexplicable pregnancy phenomenon is very common and happens to almost every pregnant woman in the world. While hormones still take most of the blame, some suggest that you crave the nutrients that your body lacks.
During the first trimester, you may find yourself craving a very specific food or food combination, like ice cream and chili – or pickles. As long as your cravings stay on the relatively healthy side, you don’t have to worry about them. Then again, try to eat a normal diet outside of these cravings.
But if you feel like you’re seriously lacking a nutrient (for example, craving ice is associated with iron deficiency), it’s best to bring it up with your doctor.
7. Missing baby bump
During the first trimester, you are definitely experiencing a lot of changes in your body and in your gut. While you may feel like these internal changes are wreaking havoc with your body, the truth is you probably don’t look a lot different than you did pre-pregnancy.
At this point, your baby will still be really tiny and there will be no visible baby bump yet. This does not mean that your baby is particularly small; by the end of week 10, your baby will just be the size of an orange. As long as you’re eating healthy and taking your prenatal vitamins, your baby will be fine.
Even though you may feel bloated and gassy, in reality, during this trimester, you will only gain a few pounds. This means that you don’t have to worry about buying maternity clothes for now.
Cheers to more fun and exciting times ahead! Remember to take it slow, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep. Follow your doctor’s orders and avoid stress. Give in to the occasional craving and just enjoy the first trimester!