Changes to expect each trimester of pregnancy

During pregnancy your body will undergo some amazing changes. Increased hormones will cause your breasts to swell, your uterus to expand even your skin to break out. You’ll deal with crazy cravings at 5 a.m. (think ice cream and pickles) and feel “too big” even though it’s just your body’s way of adapting. There’s no need to stress or become anxious at the changes you experience — they’re all apart of the process of carrying a child, so try to go with the flow and focus on your health. In the end, it’s all worth it. In the meantime, we want to help you prepare by outlining changes to expect during each trimester of your pregnancy.

The overview

The average pregnancy lasts for 283 days. That time is divided into three periods called trimesters during which different things happen to your body. Below is a list of some of the normal things you may experience during each trimester. The changes described here may happen earlier or later than they appear on this list, and some may continue throughout your pregnancy journey.

First trimester (week 0-12)

The first trimester is very important for both you and the baby growing inside you. It will require many adjustments to your lifestyle. During this phase your body is preparing itself for the next nine months, and you can expect a wide variety of symptoms and emotions due the hormonal changes in your body.

You may feel extremely tired the first two months of pregnancy because your body is working extremely hard trying to create an environment for your new baby, and your hormones will be raging. Feeling fatigued is perfectly the norm, and you should take every opportunity to rest up.

You may also suffer from morning sickness (the worst period is usually between 8 to 12 weeks), excessive saliva production, frequent urination, mood swings, irritability, acne, bloating and food cravings. Your breasts may be more sensitive and tender or they might feel fuller and heavier. Your nipples start to enlarge and your areolas become larger and darker.

Many women also experience headaches in the first trimester, which can be blamed on low blood sugar or reduced blood flow to the brain when you stand or sit up quickly. You can also expect to put on a little weight. During the first trimester a total gain of one to three kg is expected. If you have not been putting on weight, that’s normal too – due to the morning sickness.

If you are an older mom (35 years or older), your risk of a miscarriage is higher due to the higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities. You may want to consider having a nuchak translucency ultrasound. This looks at the back of the baby’s neck and determines the chance of Down Syndrome.

Here are ten things you will need to do in your first trimester:

1. Improve your nutrition

Eat more vegetables, drink more milk and increase your intake of vitamins and folic acid. Folic acid greatly reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.

2. Stop the vices

Quit smoking. Cut off alcohol and reduce caffeine. Studies have linked consumption of these three to miscarriage and other pregnancy problems.

3. Find an Ob-Gyn

Ask family, friends, and co-workers to recommend a favorite doctor if you don’t yet have one. You can read this article for tips on finding the right Ob-Gyn for you.

4. Prenatal check up

Book an appointment for your first prenatal check up. Read this article to find out what happens in the first prenatal appointment. 

5. Get in the know

Familiarize yourself with all the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy.

6. Call up your health insurance provider

Make sure you know what your health insurance plan covers as far as your prenatal care and delivery costs, as well as care for your new baby.

7. Sort out your confinement nannny

Confinement nannies get snapped up 7-8 months in advance. You will want to find your confinement nanny or arrange for someone to help out after the delivery.

8. Go to bed early

You might feel like a grandma by clocking in at 9 pm, but your body needs all the rest it can get to have enough energy to create the new life you are forming.

9. Discuss when to announce

Some parent-to-be spill the beans right away. Others wait until they have passed the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage has declined significantly.

10. Buy some new bras

Your breasts might go up one or two more sizes, so it’s a good idea for you to stock up on some new cotton bras.