Everybody has opinions and comments on pregnancy and motherhood, normally based on their own (or their relatives) experiences. All these might sound alien to you until reality hits you. Then, it’s your turn.
Massive hormonal changes in your body will prepare you to face the new challenge. As amazing as it sounds, it can make the step into pregnancy a nightmare. In your first trimester you’ll face most of these new changes. But do not worry… It will get better as the weeks pass by.
1. Feeling exhausted and sleepy?
Are you feeling like chilling on your sofa aaall daaay? Welcome to the first trimester. All the hormonal changes mentioned above contribute towards this tiredness that can completely knock you out. You might also feel that you are slower, weaker and more forgetful. So what? You are building a nest inside you, you are now allowed to be a sleepy head.
2. Morning or all-day-long sickness
Human chorionic gonadatropin, the hormone that makes positive your pregnancy test, it’s skyrocket since conception. This increase and peak in the first weeks causes nausea, sickness, vomit and the constant feeling of needing to nibble. Nausea affects most pregnant woman and vomit half of them, but it normally clears up by weeks 16 to 20, once you are in your second trimester. In the meantime, here are some ideas to help you ease that AWFUL feeling:
- If you feel sick first thing in the morning, eat something like a plain toast, crackers or biscuit before you get up.
- Try to get up slowly and on your side.
- Eat small but frequent meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids, sipping them little and often.
- Go for bland, non-greasy foods, such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes.
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods. Fresh foods like fruit and vegetables can also be hard to get down on your first weeks.
- Some natural remedies like ginger or liquorice sweets or licking lemon bits can help.
- Get as much rest as you can.
- Keep calm and carry eating and drinking.
The baby will get the nutrients it needs even if you are not having a healthy diet. Remember this will get better in some weeks time.
If despite having changed your diet and habits you are still experiencing bad nausea and vomit, seek medical attention for treatment options.
If you can’t keep any fluids or food in 24h due to severe nausea and vomiting, you might be suffering hyperemesis gravidium. It can be a serious condition and needs specialist treatment.
3. Constipation, burps and hiccups.
A hormone called progesterone slows down your digestion early on in pregnancy so your body can absorb more nutrients to pass to your baby. That contributes to morning sickness as well as the constipation you might start noticing. Burping and hiccups could also be explained by the same mechanism.
Try to help your body to prevent further consequences like piles or haemorrhoids by drinking plenty of fluids, eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains and fibre foods. Doing some exercise, if you can, will also help.
4. Big and sore breast
Always wanted bigger boobs? Yes, they can get bigger, they definitely will, but it comes at a price. Soreness, tenderness, discomfort, sometimes pain. Your regular bras will soon become small and underwired ones will be your enemy.
As tedious as it can be, go and get yourself new bras. Shop assistants in underwear shops are normally very helpful and have experience in this matter.
5. Your powerful sense of smell
Pregnant women really do experience a heightened sense of smell. That goes from food to body odours and it can make your nausea worse. It’s explained as the body’s way of staying away from food that would be bad for the baby. Clever, huh?
6. Palpitations, nosebleeds and bloody gums.
Blood flow increases during pregnancy, so occasional nosebleeds and bloody gums are common. There’s also an increased blood volume, so the heart actually grows working harder and pumping more blood for that growing baby. That’s the reason you might experience occasional palpitations or see new vessels appear under your skin.
7. Skin changes
Change in skin tone during pregnancy is common. The hormonal changes come along with higher melatonin levels.
Most women experience the ‘mask of pregnancy’ or chloasma, caused by a change of pigment in your skin across your nose and cheeks in a butterfly shape. It tends to fade after birth but during pregnancy you can disguise it with makeup. It’s important that you protect yourself from solar exposure with sun protection and a good hat.
Some women also find a dark line appears on their abdomen in pregnancy, known as the linea nigra, less common in women with with fairer complexions. It normally goes away after birth.
Remember to moisture your skin, specially around belly and breasts, to prevent stretch marks.
8. Antenatal checks and test
As scary as it can sound at the beginning, you will soon get used to be seen and checked for different reasons: blood test as screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B, blood group, anaemia and diabetes. Blood pressure, height and weight, urine test and ultrasound scans. These are some of the test and procedures you will go through in the next weeks. Remember to always take your pregnancy book or notes to every appointment!
9. 9 months or 40 weeks.
You will start to measure time in weeks and days and realise the passage of time will slow down. Nine months will take sooo long!
10. White lies and a big little secret
You might not yet want to share your pregnancy with the rest of the world. Some women wait until they’ve had the first ultrasound scan (8-14 weeks) and have been reassured that things are going the right way.
But yet… you are not smoking, not drinking alcohol, you are constantly nibbling or sipping drinks, you are exhausted and your head is somewhere else.
You can master how to pretend being the normal you or let some close friends and family know. The latter will help you (and your nerves) more than the first.
New development in your life? Congratulations on being creative, mom-to-be!