If you’re reading this article, then we probably owe you a big congratulations, new mom! Somewhere within the first 1 to 12 weeks of your pregnancy – otherwise known as the first trimester – you noticed your period was a bit off, maybe felt a little nauseous in the morning, or wondered why your boobs have been looking extra fabulous lately. After a trip to the drugstore, a visit to the doctor’s office, and a lot of peeing in cups, your good news was confirmed – and now you’ve got a lot of questions about what happens next!
The first trimester of pregnancy is your first step on the path to motherhood. Most women figure out they’re with child somewhere around the 5 or 6 week mark – about halfway through this initial stage of pregnancy – making the first trimester especially exciting and full of celebration for new (and veteran) parents.
Although it’s not the most eventful stage for your growing belly (don’t worry, all the fun of feeling those little kicks will come later!), the fetus is going through some of the most crucial changes of their in-utero development. The fertilized egg begins dividing into layers of cells that will eventually form your baby’s body parts and implants itself into the wall of your uterus. By week 6, you can usually hear a heartbeat, and by the end of week 12, your little one has begun to grow bones, limbs, hair and nails, and a digestive system.
Symptoms You May Notice in Your First Trimester
The first trimester is also notorious for kick-starting the rush of hormones that will inevitably lead you to believe you’re going certifiably crazy, but don’t worry. These temporary mood swings and physical annoyances are just another part of the journey to becoming World’s Best Mom. By the time you’ve got a toddler on your hands, you’ll understand that when it comes to motherhood, a little bit of crazy comes with the territory. (And it’s all worth it for the love of your tiny human!)
Swollen, Tender (and Fabulous) Breasts
Is it just us, or do your boobs look particularly fantastic right about now? Your breasts are gearing up to produce the nutrient-rich milk that will feed your newborn baby, which fills the breast tissue with fluid for some seriously perky, pumped-up boobies. During the first trimester, toss your push-up bra aside and revel in nature’s own little (temporary) boob job.
However, make sure your partner knows not to get too grabby! Your swollen breasts are super tender and will need to be handled with care. Ask your partner to try some light, sensual touching and kissing on your breasts if you’re feeling hot and bothered. It’s the best way to take advantage of this ultra sensitivity!
Don’t get too freaked out by the sight of a little blood. It’s totally normal to see some spotting during your first trimester, just like in-between periods. Often it just means that the egg has implanted into the uterus and your new pregnancy is safely underway. If the bleeding increases or is accompanied by cramps or sharp pain, make an appointment with your doctor ASAP to make sure you’re not experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Crazy Food Cravings or Aversions
Oh yes, it’s starting already – those crazy cravings that will have you drinking pickle juice in the middle of the night while simultaneously chomping down a chocolate bar. But did you know that your first trimester might also make you downright disgusted by otherwise munchie fest-worthy dishes?
From the ever-tantalizing smell of frying bacon to what used to be your favorite Asian restaurant, your go-to gastro goodies might stop making you salivate and start making you puke. To combat tummy ills, eat smaller portions, slowly sip on sparkling water, and keep light snacks around, like crackers or bananas, to settle your stomach when nausea strikes.
Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting (unless it’s on account of your new pickle juice-and-chocolate habit) – regular ol’ heartburn, except this time the cause is a little different.
The extra progesterone pumping around in your body relaxes the smooth muscles, some of which are found in the sphincter in your lower esophagus. While this ring of muscles is normally shut tight to keep digested food and stomach acids down in your belly where they belong, the added progesterone has your smooth muscles sleeping on the job. Steer clear of greasy, spicy foods, and keep your meals small to help combat the burn. Don’t lie down just after eating, and if you need a mid-afternoon nap, prop yourself up with some pillows so stomach acid can’t drain back into your esophagus.
They don’t call it The Hardest Job in the World for nothing! Pregnancy will throw your body and mind a lot of crazy curve balls, but you got this, new moms. The first trimester is a breeze compared to the Terrible 2s!
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
Colleen began her sexual wellness career as a sex toy educator in manufacturing and retail. She has since branched out as a writer and marketer, covering all facets of sexual health and anatomy. At Intimina, she specializes in women’s medical care and health concerns, menstruation, sex and pregnancy, and birth control. Colleen frequently confers with top sex educators and intimate wellness experts to stay on top of the constantly changing sexual wellness space.