As a first-time mom, there are probably a lot of things you are curious about and wondering what to expect. This can range from wondering what is a doula, to your body’s physical changes. There is a lot that happens during your first trimester that results in an internal transformation that triggers the hormones to start nourishing the baby—often times before any text or physical exam can confirm a pregnancy. Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during your first trimester can prepare you for the upcoming months with confidence and excitement.
There are a lot of physical changes that occur during pregnancy, aside from the obvious pregnant belly. One of the first signs of pregnancy is a missed period. While this is common and to be expected, there are several other changes to expect, including:
- Tender and Swollen Breasts: Following conception, hormonal changes within your body can result in sensitive or sore breasts. In most cases the discomfort will decrease after a few weeks, as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes.
- Nausea With or Without Vomiting: Also known as morning sickness, feelings of nausea can hit at any time of the day or night. Generally morning sickness begins one month after becoming pregnant. This too can be a result of rising hormone levels within your body. Morning sickness is one of the more unpleasant side-effects of pregnancy, although there are a few things you can do to relieve the nausea, like avoiding an empty stomach and slowly eating small amounts of food every one to two hours. Also try to select foods that are low in fat and avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. You’ll also need to make sure you are drinking enough fluids. Foods that contain ginger may also help relieve your nausea. If your nausea and/or vomiting is severe, consult your healthcare provider.
- Increased Urination: During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases, which cause your kidneys to process extra fluids that end up in your bladder, causing you to urinate more frequently.
- Fatigue: During the first stages of pregnancy, your progesterone levels soar, which can put you to sleep. Make sure that you are getting as much sleep as you can. Incorporating a healthy diet and exercise into your routine can help boost your energy levels.
- Food Aversions: Some women experience a change in their sense of taste or become more sensitive to certain odors. As with most other pregnancy symptoms, a change in food preferences can be a result of changes to your hormone levels.
- Heartburn: Another side effect of pregnancy hormones is the relaxing of the valve located between your stomach and esophagus, which can allow stomach acid to leak back into your esophagus, resulting in heartburn. The best way to avoid and prevent heartburn is to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Try to avoid consuming any fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy foods.
- Constipation: Progesterone in high amounts results in the slowing of moving food through your digestive system, ultimately resulting in constipation. Taking iron supplements can make the problem worse. The best way to combat constipation is to eat a high-fiber diet and drink lots of fluids, especially water, prune, and other fruit juices. Regular physical activity can help as well.
As you can see there are a lot of physical changes that happen during the first trimester. At International Doula Institute, we train our doulas to empower women throughout their pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. Whether you are wondering what is a doula or what else to expect during your pregnancy, find a certified doula to help you navigate your pregnancy with confidence and excitement!