What to Expect during the first Trimester of Pregnancy

“Painful,” says my fiancee. I’ve just asked how the first trimester of my pregnancy was for him. The first trimester is the name given to the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. The surprise of finding out you are pregnant is mixed with the infamous symptoms; headaches, morning sickness and tiredness are all to be expected. But it’s not only a tough trimester for Mum; Daddy gets a rough time of it too.

Every pregnancy is different. Like many women, I ‘felt’ pregnant before three shop-bought tests proved it. Within a week of conception I had started to feel nauseas for large periods of the day, my breasts became very tender and I suffered fatigue. Morning sickness is not confined to a particular time of day, although is often worse in the mornings and evenings, and can be actually being sick or just feeling nauseas. A loss of energy and constantly feeling tired kicks in after about 4 weeks, which is around the time that most women miss their period and realise they may be pregnant.

However, the common symptoms of pregnancy are not the only change a woman undertakes during the first trimester. The biggest change in my own pregnancy was the effect of my new hormones.

When you become pregnant your body is overrun by various new hormones. Pregnancy tests show a positive result when the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is present in the urine. After an egg has been fertilised, the hCG is secreted by the placenta. This sudden rush of hormones results in sudden mood swings, being moody and tearfulness. You might have been warned about feeling ill and tired, or going off the smell of fried foods, but unbalanced hormones are a huge feature in the first trimester.

As my fiancee puts it, “You see the person you fell in love with change into this crazed demon.” The biggest physical changes occur much later in pregnancy. However, it is the first trimester that changes you the most as a person. Expect to cry at the slightest thing, even seeing a baby on the TV used to make me well up. You will make arguments over nothing, be furiously angry then suddenly in floods of tears. While on the outside you might seem uncontrollably hormone dominated, the hormones being generated will change you, eventually, for the better and prepare you for motherhood.

The first trimester is possibly the hardest in a pregnancy. Initial symptoms can make it hard to carry on with work, especially if they are particularly bad. Mood swings can cause tension between partners and in other relationships, as well as cause you to worry unnecessarily. Whether your pregnancy was planned or a complete surprise, it might be taking a while to sink in, as well as give you a lot of thinking to do about the future. Just remember, every pregnancy is different. Take care of your body and your new baby. It might be a tough few months, but it’s worth it.

Between 10 and 12 weeks the baby’s heartbeat can be picked up on an ultrasound and you should be offered your first scan. Seeing your baby for the first time gives the struggle of the first trimester more meaning than anyone could ever try to explain to you. It only gets better from here!