Seeing as my first post “The Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant” was really fun to write and you guys seemed to really enjoy it I thought I might do a few more but split up by Trimester. After all, I’m a book and research nut, but some of this stuff just never even gets mentioned; having said that, there is a chance you might never experience some of these things. It’s definitely worth remembering that every pregnancy is different and the effect it has on women varies. No two pregnancies are alike!
But anyway, it seemed to make sense to start of with the first trimester. The first trimester (weeks 1-13) is often thought of as the “hardest” trimester, I suppose because of the sickness and tiredness. Most women find out about their pregnancies at about 4-5 weeks, I found out I was pregnant when I was precisely 5 weeks and 3 days along and here is my first trimester!
Firstly, you are most likely to notice your boobs growing. The chances are they will be tender at least (sometimes they can really, really hurt!) and that your nipples definitely darken. In my case my boobs themselves haven’t hurt so much, though as they’ve grown its been painful on my scar, but my nipples are super sensitive. It’s something that started very early on and for a while was so painful even resting the duvet on top of them hurt! By 12 weeks of pregnancy I needed new bras! I’d gone up a whole cup size.
Before I discovered my pregnancy I had a kidney infection and was on antibiotics for it, I was really nauseous just as my antibiotics finished and this was earlier in the same week we found out I was pregnant. It turns out your immune system alters a lot when your pregnant, so it’s not unusual to get little infections like this. In fact I’ve since had a UTI which makes you bloomin’ miserable given your already going to the loo an awful lot more. To be honest the UTI was the hardest week of my pregnancy, I just felt like I should live in the bathroom! Thrush is also common, but make sure you get your creams prescribed because not all of the off the counter creams are safe in pregnancy!
It takes a while before you get a proper bump, but not long after you find out you can experience extreme bloating – which I did. So extreme I had to buy new jeans with an elasticated waistband to allow for the bloat! It was really uncomfy but only lasted a couple of weeks and then I went down to pre-pregnancy again.
Tiredness is a major part of pregnancy, but it was particularly bad in the first trimester. I was just shattered all the time, I was sleeping for all of Britain. It wasn’t unusual for me to go to bed at 9pm and sleep through until 9am!
There are two physical changes that took me really rather by surprise:
1) My belly suddenly became hairy! It was really weird, it happened almost overnight. I thought about shaving it or waxing, but I was too scared it might come back thicker and harder to hide!
2) The amount of vaginal discharge I was producing seemed to triple over night and I had to start using panty liners just to get through the day! The bad news is, it doesn’t really slow down so invest in some liners that are comfy ladies!
Of course, there are is the most commonly known about Morning Sickness. My morning sickness started at about 4/4.5 weeks and was an intense nausea, it would wave over me and it ruined my appetite. My other half would cook dinner and it the smell would make me feel awful and leave me unable to eat dinner. Your sense of smell when you feel sick and are pregnant goes through the roof!
Your hair and nails start growing like crazy too! I love this bit of pregnancy, my hair is really healthy and shiny and my nails look better than they ever have!
Now, I know your hormones are a physical thing, but it really effects your day to day mood! Your hormones go crazy, you are completely enslaved to them no matter how ridiculous you feel in the logical part of your brain, you are powerless to stop yourself. Suddenly, I could cry at everything and anything, adverts, kitten pictures, someone skipping by in joy. It all made me just want to cry, sometimes sad tears, sometimes happy. My OH would make a joke I would have usually laughed at one day and instead I burst into tears. Absolutely ridiculous and slightly crazy, but there is nothing you can do but go with it.
You also spend the entire time waiting for your 12 week scan, semi terrified that it’ll all go wrong at the appointment! Because you have really got no idea what’s going on at that time I personally found the continuation of my symptoms really reassuring. Sure I felt like rubbish, but that meant everything was doing what it needed to – at least it did in my head!
It’s also really hard to keep your pregnancy a secret! We chose to just in case the worst happened, and thank goodness we were very lucky that nothing went wrong, but it’s still a tough secret to keep! If not just because you want to scream it from the rooftops but because trying to hide the sickness on a regular basis is really, really hard!
Once you’ve been to the GP he’ll refer you onto your local maternity and midwife team who will have you in for your booking appointment (in the UK at least) where bloods are taken and you are asked many, many health history questions and your green notes are created which will contain all of your pregnancy information in.
They should also book you in for your 12 week scan known as the dating scan. The main purpose of this scan is to make sure your pregnancy is established and growing inline with your last period and everything looks as it should at that time. This scan will give you your EDD (estimated due date) and you can begin checks for things like Downs Syndrome at this scan (a measurement of the fold of skin at the back of the neck, and a blood test) which will let you know the level of risk your baby is at for having Downs Syndome or other chromosomal abnormalities. I chose not to have this done as I am in a very low risk category anyway and did not want to panic myself unnecessarily.
Of course this can only be your decision with your partner, but the results that come back can be really nerve-wracking and cause a lot of unnecessary worry, so do your research about the testing – here is the NHS website about Downs Screening.
The 12 week scan is the most magical thing, seeing your baby on screen is just amazing. I had two earlier scans at 5w3d to confirm my pregnancy was in the right place, and one at 7w3d to confirm viability. Seeing your baby makes everything else completely 100% worth it! If you’ve had a rough time, it’s just the best feeling in the world. Nothing like it to make you know it’s all worth it.
From my point of view with CHD, I experienced random palpitations and arrhythmia’s before I discovered my pregnancy (that began around the time of conception) and they continued until around 10 weeks of pregnancy. I was monitored closely throughout this time.
And there you have it, my first trimester! I hope you enjoyed this post! I’ll see you at 28 weeks (in 7 weeks time!) for my second trimester The Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant!
Lots of love