Every pregnancy is different. Some mums-to-be experience weird cravings, whilst others are more emotional, some women have mood swings and skin changes and others suffer from aches and pains and fatigue. However your pregnancy progresses, the three trimesters are something that all mothers must go through.
As Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge itself is power. Knowing as much as you can about what’s ahead of you, might help with the difficult times and make the joyful ones even more memorable. Armed with information, you can put your mind at ease as you better understand each stage of your journey to motherhood. With more information you have about each stage of pregnancy, you can gauge where you are on your journey and more accurately calculate your due date.
Let’s take a closer look at the stages of pregnancy and what you can expect in the early days as well as during each trimester.
Early Signs You Are Pregnant
One of the first signs that you are pregnant is a missed period. Other symptoms you may or may not experience include tender and/or enlarged breasts, as well as morning sickness, constipation, food cravings and food aversions – that spinach dish you used to love might suddenly taste too salty!
You might also experience mood swings which can include feeling down, easily irritated or crying at the drop of a hat. You may also notice some skin changes and itching, aches and pains in the lower abdomen and/or back pain, and tiredness – your bed suddenly feels like the best place on earth to be.
When any of these symptoms become too much for you to bear, take a visit to your doctor or midwife. They have years of experience with first time expectant mothers. At your first doctors’ appointment, s/he will calculate your due date and you will know if it’s going to be a summer, autumn, winter or spring baby.
Your First Trimester
In the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, you may gain a kilo or two, and experience morning sickness. Don’t let the word “morning” in morning sickness fool you. Morning sickness can come morning, midday or evening or even last all day. Either way, this happens because of the increased hormone levels needed to help your baby grow.
You might want to get a bigger bra because your breasts become tender and larger. They are busy changing so that you can breastfeed when the baby is born.
As your uterus grows, it will place pressure on your bladder which means more frequent bathroom stops.
You’ll notice that your breathing and heartbeat is a little faster than usual. This is because you have more blood than usual due to the pregnancy.
It might be a good thing to get a book that explains to your nearest and dearest about the mood swings you might be going through. It’s hard enough experiencing them, but it’s even more difficult to try and explain the feelings to other people, so let the book do it for you.
Your Second Trimester
Many moms say this is the best trimester as you start to feel a bit better. The morning sickness might be a thing of the past and you can smile without bursting into tears.
Going to the doctor for all the necessary tests might make you anxious, but remember that if any health issues are discovered, the doctors will make sure you receive the proper care.
You will gain weight, up to 6 kilos or more, but because of your pregnancy brain, you’ll likely forget how much you weigh! Pregnancy brain is the term used to describe the foggy feeling and your mind wandering, you might forget things you wouldn’t normally.
Now you’ll experience that pregnancy glow so many people talk about. Your hair will become thicker and your nails grow very fast. At this stage, your food will either taste divine or really, really bad. This is also when the food cravings step it up a gear. Donuts and sardines or pizza and condensed milk are just a few of the weird combos that some pregnant ladies crave.
This is the last stretch and you may feel tired and uncomfortable. Many mums-to-be start getting anxious about the birth at this time. Talk to someone about your fears, don’t keep them bottled up inside. Making a birth plan will help to alleviate any worries or fears you might have.
The extra 5 or so kilos that you gain is due to the baby growing and because of the amniotic fluid and your breast milk. Don’t worry too much about this weight. You’ll lose most of it when your baby is here and afterwards you can start exercising again.
You might find it hard to sleep during the third trimester because of back pain and generally being uncomfortable due to your size. There are pillows designed specifically for this time. Why not spoil yourself with one?
You might find a bit harder to breathe as the baby places pressure on your lungs. And if you feel contractions, they might be Braxton Hicks contractions. Your doctor will be able to help you and advise you about them.
When The Baby Arrives
Pregnancy is wonderful, but it can also be a difficult time when you feel so big and you can’t see your feet anymore. Just remember to keep your eye on the goal, a lovely new baby. All the discomfort will be worth it when you hold your bundle of joy in your arms for the first time.