If you’re a first time mom, you’re likely wondering how pregnancy will make you feel.
You’ve heard the horror stories of nausea, food aversions and back pain, and unfortunately, I can’t say those aren’t true . . .
BUT, pregnancy is different for every woman and can even be very different from pregnancy to pregnancy.
Here are some of the less then great and good things you might experience while pregnant.
The First Trimester
The first trimester (weeks 1-12) are usually when women experience the worst pregnancy side effects. For many women, these tend to wear off during the second trimester.
Here are some of the things you might feel, starting around the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy or 2 weeks after your first missed period:
- You may feel extreme fatigue and sluggishness. Your body is undergoing lots of changes very quickly so you’ll likely be drained of energy. Make sure you get plenty of rest and take time to practice self-care.
- As your body works and changes to accommodate the new life you are growing, you may experience bloating. This can be an uncomfortable transition time as you began to change size and shape but don’t yet have a pronounced baby bump.
- Light cramping is normal in the first weeks or so of pregnancy. You may even experience some spotting.
- Nausea is one of the worst pregnancy symptoms you may feel. “Morning sickness” can actually be experienced in the morning or at night, but some women have feelings of nausea throughout the day. The best way to feel better quickly is to snack on a little protein.
- Food aversions and cravings are another interesting side effect of pregnancy. You may hate foods you once loved and crave foods you haven’t liked before or ever even tried.
- Your breasts might be sore. As your body produces more hormones you may experience breast pain and swelling.
Some or all of these symptoms may lesson or disappear in the second trimester (weeks 13-26).
BUT, you may start to experience new symptoms such as heartburn, back and hip pain and brain fog.
On the other hand, one of the most exciting parts of being pregnant is being able to feel your baby move. This tends to start around week 16 for experienced moms, and closer to week 18-20 for a first time mom.
Braxton Hicks contractions may start in the second trimester, too.
The third trimester consists of weeks 27-40.
Baby will be making big moves and you’ll probably even be able to see a hand or foot press against your belly.
The third trimester is when back pain and hip pain tend to intensify. And you’ll probably also feel pelvic discomfort as baby presses downward.
Your baby will “drop” towards the end of the third trimester. This is when he or she gets head down in a position ready for birth. Dropping or “lightening” can be tough on your bladder but is often wanted relief for your rib cage!
Braxton Hicks contractions will also intensify up until labor. Here’s some important information on first time mom labor to help you be prepared.
The Fourth Trimester (AKA Postpartum)
Did you know there is a 4th trimester?
Not officially, but this is what some people refer to as the first few weeks postpartum.
While you are no longer carrying your baby, you may still be carrying some leftover pregnancy hormones and baby weight.
Because of all of the surprising postpartum body changes, many women report feeling overwhelmed or depressed during the days and weeks after birth.
If these feelings don’t go away or intensify, it’s time to talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Other lesser known, but common symptoms of PPD are anger, rage, feelings of intense loneliness or disconnection.
The Positive Parts of Pregnancy
Ok, enough of the bad stuff.
Pregnancy can also have some great benefits, too!
- Many mothers report feeling more calm or relaxed because they are no longer concerned with their waistline (sucking in!).
- You may also have more down-time. As your pregnancy progresses, you won’t be able to do as many of your day-to-day tasks or normal activates which provides more time to focus on yourself.
- You’ll have more help and support from friends and family. Many mothers report feeling pampered and well loved during this time.
- You may also feel excitement as you see your baby grow from week to week and get to plan fun gender reveal ideas, pick baby names, and find items for your baby registry checklist.
- Your maternal feelings may also grow and intensify.
As a third time mom, I can attest to the fact that pregnancy is definitely not easy, but it’s also a really sweet and special time.
So, enjoy the good as much as you can and just know that the bad won’t last forever!