Even before a woman realizes that she is pregnant, her body has begun preparation for nurturing a new life. From the moment of conception, both mother and child begin an incredible journey together. During the first trimester, the changes that take place can seem imperceptible, but they are critical nonetheless.
Physical Changes for Expectant Mothers
Although a woman may not look visibly pregnant during the first trimester, her body is rapidly changing to accommodate a growing body. Levels of progesterone, estrogen, and other hormones fluctuate rapidly, turning off the woman’s normal menstrual cycle. Those hormonal differences lead to many of the changes associated with early pregnancy:
- Breasts grow more tender, and they may feel heavier and fuller. Many women find that wearing a more supportive bra can ease some of that discomfort as their breasts get larger and more sensitive.
- Rapid changes in hormonal balance can cause nausea. Since this symptom is most common early in the day, it’s been nicknamed morning sickness. But nausea can happen at any time of day. Eating small, frequent meals can help.
- By the seventh week, the uterus is the size of a tennis ball. It can press on the bladder, increasing frequency of urination. Skip the caffeine, which can induce more frequent urination.
- The lining of the vagina gets thicker and less sensitive. A whitish discharge is normal, as is some spotting. Immediately contact your medical provider if you experience any heavy bleeding.
During the first trimester the body also increases circulation, as the mother’s blood must circulate for mother and child. Veins may become more prominent, since the volume of blood increases. Meanwhile new moms may feel extremely tired or suffer bouts of dizziness. These symptoms are associated with circulation changes, but they can also occur due to stress or hunger. It’s important to get plenty of rest and pay attention to nutrition during pregnancy.
Emotional Changes during the First Trimester
Just as hormonal changes affect the body, they also affect the emotions. The drastic increases in hormones generally cause some emotional changes, most frequently weepiness or mood swings. These usually subside as hormone levels become more stable later in pregnancy.
But the state of being pregnant itself can lead women on an emotional rollercoaster. Feeling joy, anticipation, fear, and anxiety in turn—or at once—is completely normal; after all, these next months will completely change a woman’s life. Talking about changing emotions with a trusted friend or family member can help an expectant mom cope with these emotions.
Often the best person to provide support may be feeling a little left out by the pregnancy. A woman’s partner may feel excluded from the exciting changes, especially as the pregnant mom draws more attention. Pregnancy certainly changes a relationship, so it’s important for both mother and partner to remain open, supportive, and loving during the process.
If you have questions about what to expect during pregnancy, contact us at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Moms who register with us can attend our prenatal education classes. Or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392 for answers and free physician referrals.