Those first three months of pregnancy — otherwise known as the first trimester — can be tough. All of sudden, your body starts changing shape and feeling all types of sensations that are pretty out of the ordinary for you. As you start going through the pregnancy process, undoubtedly, you’ll be excited and nervous. You may also start worrying about aches, pains, and yes, even discharge. (Growing a baby is so much fun sometimes). It’s all par for the pregnancy course. Thankfully, there are some signs that your pregnancy is going exactly as it should.
The first trimester is defined as the time between the first day of your last period through the 12th week of pregnancy, according to What To Expect. You might not even look pregnant yet, but you’ll probably be feeling it. Your body is going through so many changes during this time, and it may be hard trying to figure out what is normal and what’s not, even if you’ve been pregnant before.
(It’s worth reiterating that no body is the same and, physiologically, everyone responds differently to changes. You may not experience any of the following symptoms, and that's OK.)
As you go through the process of making and growing a human, you’ll no doubt be very attuned to every little sensation and symptom. Here are nine signs to look for along the way, that will assure you everything in your pregnancy is totally normal.
1. You’re Exhausted
During the first trimester of my first pregnancy, I was useless by 3 p.m. and in bed by 8 p.m.And many other women in the first trimester likely feel the same. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong. According to Baby Center, many women feel tired in early pregnancy before they’re showing or before they even get a belly. No one knows 100 percent why women in early pregnancy experience extreme fatigue, but it’s thought that drastic changes in hormones may be a contributing factor.
2. Your Boobs Are Huge & In Pain
As explained in Parents, sore breasts are incredibly common in early pregnancy and are caused by a surge in hormones. Progesterone and hcG levels rise after the egg becomes fertilized, which increases blood volume, making your breasts feel really full. The breast tenderness is nothing to be alarmed about, but it is admittedly awful.
It's also worth noting that the pain is due, in part, to the areola. your boobs also go through an appearance change at this time. “In addition to going up in cup size, the areola will darken around the nipple, and the veins within the breast will become more noticeable,” Emily Silver, a certified nurse practitioner who co-owns private nursing company, Boston NAPS, tells Romper. “Although it can be itchy and uncomfortable, the surge of hormones means the baby is growing.”
3. You’re Constipated
Web MD explained that a surge in pregnancy hormones, namely progesterone, causes the muscle contractions in your intestines to slow down. Unfortunately, as noted in a different Web MD post, constipation sometimes causes hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the rectum or anus. There is nothing to be freaked out or embarrassed about, it’s just really uncomfortable.
4. You’re Bloated & Develop “The Blump”
You’re not showing off a baby bump yet, but because of excess bloating, you’ve got “the blump.” Baby Center attributed all that puffiness to an increase in progesterone. The influx of this pregnancy hormone slows down digestion, which in turn causes significant bloating. The excess pressure in your abdomen and uterus can also strain your “down there” muscles, causing you to pass gas like it’s your day job. It’s all normal, even if it’s mortifying. Isn’t pregnancy so fun?
5. You Feel Nauseas All Day Long
The sick feeling you get in early pregnancy is dubbed morning sickness, but according to American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy nausea can happen morning, noon, and night. As explained on the site, it usually starts around six weeks and goes away at the end of the first trimester and is not limited to mornings only. As horrible as it feels, it means you’re right on target. According to the site, the only time you should become concerned is if you’re losing weight rapidly.
6. You Have Food Cravings & Aversions
The stereotype persists that pregnant women love pickles and ice cream, but most people think this weird food request only happens towards the end of pregnancy or when a woman is sporting a huge belly. The truth is you can have food cravings and aversions as early as the first trimester. As noted in What To Expect, hormones play a role in food cravings too. It’s also thought that maybe the theory of “your body craves, what your body needs” is actually true. In early pregnancy all I wanted were raw vegetables and oranges. Maybe I needed extra Vitamin C? I was also totally repulsed by the smell of coffee, which for a coffee addict like me, was probably a good thing.
The only time you should be concerned about your food cravings is if you have a desire to eat clay, ashes, or laundry starch, according to the aforementioned site. This is a sign that something could be wrong, like an nutritional deficiency, which would warrant a call to your doctor immediately.
7. You See Thick Vaginal Discharge
Thick, milky, white discharge, or leukorrhea, is a common pregnancy symptom. According to What To Expect, the discharge is caused by your body producing a lot of estrogen in early pregnancy. As a result, you have increased blood flow to the pelvic area and your body’s mucous membranes are stimulated.
The discharge is very normal, but if it has a foul-smelling odor, or is green or yellow, it may be a sign of an infection and as recommended on Web MD, you should call your doctor.
8. You Are Peeing A Lot
Frequent urination, even in early pregnancy without the weight of a baby, is very normal. As explained on Web MD, your baby may be small, but your uterus is growing which is putting a pressure on everything down there.
9. You Don't Have Any Symptoms
“Sometimes no signs, are the best sign,” Silver says. “You may feel great and that is okay and also a sign of a very healthy pregnancy.” According to New Kids Center, it’s pretty common for pregnant women to experience no symptoms in the first trimester. It may be worrisome, but it’s totally OK and doesn’t mean there is necessarily anything wrong in the pregnancy.
Your body is going through such a transformation in the first trimester, and the changes may feel really weird or simply uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing any of the above it simply means your body and baby are doing what they need to do. Taking care of yourself and keeping an open line of communication with your health care providers will ensure that you stay on track for your second trimester, and eventually, your baby’s delivery.