Pregnancy can be exciting, but some moms find it overwhelming. Others may find it a little scary. And, if we’re honest, most pregnant mamas feel a combination of all three. In addition to emotional changes during pregnancy, moms can experience a variety of body changes as well.
Most babies spend 280 days in the womb before birth, and this time period is broken down into 40 weeks or three trimesters. Here is an idea of what moms should expect during pregnancy in each trimester:
FIRST TRIMESTER (WEEKS 1 TO 12)
Often times, a woman may not realize she is pregnant until she has missed a period or two, and it’s not uncommon for confirmation to happen about halfway through the first trimester. However, your body may give you some hints that you may be expecting a baby:
- Tender or swollen breasts – Hormonal changes are already preparing your breasts to nurture your baby after birth, and this involves changes in the fat layers, milk glands and skin coloring.
- Morning sickness – A pregnant mom can feel nauseous or vomit at any time of day due to changing hormones. Tips to combat morning sickness include eating small, bland snacks (like saltines) before you even get out of bed in the morning, avoiding spicy or greasy foods, and drinking lots of liquids. If the problem persists or becomes severe, see your doctor!
In fact, prenatal care is important from the start of the pregnancy. OBGYN offices tend to book well in advance, so you should call as soon as you have a positive pregnancy test to schedule your first appointment. You should also start taking prenatal vitamins – we offer our pregnant clients a month’s supply to get started!
- Other physical changes – Most women report increased fatigue during the first trimester. Others talk of constipation, frequent urination, heartburn and varicose veins. Even though you won’t look pregnant to the outside world, your body is making lots of changes to prepare for the months ahead.
Did you know Life’s Choices offers great prenatal education classes, starting as early as the first trimester? See us for classes about pregnancy care, eating for two or preparing for an ultrasound appointment. We use the Bright Course curriculum (see below) which includes current videos and informal discussion format.
SECOND TRIMESTER (WEEKS 13 TO 27)
The second trimester is often called the “honeymoon” of pregnancy. Your body is adjusting to changes and morning sickness usually eases, plus energy returns. Here are other things to consider during your second trimester:
- Body expansion – As your belly stretches around your growing baby, expect to experience itchiness and stretch marks. These can be eased by staying hydrated, making sure you eat properly and using lotions. Some women also report the “mask of pregnancy” (darker skin on the face due to hormonal changes) or “linea nigra” (a dark line from your belly button down to your pubic bone). The best way to address these symptoms is using sunscreen whenever skin is exposed.
- Don’t forget your teeth – Pregnancy can take a toll on dental hygiene, with many women experiencing tender, bleeding gums or tooth decay. Maintain daily brushing and flossing. It’s also a good time to see your dentist for a checkup – just make sure to tell them you are expecting!
- Going public – Whenever you choose to tell people about your baby’s impending arrival, the second trimester is a time most people figure it out. Many mamas start “showing” by week 16 and maternity clothes, many with forgiving stretchy waistlines, become a must.
Tip: check out thrift stores or, better yet, ask a friend who had a baby to find good bargains on maternity clothes.
- Bonus moment – Most first-time moms feel baby move by week 25. This fluttery feeling, described by many as “butterflies” inside the belly, may be noticed sooner by moms who have been pregnant before. In any case, this feeling (also called “quickening”) is a big hallmark of pregnancy and a sign that your baby is growing bigger and stronger.
As nausea and fatigue fade, the second trimester is a great time to prepare for your baby’s arrival. One great way to do that is taking prenatal classes at Life’s Choices. Topics include the emotions of pregnancy, bonding with your unborn baby and figuring out how to handle that growing belly. We use classes from Bright Courses (see below) with options of taking classes in our office or at your home.
THIRD TRIMESTER (WEEK 28 TO BIRTH)
The end is in sight, but the third trimester can seem like the longest as physical symptoms – and discomfort – increase as baby grows . . . and grows!
- Physical symptoms – Expect shortness of breath, swelling and stretch marks, changes in belly button, heartburn and constipation as baby takes up more room in your body. Your center of gravity will shift as baby grows and even drops into a low, birth position so be careful as you go about your day!
- Preparing for birth – Your body is preparing, as signaled by mild contractions, leg cramps, tender breasts and insomnia. You can intentionally prepare as well — taking childbirth classes, packing a bag well ahead of your due date and knowing when symptoms mean it’s time to call your provider.
The third trimester is a great time to prepare your house for your baby. If you’re overwhelmed deciding what supplies you need and how to prepare your home – and heart! – for your little one, please come and see us! We have classes on the final stretch of pregnancy that can help you feel more prepared. We also offer childbirth classes and breastfeeding support!
HERE FOR YOU
No matter where you are in your pregnancy, we’d be happy to see you to talk about any concerns, help you gather support and materials then celebrate with you the arrival of your baby. Remember, moms who enroll in our Baby Bundle program earn a car seat plus diapers and other needed items. Let us know how we can offer help and hope to you during your pregnancy!
If you’re interested in participating in our Bright Course classes, here’s a preview that will give you a little bit of a glimpse into the curriculum: