BFP: welcome to the first trimester of pregnancy

Congratulations on your recent pregnancy news. Whether you got here naturally or whether by a little helping hand from science congratulations.

This is a hard first 13 months. If you arrived here after IVF or similar you should be use to waiting and feeling yuck but nothing truly prepares you for the first trimester.

What will happen during the first trimester of pregnancy?

Your little bean (embryo) is now implanted into your uterus lining making him/herself comfortable as this is now home for the next 36-37 weeks (technically your already about 3-4 weeks pregnant by time you peed on that stick).

I have put together some of the common issues and questions you may face during the first trimester including some that no body warned me about.  Remember, every woman and every pregnancy is different. You may have been pregnant in the past and had no symptoms yet this time round have everything. It is normal.

  • Bloating (yep your friend mr bloat is still kicking around);
  • Constipation (good old progesterone again);
  • Bleeding or spotting;
  • Tiredness;
  • Sickness;
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Wind

Bloating

You may be looking in the mirror thinking eekk I look 5 months pregnant already. This is all bloat I’m afraid. That lovely hormone progesterone is to blame for many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy.

Constipation

Whether you are constipated or living on the toilet guess what you can thank progesterone again. They should rename progesterone to something more befitting to its nature like the annoying hormone.

Try to keep hydrated even if you are feeling sick. Fluid is good for constipation. Unfortunately, you cannot take many supplements to ease constipation in particular those that contain senna.

Bleeding

Bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy is much more common than you think. you’ve been prodded and poked and had to take a lot of hormones so your poor ovaries will be sore and tired. Brown blood is most common during 2WW and this is old blood so don’t worry. Red blood is also common and you are advised to contact a midwife if you are filling a sanitary towel every hour, passing clots and/or experiencing serious cramps.

If in doubt contact the early pregnancy unit.

Sickness

You may start to feel queasy around week 8. This is what is known as morning sickness (M/S). It can happen anytime of day and last all day every day for the next few weeks. It is important to try to eat and drink little but often to keep your energy up.

Tiredness

Your body is about to undergo some significant changes over the next 40 weeks. You may find simple tasks like filling the washing machine exhausting. That is because growing a tiny human uses an awful lot of energy.

You will benefit from naps during the day where possible. Some ladies have reported have a power nap of 20-minutes in the toilets during their lunch break. Others nip home for a power nap or go to their car. Your employer doesn’t have to let you sleep somewhere if they don’t know you are pregnant. Read here about notifying your employer.

Tiredness is likely to remain with you for the duration of you pregnancy. It may ease during the second trimester but returns towards the end of pregnancy as your growing uterus and foetus add weight and strain to your body.

As tempting as it maybe trying to cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest. You don’t need to cut it out completely but caffeine has been linked to low birth weight and other possible complications. If you love your tea and coffee why not swap to decaf – no one will notice. You can also get a variety of tasty herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger (both are good for morning sickness). Some herbal teas are not suitable for pregnancy if in doubt why not pop down to a local tea specialist shop like Lakeland and ask someone – you might even get some free samples to try.

When will I have my first scan?

If you had IVF or similar you maybe offered a viability scan around week 7. This is likely to be intravaginal with not a great deal to see. The heartbeat might be pointed out to you if present and also during this scan they are checking number of sacs (for multiple births) and the rest of your uterus. You might have enlarged ovaries still or free fluid build up but this should disappear by week 16 and isn’t harmful to baby.

Week 12 you should be offered your first proper scan. This is known as the dating scan and marks the end of your first trimester. You should be given the opportunity to purchase a scan picture these are usually priced between £1-£5 depending on where you live. In Durham there £2 each but you might get 2-3 for the price of one if not great quality images (or if your sonographer is super nice).

Once you have reached this milestone most couples start to spill the beans to their loved ones. It is entirely up to you when you tell people whether it’s the day you got your BFP or when held that 12-week scan picture.

Anxiety and panic attacks

Some women experience anxiety during the first trimester and it’s no surprise this is a hard few weeks. You are suffering from a few side effects and only those you’ve told know why. You might be anxious that your boss thinks you are slacking at work because you’re tired. Try not to let this get to you. If you have a particularly stressful job you nay find you need to tell work sooner than you planned.

Your pregnancy rights are only protected once your employer knows about your pregnancy. Read here for notifying you employer.

Wind

Who ever said pregnancy was glamorous hasn’t been pregnant before. Throughout the whole journey of pregnancy you will suffer from something. Whether it’s trapped wind, constipation or diarrhoea something at some point will get you. Trapped wind however, is felt much more in the first trimester and early second trimester. Guess what’s to blame – yep progesterone. Basically progesterone has slowed down your digestive system to allow for extra nutrients to be extracted for your little babies development. Trapped wind can cause some horrible discomfort in the lower abdomen as well as been felt all the way up into your shoulder. You may even find that trapped wind feels like menstrual cramps but then you pop to the loo and get some relief.

I should also point out that if it’s not coming out one end it’ll come out the other. Honestly you will feel more bloke down the building site that radiant mamma to be. Guess what you can get away with it – you’re pregnant 🙂

What else should I be considering at this stage?

Why not sign up to apps and websites like Emma’s diary and Bounty. These can provide you with some freebies throughout your pregnancy. The actual items vary and change in a regular basis so something your friend got you might not. Freebies for mum can include little pamper treats like shampoo and conditioner to moisturisers and latter on treats like pampers nappies for your little one.

If excitement has taken over you could be browsing the local department store, Argos catalogue or other suppliers for nursery ideas. There is no rush to go out and buy everything (even though some mums do). It’s personal preference but remember little one will be in your room for the first 6 months so a Moses basket and mattress is probably all that’s required nursery furniture wise until their about 6 months old.

You could write a wishlist of items you would like and at a latter date either host a baby Shower or have one thrown for you and receive some of those items.

Katherine xo

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