Pregnancy guide to bodily changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your HCG hormone level rises, and you will experience many bodily changes. Here, we provide you with a pregnancy guide for each of the three trimesters.
First trimester (week 1-12)
The first trimester is usually when you find out you are pregnant. Already, this early in the pregnancy, the body is undergoing many changes as the HCG hormone level increases and the follicle starts developing into a baby.
The first signs
One of the first signs of a pregnancy is that your period is running late. Other signs of a pregnancy can include nausea, vomiting and general discomfort. Tender and swollen breasts can also indicate pregnancy. If you experience one or more of these signs, a pregnancy test is of course the best way to tell whether or not you are pregnant.
What should you do?
Once you have a positive test in your hand, you should book an appointment with your doctor who will register your pregnancy. If you are taking daily medication, you should consult your doctor to find out whether or not you can continue using it without harming the baby. You can also ask your doctor for advice in relation to your diet and which foods to limit intake or avoid completely. He or she can also guide you about dietary supplements during the pregnancy.
Tip: Feeling nauseous? Small meals often help you in case of nausea, so even though you might not have an appetite, food may actually help make you feel better.
The increasing HCG hormone level causes the body to undergo many changes which may cause you to experience discomfort. Some women experience a lot of discomfort in the first trimester, and some women do not experience any at all – all women are different and so are pregnancies.
Some of the most common bodily changes include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cravings – many women get odd cravings in the first part of the pregnancy
- Heightened sense of smell
- Tender and swollen breasts
- Mood swings
- Tiredness – producing a baby is hard work
- Weight gain
Second trimester (week 13-27)
Did you experience a lot of discomfort in the first trimester? Good news then – most women experience less discomfort in the second trimester and think it is easier to go through than the first.
In the second trimester your stomach starts to grow, and the baby bump often starts showing. As the baby grows bigger, you may experience that it becomes heavier as well, which for some causes body aches such as back, abdomen or thigh pain.
Other changes in the body may include:
- Nipple changes – your breasts start preparing for breast feeding
- Round ligament pains – often triggered by movement
- Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts or thighs
- Patches of darker skin, often in the face
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers and face
- Frequent urination
- Belly button may pop out
You can feel the baby moving
In the second trimester you should start to feel the baby’s movements. At first, it is normal that the baby’s movements will feel like bubbles in the abdomen. Later, as the baby gets bigger, you will feel the baby’s movements as kicks. Don’t worry if you don’t feel anything in the first many weeks – it’s not until week 24+0 that you are expected to feel the baby’s movements every day.
3rd trimester (week 28-40)
The final countdown! In the third trimester the baby is growing fast and gets bigger and bigger every week. As the baby and the stomach grows, you may become more troubled physically.
Some of the discomforts you may have experienced in the second trimester will probably continue during the third trimester as well. Since the baby takes up more space in your abdomen, you may experience that breathing becomes more difficult and that you need to go to the bathroom more often. This is completely normal, since the baby takes up a lot of space in the stomach and puts pressure on your organs.
Some of the new bodily changes include:
- Shortness of breath
- Leaking of pre-milk from the breasts
- Even more frequent urination
- Trouble sleeping
- Braxton Hicks contractions, also called “practice” contractions helping the body practice for labour
The baby grows bigger
Since the baby is growing bigger each week, you should now feel strong kicks and other movements from the baby several times during the day. If you experience little or no movement during the day, you should contact your doctor immediately.
As you are moving closer to your due date, the baby will move lower into your abdomen and may turn into a head-down position to get ready for birth. Most babies turn head down, and your midwife or doctor can tell you how your baby is positioned.
Now the waiting time is almost over!
During the entire pregnancy, remember to…
Do your daily exercise!
Exercise during your pregnancy is good for you and the baby, and you should make sure you get your daily exercise during the entire pregnancy. If you are not used to exercising, you should start now. You can do anything from swimming to weight lifting to biking etc. Just listen to your body – it will tell you if you push it too hard.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important during the entire pregnancy, as it makes you feel good and provides the baby with the essential nutrients it needs to grow. Eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water during the day. You are probably more hungry than usual but remember not to eat for two – you don’t need that much extra food to feed the baby. Consult your doctor to get more advice on a healthy diet during your pregnancy.
Did you like this pregnancy guide for bodily changes during pregnancy? You may also like our post about how ovulation works.