Pregnancy is a magical time of transformation, both for the entire family and for mom-to-be in particular. And while it is magical, between the physical changes, emotional experience, and lifestyle alterations, pregnancy can take its toll.
For many moms-to-be, knowing what to expect can diffuse some of the anxiety you may feel, giving you a sense of calm expectation. Read on to learn more about what happens during pregnancy. Whether you’re in your first trimester or in the home stretch, a little knowledge can give you a lot of power.
Experiencing the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can vary from person to person. Some women are sick and queasy from day one. Others not for one day. Some women don’t even know they are pregnant for much of the first trimester, while others feel implantation cramping and know from the first week.
Whatever your experience during the first weeks of pregnancy, there are some physical changes that are quite common:
- Fatigue – Don’t be surprised if you feel sleepy and tired during your first trimester. It takes a lot of energy for a baby to grow. Give yourself permission to rest whenever you feel tired.
- Nausea and Heartburn – In most cases morning sickness (which can happen at any time of the day) and heartburn will subside by the second trimester. Reducing stress in your life and eating small, frequent meals can help. Try sipping peppermint tea, nibbling saltines, and wearing looser fitting clothes to make yourself comfortable.
- Breast Changes – Breast tenderness and swelling are normal in the first trimester, and these symptoms generally subside by the second trimester.
The second trimester is often the easiest for moms-to-be. For most women, the nausea has subsided (no more turning green and running for the bathroom), the fatigue has abated (no more falling asleep at your desk or during dinner), and the hormones are manageable (no more crying during greeting card commercials). Your increased energy and more even emotions make this stage of pregnancy more pleasant and fun for most moms.
Here are a few new things you can expect during these vibrant weeks of pregnancy:
- Movement – During this trimester, you’ll begin to feel you baby’s movements – a flutter at first and more pronounced movements as the weeks progress. This is one happy indication that your baby is thriving.
- Breathlessness – As your baby grows, your uterus will expand, taking up space occupied by your lungs. Some shortness of breath is to be expected, but if your breathing issues become severe, consult your doctor.
- Changing Shape – Your bump is most likely bumping out now. Second trimester is the time to opt for the stylish comfort of maternity wear and supportive shoes.
During the final 13 weeks of pregnancy, you are in the home stretch. Your baby is completing his development and growing larger. It is a good time to prepare your home and your family for the arrival of this new addition. But it can also be a physically demanding time. Be sure to take good care of yourself and make time for a little pampering.
Toward the end of your pregnancy, you can expect to experience some of the following:
- Heartburn – As the baby takes up more room, your uterus will push on your stomach causing heartburn. Try eating smaller meals to prevent heartburn before it begins.
- Cramps and Aches – Your baby is growing, and you feel it – in your back and abdomen. Wearing supportive belly bands and using maternity pillows when you sleep can help you manage the aches of the third trimester. You may also experience Braxton Hicks contractions as your body prepares for childbirth.
- Swelling Feet and Legs – There is no better time to prop your feet up. The excess blood and fluid in your body can pool in your legs and feet, making them uncomfortable. Relax now and take it easy while you await your little one’s arrival.