Your First Trimester

Words by Megan Jane

Acne

Just when you thought the days of teenage acne were over! With all that increased hormonal activity going on inside, it can in some women cause adult acne, don’t stress it will subside as the weeks roll on and the placenta picks up more of the hormonal load, even if it doesn’t don’t stress yourself over it. It will lessen once baby is earth side.

Back pain

Back pain has two primary causes the first is simply because of our expanding uterus which stretches our abdominal wall as your baby grows. Due to our abdominal wall being stretched beyond it’s normal capacity it’s reduces its ability to perform its regular function such as maintaining good posture. The second reason is a hormone called relaxin which relaxes our ligaments and tissues that will stretch as the pregnancy progresses to accommodate your growing baby. This is an important step in pregnancy as it prepares the body for the baby to be able to pass through the birth canal.

Breast pain

Is an extremely common pregnancy symptoms and generally regarded as one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, often described anywhere from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain. Breast pain/tenderness is the result of increased hormonal activity and blood flow to the area preparing them for their all important role of nourishing your baby.

Constipation

Constipation is a common complaint during the early stages of pregnancy, this happens because your bowel motions begin to slow down in order to completely absorb all the nutrients from the foods you consume, this is all thanks to progesterone which ramps up production.

Cramping

This can be scary symptom and something I experienced around Week 5 to Week 7 of my pregnancy but also completely normal, this is because your uterus is expanding to accommodate your growing baby, they are often described as light/dull period cramps. If accompanied with any spotting or bleeding, please consult with healthcare provider, this again may not be a cause for concern but it is always best to air on the side of caution.

Extra saliva

Completely normal and usually subsides as the weeks roll on

Fatigue

Is probably one of the most common pregnancy symptoms after breast pain, and rightly so there is a lot of changes going on inside your uterus, hormones and blood volume are increasing and your baby is growing at lightning speed even if you can’t see it. Making a baby is hard work so remember to rest.

EarlyPregnancyTimeline_9and10

Flatulence

During our first trimester progesterone is significantly increased which relaxes the smooth muscle tissue in our bodies including our gastrointestinal tract resulting a slowed digestive system and excess gas. This pesky symptom may abate temporarily but will most likely return in the latter stages of pregnancy simply due to your baby overcrowding your stomach, which slows digestion even more.

Headaches

Hormones are of course the culprit yet again but can also be the result of dehydration, increased hunger during pregnancy, sinus congestion and allergies.

Heartburn and indigestion

Is all too common in pregnancy and is the result of increased progesterone which relaxes the smooth muscle tissue in our bodies including the sphincter at the top of your stomach which is responsible for ensuring food contents don’t pass back up through your oesophagus. This allows acidic digestive juices to easily pass into your oesophagus causing the classic heartburn feeling.

Increased urination

Heading to the loo more often? This is a fairly common complaint and occurs due to your expanding uterus placing extra pressure on your bladder in conjunction with all that extra blood that’s floating around needed for your baby’s healthy development

Increased vaginal discharge

Is completely normal though can be a little disconcerting at times in particular when you feel it running down your legs. This is the result of oestrogen which helps produce leucorrhoea a thin, milky vaginal discharge which helps protect the birth canal from infection.

Mood swings                                                              

Are at an all-time high during week 9 think crying at silly things to becoming a saber toothed tiger all in a matter of minutes and you guessed it hormones are the culprit. BUT this is only part of the story as the increased hormonal load also influences your brain’s neurotransmitter activity, and your neurotransmitters cause you to feel certain emotions. Some women find the mood swings even out as the week’s progress. I for one found my hormones levelled out around week 14, however I still find myself more emotional than usual.

Morning sickness, afternoon sickness, night sickness or just all day sickness

The cause of morning sickness is still largely unknown, however experts believe it’s due in part to the significant increase in hormones namely oestrogen and progesterone. I believe this only part of the story, yes the morning sickness is related to an increase in your hormones but my belief is that the extent to which we experience morning sickness (except Hyperemesis gravidarum, a medical condition which affects around 1% of women during pregnancy) is related partly to our bodies ability to detoxify the increased hormonal load.

Think liver and gut. St Mary’s Thistle is a very safe liver herb to use whilst pregnant that may help with the nausea, and a probiotic is a must! So enlist the help of a registered healthcare provider with experience in the area to get you on the right track.

Vivid dreams

Are one the more unusual pregnancy symptoms which healthcare provider attribute to hormones, more sleep and interrupted sleep.

This isn’t a complete list just the most common ones.

So ladies, what other symptoms have you experienced during your 1st trimester? Comment below, and I’ll add them on.

Also I highly recommend downloading one of the many pregnancy apps that are around these days, my favourite is Ovia Pregnancy. Ovia will send you a more detailed daily digest of things to expect every day and baby tidbits.

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