Pregnancy Calendar

First Trimester

Body Changes | Self Care | Second Trimester

Body Changes

Baby Development
By the end of this trimester, your baby is about three inches long and weighs about half an ounce. The eyes move closer together into their positions, and the ears also are in position. The liver is making bile, and the kidneys are secreting urine into the bladder. Even though you can't feel your baby move yet, your baby will move inside you in response to pushing on your abdomen.

During the first 3 months of pregnancy, or the first trimester, your body is undergoing many changes. As your body adjusts to the growing baby, you may have nausea, fatigue, backaches, mood swings, and stress. Just remember that these things are normal during pregnancy, as your body changes. Most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And some women might not have any discomforts! If you have been pregnant before, you might feel differently with this pregnancy. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy. And, as your body changes, you might need to make changes to your normal, everyday routine.

During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even when you've had a lot of sleep at night. Many women find they're exhausted in the first trimester. Don't worry, this is normal! This is your body's way of telling you that you need more rest. After all, your body is working very hard to develop a whole new life. Tiredness will pass over time and be replaced with a feeling of well being and more energy. When you are tired, get some rest. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night, and a nap during the day if you can. If you feel stressed, try to find a way to relax. You might want to start sleeping on your left side, if you find it more comfortable. This will relieve pressure on major blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is even more important to be on your left side when you are lying down.

Morning Sickness
Morning Sickness, nausea and vomiting, is common during early pregnancy. For many women, though, it isn't limited to just the morning. Although it can seem like it will last forever, nausea and vomiting usually go away after the first trimester. Try some of these tips to help your nausea:

  • Eat frequent, small meals (6 to 8 small meals a day, rather than 3 large meals).
  • Avoid fatty, fried, or spicy foods.
  • Try starchy foods, like toast, saltines, cheerios, or other dry cereals. Keep some by your bed and eat them before you get out of bed in the morning and when you get up in the middle of the night. Also keep some with you at all times, in case you feel nauseous.
  • Try drinking carbonated drinks like ginger ale or seltzer in between meals.
  • Ask your health care provider if you should stop taking your prenatal vitamin for a while if it adds to your morning sickness.
  • Ask your health care provider if you should take vitamin B6 treatments for severe nausea and vomiting that doesn't get better with the dietary changes listed above.

Frequency of Urination
Frequent urination is common during pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, the growing uterus presses on your bladder. If you notice pain, burning, pus or blood in your urine see your health care provider right away. You might have a urinary tract infection that needs treatment.

Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and even fainting can occur at any stage of pregnancy, since there now is extra blood going down towards your uterus and legs. You can help relieve these symptoms by lying down on your left side. Or to help prevent them, try moving around more instead of sitting or standing in one position for a long time.

As your uterus begins to expand, you might notice you're constipated. To prevent constipation, try to eat fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole grain cereals or breads everyday. Also, try to drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday. Some of these servings can be substituted with fruit or vegetable juice. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other sodas), since caffeine makes your body lose fluid and won't help with constipation.

Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
During pregnancy, pressure on the large veins behind the uterus causes the blood to slow in its return to the heart. This can lead to varicose veins in the legs and hemorrhoids (varicose veins in the vagina or around the anus). Varicose veins look like swollen veins raised above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted or bulging, and are dark purple or blue in color. They are found most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg, anywhere from the groin to the ankle. You can try to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy by:

  • Sitting with your legs and feet raised when possible. If you work at a desk, you can prop your feet up on a footstool, box or several books. Or when relaxing at home, keep your feet up on a footstool, some pillows on the couch, or another chair.
  • Avoiding tight knee-highs or garters.

Nosebleeds, Nasal Stuffiness, Bleeding Gums
These are the result of hormonal effects on the tissues of your throat, mouth, and nose. They usually are not serious, and you might not even notice them. When you blow your nose, you might see a small amount of blood in the tissue. Blow gently, and stop a nosebleed by just squeezing your nose between your thumb and finger for a few minutes. See your health care provider, though, if you have nosebleeds that do not stop in a few minutes or happen often. Any nasal stuffiness that you have during pregnancy should not be extreme and can be helped by drinking extra water, or with using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom. Talk with your health care provider before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicines for colds or nasal stuffiness. You can help bleeding gums by brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily.

Leg Cramps
At different times during your pregnancy, you might have cramps in your legs or feet. This is due to a change in the way your body processes, or metabolizes, calcium. One way to prevent these cramps is to make sure to get enough calcium through nonfat or lowfat milk, and calcium-rich foods. You also get some calcium in your prenatal vitamin, but you might need to take a calcium supplement if you don't get enough through your diet. Talk with your health care provider first about taking calcium supplements.

You can relieve leg and foot cramps by gently stretching the muscle. If you have a sudden leg cramp, flex your foot towards your body. If you point your foot to stretch your leg, the cramp could worsen. Wrapping a warm heating pad or warm, moist towel around the muscle also can help the muscle to relax.