We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – pregnancy is a rollercoaster ride. There are lots of highs and plenty of lows as your emotions take over and your body changes. It can be overwhelming, and each trimester of your pregnancy will throw something different at you. But it is also incredible, as your body adapts to grow a healthy baby.
So what can you expect during pregnancy? We’re going to take a look at 12 common pregnancy symptoms over each trimester, that is completely normal. Every woman is different, so you may experience only a couple of these symptoms, or you might have them all. Whatever the symptoms, you should admire your body for the exciting and powerful journey it’s undertaking.
The symptoms of your first trimester are usually the first indicators letting you know you are pregnant.
Missing Your Period
Every woman knows that this is one of the first signs that you could be pregnant. For women who are fortunate enough to have a regular period, being late is an indicator that you might want to take a pregnancy test. This can be done with a home test or at your doctor’s.
Nausea and Vomiting
A common symptom associated with pregnancy is feeling nauseous and being sick, widely known as morning sickness. Don’t be fooled by the name, however, as morning sickness can occur morning, noon, and night.
Around 50% of women will experience nausea and vomiting, which usually begins around the second and third months of pregnancy. Sometimes these symptoms are linked to food cravings or even food aversions, feeling nauseous with food that you would normally enjoy.
Having tender or aching breasts is also an early sign of pregnancy. The reason that the breasts become sore is because of fluid retention, and the milk glands increasing.
The swelling is also due to the fatty tissue, which increases with pregnancy hormones. This discomfort will usually disappear over the weeks, as your body begins to adjust to the hormonal changes.
As the level of pregnancy hormones increases, the side effects can make you feel tired and drowsy. The main hormone linked to causing fatigue is progesterone. Thankfully, this fatigue doesn’t linger and usually disappears after the first three months of pregnancy.
At this stage of your pregnancy, a small bump will begin to show the first obvious physical signs of being pregnant.
Changes To Your Skin
Skin changes during pregnancy can be so varied. While some women experience ‘glowing’ skin, others might experience heat rashes, stretch marks, and itchy skin. Other changes to your skin could be spider veins, blotchy skin, darkening skin, or even new moles.
Stretch marks are common pregnancy symptoms, which occur as your stomach expands. Glowing skin is a widely recognized symptom, usually in your face, which happens as your blood volume increases. Your complexion might also become oilier, along with sweating more than usual.
This symptom is lesser-known, but still affects 20% of pregnant women. Known as pregnancy rhinitis, this nasal problem is due to the inflammation and swelling in the nose. The side effects of this are sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, and postnasal drip. While these symptoms aren’t painful, they can be uncomfortable and irritating, even impacting your sleep. However, pregnancy rhinitis generally only last 6 weeks.
Dizziness is a common pregnancy symptom that can happen in both the second and third trimesters. The reason for this is that the uterus expands and pushes on the veins that return blood from the legs. As you stand up or change positions, you might notice you feel light-headed and unstable because there is a decrease in blood flow to your brain.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by moving or standing up slowly so that your body is able to regulate itself as you change positions.
Painful Leg Cramp
This pregnancy symptom often happens at night when you’re trying to sleep. Through both the second and third trimesters, leg cramps are a fairly common pregnancy symptom, which thankfully only lasts a few minutes.
There’s no specific cause for this symptom, but it’s suspected that carrying the extra weight of the baby changes the blood circulation and puts stress on your leg muscles. The baby is likely putting pressure on your nerves and blood vessels in your legs, too.
You’ve now reached the final stage of your pregnancy, and are likely feeling tired and uncomfortable because of the extra weight from the baby.
Right when you need to sleep the most, a lot of pregnant women have trouble sleeping, sometimes even developing insomnia. While lack of sleep is frustrating, it can also lead to more serious conditions, like preeclampsia or longer labor.
Many pregnant women struggle to get comfortable enough to sleep in the third trimester because of their baby bump. Pregnancy rhinitis can also make an appearance at this stage. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is another common pregnancy symptom, where the legs develop the uncontrollable need to move while you’re resting, which can prevent you from sleeping properly.
When you do finally fall asleep, the need to use the toilet will probably waken you, because of the growing uterus puts more pressure on your bladder. Urinating frequently is a normal part of pregnancy.
Indigestion and Heartburn
At this stage in your pregnancy, the baby is taking up space where your stomach usually is. Because of this, it’s common to suffer from indigestion and heartburn after eating and drinking. You might experience bloating or nausea, or a burning sensation in your chest. The best way to prevent this is by eating smaller meals and avoiding spicy and rich foods.
As we mentioned earlier, throughout pregnancy, the skin can change, and stretch marks are often associated with pregnancy because 8 in 10 women will have them. Stretch marks tend to appear on the stomach and breasts, but they can also be found on your thighs and bottom.
Stretch marks are purple or red in appearance but mostly fade to silver after birth. The cause for stretch marks is because your skin stretches as the baby grows, along with the impact of hormones.
Swollen and Bleeding Gums
Despite being a less familiar pregnancy symptom, some women actually suffer from swollen and bleeding gums. Thanks to hormonal changes, your gums can become more susceptible to the build-up of plaque on the teeth, which causes the gums to become inflamed and start bleeding.
The best way to tackle this is by using a soft toothbrush if your gums are sensitive, and brushing gently in circles, up and down. Replace your mouthwash with an alcohol-free mouthwash as this will help reduce the chances of plaque build-up. Make sure to rinse your mouth with water if you suffer from morning sickness, to wash away the acid from being sick.