Pregnancy by Trimester

Your body goes through a myriad of changes while you are pregnant. Below is a brief overview of your body's changes by trimester.

 

First Trimester – Every woman’s pregnancy experience is different in terms of symptoms.  For a mom, the first trimester is a time of significant change to your body. You begin to experience pregnancy symptoms - unique to you, but may include:

  • Nausea (morning sickness)

  • Fatique

  • Missed period

  • Tender breasts

  • Frequent urination

  • Lower backaches

To be more comfortable, consider going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. In most cases, these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. Some women might not feel signs of pregnancy at all! Recognize, each woman is different and so is each pregnancy.

 

Typcially, a routine ultrasound is given during the mom's first trimester, to verify that the pregnancy is viable and in the uterus.  
 

Second Trimester  – The second trimester for most moms typically means less nausea,  improved energy and little kicks coming from your unborn child. Your baby bump will become more pronounced as the baby continues to grow. 

As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:

  • Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain

  • Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks

  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples

  • A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline

  • Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.

  • Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.)

  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)


A second ultrasound is usually scheduled during this time (between weeks 18-22). This will give your doctor an opportunity to measure the baby, check all of the organs that are developing, and even be able to identify the gender of the baby. 
 

Third Trimester – Believe it or not, your belly can get bigger.  Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Plus, many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs. 

Some new body changes you might notice in the third trimester include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Heartburn

  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)

  • Your belly button may stick out

  • Trouble sleeping

  • The baby "dropping", or moving lower in your abdomen

  • Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labor

As you near your due date, your cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacing). This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process. Your doctor will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you near your due date.