Going through the different stages of pregnancy
While we all know pregnancy affects a woman’s body a lot, it’s hard to understand in how many ways it actually does affect us. I have broken down the major changes your body goes through during the different trimesters to help you prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Let’s go!
Changes to your body in the first trimester
In the first trimester – the first 12 weeks – your body goes though a number of pretty big changes to say the least. Some of the earliest signs include mood swings and fatigue; needing to go the toilet often; heartburn and an upset stomach which could include morning sickness; and weight gain or weight loss. While this can cause a lot of discomfort for some women, luckily most of these symptoms will go away as you move through pregnancy. Go easy on yourself through this time and listen to your body – you may need to get more sleep and rest, or eat smaller but more frequent meals. Make small changes to your daily routine to see what works best for you.
Changes to your body in the second trimester
Those initial symptoms such as morning sickness and extreme fatigue should disappear, or at least decrease, as you move into the second trimester. But there are still major changes happening to your body which you should be aware of. As your body has been preparing for your baby’s growth, now is the time when it starts to show.
As your belly is growing, you will start to feel some aching in your body. Back pain and pelvis pain are quite common as your body is gearing up to make room for the baby and prepare you for the birth. Developing stretch marks is common during this stage, as is the development of darker patches on your skin including around your nipples but also in your face. Thanks to hormonal changes, many women experience fuller hair and fantastic skin – it’s that pregnancy glow that’s starting to show! But you may also become itchy and feel a tingly or numbing sensation in your hands, and swell up around your feet and ankles, as well as your face.
One of the best parts of this stage of the pregnancy is that towards the middle or the end of it, you’re likely to start to feel your baby moving around. As he or she is growing, you will now be able to finally notice this happening!
Changes to your body in the third trimester
Ok, we’re getting closer to bub’s arrival! As your baby keeps growing, you may find it more and more difficult to move around and even to breathe sometimes, and you will most definitely need to go to the bathroom more often – there’s simply not enough room in your body anymore. Any swelling of your body is likely to worsen as your baby makes you hold on to fluids. As your belly button may start to pop out, your belly is also likely to start to drop, meaning your baby has changed their position in preparation for birth. Other not-so-nice symptoms of late pregnancy include tender breasts which may leak so-called pre-milk, varicose veins and haemorrhoids… The things we go through!
Even everyday activities will take a lot of energy from you so make sure you take many well-deserved naps. While this may all sound draining, the good news is your baby is on their way. The further along you get, you’re more likely to experience Braxton Hicks contractions (tightening of your uterine muscles) as your body is gearing up for the real deal.
What is the fourth trimester?
While a pregnancy is normally defined into three trimesters, it’s also common to call your baby’s first three months after birth the fourth trimester. It’s called so because human babies still have a lot of developing to do once they have been born and go through a lot of changes during these first few months. Going from the enclosed familiarity inside mum’s womb into the big and loud world is a huge adjustment and keeping this in mind can make the transition easier for the whole family.
What was your experience going through pregnancy? And how was the transition for your baby in the so-called fourth trimester? If you have any tips on how to cater for your baby the first few months to ease the adjustment, please share them in the comments below! If you have any concerns throughout your pregnancy, see a doctor immediately.