Top 10 First Trimester Symptoms

With my two pregnancies, I had such differing experiences from start to finish.  Most distinguishably different was the first trimester.  With my first (Letoya, my daughter), I struggled to eat, felt exhausted and had zero energy.  I was basically a recluse, that came out only to work, then swiftly retreated to the comfort of my bed and complete darkness. With my second (Ethan, my son), it was a breeze!  I had a few mild food aversions and a slight slump in energy, but on the whole I felt fine.  This was a huge shock.  Whilst waiting for the symptoms to kick in, the first trimester flew by and I was fine!

I’ve summed up the top 10 pregnancy symptoms in the first trimester for you ladies, based upon my experience.  I hope that this provides a little insight and reassurance, that what you are experiencing is completely normal!

Pregnancy Test Picture

  1. Morning Sickness

Some of us get this to the point that we can eat only crackers, some do not suffer at all.  There are so many old wives tales surrounding morning sickness, that it is hard to separate the fact from the fiction.  I experienced morning sickness with my daughter but not my son.  A lot of people said that they had experienced it with one particular sex but not the other. There is no scientific evidence that would support this however.  What we do know is that it may stem from rising levels in oestrogen and progesterone.  Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, which can lead to certain potent smells causing bouts of nausea.

I found that it helped to eat small meals, with low fat content and zero spice/heat.  The dryer the better!  Also ginger biscuits really seemed to settle my stomach.  Most importantly, if you are not taking in enough food, make sure that you are drinking sufficient fluids.

healthy foods in pregnancy

2. Increase In Urination

Many women complain about the increased need to use the bathroom, especially during the night hours, which can cause a great deal of disruption.  This is due to the pressure on your bladder from your growing uterus.  Contrary to many opinions, this does start as early as the first trimester, not just when your baby is considerably larger.


3.  Fatigue

During early pregnancy your progesterone levels increase rapidly, which can make you feel like you need a nap, anytime, anywhere. This is one of the most common first trimester symptoms, that affected me greatly.

To combat this, I made sure that I kept a bottle of water and some high energy fruit on hand to perk me up, when I needed to be alert.  A lot of women suffer with anaemia in early pregnancy (which can cause a slump in energy levels).  If you think you may be suffering with this, please visit your doctor and he will be able to measure your iron levels, and if required, prescribe Iron tablets.

Wherever possible, take the opportunity to rest.  The dishes can wait.  As modern mums we have to juggle work, families and our wellbeing, so you need to make sure that take every opportunity to slow down.

sleeping baby

4. Heightened Emotions

During both of my pregnancies, I felt extremely emotional during the first trimester.  Of course a part of this was due to the new-found excitement and anticipation of impending motherhood, but things which seemed seemingly unimportant, suddenly had to be addressed and sorted then and there.  Managing the demands of pregnancy and the expectations for the future can seem daunting, so make sure that you lean on family & friends as much as possible.  Remember you are not alone.

5. Food Aversions & Cravings

Some people experience these and some do not.  With my daughter I found that I couldn’t stand to eat anything sweet or sugary.   This proved a huge challenge in the morning as I have started the day with a cup of tea with sugar since I was around 10 years old.  Chocolate, ice-cream, cakes… you name it, I couldn’t go within a foot of it.  I have heard of some very strange cravings, with everything from ketchup on cornflakes, to raw onions, to horseradish sauce.  You may experience both, one of these or none of these!

6. Heartburn

Pregnancy relaxes the valve between your stomach and oesophagus, allowing stomach acid to leak into your oesophagus, causing heartburn.  A friend of mine suffered so badly with heartburn, that she carried a bottle of Peptobismol in her handbag wherever she went.  I experienced it mildly and found that avoiding spicy and fatty foods really helped reduce the impact of heartburn.

first trimester 1

7. Constipation

To ensure that sufficient nutrients reach your growing baby, when you are pregnant, the movement of food through your body slows down.  Consequently, this can lead to constipation.  Eating a high-fibre diet and drinking plenty of fluids will really help reduce these symptoms.

8. Weight Gain

Whilst the phrase ‘eating for two’ is no longer one which you will hear muttered by a medical professional, you do need to eat an additional 150 calories in your first trimester, to support your growing baby.  Doctors suggest that you should be 3-6 pounds heavier towards the end of the first trimester.  Strangely, with the bad morning sickness and unfortunate food aversions that I suffered with, I found that I, in fact lost weight during my first trimester.

9. Breast Tenderness

This is considered to be one of the first signs of pregnancy, as the hormone changes in early pregnancy give way to tender breasts, as they prepare for feeding your baby.  Getting properly measured for a pregnancy bra greatly helps in aiding comfort.

First Trimester

10. Dizziness

The increased levels of progesterone in your system can contribute to lightheadedness by making your body “run hotter” and causing blood vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure.  In addition, morning sickness and food aversions can lead to a decrease in your blood sugar levels, which will make you feel light headed.  Make sure you have a bottle of water on hand at all times and some high energy food to combat this.  Don’t be afraid to go at a slower pace and take your time with tasks you would previously breeze through.

For me, I found the first and last trimester’s the most challenging.  But I found that eating a balanced diet and light exercise really helped to keep my energy levels at a manageable level and reduce discomfort.  Whilst we are encouraged to slow down during pregnancy, I am a firm believer that we, as hunter gatherers by design are not meant to be sat down and immobile for any significant period of time.  Getting outdoors in the fresh air and being active helps both physically and emotionally during all stages of pregnancy.

And keep in mind, nine months will fly by and before you know it you will be meeting your little one!

Much Love,

Lisa xx

Which first trimester symptoms did you struggle with the most? Did you have any strange cravings?

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