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Your First Trimester: Here's What to Expect

Having a baby is one of the most exciting and joyous times in many people’s lives, but it can also be a time where you have a lot of questions… and maybe a little bit of fear.

Knowing what changes to expect, both physical and emotional, can help calm some of the fears, help you feel the joy and enjoy the time preparing for baby.

During your first trimester, your body starts producing hormones to begin nourishing your baby before tests and an exam can even confirm you’re pregnant. Here are all of the changes you can expect to experience during your first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Your Baby is Changing and Growing

Although you may not look pregnant yet, your baby is changing from a fertilized cell, to the embryo implanted in the uterine wall, to the size of a peach growing body systems and limbs. During the first trimester, your baby’s organs take shape and he or she will start moving.

During this trimester, your baby will develop arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes, as well as form skin, hair and nails. Their digestive system will begin forming in addition to the sense of touch, sense of taste and eyesight. During this time, muscles and vocal cords will form and your baby will start producing white blood cells, which fight off germs.

Your baby’s heart will begin to beat by week five and by week nine or 10, it will be stronger and more regular so that you’ll be able to hear it. Your baby’s brain will be developing and help him or her start moving their limbs by week 8.

Your Body is Beginning to Change

Even though you may not have a noticeable baby bump yet, a lot happens to your body in the first trimester that will undoubtedly make you feel pregnant. Your body is feeling the flood of pregnancy hormones, which have the job of preparing your body to hold and grow your baby.

Some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms you may experience include tender breasts, constipation, light spotting, fatigue, frequent urination, heartburn and morning sickness. The thing to know about morning sickness is that it doesn’t just occur in the morning, although for many the nausea is usually worse in the morning – and it could potentially get worse around week 5 of pregnancy. Morning sickness can last the entirety of the first trimester, but eating small, bland or high-protein snacks and sipping clear fruit juice or ginger ale can calm this symptom – you may even want to try doing this before you even get out of bed.

Although you may not feel the urge to nosh on ice cream and pickles, you may experience food cravings and changes in taste during pregnancy, beginning in your first trimester. A majority of women experience food cravings during pregnancy, and many also experience food aversions – you may feel like there are some foods you can’t stand to eat, smell or even been in the same room with, especially during the first trimester.

You’ll Gain Weight

Pregnancy is one of the few times in women’s lives when weight gain is considered a good thing, but you don’t want to gain too much weight. During your first trimester, your baby is still very small, which means you should only gain about three to six pounds. If you started your pregnancy underweight or overweight, your doctor may recommend adjusting your weight gain up or down.

Although you’re now carrying a baby inside you, you shouldn’t follow the old adage “eating for two” – you actually only need to eat an extra 150 calories per day during your first trimester. Since your baby is growing and needs essential nutrients and vitamins, add extra fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, milk and lean meat to your diet to get those extra calories the healthy way.