Those early pregnancy feels…
Anyone who has had a baby will know that the first trimester of pregnancy is the scariest. With a miscarriage rate of 1 in every 4 pregnancies, we spend that first 12 weeks spending most days feeling sick, anxious, happy and wondering if there is even a baby (or two!) in there. As a midwife and a mum myself, I wanted to create a list of normal pregnancy symptoms in the early days, to reassure you all that it is normal to feel like this! Here it goes…
- We are not crazy… our hormones are!
We get a massive increase in hormones in the first trimester, so progesterone, oestrogen and HCG all contribute to us feeling and acting in ways that only our monthly periods usually brings out in us! This is a whole new level of crazy though, and no matter what anyone says we can’t help but cry at the Sainsburys advert, or shout at our partners for buying the wrong chocolates – that is NOT what the baby was craving! These hormones will decrease after you have your baby, but will be replaced with a whole new level of emotion called, ‘being a parent’ – I could write a whole blog on just that emotion!
- We can’t help but wee 100 times a day.
Again, the lovely pregnancy hormones are doing their best to make sure you stay active and healthy, by running to the toilet every five minutes. Thought this was just a third trimester symptom? Think again! Frequent toilet trips are normal in early pregnancy, but if it stings or is painful when you wee you may have a urine infection, so best to get it checked out as, yep you guessed it, urine infections are more common in pregnancy – a little gift from mother nature! How kind of her!
- Nap times at 3pm are totally ok.
So it turns out that growing a baby is the most tiring thing you’ve ever done… who created 9-5 jobs when all you want to do is fall asleep at your desk when 3pm comes around? It’s not like you’re doing anything else to make you this tired? Right? – Well, wrong actually, because you are being a badass mumma and growing a tiny human being inside of you. It is the most important thing your body will have ever created, and your baby is literally sucking everything from you in order to grow (like a little parasite – ahhh!) so the reason you’re feeling tired? Because that baby is developing everything it needs to be a little person in 9 months time.
- Thought you’d got away without sickness? Think again.
If you’re lucky enough to not have sickness… skip passed point 4 and no need to gloat whilst you do it! If you are in the 70% of women who do experience morning sickness… read on. You find out you are pregnant at 4-5 weeks because the wee on a stick tests are SO efficient these days, then you spend two weeks feeling absolutely fine – no sickness! This is also normal, but apart from sore boobs and feeling like your period is about to start every day, there’s no other symptoms that tell you the baby is ok! Well wait until week 7, because without a doubt the sickness comes and it comes with a bang! Then you start to wish you were back in weeks 5 and 6 and feeling normal again. If you can make it through the next 4 weeks with your head in various sinks, toilet bowls, or like me a convenient bucket that you can throw up in whilst driving to see your next client – you will feel the sickness start to ease off around 10-12 weeks. This is because the placenta starts to work from this point, and the hormones start to settle down a bit. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, you may feel sick into the second trimester and even all the way through – I salute you. If you are unable to keep any food or fluids down, it is worth seeing your GP as you may have something called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
- Don’t even think about touching my boobs.
Partners listen up, our boobs may look bigger and more inviting, but the reality is they have never hurt so much, even the breeze makes them hurt! So don’t cuddle, squeeze, or even attempt to touch them until I say so (never!). This is due to our wonderful hormones yet again, and should start to feel a bit better in the second trimester. They are milk making machines now anyway, and with them being made specifically to feed our babies and give them the best start in life, it only makes sense that they belong to the baby now really!
- Bleeding and spotting
As if we aren’t scared enough in the first 12 weeks, some of us get bleeding in pregnancy too (whoever started this whole pregnancy business has a lot to answer for!) light bleeding and spotting in early pregnancy can be normal, and be either a sign that your baby is implanting into the side of your uterus, or something called breakthrough bleeding, which is down to – yes you guessed it – our hormones!! It can also be the first signs that you are unfortunately having a miscarriage. If the bleeding gets heavier, and you start experiencing cramps or period type pains alongside it, then it would be a good idea to contact your local early pregnancy unit to be seen. Lots of bleeds are unexplained, and people go on to have healthy babies at the end of it, so if you see some blood on wiping – don’t panic straight away, just monitor it and be seen in your EPU when you can.
If you managed to make it through all that, I hope you now feel a little reassured that all these symptoms are being felt by pregnant women all over the world. If you want some extra reassurance in pregnancy, download the Ask the Midwife app.
Written by Hannah Harvey, Midwife, mum of two boys and Founder of Ask the Midwife