What to Expect in the First Trimester

You just found out you’re pregnant, and you have a lot of questions. Both you and your baby will change in amazing ways during this first trimester, which lasts about 13 weeks!


How will my body change?

Throughout the first trimester, 70% of women experience morning sickness. Typically the nausea and vomiting subside in about 12 weeks.

Some helpful tips:

  • Eat saltine crackers, pretzels, or dry toast before getting out of bed
  • Wait 10-15 minutes before getting out of bed in the morning
  • Eat smaller frequent meals
  • Avoid greasy foods, spicy meals, or food and drinks high in acidity. These are also helpful suggestions to combat indigestion and heartburn.

Pregnant women often experience fatigue and being more tired than normal, so it is helpful to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, take naps, eat well, and exercise to help provide more energy.

You may experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing your teeth, so be sure to use soft bristle brushes and see your dentist regularly during your pregnancy. Some moms experience minor aches, pains, and discomforts, including headaches, so be sure to drink plenty of water and limit your caffeine intake.

You may notice an increase in urination along with food cravings and aversions (hormones create your senses to change causing you to be more sensitive to smells and taste of foods).

Other common symptoms of pregnancy include breast tenderness or soreness, and by your 6-8 weeks of pregnancy, you may notice your breasts getting larger. Pregnant women’s breasts will continue to grow in size and feel heavier throughout this trimester. You may even notice veins on your breasts becoming more noticeable as blood supply increases to fuel the growth of the breast. Your nipples may also become darker, and at about 12-14 weeks, your breast begins to produce colostrum which is the fluid your baby will receive before your milk comes in.

Another very common symptom of pregnancy includes feeling more emotional than normal; this is related to the hormones changing in your body. Give yourself some grace and be aware of other factors that may play into your emotions (blood sugar plunges – limit your sugar and caffeine intake to avoid blood sugar crashes and spikes; get your rest and exercise- helps with feeling overly tired and irritable).


How will my baby change?

One week after conception, the embryo begins to implant in the lining of the uterus on about day 6 (this may cause mom some normal cramping and sometimes a little pink to brown discharge). At 3 weeks after conception (5 weeks gestation), the heart, which is the size of a poppy seed, is the first organ to function.

By the end of the first month of life (6 weeks gestation), the baby measures about 1/8 inch long, the entire central nervous system develops including the brain and spinal cord. Arm and leg buds are visible, and the eyes are developing. On an ultrasound, the heart can be seen beating.

By the end of month 2 (weeks 6-8), all major organs are present as well as tiny fingers and toes buds with unique individual prints. The eyes and ears are forming along with tooth buds for baby teeth to take shape in the jaw.

By the end of month 3 (weeks 9-12), the face has formed with eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Bones and muscles begin to develop. Babies can swallow and make fists, and on ultrasounds, babies can be seen sucking their thumbs.


Final Thoughts

Pregnancy can be difficult or even scary, but it is amazing to see your body change and adapt as it creates and sustains life! If you feel alone, unprepared, or afraid during your pregnancy, please reach out to our nurses at Dakota Hope.


-Nurse Mandy, RN



professional, C. C. medical. (n.d.). Morning sickness: When it starts, Treatment & Prevention. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16566-morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy

Focus on the Family. (2020). The First 9 Months [Brochure].

Heritage House ’76, Inc. (2021). Your Body and Pregnancy [Brochure].

O’Connor, A. (2022, January 5). Sore and Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy. What to Expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/gums-bleeding-sore.aspx

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