What To Expect When You're Expecting - 1st Trimester
First of all, let us say congratulations! We are guessing that you may have just been informed by the trusty pregnancy pee sticks that you are expecting... and if it is your first, you may be wondering what happens now?! Well, let us enlighten you about those next steps.
We can imagine that you will be going through all sorts of emotions right now… and every single one of those emotions is okay to feel. Excitement, worry, anxiety, happiness, confusion… and the rest, we get it. You wouldn’t be human If you weren’t flooding with emotions right now. Don’t forget that the changes happening to your hormone levels can also make you feel emotional.
Contact your GP or Midwife
First things first, phone your GP and they will make a note and likely provide you with the telephone number of your local midwife team. You may also need to call your midwife team who will take your details including the date your last period started. They may even email you some useful information to read through for starters.
Your GP or Midwife should also advise you of the following:
- Folic Acid - It is time to start taking folic acid supplements if you aren’t already doing so. This reduces the risk of major brain or spine defects and is very important.
- Healthy diet, food hygiene and nutrition - There are some foods that aren’t recommended for you to eat during pregnancy as they pose risks, you can find out more about those here.
- Lifestyle factors - Sad news for some but it is time to put down that glass of wine and give up the alcohol for the duration of your pregnancy. If you are a smoker or recreational drug taker, it really is time to quit, but don’t worry there is support available and your midwife team will be happy to help you with this.
Should You Tell Anyone Your News?
Now, this is completely your choice, if you want to share the news then do so. We expect many of our friends and family to be supportive, but this is not always the case and something you need to be prepared for. Many couples simply choose to wait until they have had their first ultrasound scan at 12-weeks. The first trimester is not always plain sailing, as we wish it was, and very sadly (according to Tommy’s) 1 in 4 pregnancies miscarry so you can understand why some choose to wait until they are out of the initial 12-week period.
There are many apps available these days where you can find support from those in a similar situation to you, and this is something that we found really handy. Here are our suggestions:
- Peanut - We can only describe the Peanut app as Tinder but for friendships. You swipe right on women you want to connect with and the app is all about meeting women who are pregnant, or trying to conceive or even just looking for friendship. The idea is to offer each other support, have someone to chat to and so on. There are also various groups that you can join and ‘pods’ where you can voice chat in groups or listen to experts.
- Baby Centre - The Baby Centre App is for tracking the progress of your pregnancy. You can see where you are in each trimester, visuals of how big your baby is and a countdown of how many days until the due day. Baby Centre is packed full of useful information and a Birth Club network where you can post for and read advice from others. We love this app.
Usually around the 6-8 weeks point your midwife team will have organised a booking appointment for you. This takes approximately one hour and can either be a telephone appointment which is most common post-covid or if you are lucky face-to-face. They will discuss with you a variety of factors including your health, any conditions that run in your family, the health of your partner, your lifestyle and so on. It’s nothing to worry about and the midwives are very friendly! Around the 8-10 week mark you will be required to visit the midwife team for blood and urine tests to make sure your health is okay and if you require any further support, they will also hand you your booking appointment notes to keep and take to all your appointments.
May we say welcome to the world of pregnancy symptoms at this point. Many women notice pregnancy symptoms around the 6-week mark. That being said though, there is no one size fits all, so you may not be having any symptoms at all or you may have been having symptoms since the moment you missed your period.
Here are some of the most common symptoms and some potential remedies:
- Morning sickness – Morning sickness can be tough and can occur any time of the day. It helps to have a pack of digestive biscuits by your bed when you wake up as eating little and often tends to ease the queasiness. There are also acupuncture wristbands and various sweets, check out Myrtle & Maude’s website where you can find all these items.
- Tiredness – Tiredness is a super common pregnancy symptom, and it is important to let your body rest if you are feeling tired, remember your body is working overtime at the moment! There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting your feet up and having daytime naps, embrace it.
- Heightened sense of smell – Another common symptom, the ability to smell absolutely everything, this doesn’t really help with the nausea symptoms, but you may find it helpful to stick to blander ‘beige’ foods for now.
- Mood swings – Your body is being pumped full of extra hormones at the moment so you can be feeling tearful or easily irritated but as your body adapts to the higher levels of hormones this tends to ease off.
This is where it starts getting exciting, the 12-week scan! This is when you will be given your official estimated due date and is known as your ‘dating scan’. If you are anything like us, then we found that the first trimester weeks went by extra slow to get to this point. Add to that extra tiredness, morning sickness and sore (and possibly very large by this point) breasts and nipples (we have the perfect ointment for sore nipples, see here) It’s all worth it though right! Your ultrasound scan will usually be at your local hospital and is where you get to see that little growing baby for the first time. This is when the joy really begins for couples as you have successfully navigated through the first trimester, and many choose to announce their pregnancy to the world around this time.