Skip to main content

What are some common first trimester pregnancy symptoms? What to expect

Pregnancy is an amazing process that’s full of wonder. Once you get past the initial excitement of finding out that you’re expecting, you wait for those first fluttery kicks. Then you get to see your baby for the first time via ultrasound.

In the meantime, however, the first trimester has its own set of signs that might leave you perplexed. Finding out more about the first trimester symptoms and what to avoid during this early phase of pregnancy might help to clarify your questions.

Lady sitting at edge of bed with her hand on her mouth
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Common first trimester symptoms

As you start out on your pregnancy journey, you’ll notice changes right away — both physical and emotional. For example, you might experience morning sickness which ranges from minor nausea in the early hours of the day to constant vomiting. Some women also complain of a constant queasiness during random times of the day while others do not suffer from morning sickness at all. Ironically, your best option for avoiding morning sickness is to refrain from going on an empty stomach all day and to eat much smaller meals about six times a day.

Another common symptom is fatigue which, oddly enough, doesn’t correlate to your sleep patterns but rather hormone changes. During the first trimester, your body produces more progesterone which causes you to feel more tired for no apparent reason. Fortunately, you can offset the pregnancy fatigue by maintaining a well-balanced diet and getting some light exercise like walking.

Other common first trimester symptoms include:

  • Cravings
  • Aversions to certain flavors or odors
  • Tenderness in your breasts
  • Changes in your complexion or “pregnancy glow”

All these symptoms can be attributed to rapid hormone changes taking place. However, these alterations serve the purpose of paving the way for the baby’s development and birth.

Unexpected early pregnancy symptoms

At the same time, some first trimester symptoms arrive unexpectedly. You might not expect these physical changes to relate directly to pregnancy, yet they do.

For example, the feeling of dizziness and being lightheaded is caused by alterations in your blood circulation. Due to the effort your body exerts puts forth to protect and nourish the developing child, more blood is produced and therefore, circulated around the body at a rapid pace. As a result, you might feel dizzy at times. Another contributing factor involves the morning sickness because of impending dehydration or lack of food.

Other early pregnancy symptoms that might occur at this time include:

  • Prominent veins due to the increased circulation
  • Sharp cramping caused by implantation of the embryo
  • A milky discharge brought about by rapid vaginal cell development
  • Mood fluctuations caused by hormonal changes

Additionally, you might notice some deep brown spotting. However, you shouldn’t be alarmed because this is caused by implantation as well.

Doctor talking to pregnant patient
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What should I avoid during my first trimester?

If you think you might be pregnant, or you have been trying to conceive, you should avoid the following as a precaution:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco and nicotine products
  • Undercooked or raw meat
  • Processed deli products
  • Unpasteurized beverages
  • Excessive amounts of caffeine

Also, you may have heard the old saying about “eating for two”. However, according to JoLyn Seitz, MD of Sandford Health, a baby has an increased risk of obesity in later years if the mother gains too much weight while pregnant. She also recommends saving the extra calories for the second and third trimesters.

Plus, pregnancy gets you out of one household chore: cleaning the litter box. The cat’s box often contains parasites which can be harmful to both mom and baby. Therefore, your safest bet is to ask your partner or a friend to take on this chore.

In addition to these precautions, you’ll also need to stay away from saunas and jacuzzi tubs. During the first trimester, you risk a miscarriage due to overheating and dehydration. Once you become pregnant, your body can’t dispel heat as efficiently. Also, the high body temperature may have detrimental effects on the baby’s well-being, especially during the first three months.

Now that you have become more aware of the first trimester symptoms and have a deeper knowledge of what to avoid during this time, you might not be as surprised by the changes your body is experiencing. Pregnancy carries its own special memories and milestones. The first trimester is just the start of a life-changing, exciting journey.

Editors' Recommendations

Leslie Anderson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Leslie Anderson is a freelance writer/writing coach from Roswell, N.M. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and helping students…
Glass vs. plastic baby bottles: Here’s what doctors have to say
How to choose the best bottle for your little one
A cluster of different baby bottles in a bowl.

Having a baby can be overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. It means making endless decisions about day-to-day activities and how they can impact the baby's safety. Even something as simple as choosing the type of bottle to use becomes an important decision. Glass vs. plastic baby bottles: Which is a healthier choice?

A baby's bottle is a vital purchase, and it's certainly worth exploring all the factors when it comes to glass or plastic baby bottles for health, convenience, and cost concerns. There are trade-offs to consider with each. So, here's what parents need to know when it comes to glass vs. plastic baby bottles.
The scoop on plastic baby bottles
With all the concerns around chemicals in plastics, it's natural for parents to wonder if anything from a plastic baby bottle might find its way into their baby's milk.

Read more
What is a baby sprinkle (and how to plan a great one)
Why you should at least have a baby sprinkle even if you already have a child
Cake for a baby shower.

We all know the standard pregnancy celebrations. We've seen gender reveal photoshoots all over social media and have been invited or know someone who has gone to at least one baby shower. But what about when someone is having a second baby? Or is having the first girl after two back-to-back boys? Well, that's where having a baby sprinkle comes in handy. Whether it's been a few years since the last little one or you're having one of the opposite gender and only need a few items, here's why a baby sprinkle is the perfect way to welcome this new addition.
What is a baby sprinkle?

If you don't know anything about pregnancy parties, think of it in scientific terms. What is a shower versus a sprinkle when it rains? Not as much water for one as the other, right? Take that and apply it to a baby shower versus a baby sprinkle. Think of a baby sprinkle as that grocery trip where you only need the fillers, and you're not restocking the whole kitchen.
If you already have a baby
If you are parents to one child (or two or three), you probably have most of the stuff you need from the last child. But if there were items you wish you would have grabbed for the first one or you have a list of needs for this next baby, a sprinkle is the perfect forum to get those goods.
If it's been a few years since you've had a baby
Even if you already have a child, maybe this next one is a few years further away than you wanted or planned. A baby sprinkle is the best way to get those items you may have donated, lost, or broke with the first kiddo.
If you have only one gender but find out you are having the other
Have all boys? You will want a sprinkle to get some girl items. Have only girls? You might use a sprinkle to get at least one item that isn't pink. Not that certain colors are meant for boys or girls, but maybe you had a Minnie Mouse-themed nursery, and you'd like your first boy to have a new theme for their nursery.
Let's sprinkle the details
A baby sprinkle isn't going to be exactly like your baby shower. It's more of a low-key event, should be less stressful, and is less formal.

Read more
What it means if you lose weight during pregnancy – and when to worry
What causes a pregnant woman to lose weight?
A pregnant woman holding her belly in a bathroom

Weight gain is a very real, very normal, and very expected part of pregnancy. Most people are prepared to see the scale going up as their pregnancy progresses, but sometimes they may notice it going down, which can cause some anxiety. Pregnancy requires extra calories and extra nutrition to feed a growing baby, which is why it can be very concerning when a pregnant person notices they are losing weight.

Weight loss during pregnancy may be more common than you think. It isn't necessarily cause for alarm unless it's a consistent pattern throughout the pregnancy and not just a short-lived dip on the scale. Many factors can cause a pregnant person to lose weight, but that doesn't mean it can't be concerning when it happens. You should always consult your doctor if you're concerned about your weight gain or loss during pregnancy, but if you've found yourself asking, "Why am I losing weight while pregnant?" here are a few possible explanations.
It's not uncommon

Read more