The first time I was pregnant this blog was inexistent and the notion of blogging was not on my radar, that is why I don’t have many pregnancy posts.
However, the second time around has really gotten me to really get into writing about pregnancy because well now I have the first-hand experience that I could record!
And one of the things that have been on my mind during this first trimester is all of the ‘awesome’ symptoms that I forgot came with pregnancy.
These are the symptoms I (and other moms) noticed even before I took my first pregnancy test.
Getting pregnant is a major life decision, so it is no wonder why most women can’t wait and look into knowing what these VERY early pregnancy symptoms are so as to find out sooner!
So, I have compiled a list of early pregnancy symptoms that you could identify well before your missed period (and a few interesting others that join in the list throughout your first trimester).
I have also included tips and hacks for how you can manage them PLUS warning signs you should watch out for with each symptom!
Beware, it’s a long post because it is really thorough, so if you just want to know the symptoms you can scroll through the numbered headings.
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Disclosure: I have included affiliate links to products that I have used and enjoyed. These are for your convenience. I do receive compensation without any increase to your own price.
Possible Pregnancy Symptoms Before Your Missed Period
In the list of first-trimester pregnancy symptoms, some start even before you miss your first period!
So, if you are impatient to wait for the official pregnancy test you can find out earlier by looking out for these:
1. Mild Cramping and Slight Spotting (False Period)
Menstrual-type cramping and even slight bleeding can occur early on in pregnancy.
Because these can resemble the start of a period, they are often mistaken as such although they are not as intense.
These symptoms, primarily the spotting, occur as a consequence of the fertilization process in conception that is referred to as implantation (1).
Implantation is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, and it usually occurs 6 to 12 days after fertilization (1).
The cramping is caused by the expansion of your uterus as it prepares for the growth of your baby.
I experienced mild cramping, although not spotting, early during both pregnancies, so I was pretty confident that I was pregnant before I even took a pregnancy test.
However, every woman’s body responds differently, so definitely don’t rely on anyone symptom as a tell-tale sign of pregnancy.
Things to Watch Out For
Although mild cramping and light spotting are normal, there are signs that should cause concern.
Mild, transient cramping in early pregnancy is completely normal (3).
What should raise concern is if your cramps become intense, one-sided, and/or persistent which could be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy (3).
An ectopic pregnancy is when implantation occurs outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes, and symptoms of this arise primarily around 6-8 weeks of pregnancy but it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for them early (3).
Heavy bleeding, especially if accompanied by cramping, should also raise concerns and prompt an immediate phone call to your practitioner.
These could be indications of miscarriage, although not absolute it is still safer to err on the side of caution and get everything figured out (3).
What You Can Do:
This, as with the next tip, is considered to help with reducing round ligament pain, which is primarily felt during the second trimester.
However, I experience cramping when I would get up too quickly quite early in the first trimester.
So, if you are dealing with uncomfortable cramps, something as simple as slowing down your movements can make a notable difference in mitigating the pain.
If you notice that your normal exercise routine is contributing to the discomfort, that might also be a sign to take it easy, at least until your body is able to bounce back.
And avoid lifting heavy objects as much as possible as this has been known to contribute to low birth weight and preterm labor, not to mention that it increases the severity of postpartum diastasis recti and can potentially cause a hernia (2).
Dehydration causes electrolyte imbalance which leads to cramps, among a host of other symptoms, which is why it is so important to monitor your fluid intake, especially during pregnancy (4).
It is recommended that pregnant women consume between 8-10 8 oz cups of water daily, but you should definitely talk with your doctor when considering your own personal case (5).
Your daily quota also includes water derived from foods like fruits, vegetables, and soups, so don’t freak out thinking that’s the amount of water you have to jug down in a day.
To make it easier you can always invest in a large water flask.
I own the 32 oz Hydroflask and it keeps me mindful of the amount of water I drink, especially once pregnancy brain starts to kick in.
I know that if I have to refill my flask once throughout the day, then I’m on track!
Heat is a well-known remedy that has been known to reduce the pain associated with cramps (6).
Just as you would with menstrual cramps, you could apply a heat pack or a warm water bottle to the area to reduce the pain, just make sure that there is a barrier between your skin and the source of heat.
Taking a relaxing warm bath is also effective in reducing cramping pain.
2. Nausea and Potential Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are referred to as morning sickness, although they aren’t limited to just mornings.
The cause is thought to stem from an increase of hormones and, in some women, it can begin as early as 2 weeks lasting usually through mid-pregnancy (4).
I experienced pretty severe nausea, though I was spared the vomiting, during both of my pregnancies.
Although there isn’t much that you could do to prevent them as it really depends on how your body responds to pregnancy, there are ways you can mitigate triggering these symptoms.
Things to Watch Out For:
Dehydration is a serious complication of vomiting, so if you are constantly vomiting, are unable to keep any fluids down, and are losing weight, you should definitely contact your doctor.
Other common symptoms of severe dehydration to keep an eye out for are dizziness, lethargy, and dark foul-smelling urine (11).
Sometimes that morning sickness might not be pregnancy morning sickness after all.
If you notice that you are also coming up a fever, be it even low-grade, your symptoms might be a sign of infection instead of the hormonal implications of pregnancy.
Call your doctor if you have any suspicions!
What You Can Do:
Certain prenatal vitamins can trigger nausea/vomiting especially if taken on an empty stomach.
That is why it is best to take them either before bed (with a small snack) or after meals and always with water.
Reading the instructions on the label when taking your vitamins can really help if you want to avoid worsening your symptoms.
Also, make sure that you’re eating healthy and not supplementing an unhealthy/depraved diet as this could also contribute to the negative triggers (7).
You will likely be a lot more sensitive to smells during pregnancy.
It is even thought that this heightened sense of smell is the reason for “morning” sickness (9).
DID YOU KNOW?
A study found that anosmic women, or those born without a sense of smell, didn’t experience morning sickness (10).
You will find that avoiding triggering smells could actually help reduce your own nausea and vomiting.
Try to eat more often though in smaller increments, so that means shooting for six small meals versus three large meals throughout the day.
The reason is that both overeating and not eating enough can make your nausea worse.
Overeating increases your likelihood of indigestion while an empty stomach leaves nothing more than your stomach lining to be digested, which also triggers nausea (8).
You should also try to always have healthy snacks on-hand as you never know when hunger will strike!
The food you eat can also affect your “morning” sickness, so it might be a good idea to start watching your diet!
Foods with a lot of spice and grease and those that are processed can further irritate an upset stomach, not to mention the fact that the latter two aren’t healthy for your pregnancy either (8).
The irony is that with pregnancy also comes unhealthy cravings, and mine during both pregnancies was spicy food.
It was only during my second pregnancy, when I started to do more research on pregnancy symptoms, that I actually was able to notice the association.
I’d crave spicy food and then wonder why I’d have terrible nausea soon after.
It beats me why we sometimes crave the very things that make us sick (of course not all mommas do) but that’s pregnancy for you!
So, pay attention to what you are eating, it will go a long way.
So, since we wiped out the bad foods, you might be wondering what it is you should eat in order to reduce nausea.
The answer is bland food.
Yes, not the answer you were probably hoping for, but trust me it is so worth it!
I, personally, noticed a huge difference in my morning sickness when I’d care to not only avoid the ‘No’ foods but I’d also try to stick to the ‘Yes’ foods.
Some ideas of what you could eat include anything that’s part of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) and raw foods like fruits and vegetables, especially if your nausea is pretty bad.
Eating soups was something that helped me a lot as they have a lot of veggies and they hydrate in addition to filling you up.
You should still try to keep a well-balanced diet and add in proteins when you see that you are able to hold them down.
The main point is to keep it healthy and light so that your stomach isn’t overwhelmed.
Drinking clear liquids like water, weak tea, and mineral water has also been known to help lessen nausea in some women (4).
However, for some women, these liquids can cause more nausea, this is when ice is a great alternative.
Anything cold, in general, has been known to be easier to keep down (8).
Just make sure you stay hydrated as dehydration is a huge risk factor when you’re dealing with vomiting and it will make you feel even worse.
Now we know that pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting can be especially intense in the mornings (hence “morning sickness”), so one thing that can help to alleviate the nasty symptoms is to snack smart before getting out of bed and before getting back into bed.
I say to snack smart because you don’t want to just eat anything, you want to eat something that will be light on the stomach (ie something bland).
These smart snacks include anything in the dry toast category like crackers, cereal, and pretzels, for mornings especially.
However, if your stomach can handle more, go for it!
Keep a small basket of these light snacks next to your bed, with a water bottle, for easy accessibility.
The whole idea is to keep your stomach from being empty and thus digesting itself.
And since we’re on the topic of mornings, remember to take it slow as jumping out of bed can also aggravate your stomach.
There are many remedies out there for morning sickness.
I will say that not all will work for you specifically, but they’re still worth giving a try!
Here are just a few:
Ginger has long been said to ease pregnancy nausea.
You can try drinking some ginger tea or ginger ale, or you can opt for some dried ginger.
There are also many recipes that include ginger so you’re not limited in the possibilities to get your daily dose.
Another neat option is to buy a ginger candle.
You don’t even have to eat anything to get some relief!
Alongside ginger, citrus has also been known to help ease nausea for some pregnant women.
Citrus, or anything sour for the matter, was definitely more effective against nausea during my pregnancies!
I will add that lemon/lime/orange infused water was always a better alternative to any sugary lemonade, at least in my case, as syrupy drinks can be difficult to hold down.
Sucking on a popsicle can both help ease nausea and help you keep liquids down.
You can also kick it up a notch and make them nausea popsicles by including things like ginger and citrus and have double the effectiveness.
In a world where it seems like everything possible has been invented, there are candies specifically catered to treating pregnancy nausea.
So you are basically treating yourself every time the queasiness strikes.
Finally, there are these neat wrist bands that you can get that utilize acupuncture techniques to minimize nausea.
They’re known to help with motion sickness, however, it has been a hit with many pregnant moms so much so that they created one specifically for pregnancy called Sea-Band Mama (you can check it out here).
3. Fatigue and Sleepiness
Are you suddenly feeling tired and sleeping all the time?
Fatigue and sleepiness is a very common symptom of early pregnancy.
The main reason for this is due to hormonal changes, or, more specifically, the increase in progesterone production once conception has been completed (12).
Other possible contributors to pregnancy fatigue include low blood sugar, low blood pressure levels, increased blood production, or broken sleep due to other pregnancy symptoms.
Our bodies really do take a hit creating an environment suitable for the growth of a little human.
In addition to the potential body changes listed above, it is important to note that all of the vital nutrients are funneled to support the growth of your baby before they make their way to your body.
So, your body isn’t only tired because it’s working so hard to support both you and your baby, but it’s also getting the leftovers in the process which is why nutrition is so important during pregnancy!
Things to Watch Out For:
Fatigue during pregnancy can be a sign of other more serious conditions.
Complications of pregnancy, like anemia and gestational diabetes, can also cause increased fatigue, which is why you need to always inform your doctor whenever you have new symptoms and especially ones of concern (18).
What You Can Do:
Junk foods are usually high in fats, sugars, and carbohydrates which are all notorious for spiking insulin levels, leading to crashes that leave you tired and, ironically, still hungry (13).
Additionally, carbohydrates also contribute to increased production of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate sleep and your mood (14).
That is why you should try to avoid those foods as they will only make you more sleepy.
Instead, focus on eating smaller, more frequent meals and low glycemic index foods (or, low sugar foods), like avocadoes, berries, and chia seeds, which will help keep both blood sugar and thus insulin levels down (15).
Before pregnancy, I tried to avoid day time naps because of how they can affect your sleep cycle if overdone.
However, if you are experiencing pregnancy fatigue, a short nap might be just what your body needs to get that extra boost of energy.
Some ways to make your naps more effective is to keep them short, between 10 and 20 minutes (although some research has shown benefits in taking naps as long as 90 minutes), take them before 3 PM, and take them in a dark and quiet room, if possible.
Once completed, be sure to slowly ease back into your daily tasks to give your body the time it needs to fully wake up (16).
A little bit of exercise can go a long way during pregnancy, especially when it comes to increasing your energy levels (17).
Even a short 10-minute daily walk can go a long way, just make sure to take it easy and not overdo it until your body is able to handle exercise that requires higher exertion.
Finally, make sure that you prepare your body for bedtime effectively so as to get the most out of your sleep.
Sometimes fatigue is associated with terrible sleep habits.
Some things you can do include taking a warm bath, and getting a massage (what a great excuse!), and avoiding screen time 2 hours before bed (blue light from our devices affects sleep!).
4. Tender and Swollen Breasts
Your breasts undergo significant changes during pregnancy due to hormones, as well.
These changes can occur as early as 2 weeks after conception (19).
In fact, it is the third most common reported symptom that indicated pregnancy for women (first being a missed period and second being nausea) (19).
Common breast changes in early pregnancy are tenderness (increased sensitivity to pain) and swelling.
Personally, I only experienced tenderness during the early stages of both of my pregnancies, swelling and growth were usually reserved closer to labor, so you might not necessarily experience both early on.
Other common symptoms that usually occur well into pregnancy are darkening of the nipples and areolas, growth and stiffening of the nipples, and colostrum production (20).
Things to Watch Out For:
Breast tenderness and swelling can also be indicators of a more serious disease like breast cancer.
Although the likelihood is low, especially if you are under 35, it is still good to check for as your breasts undergo changes (20).
Look out for unusual lumps, those that do not go away with warm compresses (clogged milk ducts, which can be relieved, are common during pregnancy), and always contact your doctor about any concerns you may be having.
What You Can Do:
Pregnancy is a great reason to go bra shopping.
The perfect bra should not only support your growing breasts, but it should also be comfortable as your breasts are very sensitive.
The best options for pregnancy bras include those that are wide banded, those that don’t have an underwire, and those that are made of cotton (especially for nightwear) (20).
You might also want to consider buying a cup size higher since you should expect significant breast growth through pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Or, if you don’t want to wing it when trying to guess what your cup size might be, you could purchase a bra that includes an extender.
I purchased this bra via Amazon and it worked out great!
It isn’t the cutest but I have been on the lookout for a more appealing though not less effective alternative and I’ll definitely share if I do find something better (if you have any suggestions, I would love them)!
Since your breasts are already super tender, any tight-fitting clothing will only irritate them further.
Opt for looser shirts and dresses for a more comfortable pregnancy.
Bonus is that both also work great if you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret through the first trimester.
You can only suck in that belly so much!
I still wonder why nipple covers were never recommended to me when I was pregnant as they work amazing during pregnancy, especially if you want to sometimes skip wearing the bra altogether (because yes!)!
If your nipples get extremely sensitive to any type of rubbing you can just simply cover them with these reusable, adhesive silicone covers.
They’re super easy to apply and remove (just be gentle), and if the adhesive starts to lose its stick just wash it off with some water and let it dry before using them again!
This one is an Amazon favorite and I love that it has a ‘lift’ feature as well, so your breasts get some support!
Some women find that applying a cold compress helps reduce breast discomfort while others find heat to be more effective.
You could try either to see which works better for you.
Personally, taking a warm/hot shower worked better to sooth my breasts than any cold pack could.
If your breasts have started to leak (although this will probably more common in the third trimester, nonetheless) you might as well start using nursing pads like you would one-a-day pads, just to play it safe and avoid embarrassing stains.
You never know what can trigger that colostrum to start discharging!
5. Increased Urgency of Bowel Movements and Frequent Urination
As your uterus begins to expand, your bowels and especially your bladder starts to feel pressure, thus increasing your trips to the restroom and the urgency at which you need to go (21).
Most women experience the frequent urge to pee, however, sensitive bowels seem to be a topic touched upon less.
I seem to deal with both during my pregnancies and the urgent bowel movements gave me the most trouble.
When I was pregnant and attending college with my first, I distinctly remember needing to always have a restroom in clear sight everywhere I went because out of nowhere I would need to go and fast!
Things to Watch Out For:
A common sign of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the frequent urge to pee, except, if you do have a UTI, your urine probably also burns and smells funky (22).
As we will cover later in this post, pregnant women are more prone to infections like UTI’s so this is not uncommon at all.
If you have any suspicion that you might have a UTI, contact your doctor promptly as complications of a UTI are more serious concerning during pregnancy!
What You Can Do:
Wearing tight leggings, pants, and underwear can put even more pressure on both your bladder and your bowels, not to mention cause overall abdominal discomfort.
That’s why opting for looser bottoms can actually help reduce the urgency, although slightly.
Other than that, there’s really not much that you could do except stay near the restrooms just until everything sort of regulates.
6. Constipation and/or Diarrhea
We already mentioned that early pregnancy hormone fluctuations mess with your digestive and renal systems making you need to go more often.
However, it doesn’t end there.
Depending on how your body reacts to the hormones, on the type of prenatal vitamins you take (because they play a HUGE role in this), and on the food that you eat early on in your pregnancy you can either have constipation or diarrhea or both (at different times of course) (23)!
Things to Watch Out For If You’re Dealing With Constipation:
A common complication of constipation is hemorrhoids.
This is probably the last thing you want to be included in the already long list of uncomfortable and unwanted pregnancy symptoms.
The easy solution, in addition to all of the others listed above, is to not strain when you go.
I know, easier said than done.
Some things you could do to help, though, is to drink a glass of prune juice, it will definitely help to get your bowels moving, or you could buy yourself the Squatty Potty and improve your bowels altogether (it gets you to sit in the correct “poo position” to help you go better)!
What You Can Do if You Are Dealing with Constipation:
Fiber will help with keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
Opt for high fiber foods like beans, whole wheat grains, and raw fruits and vegetables for easier bathroom breaks!
Exercise is another thing that helps your digestive system work better, on top of keeping you and your baby healthy.
Just make sure to take it easy especially if you don’t normally exercise regularly.
Make sure that you are drinking your daily quota of about 8 glasses of water a day or else dehydration will contribute to dry, hard to pass stools.
Also, one thing that really helps you go is prune juice (nurses gave me this when I was recovering from delivery my baby and it worked immediately!), so if you get really backed up definitely give it a shot!
If the constipation is really giving you trouble you could talk to your doctor about either getting a laxative or a magnesium supplement, which is also known to help against constipation (24).
Your doctor will be able to direct you to the safest and most effective medications.
Things to Watch Out For If You’re Dealing With Diarrhea:
A common complication of diarrhea is dehydration.
As mentioned earlier, this carries great risk to the health and well-being of both mother and baby, so try to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids.
Diarrhea could be an indicator of a more serious infection rather than just anxiety or stress.
If your diarrhea doesn’t go away after a few days, if you notice blood in your stools, if you have severe abdominal pain, or if you have a high fever above 102 F, contact your doctor immediately!
What You Can Do if You Are Dealing with Diarrhea:
You lose a lot of fluids with diarrhea, so staying hydrated is super important for both you and your baby.
Again, aim for between 6-8 glasses of water a day and remember fresh fruits and vegetables also count in fluid intake!
Diarrhea indicates that your stomach is upset.
In order to not aggravate it more, you will need to watch that you don’t eat foods that are difficult to process or those that make you go.
These include foods that are high-fat, heavily processed, high in fiber, heavily seasoned or contain dairy.
Foods that you should try eat are those that are bland and low in fiber.
This primarily includes foods that pertain to the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast.
Broth and plain boiled potatoes are also great options for a sensitive stomach.
All of these are thought to be easier on the stomach and helpful in solidifying your stools (25).
The last thing you could do to help restore the health of your gut is to eat probiotic foods or take probiotics (always consult your doctor before trying any treatment).
Although it might not necessarily make your diarrhea go away, it will overall help support your gut’s functioning.
If you can tolerate a probiotic yogurt or drink a day then you can do that instead of taking the capsules or drops, just make sure to ask your doctor if that is something they recommend in your particular case and which probiotics are safe to take while pregnant.
7. Headaches and Light-Headedness
Headaches and dizziness are very common symptoms in early pregnancy and they’re usually associated with hormonal and blood volume changes as well as changes in blood pressure, respectively (although, caffeine withdrawals are also something to look into!).
It takes a little bit for your body to adjust to the changes, but usually by the second trimester, these should subside, at least until the third trimester.
What is interesting is that if you do struggle with regular migraines prior to pregnancy, you can potentially have less while you are pregnant, although this is not exclusive (26).
Things to Watch Out For:
Feeling a little light-headed during pregnancy isn’t a cause for concern unless associated with vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain.
These are indicators of an ectopic pregnancy which is a life-threatening condition in which the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes (27).
Contact your doctor immediately if you notice/feel anything unusual.
You should also call your doctor if you experience blurred vision, rapid weight gain, upper right abdominal pain, puffy hands and face, and a fever, in addition to a headache (28).
These are warning signs of a serious pregnancy condition known as preeclampsia.
Although preeclampsia is more common in the second trimester, it is still something worth looking out for.
What You Can Do:
Although you can’t control your body’s response to changes in hormones and blood volumes, you can do certain things to lessen the likelihood of unwanted tension headaches.
Did you know that poor posture contributes to tension headaches?
That is the main reason why headaches return in the third trimester.
Body alignment is super important for more than just headache prevention in that it can also help prevent diastasis recti during your pregnancy!
I cover all the details of this in my blog post on how “10 Real Ways to Have a Belly ONLY Pregnancy and Prevent“.
Try not to wear heels as they shift your body’s center of mass causing terrible misalignment and thus poor posture.
What can also help improve your posture is investing in this pillow.
It is not only extremely useful during pregnancy, but its main contribution is during postpartum recovery!
Definitely worth the investment if you’re looking for an all-around useful mom item!
I will admit that one of my least favorite parts about the first trimester was how much sleep I was getting; too much, go figure!
That pregnancy fatigue really brings you down and you get very little work done, so if you’re like me this tip might not sound appealing (although I know most have no problem taking advantage of the excuse, haha).
However, skipping out on the extra rest will give you a headache, literally,
Fatigue is a sign that your body needs a break, if you push past it you will definitely feel it later.
So if you want to avoid some of those annoying migraines make sure that you schedule in some rest!
Try to take naps or short breaks in a dark, quiet, and cool room, if you can, for the best results!
Also, elevate your feet to promote circulation and get the blood better flowing towards your head.
Eating right and exercising can help reduce the likelihood of tension headaches as they both work to support the health of your body.
You want to watch what you eat as to avoid foods that are high in sugar and those that are known to trigger headaches (dairy, chocolate, peanuts, and processed meats) (26).
Eating sugary foods contributes to crashes in blood sugar which cause headaches.
Now, you want to make sure that you are eating small meals and still snacking often in order to avoid low blood sugar, just aim for healthier snack options like a granola bar or a banana.
Exercising works well in reducing stress and tension which can have many benefits beyond just headache prevention.
For headache relief specifically, try focusing on working those neck and shoulder muscles with light resistance exercises and stretches.
There are different forms of temperature therapy that can be applied depending on the type of headache you are experiencing.
If you are dealing with a tension headache (the typical headache without sinus congestion), applying a cold compress to the back of your neck for about 20 minutes should help reduce any muscle tension (26).
If you are dealing with a sinus headache (you are experiencing a lot of congestion), apply a warm compress to the areas around your eyes and nose (26).
Taking a hot shower or doing steam inhalation can also provide some relief.
8. Mood Swings
You probably already know from your period days that hormones do a great job of throwing our emotions out of whack.
Early pregnancy is not an exception, in fact, the surge of estrogen and progesterone can increase the number of neurotransmitters (chemical mood regulators) found in your brain, increasing the likelihood of mood swings (29).
On top of that, early pregnancy can be a pretty daunting stage, which definitely doesn’t help the fact that you’re already oversensitive.
I’m just here to reassure you that you aren’t crazy.
This is completely normal and it too will subside (although not completely go away until delivery).
In the meantime, here’s how you can cope.
Things to Watch Out For:
Sometimes pregnancy mood swings can mask a deeper underlying condition like depression, which is pretty common in childbearing women (29).
If you notice that your mood swings persist, you often feel anxious and upset, you have notable weight gain/loss, and that you have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and remembering things, reach out to a professional as ignoring will only exacerbate the symptoms.
You are not alone in this, remember that you have an incredible community of moms who get you and what you are going through!
What You Can Do:
Pregnancy is full of emotions: excitement, anxiety, joy and stress.
You might not be able to control the physiological changes happening with your body, but you sure can make it a priority to take care of yourself throughout.
It can definitely make things go a little smoother.
Make sure to get plenty of rest and go slow.
Eat well and exercise daily; a short walk can really go a long way!
Pamper yourself; do what makes you feel good.
Spend time with your partner as you will definitely cherish these moments.
And most importantly, take it easy and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Whatever it may be, it’s not worth it.
9. Feeling Bloated and Gassy
It might be more difficult to conceal your pregnancy in the first few weeks if you’re constantly bloated.
Pregnancy, due to progesterone, slows your digestive system in order to supply nutrients to your baby (amazing right?!), except that also means that your system gets backed up (mmm not amazing..) (30).
That’s the reason why you will feel bloated (and then gassy) between meals and bathroom runs and also why you also have sudden urges to basically completely empty out as soon as you eat again.
Oh, and you also have a growing baby that will keep on pushing onto your intestines and adding to the discomfort and gassiness.
So, what I’m trying to say is that this is normal.
Just as with nausea, most moms struggle with both bloating and gas during pregnancy.
You can’t completely prevent it, however, if you are looking to minimize both bloating and gas, here are some recommendations.
Things to Watch Out For:
This is not necessarily a health complication to watch out for, but it is, nonetheless, something important to note.
Many healthy foods that your growing baby needs can make you gassy, and although choosing to cut down a bit at certain times (like before going to something like an interview or date) won’t cause your baby any harm, choosing to completely eliminate them all together can be detrimental.
So, it’s definitely not worth it in the long run.
If anyone asks about the gas, just blame pregnancy!
It’s all-natural and necessary for a healthy and functioning body, ok!
What You Can Do:
We’ve mentioned the benefits of eating less but more often earlier when it came to reducing nausea, but doing so also helps reduce bloating and gas!
When you eat smaller meals, you prevent overwhelming your digestive system and reduce the likelihood that it will get backed up
Less food in between bathroom breaks means less gas and reflux, and since you’re just substituting by eating more often, your baby doesn’t miss out on nutrition (30)!
It’s a win-win!
There are so many benefits to eating slow!
One being that you usually end up actually eating less since you notice when you are actually full (so you’re not stuffed!).
Another benefit is that you don’t end up swallowing a lot of air when you slow down, which reduces the amount of gas buildup you get after a meal (similar to when you drink slowly).
Wearing tight bottoms that constrict your waistline will also make the discomfort worse and it will push down on your already crammed intestines.
Opt for looser bottoms and both you and your tummy will be happy throughout the day!
Constipation contributes to bloating and gassiness, so taking care to eat foods and drink liquids that support digestion could help ease those symptoms.
We’ve covered constipation earlier, so I’ll just briefly mention that drinking plenty of water and eating fiber-rich foods are your best bet if constipation has your system backed up.
However, as you’ll see by our next tip, you might want to not overdo it with the fiber foods if gas is your main concern.
Foods like beans, cabbage, onion, along with foods high in sugar and grease, all contribute to gassiness, pregnant or not (30).
So, choosing to reduce (but not completely cut out) your intake of these will certainly help minimize the bloating and gas.
10. Raised Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature is the temperature of your body when you first wake up.
Most women experience a rise in basal body temperature when they are ovulating and it usually subsides by their next period.
However, if your body temperature stays high for more than two weeks, you might be pregnant (31)!
Some people actually track their basal body temperature when they are looking to conceive, so that means that you could know that you’re pregnant before the pregnancy test!
Things to Watch Out For:
It’s important to not confuse a rise in basal body temperature with a fever.
A normal rise in basal body temperature during pregnancy should not surpass 100.4 F.
If it does, your body could be fighting an infection instead, which is normal also since your immune system becomes weakened early pregnancy.
However, that means that you should take care of yourself and definitely contact your doctor if the fever gets high as this can harm your baby!
What You Can Do:
Raised basal body temperature is completely normal and most women don’t even notice it, so it isn’t necessarily an issue “to manage” in early pregnancy.
I think it’s just awesome to know how our body works and being able to notice when you are pregnant by the way your body changes is just awesome!
11. Weird Discharge
We all know that all sorts of sticky messes are secreted by the lady downstairs, but did you know that pregnancy can actually increase the amount of those secretions?
So watch out!
You can expect to have white to pale-yellow, sticky discharge soon after you become pregnant and up until you deliver.
It’s caused by a combination of your hormones and an increased blood flow and it is there to minimize your likelihood of getting vaginal infections (27).
However, as you’ll see later on, it doesn’t prevent all infections since you are also dealing with a super weakened immune system.
So, here are some things you should do during pregnancy to manage the discharge correctly while still preventing infection.
Things to Watch Out For:
If at any point throughout your pregnancy you notice that your discharge starts to smell, sting, thicken or get watery, or become green, you should let your doctor know.
These are common signs of vaginal infections and they should be treated promptly (27)!
What You Can Do:
Pantyliners are a great way of keeping the area as dry and clean as possible, seeing that you change them out every so often, for both comfort and infection prevention.
You might be tempted to just lather the area with soap to get it cleaned up, but by doing so you can actually increase your likelihood of infection.
The discharge is there for a reason, and using soap will eliminate all of your body’s natural barriers to infection (like healthy bacteria!).
That’s exactly the reason why I ended up having a horrible yeast infection early on in my second pregnancy!
If you really want to clean the area up, just use water.
And always wipe front to back!
12. Food Aversions/Cravings and Intense Smell and Taste!
Wow, your sense of taste and smell really get stimulated during pregnancy!
It’s one of the reasons for all that nausea, which means that you probably already have developed some food aversions due to certain smells or even an altered sense of taste (yea, things taste different when you’re pregnant).
Mine got so bad that I just couldn’t eat anything I prepared because the cooking smells would make me nauseous.
But it’s not just food, it’s literally everything.
If there’s a whiff of it in the air, your nose will catch it!
Then there’s also food cravings and they’re usually associated with how your taste buds have adjusted with the pregnancy, although hormones play a big role as well (especially in early pregnancy, and they intensify as the pregnancy progresses!).
Things to Watch Out For:
Did you know that some women experience pregnancy cravings for non-food items like chalk and soap?
This is rare in developed countries yet it is still important to address as this condition is usually a response to either mineral deficiencies or anemia, both of which should be addressed if identified (32).
What You Can Do:
I wish I craved salads and fruits more than a bag of spicy chips, but sadly most of our most intense pregnancy cravings are usually geared towards foods that aren’t so healthy.
Some ways you could work to control those cravings is to keep yourself full by eating small meals or healthy snacks, eat foods that have a lower glycemic index (like oatmeal and fresh fruit) as they’ll keep you full longer, get your sleep, and don’t do the grocery shopping when you’re hungry (32).
Both food aversions and cravings can wreak havoc to that healthy eating plan you intended to have throughout your pregnancy.
If you notice that a food craving is causing you to indulge in empty calories or that a food aversion is causing you to repulse healthy foods, look for substitutes that your body can manage.
Giving in here and there won’t cause harm, but if you let it run your food intake, then it can become an issue.
If you’re like me and find that you have a hard time eating the food that you cook, maybe ask someone else to do the cooking instead?
I know it isn’t so easy to find someone willing and able and we’d often have to resort to takeout.
However, if you do have a close family member or friend that could help you out, then take advantage of it.
My mom helped me a lot when my food aversions and nausea would get very bad.
I would usually purchase the groceries (I wanted to do that) and she would prepare the food.
13. Cold and Flu
Pregnancy lowers your immune system so it is not uncommon for expecting mommas contract the cold/flu at some point of their pregnancy.
It has been presumed that the body’s immune system is lowered so as to not reject the growing baby, but that theory hasn’t been conclusive (33).
Regardless, the goal is to not get sick since it is much more dangerous for a pregnant woman to get sick, especially with the flu (33)!
Things to Watch Out For:
Any time your body’s temperature rises, that should be a clear warning sign that it might be a good idea to call your doctor.
At extremely high temperatures proteins denature.
This is bad for both momma and baby!
Call you doctor when you experience a body temperature higher than 100.4 F.
Another area of concern is when you aren’t eating and sleeping enough as your body takes a hit, which can affect the health and development of your baby.
Watch your calorie consumption and be sure to get plenty of rest!
Although very rare, more serious infections like pneumonia can also be a pregnancy risk factor due to a weakened immune system.
Tell your doctor if you are coughing up mucus, have chest pains, or have difficulty breathing.
What You Can Do:
Reducing your chances of catching a cold/flu has a lot to do with keeping good hygiene whether you are pregnant or not.
Wash your hands and avoid rubbing your face if you are around someone who is sick.
You could also wear a mask if you’re really trying to avoid getting sick (not the cutest, but effective).
Your immune system might be weakened, but that doesn’t mean you can’t boost it up with some self-care.
Simple things like getting good sleep, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating well go a long way for cold/flu prevention.
Also, make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins and ask about pregnancy-safe probiotics!
Pregnancy hormones are also to blame for the increased heartburn you might be experiencing.
Just like with the digestive system, hormones relax the valve that connects your esophagus to your stomach which can result in that uncomfortable acid reflux (34).
And sadly it will only get worse as your baby starts getting big, in the third trimester, and begins pushing on your stomach.
Things to Watch Out For:
Sometimes actual heart discomfort can be confused with heartburn.
It might not even be something on your radar, but it is so important to know the difference since pregnancy can cause so many changes in your body!
Chest pain accompanied by radiating jaw or back pain and shortness of breath are all cues that you may be suffering the symptoms of something more severe (especially if you are in your late 30s, early 40s) (35).
What You Can Do (34):
Eating smaller meals allows your stomach to complete digestion faster.
The sooner that the food moves on, the less likely any contents will push back against the already weakened valve that separates your stomach and your esophagus.
Similarly, lying down can also facilitate the movement of the stomach contents back into the esophagus via gravity.
To avoid this, simply wait at least an hour, after a meal, before you lie down.
As a side note, you might want to avoid sleeping/lying down after meals in general as resting soon after eating can create a bad habit (like eating high-calorie foods late night that consequently won’t be burned because you’ll be sleeping instead of working out) that can contribute to weight gain.
Foods that are spicy, greasy, and high in fat can all contribute to heartburn because they either cause digestion to slow down or they relax the gastroesophageal sphincter or both!
They’re also super unhealthy, so you might want to avoid eating these in general.
If you are suffering from heartburn, there are some simple and healthy remedies that you could try out to clear up the discomfort fast!
Try eating or drinking some dairy foods, oatmeal, ginger (there’s that cure for all things pregnancy again!), or bananas.
15. Metallic Taste
Tasting metal is another early pregnancy symptom triggered by the hormones progesterone and estrogen (36).
Your taste buds, in general, experience drastic changes that could last through your entire pregnancy, so it’s not just limited to having a bad taste in your mouth.
All foods can taste different, especially in the first trimester.
In my case, I didn’t experience a metallic taste as much as I did a change in how certain foods tasted for me.
I had a higher tolerance for spicy foods and certain foods that I had previously enjoyed tasted bland.
Every woman is different, but it’s worth noting that if your senses seem off it might be a sign of pregnancy!
Things to Watch Out For:
So although dysgeusia, the hormonal condition that causes unpleasant changes in taste, is common during the first trimester, other more serious diseases can also cause it.
As a note of precaution, make sure that you aren’t instead suffering from conditions like mouth infection, gingivitis, kidney or liver disease, or any heavy metal or chemical exposure.
What You Can Do:
A great way to get rid of bad tastes is to introduce other stimulating flavors into your diet.
Acidic and spicy foods are great at ‘distracting’ your taste buds, just don’t overdo it as your digestive system is sensitive as well and introducing too much of foods that can aggravate your stomach and cause nausea.
Other great alternatives that also work and are gentler alternatives are ice chips and sugar-free gum (36).
I’m sure that I don’t have to remind you, but the simple act of brushing your teeth, flossing, and rinsing with mouth wash can also reduce the bad tastes that could be lingering in your mouth.
You might also want to consider brushing your tongue as part of your routine as the tongue can also harbor a lot of unpleasant tastes and, well, bacteria.
Other Weird First Trimester Symptoms
Here are some other first-trimester symptoms that aren’t as common but definitely worth noting.
16. Brittle Teeth and/or Sensitivity
Either you are not getting enough nutrients or you are grinding in your sleep because your teeth are taking a beating.
Some women also experience soreness in their gums due to both hormones and increased blood flow to the area.
For one, make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins AND eating a well-balanced meal daily.
And two, if you suspect grinding, try getting a mouthguard.
17. Vaginal Infections
As we mentioned earlier, with a lowered immune system, you are far more likely to contract vaginal infections than if you weren’t pregnant.
This is why taking precautions so as to not contract an infection is so important.
Try not to douche as by doing so you are eliminating good bacteria in your vagina that fight off infection.
Also, be sure to keep your vagina as dry as possible by either wearing a daily liner and switching it out every so often.
18. Itchy Skin
It feels like you’ve been rolling around in the grass all-day your skin itches so bad!
The reason for this is usually due to the fact that pregnancy increases the blood flow to the skin causing the itchiness, especially if you have been wearing tight, nonbreathable clothes.
Although severe itchiness towards the end of pregnancy could instead indicate a more serious condition of the liver known as obstetric cholestasis, so always keep your doctor informed of any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing throughout your pregnancy (37).
If you are only dealing with mild itching here and there, try to avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothing and use perfumes and lotions sparingly.
For quick relief, massaging moisturizer on the irritated area helps, or you could just take a warm bath (37).
19. Wild Dreams?
And they can get pretty realistic too!
Sex dreams during early pregnancy are common due to the rise of vaginal secretions due to estrogen, increased blood flow to the vagina, and increased breast sensitivity (38).
It all adds up to some pretty interesting conversations in the morning, and maybe even spontaneous intimacy!
Acne is definitely not as exciting or desirable as sex dreams, though also a symptom of the influx of hormones.
There’s no way to prevent it, but keeping up with a consistent cleansing routine and trying a natural treatment can reduce the severity of breakouts.
Just always talk to your doctor before you continue or start any treatment during your pregnancy!
Congestion is one of those weird pregnancy symptoms that can make your nose feel stuffy all the time, your coughs deep and dry, and give you more headaches, though without the other cold/flu symptoms like fever and sore throat.
Increased blood flow and estrogen can cause your sinuses to swell and produce mucus, respectively, so as to cause discomfort all the way until you give birth.
There’s not much that you can do other than use a humidifier, and avoid touching your nose because it’s also prone to bleed a lot more easily!
Oh the joys of pregnancy, they can really be overwhelming as they throw your entire body into chaos.
In just the first trimester all of your senses are already off, and you can’t seem to keep much of anything down, not to mention everything that’s randomly hurting.
It only gets more interesting further down the line!
I will add, though, that this list should by no means worry you or add to the stress.
I believe that when you don’t know what’s normal and what isn’t, things can get a lot more stressful instantly!
So be informed and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, you do know your body best.
And remember, it’s only for a short time, and in the end it really is all worth it!
I mean I’m on my second round already, so now the symptoms aren’t anything more than a nuisance.
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