When you hear about all the things you experience while pregnant the focus is almost always on the second and third trimester. The first trimester gets skipped over and lots of women feel in the dark about what to really expect. A lot happens in those early weeks, so here are 10 things no one tells you about the first third of pregnancy.
1. Your Doctor Doesn't Care
Well, that's not really true, but it is a bit how you might feel when you call for your first appointment. I remember being so excited after seeing those little blue lines that I immediately called to make an appointment with my ob-gyn. I was shocked when the receptionist told me that they didn't want to see me for at least four more weeks! Often there is little your doctor can do other than confirm your pregnancy until you are further along. Don't be surprised if you call the doctor and they won't see you for a while.
It can be very difficult to guess if you are pregnant or just late because the early symptoms of pregnancy are so similar to PMS. There's moodiness, bloating and tender breasts. To me, it felt almost exactly like it feels when you really need your period to just start already. Unlike in the movies, the nausea tends to hit later, after you've already taken a pregnancy test.
3. Morning Sickness Is Really All-Day Sickness
Morning sickness is a very rude name for pregnancy nausea. Many of the women who experience this unpleasant part of the first trimester quickly realize that the queasy feeling is not relegated to a certain time of day. It is often constant and can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. I was totally unprepared to feel sick — all day, every day, for months. This is of course not true for everyone, but it's good to know about just in case. Other women don't have any nausea which can actually lead to unnecessary worry.
4. What's That Smell?
No, you don't have a brain tumor. Pregnancy gives you what feels like a superhuman sense of smell. Things smell more strongly and totally different than they did before you were pregnant. I found this to be especially true in the first trimester, which is unfortunate when you are already feeling green. My poor husband could only eat cold things for weeks because I couldn't stand the smell of cooking food.
Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. Youknowthat you are pregnant, but you don'tfeelpregnant.
5. A Sonogram Where?
I always imagined my first sonogram like those you see in on television. A nice technician rolling that thing across my round belly, my husband and I "oohhing" and "ahhing" at the monitor. I did have a sonogram like that in my second trimester. But my first sonogram was a little different. To confirm your pregnancy and check for a heartbeat you might get a first trimester sonogram at the doctor's office. But since you are barely pregnant they can't look at baby from on top of your stomach, so they get a closer look the same way the baby got in there. It is still totally cool to see that flickering little blob on the grainy monitor, but I was more than a little surprised when my doctor whipped out the wand and a condom.
6. Is This Really Happening?
Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. You know that you are pregnant, but you don't feel pregnant. There's no big round belly, except for maybe right after you devour a super burrito. There are no kicks you can feel. You basically just feel sick and tired and weepy, or at least I did. It is super exciting, but it also feels a bit intangible. It's a lot to wrap your mind around and it is totally normal to feel as if the whole thing is a bit unreal.
7. Weird Dreams
I have never had stranger dreams than in my first trimester of pregnancy. These hormone-filled adventures run the gamut from psychedelic to downright erotic. The only time I have racy dreams is when I'm newly pregnant. Your dreams seem to be more vivid and memorable. This might be your mind's way of working through an epic change or perhaps it just the immense shift in hormones, but don't be alarmed if your first trimester dreams are way beyond what you consider normal.
8. Crazy Cravings
Pickles and ice cream aren't just for 1950s housewives. You will crave weird things in strange combinations. Or with the nausea, there might be just one thing that sounds appealing and you will binge eat it for days. I ate nothing but peaches and cake doughnuts for a week. Not exactly a kale smoothie, but it stayed down. Don't be surprised if you find yourself "needing" watermelon in the middle of winter or potato chips in the middle of the night.
You will be bone tired. This growing another human thing is exhausting work. I didn't realize how much napping and/or wishing for naps was involved in the first trimester. It comes over you like you've been shot in the neck with a tranquilizer. And it doesn't help that you've likely given up caffeine. I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep at the end of prenatal yoga class. I found it best to simply give in as much as I could. Nap when you can and go to bed early whenever possible — it's temporary, you get a lot of energy back in the second trimester.
10. Stressful Secrets
It can be really difficult to keep your pregnancy a secret. Of course, you don't have to, but some people prefer to hold off on telling too many people until later in their pregnancy. The trouble is, this is sometimes easier said than done. Suddenly, meeting up for drinks becomes tricky. And trying to work without calling attention to your constant yawning and trips to the bathroom can be down right daunting. I never really considered the logistics of hiding my pregnancy, I just figured it would be a matter of telling people or not. Plus, I was far too excited to wait as long as they recommend.