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Side Effects of the First Trimester on the Body

Since becoming pregnant, you may not have expected to be hit so hard and so quickly by the pregnancy bug. With a hormone spike early on in pregnancy, you are likely experiencing many noticeable changes that have you feeling more like a zombie than a mommy. Fortunately, the side effects of the first trimester will lift soon, but, in the meantime, it is important to understand what you can expect in the coming months.

Morning Sickness

If you have watched enough romantic comedies, you have probably caught on to the fact that morning sickness is a common side effect of the first trimester. Some women begin to experience morning sickness before realizing they are pregnant and struggle with the problem well into the second trimester. However, many more women have only a few bouts of morning sickness that disappear by the 12-week mark. If you are struggling with nausea, consider gnawing on a bit of ginger or taking a daily B6 vitamin.


According to a Mayo Clinic publication, increased levels of progesterone, a major pregnancy hormone, cause food to digest more slowly than normal. This may leave you feeling constipated, and because you are pregnant, you may feel that there is little you can do to find relief. However, eating fiber-rich foods, drinking plenty of water and getting light exercise can all help your digestive tract move along normally again.


If you have been sleeping frequently and dragging your feet all week, it is not likely because you have not gotten enough rest or because you are coming down with something. Tiredness and fatigue set in hard and fast for many women in the first trimester. In fact, the National Women’s Health Information Center claims that symptoms like fatigue can begin after only a few weeks of being pregnant.

Breast Tenderness

In preparation for milk, breasts get to work early on by growing both inside and out. This will probably mean sore breasts for the next few months. The nipples may also darken and begin to protrude, but this process is often slower and less noticeable.

Frequent Urination

Even though there is no baby weighing down your bladder just yet, the pregnancy hormones may still leave you running to the bathroom every few minutes. This is a normal side effect of the first trimester, and it does not indicate gestational diabetes.

Mood Swings

Mood swings can begin fairly early in the pregnancy. Surprisingly, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation suggests that this may not be solely hormonal. The fears and stress that come with being pregnant may contribute greatly to your mood swings. Reach out to loved ones for help getting through.


One of the more bizarre side effects of the first trimester is that feeling of lightheadedness. This is likely the result of the body’s blood pressure dropping or due to low blood sugar. Eating frequent small meals may help, and taking precautions to avoid falls is advisable.

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