How Long is the First Trimester of Pregnancy and What to Expect?

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When pregnant, your first trimester may seem invisible on the outside, but an incredible transformation is going on on the inside. Because of hormones, your body goes right to work providing your new baby with nourishment even before your first physical exam and tests to confirm you are indeed pregnant.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, your first trimester lasts up until the end of your thirteenth week of pregnancy. Your first trimester will go a lot smoother when you know what to expect in terms of emotional and physical changes.

What to Expect Even Before Your Baby Bump Appears

While you don’t look like you’re pregnant just yet, there’s a good chance you may be feeling it. This is the time your body starts producing hormones that will prep your body to carry your unborn child for the next nine months.

While some mothers-to-be might not feel any changes during their first trimester, many do including pains and aches, flatulence, fatigue and a whole host of other symptoms you’ll learn about shortly. Keep in mind: these little discomforts are the miraculous process of your baby growing inside you.

In your first trimester, your unborn baby is changing from a zygote (just one fertilized cell) to an embryo implanting itself into the inner layer of your uterus (your womb). From there, it begins transforming into a little bundle of body systems and growing limbs around the size of a peach. Your baby’s organs begin developing and your baby even begins to move.

Signs of Pregnancy in Your First Trimester

Although you may have found out you’re pregnant by missing your period, in the next coming weeks, you can expect a few other physical changes. These may include:

Swollen and Tender Breasts

Due to hormonal changes following conception, your breasts may become sore or sensitive. After a few weeks, however, this minor discomfort will likely decrease as your body is adjusting to these hormonal changes.

Nausea and/or Vomiting

For many women, around a month after becoming pregnant, they begin experiencing morning sickness which may occur morning, noon or night.


Your progesterone hormone levels spike during early pregnancy resulting in fatigue. Be sure you take advantage of this time and get plenty of rest (after nine months you won’t be getting much rest anymore). To boost your energy levels, you may try exercising and eating a healthy diet.

During this trimester as your pregnancy progresses, you might experience a boatload of other symptoms like:

  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Metallic taste
  • Mood swings
  • Food aversions

Sure, these pregnancy symptoms aren’t fun, but hang in there, you’ll find the relief you seek come your second trimester. Also, every woman is different when it comes to symptoms they experience. Just because your friend was hugging the toilet bowl almost her entire pregnancy, doesn’t mean you will.

Possibility of Miscarriage

Unfortunately, during your first trimester, you’ll be at your highest risk for miscarriage. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states miscarriage commonly occurs in around 10 percent of all pregnancies.

Some signs of possible pregnancy loss to stay alert to include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Vision disturbances
  • Painful urination
  • Sudden thirst
  • Severe face or hand puffiness
  • A 101.5F fever, backache or/and chills

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms and head to your nearest ER.

Pregnancy is a special time for most women. You need to nurture your baby and yourself during this time by regularly visiting your gynecologist and/or obstetrician to receive prenatal care. Regular prenatal care provides you with the best chance of a successful pregnancy, birth and healthy baby.


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