What to Expect When Pregnant for the First Time

Pregnancy comes with a lot of change: from the changes in our bodies to the changes in our hormones, and of course, to our life changing with a new baby!  Many women are surprised by some of the things that come along with pregnancy, especially if it’s their first. Knowing what to expect during a first pregnancy can help this change feel less overwhelming.

This blog will cover what to expect during each trimester and how to prepare when you’re pregnant for the first time. Keep reading as we review what to expect when you are pregnant for the first time.

Things to Know About Your First Pregnancy

Table of Contents

What happens in the first trimester of pregnancy?

body changes

When it comes to body changes, many first-time mothers want to know what to expect when pregnant for the first time. During the first trimester, it’s likely that your body may start to experience fatigue, nausea, tender breasts, and other physical changes. You’ll likely also begin to feel your clothes getting tighter as your breasts and your belly begin to grow. 

emotional changes

Pregnancy, and especially first-time pregnancy, can bring many emotions for expecting mothers. Being anxious about the pregnancy can be heightened by the fluctuation of hormones that your body is experiencing. Understanding how to manage stress is vital for first-time mothers. Read more about identifying how much stress is too much stress, and how to take care of yourself here: ‘How to Deal with Stress While Pregnant.’

prenatal care

As you find out you’re expecting, it will be important to establish your prenatal care with a healthcare provider. The first trimester will also be when you may change your diet, start taking supplements, or cut out certain dietary items. 

baby growth

While you may not ‘show’ much during your early pregnancy, a lot is happening by the end of the first trimester regarding baby development. In the first trimester, your baby will begin to form its spinal cord, brain, genitals, nose, and toes. 

What to do in the first trimester of your first pregnancy

In your first trimester, there can be a lot of processing to do. During this time, it’s important to start to plan, research, and think about how you can best prepare when you are pregnant for the first time. This includes beginning your prenatal care to ensure you’re keeping yourself healthy to grow your baby. 

What happens in the second trimester of pregnancy?

body changes

The second trimester can bring along some welcome, and not-so-welcome, changes. At this phase, the morning sickness or nausea will likely have subsided. And other good news, you may be ‘glowing.’ More belly and breast growth will occur in your second trimester too. Some of the not-so-expected changes include skin changes due to your change in hormones, sensitive gums, and, even more commonly, UTIs (urinary tract infections). Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or extreme physical changes.  

emotional changes

During the second trimester, expecting mothers often feel a bit more energized coming out of their first trimester. This makes the second trimester all the better for starting to plan ahead! Keep reading as we review what to do in the second trimester of your pregnancy. 

prenatal care

Much of the prenatal care in this phase will include listening to the baby’s heartbeat, monitoring the growth of the baby, monitoring uterus growth, and finding out the sex of the baby. Your healthcare provider will decide what tests will be necessary for you and your baby at this stage as well. 

baby growth

As we mentioned, one of the most notable moments in the second trimester for baby development is identifying the baby’s sex. Other than this exciting discovery, your baby is doing much more developing, including developing the ability to start sucking their thumb, slow eye movement, and the potential development of hearing. Because of this, your baby may even begin to respond to your voice with movement. Many parents will start playing their favorite tunes and talking to their little one during this exciting development time. 

What to do in the second trimester of your first pregnancy

For many expecting mothers, the second trimester can be their most enjoyable phase. Many expecting mothers in this phase will begin to share the news with their loved ones and start to tackle their baby to-do list. This may include setting up a nursery, planning a baby shower, and creating a baby registry. Read about the baby registry must-haves and our comprehensive second-trimester checklist here. 

What happens in the third trimester of pregnancy?

body changes

During the third trimester, you may begin to feel a bit more physically uncomfortable and ready for your baby to arrive. As your baby grows, they begin to take up more space, which can cause expecting mothers to need to urinate more often, have trouble getting comfortable, and develop increased heartburn or indigestion. You may also notice more swelling of the feet and ankles, so be sure to kick your feet up and relax when you can. 

emotional changes

At this point in your pregnancy, it will be no surprise that your emotions can come in waves. As you near the end of your pregnancy, things can start to feel a bit more overwhelming as your preparation time feels like it’s coming to an end. While some worry about your baby entering the world is normal, it’s important that you manage your stress levels. Doing things that help you remain calm will be critical to maintaining your and your baby’s health. Whether this is yoga, asking a spouse or loved one for extra help, or taking some time alone, self-care is important. 

prenatal care

As you come to the end of your pregnancy, your healthcare visits for prenatal care may start to become more frequent. This will especially be the case if you have any conditions such as gestational diabetes or other underlying health conditions. Your provider will likely want to monitor fetal development and your health as you get closer to labor.

baby growth

A lot of development is still happening during your third trimester. In the third trimester, your baby will begin to open its eyes, kick and stretch, grow hair and eyelashes, and even grow fingernails and toenails. Amidst all this development, your baby will also begin to gain weight, and fast!  

What to do in the third trimester of your first pregnancy

As you’re in the final stretch of your pregnancy, it’s time to ensure things are ready for when your baby enters the world. This will include things like assembling the crib, purchasing (if you haven’t already) a car seat, a baby carrier, and a diaper bag, and preparing by packing up your hospital bag. Unsure of what to pack in your hospital bag? We got you covered. Read our blog for ‘What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Labor & Delivery.’ We’ll be sure you have what your family and your baby will need when that exciting time comes for your baby to make its grand entrance. 

Babies can sometimes enter the world earlier than expected, so it's best to start tackling these things sooner rather than later. For the world’s best baby tote, baby carrier, and other must-have items, shop Tushbaby. Who else would design a changing pad that can fit in your back pocket? Tushbaby is made by moms, for moms, with safety and practicality at the forefront of every product. 

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