What to expect when you're expecting

What’s covered?

Understand what pregnant women expect during early pregnancy.

A disturbed pregnant woman.

''What to expect when you're expecting'' is a famous book by Heidi Murkoff. It is the world's bestselling pregnancy guide. What does this book focus on? It provides full medical coverage for all stages of pregnancy. If you have no time to read any pregnancy books, we are here to help you. Let us walk through what happens during pregnancy.

When you are expecting a baby, your body undergoes a remarkable biological transformation. The emotional and physical changes can be strange and overwhelming. Understanding these changes and what you should expect will help you face the issues in the first trimester. Let's know what to expect when you're expecting.

If you are expecting a pregnancy, our pregnancy test kit can help you to confirm it. It detects the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), one of the earliest signals of pregnancy. Click here to order your kit.

Biological changes in the pregnant women

When you miss the period, and your pregnancy test is positive, it means you are expecting. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not an isolated event. Many biological processes are undergoing in your body. So, let's discuss what is going on and what you should expect.

You are likely to experience the following;

Increased urination

You are likely to urinate more in the first weeks of expecting. Why? It is because more blood flows towards the lower half of your body. So, more blood will pass through the kidney, filtering the waste and excess water into the bladder. Also, the pregnant uterus presses the ureters. The pregnancy hormones cause the relaxation of smooth muscles. Remember that a ring of smooth muscles controls the exit from the bladder.

You will find yourself rushing again and again towards the toilet.

Fatigue

During the first weeks of pregnancy, the progesterone hormone levels peak. This hormone induces sleep. An increased diet due to pregnancy can also cause you to experience more sleep. But, the quality of sleep may not be very good. A 2011 study found that 34.14% of women experience poor sleep in early pregnancy.

So, you feel tired and dizzy all day. You should rest as much as possible and continue to eat a healthy diet.

A stressed and fatigued woman.

This situation can be helped with proper sleep management tools and structures in place.

Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms begin to be experienced after the first month of pregnancy and are related to rising levels of hormones (particularly HCG). You can manage it by slowly eating throughout the day to ensure that your stomach is never empty. Eat low-fat food and avoid foods giving smells that can exacerbate nausea. Drink a lot of juices and other fluids. Adding ginger to the food can be helpful. However, you can ask your physician for help if symptoms are too strong and are worsening rapidly.

Swollen and tender breasts

You should expect sore and tender breasts. Why does this happen? It is related to changes in hormone levels. However, this issue will decline with time as your body starts adjusting to the new changed hormone levels.

A young woman worried about tender breasts.

If the issue persists, you need to consult the gynaecologist.

Constipation

Progesterone (in high levels) can slow down the flow of food from your intestines, leading to constipation. A slow food motion means the body has more time to absorb water. Taking a lot of fluids and adding fibre-rich foods (e.g., nuts, beans, whole grains, brown rice etc.) can help tremendously relieve constipation. Regular exercises can also be helpful.

Heartburn

Pregnancy hormones can relax the muscles. Some muscles (like valves) hold the entry and exit from your stomach. The relaxation of these muscles can lead to the leakage of acidic contents of the stomach into the oesophagus, leading to heartburn. You should avoid fried and spicy foods alongside chocolate, citrus fruits etc., and try to eat simple food in small meals.

A woman having heartburn.

Food cravings

You can experience a changed sense of smell and higher sensitivity to some smells in the first weeks. Your food preferences and appetite will be influenced, too, leading to aversions and food cravings. Food cravings can result in increased energy intake. So, it can be beneficial to consult with a nutritionist to help you plan out a pregnancy food plan.

Weight gain

Weight gain is not so pronounced during the early weeks of pregnancy. However, towards the end of pregnancy, it begins to be noticed. The weight gain is due to more fat accumulation, increased blood volume (to improve circulation) and fluid (particularly inside the womb), and increased size of the placenta and uterus.

Weight gain starts in the early phase of pregnancy.

According to a cohort study published in Sleep Medicine, weight gain in the first trimester should aim to be limited to 1.1-4.4 pounds. However, it will be compounded by the need for additional calories and nutrients to meet the demands of the pregnancy. So, there may be little you can do to reverse the increasing weight except. But, using scientific nutrition and pregnancy-friendly exercises can help you avoid unnecessary weight gain.

Blood pressure fluctuations

The dilation of blood vessels in early pregnancy can cause the blood pressure to drop, leading to dizziness and light-headedness. The blood pressure will increase in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Hypertension can also develop in early pregnancy, but it will be more due to other causes than pregnancy.

It is wise to monitor your blood pressure fluctuations regularly and consult a gynaecologist. It may also be wise to enlist the help of a personal trainer to help you choose and practice pregnancy-friendly and easy exercises. If you also wish for additional support, consult a nutritionist for dietary adjustments and ensure that you drink plenty of water and eat healthy snacks.

Psychological changes in early pregnancy

Pregnancy has enormous effects on how you feel and respond. In the initial phase of pregnancy, you are likely to feel exhausted, delighted and anxious. Sometimes, the emotional outbursts are very severe. Later, the sense of having a baby inside you and the baby's growth can add stress to your life.

Early pregnancy can cause depression.

Additionally, the stress can arise from worries about the health of the baby (exacerbated if the baby's health is not satisfactory), difficulties in adjusting to parenthood, financial strains of nourishing and raising the baby after birth and during pregnancy etc. Having a job or a business can become an additional source of worry as you have to balance the demands of pregnancy, career and family. It is common to experience mood swings with the hormonal changes going on in your body.

What should you do?

What should be done? First, keep in mind that what you are experiencing is perfectly normal. The changes made to your body will begin to reverse after delivery, and your body will return to your original shape.

Your partner's psychological motivation and support can do wonders.

Next comes the job of people around you whose encouraging and understanding attitude can absorb a lot of stress and worries.

The physical and psychological stresses of pregnancy can affect everyone differently. It's important to have a solid support team around you who can provide assistance and help you through this time. However, if you find that your mood changes and mental health are worsening, it's wise to consult with a gynaecologist or psychologist.

Take home message

Pregnancy is not an ordinary event; your body will experience many changes. The associated symptoms could be strong enough to disturb your routine life.

Never hesitate to consult your physician.
If you have a positive pregnancy test, immediately consult the gynaecologist and take their help to develop a comprehensive program for the welfare of you and your baby. You can use any pregnancy guide, pregnancy book or pregnancy journal to help you guide through it.

At Welzo, we offer several tests for those who are trying to get pregnant or may already be pregnant. To order a Pregnancy Test, click here. Or to order a Pregnancy Process Test, click here.

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