There are many changes you are told to expect during pregnancy that include morning sickness and swollen feet. BUT…there are a few changes that might catch you off guard.

Being a first-time mom myself and spending years as a birth doula, I know these sudden and unusual changes can cause stress and anxiety. To help better prepare you for what’s to come, here are a few changes that you might experience during your first trimester.


While most women are told swelling doesn’t occur until the later stages of pregnancy, full-body or partial swelling in the first few weeks can happen. It is usually an early indication of pregnancy and occur prior to a positive pregnancy test. I was swollen from my face to my feet, feeling stiff and confused because I didn’t know what was happening to my body. After I found out I was pregnant, I finally understood what I was experiencing. The early swelling indicates your body increasing its amount of blood (you will have 50% more blood by week 35) and softening the tissue for the big stretch! Take some lukewarm baths with Epsom salt, lower your sodium levels and invest in some compression socks to help get you through this stage.


Spotting is another first trimester change that I wasn’t ready for. I knew to expect a little here and there, but to have some larger amounts really made me nervous. After calling my Midwife in a panic, I learned that many women can have spotting (described as some light bleeding, not as much as during your period) in their first trimester. Early on it’s most likely implantation bleeding from the fertilized egg implanting into the uterine lining. Because light bleeding can continue throughout your entire pregnancy, I recommend touching base with your health care provide for reassurance.


Digestive issues can also plague your first trimester. Even though your baby is tiny, the slightest shift of your internal organs can cause heartburn, constipation, gas cramps and more. In your first trimester, this is usually caused by relaxin which is a hormone that is released during pregnancy to help your body soften and stretch. If your body is quick to produce hormones, you can see early digestive changes. Incorporating the relaxed belly breathing exercises from your Prenatal + Core Rehab Membership can help keep your insides happy. Also, drinking tons of water and eating iron rich foods such as spinach, grass-fed beef and legumes can make a huge difference!


We all know that mood swings are part of pregnancy, right? BUT…. knowing it and feeling it are two different things. I was not prepared for the early pregnancy mood swings. I thought for sure I would have a few months before I started crying over spilled milk. Nope. While I didn’t get super weepy until my third trimester, I did start noticing that things would easily set me off and calming down was much harder than it was pre-pregnancy. I would also get worn out quickly and then frustrated at how tired I was. All of this were my good ‘ol hormones at work! Give yourself a break and communicate with your partner and family. Teach them about pregnancy hormones and tell them what they can do to help you.

A few other changes many women experience in their first trimester are:

  • Your breasts will grow before your belly does
  • Your vagina can become sensitive
  • You can experience fatigue and drowsiness
  • Your skin can breakout or start developing melasma

All of this may seem overwhelming because pregnancy is not a cake walk. But the good thing is that most of this can disappear postpartum and once you hold your new bundle of joy, you will see that it is all worth it!

Have any unusual changes to share? We would love to hear about them, post them in our comment section.

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