9 Signs You’re in the First Trimester

You may not look like you’re pregnant in the early weeks, but here are 9 telltale signs you’re in the first trimester, from symptoms to habits.

Signs You're in the First Trimester

Looks can be deceiving.

While no one else can tell you’re carrying a baby, you have an inkling (or know for certain) that you are. Even as you’re trying to conceal the news, you’re already aware of the massive changes happening within these first few weeks. 

Some of these signs can be downright difficult to experience, but thankfully, many of them ease up in the second trimester. They can even feel reassuring to the anxious mom worried that something is off.

So, what are a few signs that you’re in the first trimester? Let’s take a look:

1. A lack of appetite

During my twin pregnancy, my OB-GYN advised me to gain 24 pounds by 24 weeks. But within the first trimester, I was only able to gain a measly two pounds those entire 13 weeks. The culprit? I had zero appetite.

Surviving the first trimester can be extra challenging when even the taste of favorite foods is no longer appealing. You can barely eat the recommended alternatives of bland food like crackers and yogurt. All this while feeling pressured to gain a decent amount of weight within those first few weeks.

Nausea and morning sickness happen any time of the day and can make any pregnant woman turn away all types of food. Even though your belly is still small, the thought of eating can feel like a chore instead of the pleasurable experience it usually is.

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2. Extra fatigue

It may not look like it, but your body is hard at work making your baby and the placenta. You’re also pumping an extra amount of blood and managing an influx of pregnancy hormones, adding even more fluid into your body.

So, when you feel winded and tired after climbing a simple set of stairs, rest assured you’re in good company. It’s not unusual to feel like you’d just exercised after simple activities that never left you winded in the past.

Even if you have no belly to show for it, remember to take it easy on yourself. Slow your movements, schedule time to rest in your day, and always listen to your body.

3. Anxieties and worries

What mom hasn’t felt a twinge of worry or anxiety, especially in the first trimester? After all, this is a critical period of formation. I felt so worried about losing the baby and overwhelmed by all the things I had to do or avoid.

The first trimester is also when we’re grappling with the thought of having a baby in the first place. Even if you had planned your pregnancy, the reality is setting in, coupled with all the worries that come with it.

Try not to search online for every possible thing that could go wrong and rely on your doctor’s advice for the best guidance. Remind yourself that nearly everything you’ve worried about in the past never happened (or you got through it just fine).

4. Constant nausea

I was lucky: Neither of my pregnancies found me actually vomiting in the toilet. But nausea? That was a whole other beast.

By far, one of the worst early pregnancy symptoms I felt in the first trimester was the feeling of wanting to throw up, but never being able to. It was like partying the night before and being hung over the next day… for several weeks straight.

The worst part is that this feeling affects so much of your day. It’s not unusual to feel like you can barely keep up at work during your pregnancy because of the nausea.

Move slowly throughout the day, and take frequent sips of water (rather than gulping it down all at once). Nibble on small bites rather than eating three large meals, and consider drinking smoothies which can be easier to consume than chewing solids.

5. Checking the size of your growing baby

I know I’m not the only one who’d check in every week to see whether my baby went from the size of a cherry to a walnut!

Sites like Baby Center and The Bump draw pregnant moms to their sites every day by showcasing how big our growing babies are. I always got excited to see what new size the baby was and the changes developing in their little bodies.

6. No period

One of the most telltale signs of being in the first trimester is realizing you “skipped” your period! For the next couple of months, you can now enjoy not having a period for a while.

Be warned though: After giving birth, the lining of the uterus begins to shed, which means you might feel like you have your period every day for several weeks. Thankfully, it’s temporary. And you might even delay your period even more if you breastfeed. I didn’t get my cycles back until my baby was seven months old.

7. Peeing all the time

I understood why pregnant women peed often in the third trimester—there isn’t exactly a whole lot of room for the bladder to expand. But the first trimester? I found myself heading to the bathroom often, even with no stomach to show.

But frequent urination is yet another one of those pesky symptoms that don’t make those first few weeks comfortable. Your body is going through so many changes, including producing more liquid than at other times.

8. Sensitivity to smells

Like food and nausea, first-trimester moms develop a sensitivity to smells that can make the days extra challenging. We’re not always talking disgusting smells, either—regular scents that would go unnoticed can now make you queasy.

You just might find yourself suddenly noticing the lavender scent of your hand soap or the extra pungent waft of cumin as you cook.

Note any scents that make you feel queasy and try to avoid them if possible, like sticking to fragrance-free products and mild ingredients.

9. Buying baby books

After I found out I was pregnant, I went on a mission to find every useful baby book I could get my hands on. From what to expect to baby sign language and even to raising a “green baby,” I was hooked on baby books. If a book said “baby,” I likely read it.

And no wonder—for many first-time moms, this is our introductory dip into parenthood. We’re clueless and feel the need to load up on information we may be missing. While nothing can compare to holding your baby in your arms, books and resources make that transition much easier.

The bottom line

For many of us, the first trimester is a private time, perhaps even hiding the fact that we’re pregnant. Not only is your body going through so many physical and hormonal changes, but your mind is also looking forward to and preparing for the baby.

So, while no one may notice you’re expecting during those early stages of pregnancy, you definitely know you are.

The first trimester is our introduction to parenthood, and our bodies are bombarded with overnight changes. The early weeks can often be the most challenging part of pregnancy—even if we don’t have the belly bump to prove it.

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