So, you’ve missed your period and your pregnancy test shows the beautiful two lines that we all hope to see when we’re trying to conceive. POSITIVE! Woo hoo!
If you haven’t taken a test and would rather order some online vs going to the store. This test is very similar to the one I used… It’s super simple to read and easy AND you can have it delivered in 2 days from Amazon. Get this test from Amazon.
You’re probably feeling pretty good at this point, knowing you peed on the stick correctly in the first place. The instructions in the box make this process seem a lot more complicated than it should be. “Hold the test at a downward angle”, “Wait three minutes before analyzing the result”, “Don’t trust the result after the test has been sitting for x amount of time”, etc. There’s instructions that tell you to read the instructions in the first place… Hello?!?! If I wasn’t going to read the instructions in the first place, why would I read the instructions about telling me to read the instructions?
Now your heart’s pounding with excitement but mostly nerves and anxiety because you have no idea what to expect. Luckily for us, we have Google and supportive Facebook groups and other websites to provide us with information. (I can’t imagine how my parents and grandparents ever got through life without these resources!)
Let me give you a little tidbit of my own experience through my first pregnancy.
First Trimester — Happily Ill
Weeks 1 – 13
Oh, the first trimester was absolutely rough after I discovered I was pregnant. For myself, I typically bleed every 22 days (TMI?). This time in January was a little different. 22 days had gone by and no blood was seen. 25 days had passed and still nothing. After 29 days I finally decided to take a test just to be sure. I still suffered from typical PMS symptoms like usual–moodiness, excessive hunger, painful breasts, you name it. These symptoms hung around for nearly 2 weeks and didn’t seem to go away. Once I peed on the stick, it all made sense. The second line on the test showed up almost instantly–there was no waiting 3 minutes!
In case you aren’t aware, your pregnancy hormones increase each day throughout the months until about the halfway point. At halfway through pregnancy, the hormones roughly stay the same and slowly decline toward the end of pregnancy.
NAUSEA:: The dramatic climb in hormones are what make you feel the way you do. You might as well be hungover but without the dizziness. You feel nauseous most of the time and sometimes you may vomit. Vomiting was never the case for me, luckily. When I felt nauseous, I made myself eat something small. It may have been an apple or a small bowl of cereal, but it got the job done. My nausea would dissipate with small meals and then I would have to eat again within 2 or 3 hours, otherwise the sickness would return. The hangover feeling mostly resides with feeling nauseous for a long time and knowing you need to eat even though the thought of food makes you want to puke.
I even found myself taking snacks to bed with me for the morning when I would wake up feeling too sick to even go downstairs for food. Sometimes there were Ritz crackers and sometimes I had a banana ready for me. These ready-to-go snacks were essential to my survival during this time. I probably would have thrown up frequently if I hadn’t kept at least a small amount of food in my stomach.
SORE BOOBS:: Another terrible first trimester experience! I originally started my pregnancy with 34Ds and they were intensely sore for the entire first trimester. Living on a washboard gravel road wasn’t the best setup for this pregnant mama! Every bump was excruciatingly painful and all I could do was hold my chest so there was less bouncing. Now, at 34 weeks I have become a 36DD and still growing. I’m at the awkward point where 36DD is becoming tight but the 36DDD is just a little big. I expect to become even larger as milk production starts rolling in. I was able to wear 34DDD for awhile until baby started pushing his way up into my ribs. Then, the smaller band was a no-go.
FATIGUE:: Talk about feeling tired constantly! I would wake up for my day around 8:30 or so and feel sick with nausea. I’d make myself eat a little meal to make it go away and by 10:30 I would feel so exhausted. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch and take a nap. It seemed ridiculous because I had just waken up from sleeping but it’s what my body desired.
APPETITE:: My love for cooking and baking was diminishing because the thought of food make my stomach churn with disgust. I didn’t seem to like any food I had originally loved such as pasta, salads, sandwiches, etc. Tomatoes and onions were absolutely disgusting! The only thing my body wanted was oranges and other fruit alongside cereal with soy milk. I also craved cheddar cheese and apples…
DOCTOR VISITS:: I went in for my first doctor visit during my 10th week of pregnancy. Typically the doctors like to see you for your first visit before the 10 week mark, so call a few weeks in advance to make that appointment.
They will take your blood pressure and weight, and they will tell you to start taking your prenatal vitamins if you haven’t already. I recommend the Nature Made vitamins since these capsules contain iron whereas many other prenatal vitamins don’t. I got mine off Amazon (click the image to check it out).
You will also get your first ultrasound that shows your little peanut and you’ll hear the heartbeat for the first time (as long as you’re far enough along). Note: The fetus is so small at this point that they will do a vaginal ultrasound, so be prepared! Once the heartbeat can be heard, they will check the fetal heartrate at each visit.
You’ll also have blood drawn and you’ll pee in a cup before you even see the doctor. Some doctor’s offices have you pee in a cup at each visit, but I was lucky to find that my doctor’s office stopped doing that soon after I started going there.
Typically, the office will give you a pregnancy book at your first visit, so don’t worry about buying your own just yet.
Finally, these symptoms went away around 11 – 12 weeks of pregnancy. It felt like a lifetime but the second trimester was a whole lot better!
TAKE AWAY TIPS::
- Eat small snacks to help stave-off sickness
- Take naps when your body demands them
- Painful boobs will eventually go away and expect them to become larger throughout pregnancy
- You can start taking prenatal vitamins once you discover you’re pregnant
- Eat things your body craves because you’re baby is probably taking these nutrients at a rapid pace
- Be thoughtful though, if you’re craving ice cream you may just need calcium
- If you’re craving fruit, you may need more vitamin C and Folic acid
Second Trimester — Great Relief
Weeks 13 – 27
The second trimester was a relieving period where I finally had some energy and I wasn’t completely sick each day. I finally had energy to cook/bake and I had a better appetite where I wasn’t stuck eating plain pasta with nothing on it like a 2 year old. In the first trimester, all of my food had to be basic and plain– no sauce on my noodles, no garlic on my potatoes, no onions on anything, no vinegar on anything (including Italian dressing on salads), no tomatoes on my sandwiches, etc. I could finally start eating onions here and there. Tomatoes were still sort of gross. And I could start eating pasta with sauces again.
CRAVINGS:: I could not get enough sweets! I would bake cakes such as Rainbow Chip/Confetti cake and German Chocolate Cake. I would even bake cinnamon rolls and various kinds of cookies. I told myself I would only eat baked goods if I made them because going to the store would be too easy for this sugar-addict! Talk about sweets galore! This boy will definitely have his dad’s sweet-tooth!
Alongside baked goods, I also craved all kinds of cereal during this time such as Fruit Loops, Reese’s Puffs, Cheerios, Trix, you name it. I had cereal every single day (almost) and I wasn’t too concerned about it seeing how cereal is fortified with iron and I ate it with soy milk, which has much less fat than cow’s milk and tastes better too.
Fruit was another big craving. I adored oranges, grapes, apples, watermelon, and especially bananas!
THE BUMP:: My bump started showing around 17 weeks. I could easily hide it under my clothes, but now was when I could actually see a small rise in my belly. I’ve always been thin measuring at a height of 5’4″ and weighing in the 120s or so. I could fit into size 4s but had to get 6s in dresses for the sake of my larger chest (just to give you an idea since they say chunkier people don’t seem to show as soon as thinner ones). My bump started to become noticeable through clothing around 25 weeks or so.
KICKS:: I could start feeling small kicks around 17 weeks and you could also feel them with your hand placed over the bump. These kicks were tiny and felt like there was a small fish wiggling around. Braxton Hicks contractions can be felt during this time and aren’t painful. You’ll feel you’re entire uterus tighten for a handful of seconds and then it’ll slowly loosen up again.
CLOTHING:: My regular-fitting clothes were finally becoming snug after 20 weeks. I started wearing medium maternity pants around 23 weeks and they were still fairly loose at that time, but now at 34 weeks, the same pants have become quite snug and I don’t like to wear them often. Maternity clothes will be most beneficial during the third trimester and possibly later second trimester around 23 weeks or later. If you
BODY FUNCTIONS:: You may get nosebleeds here and there or even bleeding gums. This is a result of your hormones making your tissues softer. Don’t be alarmed. It won’t happen constantly. Bleeding gums will sometimes occur with flossing/brushing your teeth and nosebleeds aren’t like being in a fistfight where your nose starts pouring blood. You may see some blood in a tissue after blowing your nose–no big deal. Sometimes you may see tiny amounts of blood after sex for the same reason–your tissues are softer than normal. I haven’t witnessed it but I hear it’s common. Vaginal discharge will increase which is totally normal as long as it’s not like blue or purple or some crazy colors. You’ll find that most “What to Expect” books will tell you not to worry unless you see red blood or experience itching, which can mean there’s an underlying infection that needs to be taken care of. My doctor actually referenced a “runny nose” in comparison to discharge, so that’s something to look forward to…
You’ll find that you won’t be able to use your core muscles like you used to, so it’s easy to strain your body. Be aware of your limits and try not to bend/lift heavy things. I hurt my back from lifting too much weight repeatedly that I was couch-bound for 3 good days before I could somewhat move again. That’s with heating and icing my back along with taking baths to ease the muscles and pains.
The hormones in your body will also soften your joints which includes the joints in your spine, hips/groin, and others. You may start to feel pain in these joints toward the end of this trimester.
DOCTOR VISITS:: You will be having your first fun ultrasound around 18 weeks. This ultrasound takes about an hour to complete, so you get to watch your baby for a whole hour before they kick you out! The sonographer will look at every body part and organ and take pictures for the doctor to analyze. You get to discover the sex (if you want to know, but they will ask before they even start the procedure). After taking all of the measurements of the baby, they are able to best estimate how far along you are by determining the weight of the baby. Of course, this is all vague and just a guess. The sonographer may also switch to 3D view for your liking. I’ve heard that isn’t the case with some people but I’m sure they’d be happy to do it if you just ask.They’ll print out pictures that you’ll get to take home and share with your friends and family, or you know, post on Facebook.
During each doctor visit, the nurse will take your weight and blood pressure and she’ll get a quick note about how you’re feeling. Then, the doc will come in and ask if you have any questions. She’ll start measuring your fundal height (the size of your bump) once your bump starts becoming apparent.
You’ll be able to have blood drawn if you follow through with the various diagnostic testing for different genetic disorders such as down syndrome for instance.
The glucose test for gestational diabetes is given in the 24 – 28 week mark. They’ll tell you to eat something before you come into the office but they don’t want you to eat sugar during test day. I recommend scheduling that appointment earlier in the morning just to get it over with. Once you arrive, they’ll have you drink the delicious syrup and wait an hour before they draw your blood. Your result should be within the 75 – 105 range and if your result is higher, you will have to take the 3 hour glucose test challenge, and this is a test your have to fast for. The 3 hour test result will actually be able to diagnose you of having gestational diabetes. Note:: I was slightly concerned of having this problem since I was becoming a sugar-addict and brought it up to my doctor. She has actually had patients in the past who ate fast-food like KFC every day who gained 50 pounds and didn’t have gestational diabetes. Whereas another patient ate a strict healthy diet who ended up having it. This eased my thoughts and my results were 95, so I was fine. More cake for me 😉
Your blood will also be tested for various kinds of blood cells and iron, so you’ll be able to determine if you’re anemic or not. This test is drawn at the same time you complete your glucose test.
If you’re blood is negative such as O- or AB- or whatever, you will have blood drawn again around 26 – 28 weeks. Then, you’ll be given the Rhogam shot. This practically prevents the baby’s blood from attacking your own. I could go into extensive detail, but let’s not. Just know that it’s good to have, it’s given in your hip, and you’ll get another one after delivery in the hospital.
TAKE AWAY TIPS::
- Your appetite will be changing all the time
- Everyone starts showing at different times, but enjoy being small while you can
- Kicking won’t feel like a boxing match right away
- You shouldn’t need maternity clothes until the middle/end of this trimester
- Expect your body to go through some changes (sometimes unpleasant ones)
- Enjoy the extensive ultrasound
Third Trimester — Torturous Thrill
Weeks 28 – 40
I’m T minus 5 weeks and 4 days from my due date and I can’t be more excited! Not only am I excited to meet my little Kade Ryan, but I am stoked to have my fit, movable, flexible, conditioned, small, and active body back! Boy has it been torturous to get out of bed every day or even roll over in the middle of the night or sleep the whole night away without getting up for the bathroom. I can’t wait to pick something up off the ground once I’m not pregnant anymore. I have this constant weight of what feels like 3 heavy bowling balls trying to push their way out of me each time I bend or squat down.
THE BUMP:: I REALLY started showing my bump by week 27 that hiding it became impossible. I still haven’t seen any tiger stripes (stretch marks) at 34 weeks and I haven’t been using cocoa butter or any fancy anti-stretch mark creams. Honestly, I just drink a lot of water and put a small amount of any kind of lotion (typically Victoria Secret/PINK) on my belly when it feels incredibly itchy. I haven’t developed the thin dark line (linea alba) on my belly either and I’m thinking it may not appear because some women get it and some don’t. I’ve read that it typically shows up during the 2nd trimester.
SWELLING:: Swelling is a common symptom of preeclampsia, but you may not have this condition if you’re swollen here and there. I haven’t swelled too badly until this last weekend. Usually you can make the swelling disappear by drinking enough water and elevating your feet frequently. I happened to go to Vegas for the first time over this last weekend and I have water balloons for feet now! Walking 10 miles 3 days in a row really helped my feet trap water AND I hardly drank water in comparison to what I drink at home. Swollen feet and legs is a terrible feeling and is extremely painful even when you’re not walking on them.
Drinking a lot of water sounds counter-intuitive to reduce swelling, but it truly helps. When you’re not drinking water, your body wants to retain it because it doesn’t know when it’ll get water next. It’s kind of the same reasoning as to why people who starve themselves to lose weight actually gain more weight quickly once they start eating again. Their body wants to retain the calories and fat because it doesn’t know when it’ll get food next.
ACHES/PAINS:: You’ll find a lot more pain setting in throughout the last trimester because your joints are still softening AND you’re growing at a more rapid pace then before, so you’re putting more weight onto these softened joints. Most of my pain resides in my groin from walking and going up/down stairs throughout the day. I have to walk slowly and I’ve got the pregnancy waddle down to a T. By the end of the day, fatigue is so strong and going to bed by 9:30 is easy to do.
SLEEPING:: Sleeping is rough during this time since there’s an immense amount of pressure on your bladder where you may have to get up to pee 2 to 3 times throughout the night. Sometimes it’s deceiving because you’ll find that there’s hardly any urine that you’ve been holding even though it feels like you’re about to bust. But when you look down at your belly, it’s easy to believe why it feels like you have to pee so badly.
Rolling over at night isn’t easy nor is getting out of bed. It takes a lot of arm work to roll your body over without experiencing a lot of pain in your groin region. I have to keep a pillow between my knees at all times otherwise I’m in discomfort. I never bought a pregnancy pillow but people have recommended it to me.
KICKING:: The kicking becomes stronger as the weeks progress. Baby is getting bigger and the room in your belly is shrinking. I have the joy of being kicked in the ribs all day long. I try to put pressure on his feet when I feel him starting to kick and he’ll move his feet to my side, which is much more bearable than being kicked in the ribs! In the beginning of this trimester, you may feel big movements like he/she is sliding their arm across your entire abdomen.
DOCTOR VISITS:: Visits will become more frequent as they go from every 4 weeks to every 2 weeks and finally each week for the final month of your pregnancy. You’ll start to be checked for dilation and effacement during the final month. Otherwise the visits are the same as the rest–Weight, Blood Pressure, Fetal Heartrate, Bump Size. Again, they will ask if there are any questions you may have.
You will also be given the TDAP vaccine which helps prevent your baby from getting sick with a barking cough/croup and others. This one is at least given in the arm unless you really prefer the hip shots… CRAZY!
TAKE AWAY TIPS::
- Anti-stretch lotions aren’t necessarily going to prevent stretch marks
- Drink water!
- Relax when your body is feeling painful
- Expect to get up throughout the night to pee
- Sometimes kicking can be painful but you can move your baby around by putting slight pressure against him/her
- You’ll become more excited for labor and birth than scared
Pregnancy hasn’t been the most fun experience for me personally, but I know a lot of people truly enjoy it. I’m thankful for the healthy pregnancy I’ve gone through but I’m more than thrilled for labor and delivery so I can move on to the next step of being a parent.
I plan on providing my labor and delivery experience for those of you who want to know more details. I will also be providing tips and tricks and various info on breastfeeding when the time comes.
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As always, I love reading feedback and comments from fans, so leave some thoughts in the comment box. I’d love to hear what you’ve experienced!