Pregnancy,  What To Expect

What To Expect In The First Trimester – The First 12 Weeks


When you see those two little blue lines appear on the pregnancy test, your mind starts racing, your body goes numb, and you slowly begin to roll through every emotion. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there.What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I was home on my lunch break with my husband. I was a day late for my expected period, and we just thought, ah what the heck, let’s just take a test for fun and see.

Well, to our surprise, the test showed positive, and we were in such disbelief, we took three more tests later that evening, just to be sure. I even took a test in a bathroom at WalMart.

When the reality set in, I remember feeling a rush of excitement, followed by a feeling of overwhelming fear, then a burst of gratitude, followed by the shocking responsibility and realization that I had a tiny little human, the size of a poppy seed, growing inside of me at that very moment.

I’m not kidding when I say I felt every emotion, and that it’s completely normal. In this post, I will break down everything you need to know about the first trimester. From body changes to hormones and emotions, even baby’s growth, you name it, I’ll cover it. Keep reading to find out what to expect in the first trimester.

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First Trimester Fear

What-To-Expect-In-The-First-TrimesterOkay, I know this isn’t a pleasant topic, but it’s real. And I know I am not alone when I say the first trimester was by far the most stressful. This trimester can be worrisome for many reasons, no matter how many pregnancies you’ve been through.

The good news is, the first trimester is defined as the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and depending on when you test positive, you’re most likely already 4 weeks pregnant because it’s calculated off the day of your last menstrual period.

The reason I say the first trimester is the most stressful is because a whole new world has opened up to you. Ever heard the term ‘ignorance is bliss’? Well in my case it had never been truer – I had no idea what to expect when I first became pregnant.

Until you experience pregnancy for yourself, you can never fully understand all the fears and stresses that come with it. That being said, the greatest fear that is most common among almost every pregnant woman is:

Miscarriage – Before I found out I was pregnant, I never understood the worry or fear of losing an unborn child. Having never experienced it firsthand, I still can’t say I fully understand it. But I can say that the fear became very real the moment I learned I was pregnant.

The first trimester is commonly known for miscarriages, which is why many women choose to keep their pregnancy a secret until they reach the second trimester. But don’t let this scare you. There are so many studies and statistics that go into determining this, that when broken down may not even apply to you.

Overcoming Fears Of Miscarriage

To overcome my fears of miscarriage I read up on statistics that worked against my fears. Such as:

  • Most miscarriages happen within the first 4 weeks before you even test positive
  • The chances of a miscarriage drop significantly after the doctor finds a heartbeat, which can happen as early as 6 weeks (but know that the first appointment is typically set for 9-11 weeks)
  • Smoking is a leading cause of miscarriage, I knew that no one around me, and I myself did not smoke, which bettered my chances of keeping the pregnancy.
  • I was young and healthy and in good shape, which also lowered the risk of miscarriage

statistics of a miscarriage

Those are only a few of the statistics that are out there when calculating the risk of miscarriage. These exact statistics may or may not help you. All I’m suggesting is to find statistics to work against your fears. Don’t read the bad news and overwhelm yourself.

Another thing to note is that if a miscarriage does happen, you need to know that everything happens for a reason, and you are not to blame. In most cases of miscarriage, something was genetically wrong with the fetus, making it impossible to sustain life.

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I know it’s easier said than done, but try to focus on the positive and ease your mind of miscarriage by understanding the statistics and being informed.

Body Changes & Side Effects

As far as side effects and symptoms go, the first trimester was by far the strangest for me. This was because I didn’t have the big belly or anything physically signifying that I was pregnant. I did, however, have a lot of internal changes that resulted in side effects and outwardly showing symptoms.


I found that most of the side effects and symptoms of the first trimester were pretty similar to the early signs of pregnancy, which you can read more about here.

Gas – Glorious and ladylike isn’t it? I remember a few days before I got the positive pregnancy test, I was so gassy! It seemed to come out of nowhere, and it couldn’t be explained. I knew my diet hadn’t changed but my stomach was very rumbly. This is due to hormonal changes that can cause disturbances in your digestive tract.

Bloating – Along with gas, bloating is another pleasant symptom of pregnancy in the first trimester.

Fatigue – Oh boy was this symptom real for me! There is nothing like pregnancy fatigue. Up until being pregnant, I had never felt exhaustion quite as extreme. But, if you think about it, it makes sense. My body was growing a human for crying out loud! I remember that for a period of time during my first trimester, I would go to bed at 7 or 8 pm every night (I was a real party animal haha) and I would even take a nap in the afternoons on my lunch break!What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester

Increased Urination – Have you noticed, you’ve been taking more trips to the ladies room recently? Well, that’s because of the increase in blood flow to your kidneys, causing your bladder to fill up more quickly than it did before pregnancy. This symptom surprised me because I thought frequent urinating only happened later in pregnancy due to the baby’s head resting on the bladder.

Constipation – The side effects of pregnancy are just lovely aren’t they? Good thing those tiny humans are worth it! Yes, in the first trimester, you will notice a change in your bathroom schedule. This is due to the hormone progesterone. It causes the muscles in your digestive tract to relax and therefore slow down the digestion process, resulting in constipation.

Food Aversions – This one hit me hard, and it goes hand-in-hand with the “nausea” symptom of pregnancy. I remember one night my


husband decided to make burgers for dinner. The moment the smell filled my nostrils, I thought I was going to die from the wave of nausea that followed. Researchers have yet to find the reason behind food aversions, but they are real and they will hit you like a ton of bricks. The good news is, these food aversions don’t last. Now that I’m not pregnant I love me a good burger!

Nausea & Vomiting – Also known as morning sickness, this is probably the most well-known symptom that comes to mind when you think of pregnancy. This is because 90% of women experience nausea and/or vomiting in the first trimester. I was lucky enough to be part of the 10% who never experienced this symptom. Well, I never threw up that is, I did, however, experience nausea.

Light-headedness – It is common to feel a little light-headed during the first trimester and this is due to increased blood flow. Just be sure to listen to your body and to take it easy and get plenty of rest – while exercise is okay, and even encouraged, don’t over-exert your body.

Baby’s Growth In The First Trimester

It’s clear to see that during the first trimester your body undergoes a lot of changes, but most of them can’t be seen from the outside. A lot of the changes during this time are happening inside.

Although you can’t see it, the fetus is growing at a rapid rate. Within these short 12 weeks, the baby develops from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a lime! That is incredible.

Like I said, when I was in my first trimester, it was a confusing time, because I didn’t necessarily “feel” pregnant. I didn’t have a big belly or any of the aches and pains, and I didn’t even experience the infamous morning sickness. So when I found out just how rapidly the baby was growing inside of me I was blown away.

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Weeks 1-4: As I mentioned earlier, most women don’t find out they are pregnant until at least 4 weeks. That’s because during this time the sperm and the egg have just attached to form what is called an embryo which will soon come to form the baby. During these 4 weeks, the embryo attaches to the uterine wall and gets to work splitting and multiplying to begin the forming of what will be your new little baby! By the end of these 4 weeks, your baby is the size of a poppy seed.What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester

Weeks 5-7: During week 5, the baby resembles a tadpole, seeing as it doesn’t have fully formed limbs yet. Between weeks 5 and 7 the circulatory system is developed and the tiny heart begins to beat. During week 6 the face is beginning to form, and the eyes, ears, and mouth make an appearance. By the end of week 7, the baby is the size of a lentil.What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester


Week 8: During this week, a big growth spurt takes place, the baby doubles in size! It can also move around now, although you most likely won’t feel it, because it’s still too small. The fetus has now begun to lose the tadpole-like appearance and has started to form the beginnings of limbs. Neural development is ramping up and breathing tubes have formed that will soon become the baby’s lungs. By the end of week 8, your baby is the size of a kidney bean. What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester

Weeks 9-11: During these weeks, the baby completely loses it’s tadpole-like tail and has fully formed limbs. By week 10, the baby now has skin, however, it’s still translucent, and the little details are almost fully formed, such as earlobes and fingernails. By week 11, the baby’s diaphragm is developing, meaning your baby can now get the hiccups, however, you most likely won’t feel those just yet. By the end of week 11, your baby is the size of a fig. What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester
Week 12: This is the last week of the first trimester, and your baby is now fully formed in terms of appearance. Everything is in place and it is now looking like an extremely tiny human. Your baby’s reflexes are beginning to kick in at this point, meaning they can feel when you poke or touch your belly. By the end of week 12, your baby is now the size of a lime.What-To-Expect-In-The-First-Trimester
It never fails to amaze me just how incredible the human body is. The formation of life is completely miraculous. It’s awe-inspiring to see just how much growth takes place in such a short period of time.

Once you’ve hit the 13-week mark, you are sailing off into the sunset into the second trimester, which was my personal favorite trimester of pregnancy.

No More Secrets!


Upon completion of the first trimester, many women find that they are greeted with a sense of relief. The morning sickness and nausea dissipate the unpleasant side effects like fatigue and bloating fade. And best of all, the chances of miscarriage drop dramatically.

Another attribute of the second trimester that many expecting women and couples look forward to is the announcement of their good news! Of course, it’s up to you when you decide to disclose this information with family and friends, however, many couples announce at this time, because there is a very high chance of a continued pregnancy once the first trimester has ended.

Now that you know what to expect in the first trimester, you can get through it and look forward to completing it and moving onto the next.

The end of the first trimester symbolizes triumph for most couples and brings a sense of peace. If you’re like me, you can rest easy and finally get excited about your little one! And believe me when I say the second trimester is much better than the first.

I hope you found this helpful! If you are a new or expecting momma, I would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, comments, or experiences to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.




  • Avah

    This is just what I needed to read. I’ve been so worried about miscarriage since a friend of mine had three in the past year. She keeps trying but is having bad luck with her pregnancies. Now that i’ve become pregnant with my first baby I’m so worried that I would experience what she has. I’ve decided to forgo telling her or anyone at this point because I’m just so scared that something will happen. Your post was very reassuring for me. Now I will try to focus on the things that make my pregnancy worth lasting. Like you I am also young and healthy and don’t smoke so I will start with that. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I look forward to your next post.

    • Madysen

      Hi Avah,

      I am so happy this post was helpful to you. I know how stressful the first trimester can be and I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, it’s an extremely hard situation to go through and I can understand how it would cause you to be uneasy. Breathe, relax, and keep hope that everything will be okay and maybe do what I recommend in this post, and read statistics that will fight your fears and worries. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      • Jacqueline

        This was a great article, along with statistics, my peace and assurance come from prayer and God! Thank you for this article, looking forward to finishing up the 1st trimester and starting the 2nd 🙂

    • Raquel Gaona

      Wooow!! You made me cry😭 what i just read is just so beautiful. I found out yesterday about my pregnancy. I’m already at week 9. My first baby
      Thank you so much for this.

      • Madysen

        Hi Raquel!
        Congratulations on the new pregnancy! 🙂 I’m so happy you found my blog and that it was so inspiring for you. This is why I love to write and share my exepriecnes. Thank you so much for reaching out 🙂

    • Bethany

      Just stumbled upon this website. It was so reassuring to read what you had to say about the first trimester and especially regarding miscarriage. I am currently 10 weeks and the hardest thing I’m fighting against is not worrying. How did you overcome worry between your first OB visit and the 20 week anatomy ultrasound? I just had my first US but the next one isn’t until 20 weeks. Any advice??

      Thanks so much!

      • Madysen

        Hi Bethany!
        I completely understand worrying in between doctor’s visits, and especially between ultrasounds. To keep my peace of mind, I have certain affirmations that I tell myself. The number one affirmation is that once you see the heartbeat and confirm a viable pregnancy, the chances of miscarriage drop significantly. This always helps me get to the next doctor’s appointment without having a total mental breakdown from the anxiety of miscarriage. Hope that helps! 🙂

    • Madysen

      Hi Agnes!

      The first trimester is definitely rough between all the symptoms, and nerves, but you’re right, I definitely chilled out once I got into my second trimester, which you can read about here!
      thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Stephanie

    Hi Madysen,
    I love this post. You are absolutely correct about hormones being all over the place in the 1st trimester. I was more in tune with my body than ever before. I actually felt like I was pregnant within my first 24 hours. It was a crazy and I still can’t explain the feeling that I had but just knew that I was pregnant. The cravings are the next biggest thing I remember. I craved bean burritos with extra onions, French fries and pickles it was delicious then but sounds gross to me now. Did you have any crazy cravings during your pregnancy?

    • Madysen

      Hi Steph!

      That is crazy! You felt pregnant within 24 hours? Wow you were very in tune! The cravings are always funny to me, they can seem so random. But I will say, nothing tastes as good, or as bad as when you’re pregnant. An average bean burrito can taste heavenly when you’re pregnant, whereas when you aren’t pregnant, it’s just a bean burrito. Oh the joys of pregnancy, the human body never fails to amaze me.

      In terms of me having cravings, when I was pregnant, I was one of those “weird” ones that craved chalk and dirt. Im so embarrassed to even say that because it sounds so gross, but seriously, I craved TUMS because they were chalky. I obviously didn’t eat TUMS but I remember craving them because of the chalky consistency. But I did also crave human food lol. I went through a huge Lucky Charms phase where that’s all I would eat.

      Thanks for stopping by! I always enjoy hearing from my mommas. I love the stories and personal experiences!

  • Jamie

    Girl!!!! This was so awesome to read! Sooo thorough and helpful cause I’ve forgotten a lot in a year… odd. The brain really does forget all the crappy stuff of pregnancy. Glad to have a guide like you along the way ❤️❤️❤️🤟🤰

    • Madysen

      Hi Jamie!

      It’s funny how even after you’ve been pregnant before you can forget things and the next pregnancy can seem brand new all over again, I’m glad you liked the post and found it helpful! 🙂

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