What to expect when you’re expecting

What to expect when you’re expecting

An overview of what you can look forward to in the next 9 months.

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Congratulations, you’re pregnant! If you’re a first-time mum, you’ve probably only got a vague idea of what that means. Your body will be going through lots of changes the next few months so here’s a quick overview of what to expect.

The first trimester

Your baby is still very small at this stage and will only grow to the size of a peach by the end of the first trimester, so it’s normal if you’re not seeing a bump yet.

Your pregnancy might not be visible but it does make itself felt in other ways, namely fatigue, nausea, tender breasts, the constant need to pee and strange cravings for foods you don’t even like. You might notice that you’re more sensitive to smells and it’s usually smells that bring on the nausea.

Even if you’re not suffering from morning sickness, you might not have much of an appetite. Also, now that you’ve cut out high caloric foods like alcohol and soft cheeses from your diet, your calorie intake won’t increase by much. This means you might not put on much weight during your first trimester but that’s normal. Your pants and bras might feel a bit snug but you should be able to disguise any weight gain with looser clothes.

The second trimester

As you head into your second trimester, you should start to feel some relief from the nausea, fatigue and bladder pressure. Your appetite and energy should return and you’ll be able to enjoy your pregnancy more than in your first trimester.

Your bump will make its first appearance, which means you’ll get to go shopping. Many mums complain about that in-between stage when their bumps aren’t obvious and they look fat rather than pregnant. Maternity clothes can make a real difference because they’re designed to accentuate the bump. Invest in a few key pieces like jeans, a pair of work pants or skirt and a nice going-out dress.

If you haven’t been applying stretch mark cream religiously, now’s the time to start. As your bump makes an appearance, so will the stretch marks. Keeping your skin moisturised will help reduce stretch marks, as will putting on weight slowly and steadily.

Your baby will be doing lots of growing and developing in this trimester. From around the 16th week, your baby will be able to hear sounds and by Week 27, they’ll be able to recognise your voice. You’ll start to feel your baby moving and kicking. The most exciting part for parents, finding out if they’re having a little girl or a little boy, also happens in the second trimester.

The third trimester

Unfortunately, the third trimester brings back many of the discomforts of the first trimester plus other third trimester symptoms. As your baby and breasts continue to grow, you’ll experience backaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and the constant need to pee returns.

Your body produces up to 50% more blood during pregnancy and with your growing uterus putting pressure on the blood vessels in your lower body, fluid retention and swelling becomes a problem. Elevate your legs whenever you can to relieve the swelling. You might also find it helpful to swim or stand in a pool.

You might start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions as your body readies itself for childbirth.

Nearer to your delivery date, your baby should turn around so they are head down in your womb and drop even lower in your pelvis. This puts even more stress on your bladder and leaks are common so don’t stray too far from the toilet and go as soon as you feel like you need it. Incontinence liners, like Poise, can also be helpful.

If you haven’t already done so, get your nursery ready, wash your baby’s clothes, pack your hospital bag and be prepared to meet your little one very soon.