The Most Frequent Discomforts During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

The most frequent discomforts during the first trimester of pregnancy are the result of the action of hormones on maternal tissues.
The Most Frequent Discomforts During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Last update: 05 April, 2022

After conception, a mother’s body begins a great transformation in order to gestate a new life. All of these alterations are related to hormonal changes and we require time to adapt to them. For this reason, today we’re going to tell you about the most frequent discomforts of the first trimester of pregnancy that are produced as a result.

In addition, we’ll share some tips to mitigate the symptoms in a simple way. Are you going to miss out?

Gestational hormones and first trimester symptoms

As anticipated, all signs and symptoms of pregnancy respond to changes in hormone levels. Some of these substances are even produced almost exclusively at this stage.

The protagonists of pregnancy are progesterone, estrogen, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). All of them lead the transformation processes of the maternal tissues to carry out the pregnancy.

This, inevitably, causes some symptomatology in the future mother, which often appears abruptly. Fortunately, during the second trimester of pregnancy, a balance is achieved in the body and the woman gets used to her new condition.

Below, we’re going to tell you about some of the most common symptoms that pregnant women perceive from the earliest stages of pregnancy.

1. Headaches

One of the most frequent discomforts of pregnancy is headaches, and these occur both due to hormonal changes and the drop in blood glucose levels.

In general, this pain is felt intensely on both sides of the head and towards the nape of the neck. To prevent its appearance, it’s important to eat several times a day and exercise regularly in order to promote blood circulation and relieve discomfort.

In the event that this symptom is frequent and very intense, it’s worth consulting your doctor.

A pregnant woman lying on the couch with a headache.
Headaches are common discomforts in early pregnancy, but there are ways to avoid them.

2. Nausea, one of the most frequent discomforts of pregnancy

Nausea is the most frequent and feared discomfort of pregnancy. Although its cause isn’t entirely clear, it’s associated with the excessive increase in HCG that occurs in the first few months.

Around half of pregnant women may experience nausea, and while some barely feel it in the morning, others suffer from it all day.

In fact, when this symptom is so marked that it’s accompanied by repeated vomiting, you need to rule out hyperemesis gravidarum and find the best strategy to treat it.

It’s common for nausea to increase with an aversion to certain foods and increased olfactory sensitivity. Fortunately, this symptom begins to subside towards the end of the first trimester in most cases.

To control nausea, it’s important to maintain a low-fat diet and eat small meals. Also, it’s a good idea to drink some natural infusions, such as ginger tea. Of course, you must have medical approval before consuming them.

3. Tiredness and daytime sleepiness

The maternal body consumes a lot of energy during pregnancy because it has to respond to the metabolic demands of two (or more) individuals.

One of the most relevant changes that women experience during the first trimester of pregnancy is the increase in blood volume, which implies that the heart works harder to oxygenate the tissues well. In addition to this, the formation of the placenta, the baby, and the emotional burden of the mother favor physical fatigue. Therefore, it’s normal to feel fatigued and very sleepy at this stage.

At this point, it’s best to rest properly so that the body has the strength to continue its important work. Sleeping 8 hours at night and taking a nap during the day is the most recommended.

Likewise, it’s essential to ensure proper hydration, a balanced diet, and supplementation with the vitamins and minerals prescribed by your doctor. If possible, do some light physical exercise as well, such as walking or swimming. All this favors the reduction of fatigue and the increase of energy and well-being.

4. Breast tenderness

If we talk about the most frequent discomforts of pregnancy, we must highlight the swelling and tenderness in the breasts. This is produced by the action of estrogen and progesterone on the breast tissue in order to prepare the mechanism that will nourish your baby once it’s born.

The breasts often feel congested due to increased blood flow and the sensitivity becomes such that the mere friction of clothing can be bothersome.

This manifestation subsides towards the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, but it’s best to keep the breasts hydrated with creams and choose a cotton bra without seams or underwires.

5. Digestive discomfort of pregnancy

The digestive discomforts of pregnancy occur due to the influence of progesterone on the gastrointestinal system. This hormone reduces intestinal motility, which translates into slow digestion, gas, and constipation.

At the beginning of pregnancy, all these changes can lead to nausea and aversions to certain foods.

To control these symptoms, it’s important to eat foods that are low in fat, as well as chew slowly, and avoid overeating.

6. Dizziness

Dizziness can arise in the first months of pregnancy due to drops in blood pressure due to circulatory changes.

In general, dizziness usually appears in the morning or when getting up abruptly from bed and subsides in the second trimester.

If you feel dizzy, lie down with your legs up to promote blood return and brain oxygenation. Seek to breathe fresh air and stay calm, as the dizziness will calm down after a few minutes.

7. Pregnancy rhinitis

A rather unsuspected symptom of pregnancy is nasal congestion. However, is one of the most characteristic manifestations of the first trimester.

Rhinitis is a response to the mechanism of general vasodilation and the increase in nasal mucus caused by estrogens. Therefore, it’s normal for you to have a feeling of nasal stuffiness and constant sneezing.

In some cases, this symptom disappears in the second trimester, but in others, it remains throughout the pregnancy. Discuss this with your treating physician to determine whether or not you need to take antihistamine drugs.

8. Frequent urination

From the first months of pregnancy, mothers may notice that their urge to urinate increases during the day. This happens because the uterus begins to swell and grow, thus putting pressure on the bladder.

Similarly, the increase in blood volume (which is the amount of blood in the body) produces an overload in the kidney and this leads to a greater production of urine.

This symptom will continue throughout the pregnancy but may worsen toward the last trimester when the weight of the baby pushes on the bladder.

A pregnant woman who needs to urinate.
Urination is more frequent during pregnancy and even occurs more at night.

9. Increased salivation

Hypersalivation or sialorrhea is a discomfort that characterizes the first months of pregnancy. However, not many pregnant women know this or perceive it.

This condition is produced by the hormonal influence on the oral tissue and, in general, favors the appearance of dreaded nausea.

To calm this symptom, which is usually more intense in the morning and at night, you can choose to drink a cold lemonade or eat a soda-type cracker or a slice of whole-wheat bread.

Can the most frequent discomforts during the first trimester of pregnancy be treated?

The changes experienced by the mother’s body can be accompanied by quite annoying manifestations. However, they’re necessary in order to promote the development and well-being of the baby.

Each mother experiences pregnancy differently; some may feel constant discomfort and others, on the other hand, barely feel it.

If you have concerns about the discomfort that appears during this stage, you should discuss them with your doctor or midwife so that they can guide you on how to treat them or reduce their intensity.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.