First Trimester Body Changes

March 21, 2023


For many women, finding out they're having a baby is exciting, but it also means their body is going to go through many changes over the next nine months, especially in the first trimester.

First, they find out they're pregnant. Then, the body starts to change. According to Rochelle L. Arbuah-Aning, M.D., a board certified OB-GYN with The Family Childbirth and Children's Center at Mercy Medical Center, it doesn't take long.

"I tell my patients, 'Pregnancy can affect you head to toe, even before that little baby bump is showing,'" Dr. Arbuah-Aning said.

For Lauren Caraccio, while expecting her second child, the biggest change came early on.

"I didn't have any nausea or sickness, which was great, but I did feel pretty tired in the first trimester," Caraccio said.

Fatigue is very common, and for some women, pregnancy hormones can cause nausea and vomiting early on.

"Eating smaller meals instead of bigger meals can help with that nausea, avoiding a really full stomach or also avoiding a really empty stomach can help to get through that first trimester," Dr. Arbuah-Aning, said.

And don't be surprised if smells intensify.

"Your sense of smell heightens in pregnancy, and so a lot of things that normally didn't used to bother you, or that you might have enjoyed, can be quite repulsive in pregnancy, especially in that first trimester," Dr. Arbuah-Aning explained.

Other possible changes include swollen or tender breasts, constipation and trouble sleeping. As for fatigue, a small amount of caffeine, no more than one to two cups of coffee or tea a day can help, along with naps and getting to bed early.

"Fatigue is one of those things. Usually, it gets better by the end of the first trimester, but for some people, they find themselves feeling tired through the whole pregnancy. I tell people, 'Take it easy on yourself. Don't overcommit. Don't overexert yourself. And, set small little to-do lists, so you're still getting things accomplished, but you're not putting too much strain on your body,'" Dr. Arbuah-Aning said.

View Mercy OB/GYN Dr. Rochelle Arbuah-Aning's interview regarding body changes during the first trimester of pregnancy.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

Media Contact 
Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations
Office: 410-332-9714
Cell: 410-375-7342