Pregnancy can be exciting and scary in equal measure, especially if it is your first time experiencing it and you are not sure what to expect.
The good news is that humanity has been handling it successfully for millennia, so we can plot the trajectory of pregnancies pretty precisely. To make sure you are prepared for whatever pregnancy might throw at you, here is a quick look at the main things you should know about from day one.
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Pregnancies are broken down into a trio of trimesters by the experts to help study and describe symptoms, manage expectations and provide the best care for the prospective mother.
In the first trimester, a number of signs of a successful conception will begin to rear their head. This can include tender or swollen breast tissue, unusual feelings of tiredness and nausea, and also increased emotional volatility. If you find your mood on a knife-edge more often than is normal, this is surely a symptom of pregnancy, even if there are no physical indications yet visible.
Because first trimester symptoms can be a pain, you will appreciate early pregnancies gifts geared towards making life easier during this time, so drop some hints to your partner, friends and family to get the pampering you deserve.
As the baby grows and your body dedicates more of its resources to fuelling its early development, more symptoms will become apparent from the 13th week of pregnancy onwards.
Your body may ache more as it accommodates the extra weight and strain it is bearing, and you may start to see stretch marks on your skin. You may also experience carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the feeling of numbness in your hands, and your fingers and other bodily joints could experience swelling.
In the final semester of your pregnancy, lasting from week 29 to week 40, plenty of the symptoms which emerged in the second trimester will persist, only to be joined by new ones that you will need to bear in mind.
Heartburn is one of the most common complaints that comes with late-stage pregnancy, and it is also more likely that you will feel short of breath after relatively limited amounts of physical exertion.
Other side-effects include hemorrhoids, more intense breast tenderness accompanied by pre-milk leakage, and the potential for contractions, which may or may not signal the start of the birth itself.
Throughout the second and third trimesters you may find it harder to sleep normally, due both to the physical and mental changes that are going on inside you.
You can get a lot more information from your physician to help guide you through pregnancy, and you should also aim to do a lot of reading on the subject so that you are not taken by surprise by some of the entirely normal but potentially troubling symptoms.
Most importantly, remember that any discomfort during pregnancy will be more than worth it in the long run and any changes are reversible, so stay positive!