How Does My Body Change During Pregnancy? Pregnancy Week 1 – 14 Explained
Pregnancy week 1 – 14: How does my body change during pregnancy?
The first weeks of being pregnant can be daunting, and you will probably wonder, ‘how does my body change during pregnancy’? This guide will outline the changes that could happen during pregnancy week 1 – 14.
Pregnancy Week 1 – Pregnancy Week 4
The first few weeks of pregnancy can be confusing for a number of reasons; am I pregnant?
When did I conceive? When should I take a pregnancy test? It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact day you became pregnant, as ovulation usually happens around day 14 of your cycle and you are most fertile from day 11 until 12 – 24 hours after ovulation has occurred.
Some women can experience cramping during ovulation, giving you a good indicator of your fertile period.
During ovulation, an egg is released and travels to the fallopian tube where it is fertilised by a single sperm.
The fertilised egg then goes down to the uterus where it attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.
At this stage you may have some spotting, which can continue for a few days and could be mistaken for a light period.
Towards the end of the first month, the hormonal changes in your body can be the early indicators that you are pregnant.
Pregnancy hormones have caused your breasts to swell and they may be more sensitive than usual.
Another pregnancy related hormone, relaxin, causes your joints to loosen in order for your pelvis to accommodate your growing embryo.
The downside is that you might find you are a little clumsier or unsteady on your feet.
You could find you tire more easily, which is understandable given the changes your body is going through!
And the dreaded morning sickness can start this early and strike at any time of day.
Your body temperature increases during ovulation and once conception occurs, stays at a slightly higher level than usual, so you might find the nights a bit warmer.
A missed period is the best indicator that you may be pregnant and a positive pregnancy test followed by a visit to your GP will confirm the good news.
If you are not already taking a folic acid supplement, then start today.
Folic acid is essential to the formation of your baby’s spine and brain in the early weeks of pregnancy with low levels resulting in birth defects such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
This is particularly relevant to Irish mothers as it is the most common severe birth defect in the country.
If you want your breasts to look as good after your pregnancy as they did before, then wear a supportive bra, even a night time.
The general advice is to avoid under wire styles but you will probably find them too uncomfortable anyway.
At night time, wear a sleeper bra which is available from most pregnancy stores or alternatively, buy a sports bra in a breathable fabric, such as soft cotton.
Pregnancy Week 5 – Pregnancy Week 9
During weeks 5 to 9 of pregnancy, mum will certainly start to feel more pregnant!
In week 5 of pregnancy, you may be feeling irritable and cranky due to the increasing levels of hormones in your body, this can be similar to how you feel around your period.
Your breasts are becoming tender as they begin to grow in size and your rate of metabolism is increasing.
By week 6 of pregnancy, you may be having morning sickness, which can actually strike at any time of the day.
Your abdomen has started to grow and stretch and you may feel some cramping low in your belly, not unlike the growing pains you had as a child.
Some women can experience spotting at this stage, which is normal, but if it becomes heavy like a period or the cramps increase in intensity, consult your doctor immediately.
By the 7th week of pregnancy you may be having food cravings, but try not to give in to temptation – unless you are yearning for salad and fruit!
Your waist is already expanding although some women may actually lose weight due to nausea and sickness.
Believe it or not, you may find a few spots erupting this week due to the increasing levels of hormones in your body.
Week 8 of pregnancy may find you suffering from headaches and feeling bloated and constipated.
Your digestive system has slowed down so that your body can absorb as much nutrition as possible from the food you are eating.
If you’re getting headaches, they could be caused by the increased volume of blood that you are producing to create your baby, and it may also leave you feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
Your uterus has grown from the size of your fist to the size of a grapefruit.
By the end of this month you may be feeling all of these symptoms; tiredness, nausea, bloating and headaches, which won’t help the emotional rollercoaster you seem to be experiencing!
Those pesky hormones mean that mood swings are inevitable so avoid weepy movies and stick to the rom-com’s for now!
If you are having heartburn, try to eat little and often as this will ease the pressure on your digestive system.
Yoghurts are great for bloating and constipation and are a good source of much needed calcium, but try to choose a low-fat version with cereals.
Snack on dried apricots as they are a natural laxative which can go towards your five-a-day. But be careful, they’re very effective!
If you are suffering from morning sickness, nibble on crackers when you first wake so that you have something in your stomach.
Ginger is a natural remedy that relieves nausea, so have a few gingersnap biscuits handy.
Pregnancy Week 10 – Pregnancy Week 14
Sick and tired may sum up exactly how you feel in week 10 of your pregnancy . Your tummy may look more swollen than usual but that is due to the bloating feeling you are also experiencing.
Pregnancy Week 11 may see changes in your hair and nails which is down to the hormones flooding your body.
Some women may still be experiencing headaches but may find relief from a nasal inhaler.
Although you are feeding your growing baby and may have gained weight by this stage, the emphasis is on good nutrition rather than increased calories.
You only need 300 extra calories per day.
Your 12th week of pregnancy has finally arrived and you can announce your wonderful news!
Some people may already have guessed if you have dark or irregular patches on your skin.
This is known as chloasma and, when it appears on your face, is known as the mask of pregnancy.
A common occurrence in dark skinned women is the linea nigra, a dark line which runs from your pubic bone up the centre of your swelling abdomen.
Week 13 of pregnancy heralds the beginning of your second trimester and things are starting to ease, your nausea has lessened and your energy is returning.
Your breasts may feel tender and lumpy which is the mammary glands gearing themselves up for milk production.
By week 14 of your pregnancy you are feeling better day by day and any food aversions you may have suffered up until now may subside.
Remember that old wives tale; lose a tooth for every child?
Well, there is a ring of truth in it as changes in your body during pregnancy can cause your gums to become swollen and tender.
If you didn’t visit your dentist before you became pregnant, then book an appointment as soon as you begin your second trimester.
Graze on healthy snacks such as cheese sticks, grapes, mixed nuts or wholegrain crackers such as Ryvita, to keep nausea and hunger at bay but without consuming too many calories.
Gearing up for the next week? See our guide to what to expect during pregnancy week 15.