Having a baby is an amazing miracle, but it doesn’t always feel that way, especially at the beginning. Whether a woman is surprised by a pregnancy or has been working for one for months, there are a lot of crazy circumstances and horrible symptoms to deal with from the get-go, and even when a woman wants to be celebrating the new life inside her, there are plenty of things to keep her from smiling in the first trimester.
For some — especially those going through severe morning sickness or other terrible conditions — there can be twice as many horrible moments as the amazing ones. There’s the panic when you have missed the period or when you notice spotting. And even though getting a baby book may seem exciting, all of the facts between the covers can cause a woman to fear just about every moment for the next nine months. Between the nausea and the cravings, meal times can get a love-hate response, while the hormonal roller coaster makes a woman feel crazy. The doctor’s appointment can be torture before leading up to the incredible time when a mom will hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
Pregnant women have to take the bad with the good, but this guide, we hope, will prepare you for all of that. Here are 10 terrible moments during the first trimester and five amazing ones.
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15 Terrible: Period Panic
There are two types of women who get pregnant — ones who are planning with all their might to have a baby and others who aren’t. Either way, the time when the period is supposed to arrive is usually fraught with panic. For the planners, it’s the moments before when they are hoping that the bun is already in the oven, and they don’t want their hopes to be dashed by some red dots in their underwear.
For those who aren’t planning — whether they would like to have a baby or not — it can be super scary when the period doesn’t come. Some women watch their cycles closely, and they begin to panic within a day of being late. Others may not be so certain of the day that their period is supposed to come, and for them, the time period can be even more terrible. In all of these cases, the time period just before you know whether you are pregnant can be torture.
14 Terrible: Terrifying Rush To The Restroom
One of the first symptoms of pregnancy can cause a woman to spend a lot more time in the bathroom. We’re not talking about morning sickness — we’ll get to that in a minute — but there is another reason that women have to rush to the restroom a lot more often. It’s because they have to urinate more frequently. For many women, that also involves sudden urges, so it truly is a race that no one wants to lose.
As much as a woman can panic all by herself when she has to run to the restroom, it can be even more terrible when she is at work, having to excuse herself from a meeting with her boss or putting a damper on an evening with friends when she has to run through the mall at full tilt to get to a bathroom. Of course, the truly awful part comes when she doesn’t make it on time, and she ends up soiling herself. Even though there is no concern about her period, some women end up wearing pads just in case of an accident during that first trimester.
13 Terrible: Peeing On A Stick
There can be a few embarrassing moments that come when you get a pregnancy test. For some women who are worried about others finding out, the drug score can be a battlefield, or maybe a grid iron, where they have to protect the package and keep it covered up through the aisles. Then they have to buy it and hope that the check-out person is discreet. Things get even worse, though, when you get home and take the test.
The best time to test is with the first morning’s urine, so a woman who is already struggling with holding it in has to open the package, read the directions before she gets her coffee and somehow figure out how to pee on the stick enough to get accurate results. Inevitably, some urine is going to get on her hands — yuk. But that isn’t the worst part. The next minute or so is absolute torture as she waits to see the results.
12 Terrible: Busting Out
Most women don’t experience a lot of wardrobe issues during the first trimester, especially when it is their first child. The worst, for many, is when they start busting out of their bras. Whether a woman has a big chest or a small one, the hormones that surge during pregnancy can cause the bust to, well, go bust.
Unfortunately, bras are expensive, and some women can go through a few sizes over nine months. That first time, though, in the first trimester, can be the worst. It’s especially bad because at the beginning, the hormones can cause the breasts to ache. Many women don’t want to be touched at all. Having to try on a bunch of bras can just add to the torture. Unfortunately, it’s just one of the many changes to the body during pregnancy, but they get easier to accept after the first trimester when baby bump can become a badge of honor.
11 Terrible: First Morning Of Morning Sickness
No matter how much you read about morning sickness — and we’ll get to that in a minute — no woman can ever truly understand the torture that is morning sickness until she experiences it herself. She may be prepared for nausea and buy extra saltines from the moment that she learns she is pregnant, but that first morning that she ends up lurching for the toilet, she is going to realize how ill-equipped for pregnancy she truly is.
No matter how many hangovers you lived through in college, morning sickness can take a woman completely by surprise. It’s not just throwing up and it’s over — for some, it’s an all-day, exhausting affair. The very first time, it can feel like a woman is totally empty before she even gets halfway through. It’s a scary, disgusting, scary mess, and no one wants to go through that. No amount of saltines will wipe away the memory of that first terrible bout of morning sickness.
10 Terrible: Reading The Baby Book
While many moms can’t wait to get started on baby research, their feelings change just a few pages in. It’s fun to find out that the baby is just the size of an apple seed via an app or book, but just a few paragraphs later, it will go from amazing to terrifying when you learn exactly how vulnerable that tiny little baby is and all of the weird and horrifying symptoms that a mom will have to go through as the baby grows.
The chapters on birth defects and labor and delivery can make even the most excited mom quiver in her boots, and then the parts on when the baby is here can make her wonder if it is even worth the long nine months. We recommend not reading ahead too much in the baby book, especially during the first trimester. And it’s important to remember that the books are meant to inform you of every possibility, but most moms and babies have healthy, happy experiences.
9 Terrible: Seeing Spots
The beginning of pregnancy can be a really scary time for a woman. That’s because it’s so hard to believe that the baby is real, which makes it hard not to think about the possibility of miscarriage. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of pregnancy can also be an indicator of miscarriage. We’re referring to implantation bleeding, which can manifest as spotting.
Some women never find any blood in their underwear during their pregnancy. But it happens to one in five pregnant women, which means there is a good chance it can happen to anyone. Sometimes, it can be totally normal to experience a little spotting, but even if everything is OK, that sight is sure to send a woman running to her doctor for a check up. It can be terrifying, and it’s definitely one of the worst moments in the first trimester, until a mom-to-be gets some reassurances that the baby is all right.
8 Terrible: First Doctor’s Appointment
Figuring out which health care practitioner will care for the mother during pregnancy can be daunting enough, but once you decide, going to the doctor or midwife for the first time can be pretty terrible on its own. First, you have to get weighed, and knowing that more pounds will be tacked on soon can make that starting number even harder to accept.
Then the mom-to-be has to take off her clothes, put on a gown and go through a few procedures. Based on her previous history, she will probably get a breast exam (which is painful when her boobs feel like bursting), and she may need a pap smear. She’ll have to answer a ton of very personal questions and talk about her embarrassing symptoms. And as excited as she is for her first ultrasound, she may be surprised to learn that it is through an uncomfortable vaginal wand.
7 Terrible: Dramatic Moments
We’ve mentioned hormones a few times so far, and that is because the first trimester is all about hormones. While most women have endured hormonal moments since they were teenagers, they don’t compare at all to what happens when she is pregnant. Every day in the first trimester the hormone level changes, which means every day is full of dramatic moments.
It can be dangerous for a dad-to-be to complain about dinner or fail to bring home something his partner craves. The Lifetime channel should be off limits, and getting through a day at work can be like getting through a land-mine field. Even if everything goes right, there is the possibility for a woman to go from raging to crying to ecstatic in just a few minutes. The emotional roller coaster can be difficult to navigate, and it can cause a dozen or two dramatic moments in the first trimester alone.
6 Terrible: Keeping Secrets
Finding out you are pregnant is one of the most intense things that can ever happen to a woman. Sometimes, moms-to-be just want to keep the news to themselves for a while. That is especially true because of the terrifying possibility of miscarriage during the first trimester. So a good majority of women wait until they reach the 12-week mark to share the news of their expanding family outside of a few VIPs such as the dad-to-be.
But of course, the baby is always on her mind, so it can be really difficult to keep the secret. On top of the sheer excitement factor, it can be really tricky to navigate all of the changes that are going on with a woman’s life to keep things mum. From turning down wine at girls’ night out to keeping down lunch during a long day in the office, there can be signals that a mom-to-be wants to keep at bay so that her co-workers and friends don’t guess her big news before she is ready for them too. All the pressure can end with some terrible moments, but luckily, it only lasts a few weeks.
5 Amazing: Accepting The Results
For some women, the moment that the positive sign shows up is filled with glee. They are elated to be pregnant and can’t wait to welcome a new baby into their lives. But for some women — even those who are trying to have a baby — it isn’t so simple. When they get their test results, they feel as much fear or anxiety as any other emotion, and they may not feel as happy as they expected to be. That’s perfectly OK.
At some point, usually in the first trimester, a woman is going to come to accept the results of her pregnancy. Even though she may be scared — we all are — the excitement can start to seep in, and usually after those first 12 weeks, a woman is ready and excited to begin this new journey of pregnancy. Whenever it comes, that is definitely one of the most amazing moments of the first trimester.
4 Amazing: Hearing The Baby’s Heartbeat
All those embarrassing and terrible moments during the first doctor’s appointment lead up to the grand event. And while getting prepped for the ultrasound isn’t so pleasant, in the end, it brings what may be the very best moment of the first trimester. The baby may not look like much yet — it’s hard to see much more than a little bean in the middle of a circle at this point.
While that part may seem a bit anticlimactic, things get a lot better when the technician or doctor switches on the sound. That is when a mom-to-be will hear her baby’s heartbeat, and the miracle of the new life growing inside her becomes all the more amazing. Once a woman hears the baby’s heartbeat, the chance of miscarriage goes down dramatically, so it is definitely a moment worth celebrating. It’ll be months before the mom can hear her baby’s first cry, so for now, the heartbeat will sound like music to her ears.
3 Amazing: Indulging In Cravings
For much of the first trimester, it can be difficult to eat anything for some women. They cherish things like saltines and ginger ale, but they can’t handle much more than that. For most women, though, it can take just a few weeks to figure out the triggers that cause her to be sick. If she takes a few bites out of a granola bar first thing when she wakes up, she can keep her morning sickness at bay. And then, she can begin to indulge in her cravings.
Different women crave different things during pregnancy. Some want sweet things (which according to an old wives’ tale might mean that there is a girl on board). Others prefer pickles or they really want spicy food. Cravings can come on suddenly, and sometimes that means that dad has to rush to a restaurant or store to bring home exactly what mom wants. Taking that first indulgent bite can be heaven for a woman with a strong craving, and she will chalk up that moment to one of the most amazing during her first trimester.
2 Amazing: Buying The Baby Book
Once a woman knows she is pregnant, she begins to realize all the things that she doesn’t know. Part of the excitement comes in learning about new things most of the time, so a new mom-to-be is usually pretty excited to go and get a baby book. The trip to the book store or searching on Amazon usually yields so many amazing results, and it’s usually tempting to fill the cart (either online or in real life).
Many parents-to-be get so excited that they start with something like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” add a few more pregnancy books, add in a pregnancy journal or scrapbook and at least one book of baby names. Some choose these days to load up on apps instead, but either way, it can feel like Christmas to find some founts of information, and most moms can’t wait to get started. But that leads us to the next terrible moment — actually reading the baby book.
1 Amazing: Sharing The Good News
After a few weeks anticipation, the most amazing thing happens. The first trimester is ending; the baby is growing and healthy; the nausea is subsiding; and it’s time to share the good news.
Some moms- and dads-to-be plan outrageous epic pregnancy announcements. They make professional quality videos or they stage unforgettable photo shoots. They make a big statement on social media and time everything perfectly. Others are more laid-back, letting the word spread slowly, and letting the bump speak for itself.
Either way, it’s always amazing to share the news of a pregnancy because of the amazing love that every friend and family member feels. Even when there are friends who are a little bit saddened that they aren’t sharing the news or grandparents who aren’t quite ready to take on that title, the excitement of a new baby will eventually win everyone over, and it’ll be hard not to bubble over with happiness when sharing such good news. It’s an amazing way to end the first trimester and celebrate a new life entering the world.
Sources: What to Expect, Romper