Normal or Not: First Trimester Edition

first trimester

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! The first trimester is full of  big changes, and if you’ve never been pregnant before (and even if you have!), there can be symptoms that leave you wondering is this normal? Have no fear; today’s blog will look at some of the myths and realities of early pregnancy – what’s normal and what’s not. Remember: you know your body best, so if you have any questions or concerns, or feel something isn’t right, it’s always a good idea to call your midwife and check in with her. There’s no harm in being cautious!

Morning Sickness
You might have expected morning sickness, but all-day sickness? Evening sickness? Unfortunately, this is normal, because of rising hcg levels. More people often have morning sickness because the stomach acids have built up on an empty stomach overnight, but it’s not abnormal to feel nauseous at other times during the day. If you cannot keep any food or drink down for more than 12 hours, however, this is not normal, and you should call your midwife or go to your local emergency room.

While it can be normal to feel warmer than usual while expecting, if you run a fever of 101 degrees or higher, call your midwife. This could be a symptom of an infection like parvovirus or toxoplasmosis.

Vaginal Discharge
It’s completely normal to have more vaginal discharge than usual during your first trimester – in fact, this might be one of the first signs that you’re pregnant. Leukorrhea is the medical name for the odorless or mild smelling, whitish-clear discharge. If you notice any foul-smelling or colored discharge, this could be a sign of an STI and need to be treated. While it’s okay to use pads or pantiliners for the discharge, tampons should not be used while pregnant, since these can introduce bacteria into the vagina.

Vaginal Bleeding/Spotting
While it can be scary, vaginal bleeding during the first trimester is actually pretty common, with up to 25% of women experiencing it. It can be a sign of miscarriage, but it can also be a sign of implantation, cervical polyps, or cervical irritation (especially after sexual intercourse). If you do experience any bleeding or spotting, it’s always a good idea to call your midwife, to see if you should go in and be checked, just in case.

This can be another nerve-wracking symptom that has a benign cause. In early pregnancy, there is increased blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area, and this can cause a heavy, crampy feeling. If the cramps are only on one side, or if you’re bleeding as well, call your provider.

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