What to expect during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy


Congratulations, you’re having a baby! But what does that mean exactly? And what can you expect now that you’re pregnant?

Well, you might not be able to tell from the outside just yet, but from the moment your egg was fertilised with your partner’s sperm, your body has been working in overdrive to prepare for your new houseguest to take up residence.

How long is the first trimester?

The first trimester is typically categorised as the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, which lasts for 40 weeks in total (however some women go under and some women go over).

Your due date is calculated from the first day of your last period; which means you can estimate when your due date will be. However, it may change once you see your doctor and have a dating scan as they will be able to determine it with more accuracy. Most women don’t even know they are pregnant for the first few weeks until they miss a cycle, so you might find you are already 4 or even 5 weeks pregnant when you find out.

Growth and development in the first trimester

The first trimester is a time of rapid growth and development as your baby goes from an egg, to a zygote to an embryo. The first trimester sees the baby’s body take on human form with arms and legs sprouting. The brain is developing and helping the rest of the body grow and function, including the digestive system and the heart which can begin to beat as early as week 5.

Changes to your body and common symptoms

Every woman is different and while some may experience no changes or symptoms at all, some women go through drastic changes and suffer from a range of symptoms including nausea and/or vomiting, breast soreness/tenderness, fatigue, frequent urination, spotting, bleeding, cramping, mood swings and more.

While it is common to experience a number of symptoms in the first trimester that won’t leave you feeling all that great, there are also a number of things to be aware of, and contact your doctor immediately if you experience them or are unsure:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Significant bleeding
  • Severe dizziness

How will you be feeling emotionally

While this is hopefully an exciting time as you prepare to become a mother, the cocktail of hormones suddenly raging through your system can hit you for six. So, you may find yourself feeling excited but also anxious at the same time – and that is completely normal.

Finding out you’re having a baby is an incredible thing, even if you have been trying for one, when you finally find out it’s happening it can feel both scary and overwhelming, and there is a lot of information to take in.

But remember, the beauty of pregnancy is that there are nine months (give or take) for you to prepare both physically and mentally (as well as financially and logistically!) to welcome your new baby into your life – so try not to worry. If it does however become overwhelming and you feel like you need to speak with someone, there are so many great places to turn to for support these days.

For more information on mental health conditions in pregnancy visit COPE or contact Lifeline 24/7 on 131114.

Related articles
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Never-ending trips to the toilet – why you constantly need to pee!
30 things no one tells you about being a first-time mum

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