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Mothers' Physical Changes in the First Trimester


mom to be and her partner hugging and smiling



Your body goes through lots of changes - physical and emotional - during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Here's an overview of what you can expect. 

Some of the changes in your body will be obvious.  For example, your periods will stop, your breasts may become tender and lumpy and the areas around your nipples may darken. You might find it helpful to wear a comfortable, supportive bra, such as a nursing bra. 

Click here to watch a video about the first trimester of pregnancy.


You may also experience unexpected mood changes - this is normal. Be sure to focus on yourself. Talk about your feelings with your friends, family and co-workers. Eat regularly and often, and stay physically active. If you feel down for longer than seven days and things that used to give you joy no longer do, you may have perinatal depression. For more information about perinatal depression, click here. It’s also helpful to talk with your healthcare provider now. 

Physical Changes in the First Trimester - diagram

It’s normal to feel excitement, fear or uncertainty about impending parenthood. Share your feelings with others and spend time with new parents or a pregnancy support group. You can call your public health office, ask your healthcare provider or check your phone book for information on pregnancy and perinatal support groups in your area.


  • Feeling tired and sleepy is normal; rest whenever you can. It’s also OK if you don’t feel tired.
  • Have periods of activity and then of rest; stop before you become overtired
  • Eat small meals several times a day and drink plenty of water
  • If you're working, try to rest on your breaks and at lunchtime


  • Headaches are common and usually due to hormonal and postural changes.
  • Practice good posture.
  • Eat small, nutritious meals several times a day.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid activities that cause eyestrain.
  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.
  • Get neck, shoulder, face, and scalp massages.
  • Apply a cool or warm washcloth to your forehead and the back of your neck.
  • Drink two cups of water and take some acetaminophen. 
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if your headache does't go away

Frequent Urination

  • Pregnant women commonly pee more often.
  • Drink water, milk, and 100 per cent juice instead of coffee, tea, or colas.

Increased Vaginal Secretions

  • Vaginal secretions are thin and milky.
  • Wear small pads, cotton underwear, and looser pants.
  • Shower or bathe often.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if there is itchiness or frothy, smelly, or coloured discharge.


  • Stand up slowly.
  • Eat regularly and often.

Shortness of Breath

  • This is usually normal, but check with your healthcare provider if you have a family history of heart problems. 

Many women also experience morning sickness - nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. For more information on morning sickness, click here.

Can I sleep on my back or my stomach?

Yes. As long as you don't feel dizzy when you lie on your back, then plenty of blood is reaching your brain. If you feel dizzy when lying on your back, roll to your side or onto your stomach.

Don't lie flat on your back after the fourth month of pregnancy. The weight of your baby presses on your major arteries and veins and can reduce the blood flow to you and your baby.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: How will my body change?
HealthLinkBC: Pregnancy

Last Updated: August 11, 2013