Changes and Adaptation During Pregnancy – 1st Trimester

A full term pregnancy goes through three trimesters: The first occurs between weeks one (1) and thirteen (13), the second between weeks fourteen and twenty-six and the final lap from week twenty-seven till birth.

During this period, hormonal changes affect almost all the organs. Some changes may start from the onset of pregnancy till birth but usually they differ from stage to stage.

In the next three articles, we serialize the various trimesters to give you an insight into pregnancy and its related changes.


Morning Sickness which is accompanied by nausea and vomiting is not uncommon and usually disappears after the 1st trimester. Excessive salivation may also be noticed. Eating in bits or eating dry foods like biscuits does the trick. Dietary changes like craving for ice blocks, coal, chalk etc. is reasonably common.

At this point, the Gum becomes softer, thicker and may bleed. Salt in warm water is recommended for gargling to reduce interaction and mouth odor. Snacking on sweets and sugary products is not recommended within this period.

Within the first trimester, The Skin becomes dry and flaky, and spots may appear on the face or body. Using body oil or shea butter can moisten the skin. Due to increased amount of blood circulating in the system, the body becomes hotter than usual. Cold or lukewarm water should be used in bathing and cold drinks are usually suitable within this period. Clothing made from fabrics which do not generate heat is recommended and it should be very comfortable to wear in order not to generate heat.

The Breast and Nipples become enlarged, sensitive and very painful. It is therefore recommended that women wear loose braziers to avoid excessive perspiration.

The Vagina changes from light to dark brown and sometimes bluish. Vaginal secretions or discharge known as leucorrhoea may occur. This should not be a bother as it disappears after birth. But when it becomes profuse, offensive or changes color your health care provider should be informed.

Increased Metabolic rate in the pregnant woman causes her to gain a lot of weight but others reduce in weight due to vomiting and loss of appetite and increased salivation.

During this time, the mother might feel faint and extremely tired when standing or getting up from bed quickly. This usually happens when there is not enough blood getting to the brain.

Hormones produced during the pregnancy cause the intestines to relax causing constipation. High fiber diet, fruits, vegetables and lots of fluids are highly recommended. Due to pressure from the growing uterus on the bladder there is an increase in the frequency of urination. Panty liners and changing of underwear are usually advised.

Mood Swings are very common and can even affect the libido (sexual urge) of the mother. Partners should be considerate during this time as the woman is going through some traumatic changes. In some cases, alternative means should be sought to satisfy the partners.

Please share your experience with us by commenting below. If you have any questions, please also post them below or send an email to our experts.

Our next article will be on the second trimester.

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  1. Koko Oyo says:

    Hello Cussons Baby,

    Why do women crave stones? Is it the texture or some kind of mineral? Is there another source of whatever nutrients or vitamins that they seek from stones. lastly, does this only happen to African women?

    • ee3fl says:

      When pregnant women tend to develop urgent desires also known as cravings for something tasty to eat. Firstly the craving for stones has been reported mostly in Kenya and not the whole of Africa. There is a presumption that the mineral they gain from eating is Calcium and Iron, but that really is not the case. Research shows that what women get really at the end of the day is more of Magnesium. Yes there are other sources of Calcium and a doctor definitely recommends some medicine that have mineral supplements that the women might be lacking.

      Well there is no evidence to prove that it is only African women , but most reports indicate that it is mostly reported in Kenya.

  2. Bianca says:

    this is an interesting article.. how I wish I had posted it when I was pregnant my baby is 10 weeks….I had constipation which lasted whole two months… despite consuming fiber vegetables and fruits and drinking water… I thank God I never experienced morning sickness though sometimes I had fits I tools ifas tablets and I increased blood level in my body,.. i would dress so lightly due to too much heat… but I had a very good journey throughout my pregnancy God knows i miss being pregnant

  3. lizah robbin says:

    helloo!am pregnant actually at my third trinester,my gum is week and even bleeding,and yet you have said this happen in the first that abnormal or?,,am also requesting to know if eating stones/soil have effect during or after pregnancy?

  4. eve says:

    Hi am in my first trimester n am having crampy pains loss of appetite feeling of tiredness what can I do to minimize these effects

  5. Celine says:

    Am almost two and a half pregnant.I have cramps.what could be the problem

  6. LILLIAN says:

    my friend has tried two abortion and both have failed she is now heading to month 4 and she is feeling so tired and also feeling baby movement is the baby safe? or what should she do to keep baby development going since she had tried to abort?

    • Cussons Baby says:

      Hello Lillian, We can know if baby is thriving well around 18-20 weeks but in the mean time she should take her medications religiously.