The first trimester refers to the first three months of pregnancy, up to the end of week twelve. Remember that week one, confusingly, is at least two weeks before your partner got pregnant! This is because weeks of pregnancy are counted from the first day of the menstrual period before conception.
So, by week twelve she’s really only been pregnant for about ten weeks so the first trimester can feel like it passes quite quickly!
What's your partner going to feel like?
Not everyone has pregnancy symptoms, but common ones include nausea and sickness (sometimes all day, it’s not just in the morning), swollen and/or sore breasts, needing to wee more often than normal and tiredness. For some pregnant women and people this sense of tiredness goes way beyond the odd yawn. Pregnancy tiredness can feel like just putting one foot in front of the other is more than she can imagine doing.
Dealing with pregnancy tiredness
Pregnancy tiredness means that it’s really important that you step up and take over as many of the jobs around the house as you can. Growing a new human is exhausting and that can make life tiring for you, too. So, aim to treat yourselves to an early night as often as you feel you need it.
Sometimes, your pregnant partner will need to head to bed far earlier than you. This can lead to you both missing out on that pre-sleep time, whether it is a time to reconnect and chat, have a loving cuddle or anything else… Even if you are not ready to hit the sack yourself, your partner may really appreciate it if you join her, even if you get up again and carry on with your evening after she’s asleep.
Cooking for three
It is important to know that pregnancy nausea can be triggered by smells and, sometimes, certain foods. This means that, unless you are not already the chef of the family, you may need to take over some or all of the cooking duties if being in the kitchen makes her feel rough.
Pregnancy can make smells much stronger which, in turn, can trigger waves of sickness. Do ask her what she feels she’d like to eat and don’t spice it up – serve exactly what she’s asked!
Those wild pregnancy hormones
Pregnancy hormones can certainly make early pregnancy an emotional time, but it is not just the hormones that affect how you may both feel. You are, as a couple, heading into one of the most exhilarating life changes that you will ever experience. Yet, change is never easy and it can lead to some real ups and downs. And that is ok. It is normal. Keep talking, connecting and keep being kind to each other.
The waiting game
The weird thing about the first trimester of pregnancy is that, while your partner may experience many symptoms, none of them feel like there is a baby in her belly! Despite the positive pregnancy test and her very possibly feeling tired, sick and sore, there won’t be any kicks or an obvious bump yet (although her clothes may start to feel tight), making it all feel a little surreal and unreal.
On top of this, you may feel nervous about whether the pregnancy will continue, especially if you’ve experienced the loss of a pregnancy before. Deciding whether to tell people can be challenging and many people choose to talk to those close friends or family whom they would confide in if their partner sadly had a miscarriage. Having someone to talk to can really help to relieve stress and anxiety.
For most parents, the first scan is the moment where this anxiety can lift. If she chooses to have the scan (because, of course, it is optional), it can be a wonderful opportunity to have the pregnancy start to feel real! You can actually see your baby (or, maybe babies?!!) and hear their precious heartbeat. If you can’t make the scan for any reason, your partner can video record it for you. The hospital may have a policy which says they don’t allow this but, in fact, they have no legal right to not allow it. They are also not allowed to refuse the scan if your partner videos it, because this would be a breach of their duty of care.
The first trimester of pregnancy can feel quite odd. So many things are changing and yet there’s little evidence of an actual baby! All the focus is on your pregnant partner but it’s ok to reach out to friends and family if you would like support, too. Be empathic to your partner. Her body is changing fast and she may be feeling really unwell. You can’t fix that, but don’t underestimate how much you can help, both practically and also just by listening and being there for her. Most of all, try to enjoy this special time together, and hang on in there – the second trimester, where most pregnant women and people feel much better, is just around the corner!