First-Time Pregnancy FAQS

Your first pregnancy can stir up several emotions: excitement about motherhood, fear of the unknown and the changes you’ll experience, anxiety about your health and the health of your baby. Whether you’re terrified or completely ecstatic to start your pregnancy journey, your feelings are totally normal.

As a soon-to-be mom, you probably have a lot of questions. Let us answer many of your common questions about first-time pregnancy and help ease your mind as you approach motherhood for the first time.

FAQ: How Will My Body Change During Pregnancy?

Each trimester, you will experience several physical changes to your body. No two women are alike, so the changes one woman experiences during pregnancy may not apply to you. However, some of the more common temporary changes to the body or to your body’s normal functions include:

First Trimester

  • Belly growth
  • Change in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Excessive vaginal discharge
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Excessive urination
  • Heartburn
  • Increased acne
  • Light spotting
  • Nausea throughout the day and night (morning sickness)
  • Sore and swollen breasts
  • Spider vein development

Second Trimester

  • Back pain
  • Belly growth
  • Body aches
  • Breast growth
  • Dizziness
  • False contractions (Braxton Hicks contractions)
  • Food aversion
  • Food cravings
  • Gum pain
  • Heartburn
  • Increase in UTIs
  • Nosebleeds
  • Stretch marks and skin patches
  • Vaginal discharge

Third Trimester

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the legs, feet, face, and hands
  • Belly growth
  • Body tingling
  • Body aches
  • Breast growth
  • Breath shortness
  • Leg or arm numbness
  • Heartburn
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Varicose vein development
  • Hemorrhoid development

Many of these changes come with the territory of being pregnant, and for most, they sound much worse on paper than they do if you experience them.

FAQ: Will Pregnancy Permanently Change My Body?

linea nigra and stretch marks on pregnant women

The stretchmarks you develop during pregnancy will remain. Other changes, however, may be temporary or may have a lasting effect on your body. Again, each woman is different, and some may experience permanent changes in one area and only temporary changes in another.

Changes that can be either temporary or permanent include:

  • Brain shrinkage
  • Breast size
  • Darkened skin patches
  • Developed diabetes*
  • Hip widening
  • Larger and darker areolas

*Gestational diabetes is something women can develop during pregnancy. If developed, gestational diabetes will likely fade following birth. However, if it does not go away, it will become type 2 diabetes. Women whose gestational diabetes fades after pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later.

FAQ: Is Brain Fog or Mommy Brain Real?

Yes, brain fog, also called mommy brain or pregnancy brain, is a real and common side effect of pregnancy. Your hormone levels are surging and fluctuating at such rapid rates, which is something the brain is highly sensitive to. As a result, you are likely to experience the following throughout your pregnancy, starting in your first trimester:

  • Inability to recall memories
  • Lack of concentration
  • Frequent forgetfulness
  • Increased distractions

FAQ: How Much Weight Should I Expect to Gain During My Pregnancy?

While some women only gain a few pounds throughout their pregnancy, others can gain up to 50 or more. There is no single rule or expectation around weight gain during pregnancy. Your body is going through something major, and some of your weight increase will be due to factors that are totally out of your control, like how your body naturally stores fat or retains fluids. Your exercise and dieting habits will also affect how much weight you can expect to gain.

While there are no specific figures you should aim to gain or not gain during pregnancy, there are loose and general recommendations based on your pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index):

  • Women with a BMI under 18 (considered underweight) are recommended to gain between 28 and 40 pounds.
  • Women with a BMI between 18 and 25 (considered a healthy weight) are recommended to gain between 25 and 35 pounds.
  • Women with a BMI between 25 and 30 (considered overweight) are recommended to gain between 15 and 25 pounds.
  • Women with a BMI above 30 (considered obese) are recommended to gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

Staying Active During Pregnancy

Whether you’re worried about weight gain or not, staying active during pregnancy is vital to your journey. We’re not recommending you run 10 miles a day or take HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes, but certain levels of exercise and an active lifestyle will help you feel great during your pregnancy.

Here are some recommended activities that are safe for you to try:

  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Pilates
  • Spinning on a stationary bike
  • Swimming/water aerobics
  • Walking
  • Weight lifting/strength training
  • Yoga
Pregnant woman doing exercises with dumbbells while sitting on a fitness ball at home. Close-up of a pregnant belly.

FAQ: Are Prenatal Vitamins Necessary to My Health and the Health of My Baby?

The simple answer is yes, you need to take your prenatal vitamins. Pregnancy creates quite a demand on your body as you quickly absorb the vitamins and minerals you get from the foods you eat. To help feed your body what it needs at this time and fill in any nutritional gaps, it is important to take prenatal vitamins.

When shopping for the right prenatal vitamins to take, look for the ones that contain:

  • B vitamins
    • Folic acid (B9)
    • Niacin (B3)
    • Riboflavin (B2)
    • Thiamin (B1)
    • Other B vitamins
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C, D, and E
  • Zinc

All these vitamins combine to help your baby develop healthy and strong. They feed your body the nutrients you need, too!

Vitamins and Products to Avoid During Your Pregnancy

Just as there are supplements to take, there are also ones to avoid right now.

Vitamin A supplements or multivitamins containing Vitamin A harm your baby’s development. Vitamin A is found in liver, liver products, and fish liver oil, so avoid these as well.

If you have more questions about first-time pregnancy, ask the caring team at the Women’s Clinic of Atlanta.

At Women’s Clinic of Atlanta, we want you to know you have a dedicated support team on your side as you approach motherhood for the first time. We offer mothers free pregnancy services and medical care during the first trimester. Plus, we are available to answer any questions about your pregnancy journey.

Schedule a pregnancy appointment by texting “appointment” to 404-777-4771 today.

Women’s Clinic of Atlanta is HIPAA compliant and AAAHC accredited.

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