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What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Early Pregnancy

So you’ve checked the calendar, and begun to wonder whether you might be pregnant.

Hannah Harvey

Perhaps you haven’t been able to keep your eyes open over the last week? Maybe you’re even feeling the beginning of breast tenderness, or hints of nausea?

You pluck up the courage to take a test, and as you see those two blue lines appear, the realisation hits you – you’re pregnant! 

Congratulations! Here begins one of life’s most wonderful adventures!

Early pregnancy can be a time of real excitement and joy, but it can also be a time of anxiety and of constantly analysing what you are – or are not – feeling.

At Juno we’d love to take the worry out of the early weeks of pregnancy for you, so that you know exactly what to expect, and can fully embrace the beauty of the experience!

Once you have a positive pregnancy test it’s important to get in touch with a Midwife. 

Some will choose to access a Midwife via their GP, however you can make a self-referral to your local midwives, just by dropping them a text or email! 

Your GP surgery or local children’s centre will be able to advise you of the relevant contact details. Alternatively you should be able to access a self-referral form via the website of your chosen hospital.

There are many symptoms associated with early pregnancy, here we’ll take you through the most common.

Tiredness 
This is not your average tiredness. This is an exhaustion which can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, and to complete even your normal daily routine. You may find your eyelis closing as soon as you sit on the sofa, and in fact this is a common prompt for women to begin to consider that they might be pregnant. There is a huge amount happening in your body in early pregnancy, and all of that takes a lot of energy. Do only what you have to, and rest whenever you can, it’s the perfect excuse to leave the household chores to someone else – you’re already working hard growing your baby!

Nausea & vomiting
Often called ‘morning sickness’ which is a misleading title because some find that the nausea lasts all. day. long. Some women will experience nausea only, others may regularly vomit.

This typically begins at around 6 weeks of pregnancy and will generally last until around week 12. It can be a tough time both physically and emotionally, especially as people may not even know that you are pregnant and so you may be trying to carry on as ‘normal’.

Focus on managing symptoms day by day and do ask for help from loved ones if you’re struggling.

This is a fairly common symptom and is not a cause for concern unless the vomiting is severe enough to mean that you cannot tolerate water, which can lead to dehydration. 

In this instance you should see your GP for advice.

Breast tenderness
This is another very common symptom of early pregnancy. Some will notice that their breasts grow noticeably even in the early weeks, or that their nipples may darken, and veins in the breast become more prominent. These are all signs of your body responding to the hormones of pregnancy, and the beginning of preparation for breastfeeding. Make sure to wear a soft supportive bra, and avoid underwires which can increase discomfort.

Needing to wee – a lot!
Even in the very early days and weeks there are enormous changes happening in your womb and so its quite common to feel that you need to pass urine more frequently, as the womb grows and pressure on the bladder increases. You’ll get some relief from this at about 12 weeks, as your womb moves up out of your pelvis – although I’m afraid that symptom makes definite return in the 3rd trimester!

Changes to your sense of smell & taste
Scents that you would normally love or not even notice may now seem overpowering to you. You might spray on your favourite perfume as you usually would and then find yourself running straight to the bathroom to wash it off again!

Equally you may find that foods you enjoy just wont taste the same, or even that you have a continual strange taste in your mouth. It can be unsettling to feel that everything is changing but bear in mind that this is just a stage, nothing permanent, and before long you’ll be enjoying all of your favourite things once again. 

Your first appointment with a Midwife is known as your ‘booking appointment’ and should ideally happen before you are 10 weeks pregnant.

This will likely be the most in depth appointment of your entire pregnancy and your Midwife will ask a huge number of questions about you, your partner, your own medical history as well as that of your family. You may need to brush up on any family medical history ahead of that appointment! 

Midwives offer holistic care and that means they’re not just interested in the physical aspects of your pregnancy, but also how you’re feeling emotionally, and what kind of support network you have around you. Some of the questions are of a very personal and sensitive nature, so while you’re welcome to have someone accompany you to the appointment, it’s wise to carefully consider who.

Your Midwife will also spend time discussing diet, vitamin supplements, as well as screening and diagnostic tests that are recommended in pregnancy, It’s important you have a good understanding of any tests that you are offered before they are carried out.

Whatever the early weeks of pregnancy bring your way, remember that Midwives at Juno are just a text away to answer any questions that you may have.