Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms to Expect During Each Trimester

There are many surprises that can come along with pregnancy. Perhaps your pregnancy itself was a bit of a surprise! As your body is changing to accommodate the growth of your baby, these changes can bring along a ton of different side effects and feelings and can even be different for each pregnancy. You may wonder how you’ll know when it’s time to go to the hospital or if what you’re feeling is normal. To help keep some of these signs and symptoms a little less of a surprise, let’s take a look at some of the common pregnancy symptoms that occur during each trimester—from early signs of pregnancy all the way through delivery day.

What are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?

One of the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy is a missed period. Although this isn’t always a reliable indicator, as periods can sometimes be irregular, it’s one of the most common early signs that you may be pregnant. Other signs and symptoms can start as soon as conception occurs. For some women, these early symptoms can appear within days after conception while for others they may take weeks to manifest themselves. 

1st Trimester Symptoms: Week 4-6 Pregnancy Symptoms

The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by significant changes in your body as it adjusts to the baby’s growth. Hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy hormones like hCG and progesterone are the main culprits behind the common symptoms experienced during pregnancy. These hormones directly impact the way your body functions, resulting in physical and emotional changes. Some other pregnancy symptoms you might experience during these weeks include:

  • Missed period
  • Fatigue
  • Breast tenderness or soreness
  • Nausea or vomiting (also known as morning sickness)
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Food cravings and aversions to certain smells
  • Constipation, 
  • Headaches
  • Light spotting or bleeding
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings

2nd Trimester (Week 13-26) Pregnancy Symptoms

The second trimester of pregnancy is often the most comfortable point of pregnancy. Thankfully during this trimester, morning sickness typically tends to ease up and energy levels start to return. You may experience physical symptoms like stretched skin, increased appetite, and swelling in your hands and feet. But this trimester also brings some of the “fun” symptoms as these months are when you will likely begin to experience the fluttery feeling of your baby moving around. You may also start to feel Braxton Hicks contractions, which are mild, irregular contractions that feel like a “tightening” in your abdomen. Braxton Hicks contractions don’t mean that labor is coming soon; they are your body’s way of getting ready for labor and typically aren’t painful. 

Other common pregnancy symptoms during the 2nd trimester:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Growing, rounder abdomen
  • Weight gain due to baby’s growth and maternal water retention
  • Darkening of the areolas (the skin around the nipples)
  • Stretch marks on abdomen, breasts, hips, or buttocks
  • Itching on abdomen, palms, or soles of feet as skin stretches
  • Backache and abdominal pain caused by increased weight bearing down on muscles and ligaments
  • Heartburn
  • Leg cramps from hormonal changes in the body causing imbalances in electrolytes   
  • Heavier vaginal discharge that may have a slight odor
  • Possible Braxton Hicks contractions (irregular uterine tightening)

Third Trimester (Weeks 27-40)

The third trimester of pregnancy is often the most physically and emotionally challenging stage as the baby is growing and your body is beginning to prepare itself for labor. The end of your pregnancy is near and your baby is getting ready to make its appearance! Here are some of the third trimester pregnancy symptoms you might experience during these final weeks:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions  
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Food cravings and aversions to certain smells
  • Fatigue due to the body working harder for oxygen and nutrients for the baby
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Backaches, headaches, constipation, or heartburn
  • Enlarged breasts and darkening of the areolas
  • Mood swings or emotional changes
  • Shortness of breath caused by pressure on internal organs

Of course, every pregnancy is different and not all pregnant women will experience all symptoms listed above.  You may even find yourself experiencing symptoms that are more “uncommon”. Pregnancy requires a lot of change to your body as it cares for your growing baby and prepares for labor. Pregnancy symptoms are not always pleasant, but there are small things you can do to help make yourself more comfortable throughout your pregnancy. 

Tips for Helping with Symptoms

During pregnancy, it’s important to take extra care of yourself. Simple lifestyle tips such as eating a balanced diet full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients can help reduce fatigue and keep your body nourished. Getting adequate sleep at night and taking regular breaks during the day will help with energy levels and overall well-being. 

Additionally, staying hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day will help reduce swelling in your hands and feet. Regular exercise such as walking, yoga or swimming can also be beneficial for reducing stress levels as well as easing back pain and improving circulation. Lastly, creating an environment of emotional support during this time by seeking out family members or friends for comfort can be a great way to manage any mood swings or emotional changes you may experience. 

It can be a difficult and overwhelming experience to go through pregnancy (whether planned or unplanned). However, it is important to remember that all of the physical and emotional changes you may experience are natural parts of the process. 

Our teams at Community Pregnancy Clinics are here and happy to help the best we can to find ways for you to be as comfortable as possible during your pregnancy as well as help you learn to manage many of your pregnancy symptoms.  We understand this can be a challenging time and are here to support in whatever way we can.

Not Sure if You’re Pregnant?

If you find yourself experiencing early pregnancy symptoms, and think you might be pregnant, we offer free and confidential, lab-quality pregnancy testing to confirm pregnancy and viability (no insurance necessary). 

Call or visit us today!

At Community Pregnancy Clinics, we are here for you! We offer free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, free STI Testing, and free support during and after your pregnancy.


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