First Month Of Pregnancy: Symptoms, Stages & Baby Development

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The first month is an exciting and sensitive time of your pregnancy. You may be excited for the journey that lies ahead, but you also need to take extra care of yourself. And for this, you need to know the first month of pregnancy symptoms.

You may have many questions that you want answers to. Fret not, for we’ve got you covered. Read on to know about the changes that you can expect during the first month and the sign of the fetus’s development.

In This Article

What Might Be The Early Stages Of Pregnancy?

Only a few women can realize that they are pregnant a few days after conception. You are likely to experience some mild symptoms such as tender breasts, sickness, and fatigue in the beginning stages of pregnancy. And the first prominent sign of pregnancy is a missed period (1).

If you are observant, you can recognize the other signals that your pregnant body gives to convey the message to you.

Pregnancy Symptoms In The First Month

The first-month pregnancy symptoms are similar to those of pre-menstruation. Therefore, they are confusing. These hugely happen due to the pregnancy hormones released in your body at the time of implantation (i.e., when the embryo implants in the uterus).

Here are the possible symptoms you may experience in the first month of pregnancy.

1. Monthly period stops:

Getting pregnant will affect your body and the first major change in your routine is a missed period. You will miss your period because the body starts producing progesterone hormone after conceiving.

2. Spotting:

You may notice slight bleeding and cramping due to the implantation when a fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus. This happens about a week after conception. Sometimes the spotting or implantation bleeding is painless, and you can only observe it while wiping your genitals (2).

protip_icon Quick fact
Most women experience spotting even before they know they are pregnant and confuse it with pending periods. Implantation spotting may continue for a few days (9).

3. Mood swings:

You will experience rapid changes in your mood in the early stages of pregnancy. You may begin to cry or feel anxious for no particular reason. You will be affectionate, and the next moment you turn out to be snappy with your dear ones. This is because of the changing hormones in your body (3).

4. Soreness of breasts:

Breast tenderness is a common symptom during the first month of pregnancy where your breasts are sore and painful. The nipples are darker, and there are small bumps on the areola. There will be visible veins on your breasts. These symptoms are similar to those you have during the premenstrual time.

5. Fatigue:

Your energy levels drop, and you feel tired as your body is working hard to develop your baby. Therefore, you will develop fatigue and sleeplessness.

6. Frequent urination:

Increasing progesterone levels improve the blood flow to the uterus and cause thickening of the uterine lining. This is to protect and help in the baby’s growth and development. In this process, your kidneys increase in size and work overtime to handle the increasing body fluids. This leads to a feeling of fullness and increases your urge to urinate.

7. Morning sickness:

It is associated with nausea and vomiting, which you will experience as early as three weeks of pregnancy due to the rising levels of beta hCG. Though called morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day or night.

According to the March of Dimes, morning sickness is a common condition that affects 7 in 10 pregnant women during the first trimester (the first three months of pregnancy). However, some pregnant women may not experience this issue.

8. Food cravings/aversions:

Most women experience food cravings and food aversions. The foods you have loved once may turn out to be repulsive, and those which you never liked may be your favorites. Moreover the food aversions may also arise from the characteristic metallic taste in mouth, common in the first trimester. This may be managed with citrus foods and beverages and change of prenatal vitamins after consulting with your doctor.

9. Heartburn:

Hormonal and physical alterations in your body system during pregnancy cause symptoms like heartburn and acid refluxiA digestive disease that causes the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. that are temporary. You will again experience these symptoms in the third trimester when the growing baby pushes the stomach and the intestines.

10. Constipation:

The progesterone hormone has muscle relaxing properties that would slow down things too much. The food, therefore, passes slowly through the intestine and leads to constipation.

protip_icon Point to consider
If you have constipation, talk to your doctor about fiber supplements. Do not take laxative pills, which may cause uterine contractions and dehydration (10).

11. Dizziness:

Dizziness, Symptoms of first month of pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Another side effect of progesterone hormone is faintness. It makes you feel dizzy, which relaxes your blood vessels, causing low blood pressure.

12. Strong sense of smell:

Sensitivity to smells is another common sign of pregnancy again due to the hormones. You may begin hating the smell of certain food, drink, or toiletries.

13. Increased appetite:

Pregnant hunger pangs are common. Don’t be surprised if you feel hungry all the time.

Pregnancy can lead to various changes in your body, and it’s not uncommon for people with initially low appetites to suddenly develop a significant hunger. Aimee Esther, a mother, describes her experience with early pregnancy symptoms during the first month. She explains, “I’m so hungry that the hunger is overriding the nausea, which is so weird because that seems the opposite of what most people experience. A lot of pregnant women are more hungry, but typically, at the beginning of pregnancy, that’s not common, except in my case. I had a huge spike in appetite (i).”

14. Backache:

Back pain in the lumbar region could be severe because the progesterone hormone loosens the ligaments covering the pelvis.

15. Headaches:

You will suffer from frequent headaches during early pregnancy. Stress, hormones and increased blood volume could be the factors responsible for a headache in the first trimester.

16. Thrush:

This is a yeast infection caused by pregnancy hormones, which alter the natural balance of bacteria in the vaginal region (4).

In the first month, the symptoms are subtle. If you are eager to know about your pregnancy, then combine these symptoms with the changes happening in your body.

Body Changes In The First Month Of Pregnancy

You may not notice any significant change in the size and shape of your body during the first month of gestationiPeriod of development of the embryo between conception and birth. . A few body changes you may experience are:

  • You feel bloated, and your waistband may feel tight.
  • Your breasts increase in size as they start preparing for lactation.
  • The areolas surrounding the nipple become large and darkened.
  • You will experience spotting (not in all the cases) for one week to ten days after ovulation (i.e., when embryo implants in the uterus).
  • Increased vaginal secretions or change in cervical mucus.
  • Extreme tiredness and you feel like running down.
  • Dizziness that worsens.
  • Tender gums due to increased blood flow from hormonal changes.

Have you been experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms and body changes? Then you must be pregnant and would want to know at what stage of development your baby is in the womb.

Your Baby’s Development In The First Month

It begins with the conception and then formation up to the fourth week of pregnancy . Although you are not pregnant until conception (i.e., the first two weeks), it is still calculated from the first day of LMP. So, the first month is weeks one to four (5).

  1. Fertilization: Life starts when the spermatozoa and the ovum unite. It can occur within two to three days after intercourse, and the process happens in the fallopian tubeiElongated slender tubes that connect ovaries to the uterus. . This is when the baby begins the journey of development. In the early stage, the baby is referred as a zygote which then begins to multiply profusely within moments.
  1. Implantation: The zygote travels to the uterus from the fallopian tube, and by the fourth day it divides into a solid cluster of cells called morula. By the fifth or sixth day, the morula divides into a blastocystiEarly stage of mammalian embryo development. , and in a few days, implantation occurs as it nestles itself into the wall of the uterus (womb) to draw nutrition. Surrounding the embryo is yolk sac, a cluster of blood vessels, which provides blood to the embryo until the placentaiA temporary organ that develops during pregnancy and provides the fetus with oxygen and nutrients. takes over.
  1. Developing: Between the third and fourth week, the developing heart begins to beat. Arm, leg and lung buds form. The face, including the eyes, nose, ears and mouth take a form. The neural tube and brain also take a form. Your baby will be the size of a raisin, i.e., less than a three-fourth inch in length.

Pregnancy Due Date Calculator

Your Visit To The Doctor / Diagnosis of Pregnancy

Visit your OB/GYN for pregnancy confirmation

Image: IStock

Pregnancy can be the most confusing time especially if you are pregnant for the first time. You can confirm it through a home test by buying the kit from a drug store. If you are still confused, or the results seem to be negative, pay a visit to your OB/GYN for confirmation. This is to make sure the symptoms you are experiencing are not false alarms.

Here is what happens at a doctor’s clinic:

1. History and physical examination:

  • Your doctor will seek information regarding your last menstrual period, flow, duration, and frequency.
  • Make sure to give all the correct details. If you have been using any contraceptives, tell your doctor.
  • The doctor will do a physical test to find out if you had tubal manipulation and tubal disease, tubal ligationiSurgical procedure of female sterilization. , inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancyiA type of pregnancy in which fertilized eggs implant outside the uterus. in the past.
  • Physical tests reveal whether the woman used intrauterine devices for contraception and underwent fertility therapies. Chemical assays and ultrasonography help to detect pregnancy even before the symptoms like nausea begin showing.

2. Laboratory evaluation:

Some hormones are measured to diagnose the pregnancy.

  • A urine sample is often used to check the human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) hormone, which is a key determinant of your pregnancy. If the tests results are not satisfactory, blood samples are taken for detecting the hormone.
  • The levels of hCG also determine whether you have an ectopic pregnancy. If the hCG levels are low or slowly increasing, it detects an abnormal pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy or abortion (6).
  • If the hCG levels are high, you are likely to have a molar pregnancy, chromosome abnormality, and multiple gestations.
  • Measuring serum progesterone is important to detect the risk of any early abnormal pregnancy (7).
  • A dipstick ELISAi(Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is a type of test used to detect and measure antibodies in the blood. is effective in determining the level of progesterone.
protip_icon Did you know?
Your hCG levels rise during the first trimester and are the highest toward the end of the trimester. However, its levels decline for the rest of the pregnancy (11).

3. Ultrasonography:

Transvaginal ultrasonography (TVUS) has made pregnancy detection easy and efficient. It is the best method to detect intrauterine pregnancy (8). The vaginal probes are more effective than abdominal probes in the first trimester, since the frequency is higher and the resolution of the image is better.

The First Month Early Pregnancy Care/ The To-do List

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, take care of yourself, arrange for a caregiver and plan for a baby budget.

  1. Start your prenatal care: If you have not started taking prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid supplements, yet, then start it now. It is better to take folic acid supplements at least two months before you conceive and continue with them for three months after conception. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defectsiBirth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord that develop early during pregnancy. like spina bifidaiA type of congenital disability resulting in improper development of the spinal cord. in babies and ensures a safe pregnancy.
  1. Investigate health insurance: Find out an effective health insurance plan that covers both prenatal care and delivery costs. The insurance should also cover the cost of the newborn. If you are working with a company, contact the human resource or benefits department to know about the insurance cover and maternity perks provided by your company. A healthy financial plan is essential before giving birth.
  1. Choose a caregiver: If you already have a caregiver who is well informed about pregnancy and delivering the baby, then you are prepared. If not, talk to your relatives and friends and find someone who is experienced in delivering babies and pregnancy care. You need to be in good hands to avoid any complications.
  1. Make a prenatal appointment: Get to know about all the available caregivers since appointments fill up fast. Once you have selected your caregiver, make the appointment straight away. Sometimes caregivers won’t give you a date before you are eight weeks pregnant.

Note down the first day of your last period; this will help your caregiver to calculate the expected due date. You should make a list of queries related to your condition.

You should also inform the caregiver about your family’s medical history, for her to make a note of the chronic conditions and genetic abnormalities, if any, that are running in your family.

  1. Consult the caregiver about medicines you are taking: Most of the medicines available over the counter are not safe during pregnancy. Avoid self-medication. Check with your doctor about what not to have during pregnancy. Suppose you need to have a medicine for a chronic condition, call your caregiver right away.

A patient and friendly caregiver or midwife is an asset. Make a pregnancy bulletin board and stick all the do’s and don’ts so that you don’t skip any of them. You can maintain a diary with all the developments, both physical and psychological changes taking place. It can be a memory after your child is born and you will smile at those difficult moments too! After all, pregnancy brings some happiness along with pain; it creates some cherished memories.

Keeping a diary is also methodical because your caregiver will understand your problems and gives effective treatment.

Precautions During First Month Of Pregnancy – What To Do And What Not To Do

It is time to focus on your lifestyle as the first month is a sensitive period in the life of the baby.

What to do in your early pregnancy?

  1. Exercise regularly: Mild exercises and activities will make your system function normally. Walking is the best workout as it will not cause any strain on your body. You may also join in a special yoga class conducted for would-be mommies. Whatever activity you plan to take, discuss with your OB/GYN so that it helps in guiding you better.
Stay active but avoid straining yourself

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Eat fiber-rich foods: Having a balanced diet is important. Try not to overeat; even your most favorite food has to be taken in limited amounts. Include fiber-rich foods as they ease constipation and regularize your stomach functions. Take sprouts, cereals, spinach and legumes in your diet. Have small meals several times a day as it will help you stay filled, fit and healthy. Eat fruits like strawberries, which are rich in folic acid.

Gynecologist Dr. Pulkit Nandwani suggests, “Drinking adequate water and maintaining a fiber-rich diet will help relieve constipation often experienced by pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Early morning sickness can be curbed by increasing dry ginger intake. Additionally, consuming coconut water can alleviate muscle weakness and help manage thirst levels, and avoiding fatty foods can relieve bloating and a sensation of fullness.”

  1. Drink more water: You should drink eight to ten glasses of water every day. Stay hydrated so that your body will not get undernourished.
  1. Have a healthy mind: Your emotions and mood have an impact on the baby’s emotional well-being. Hence, keep yourself calm, confident and happy. Meditation is the best way to bring such positivity around and within you. You could practice it at least for one hour a day.
  1. Increase sleeping hours: Your body is undergoing a lot of physical and hormonal changes. For these changes to happen smoothly and for you to not have a sudden impact of the changing conditions, sleep peacefully for a long time.
Take ample rest and sleep peacefully

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Yeast infection: Vaginal candidiasis is a common infection in expectant mothers. This occurs due to high estrogen levels and higher glycogen content in vaginal secretions and decreased immunity during pregnancy. Maintaining vagina hygiene and taking probiotics such as lactobacillus acidophilus would be helpful (1).

It is not enough if you are following the above practices. You need to undo certain habits, too.

What not to do in your early pregnancy?

Now that we’ve sorted out the dos, it’s time to focus on the don’ts of the first-month pregnancy care.

  1. Do not panic: Wished you have you not planned a baby too soon? Worried about your baby having some abnormalities? Such thoughts and fears are common for a mom-to-be, but you should avoid them as such thoughts will have a direct effect on your baby. So stop panicking and join meditation, yoga classes or consult your doctor for solutions.
  1. Avoid coffee: Coffee contains caffeine which is thought to cause certain health risks in babies. It may lead to low birth weights and birth defects. For the mom-to-be, it can cause heartburn, anxiety, and insomnia.
  1. Stop junk food: Junk food increases your weight and weakens the immune system. Unwanted fat could lead to health complication in both the mother and the baby. It may also affect your blood pressure and sugar levels.
  1. Don’t consume alcohol: Drinking alcohol during the first month of pregnancy can affect the fetal growth. It may cause congenital abnormalities and later lead to learning difficulties in the child.
  1. Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking is dangerous as it leads to many complications including low birth weight, and breathing problems in the baby. Passive smoking is also dangerous.
  1. Don’t wear tight clothes and high heels: Your body is undergoing changes, and it is necessary to give your body space to breathe. So keep aside all the tight fitting clothes for awhile and wear loose dresses. Wear flat and comfortable shoes to avoid tripping.
  1. Avoid long distance traveling: The chances of miscarriage are the highest in the first month. Traveling during the first trimester could put undue pressure on your pregnancy in addition to causing morning sickness.
  1. Avoid Sauna / hot tubs: They involve staying in temperatures that are above the body’s normal temperature. High basal body temperatures will affect the fetal development.
  1. Do not bend and lift weights: Do not carry any object that weighs more than 20 pounds. The limit reduces with the progressing pregnancy as it can put pressure on the developing baby. Also, do not bend while doing any household chores as it can cause dizziness.

Some other precautions and concerns:

  • Use gloves while gardening, especially if you are dealing with soil
  • Avoid contact with cat’s poo as it contains parasites
  • Avoid exposure to pesticides and chemicals
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels continuously and follow a proper diet plan along with exercises
  • Reduce your exposure to video display terminals
  • Avoid sex for at least the first two months of pregnancy, and follow safe measures if you want to have intercourse.

Pregnancy is the responsibility of both you and your partner. Therefore, the dad-to-be also needs to get ready for his new role.

Tips For Dads-To-Be

Men don’t always react to pregnancy the way women do. A majority of them are overwhelmed while the others are afraid of losing their partner’s affection. It takes time for the news to sink in. If you are going through one of these emotions right now, relax, because this is normal. But do not be too vocal about your fears, for you have no idea about what your partner is thinking. Behind the calm and composed exterior, there could be a mom who’s petrified about the impending pregnancy. Here are some things to do this month:

1. Get the paperwork done:

How does the health insurance work? Whose plan gets the best coverage? What happens when your wife decides to quit her job? Check everything to avoid any financial confusion.

2. Read about pregnancy:

Unlike the men of yore, you can’t leave the entire pregnancy burden on your partner. Read up on the physiological and psychological changes a woman undergoes when pregnant. Get to know how your baby progresses over the weeks. And if your wife is susceptible to a medical condition, speak to the doctor to know how you can help her. Your partner is the best person to tell you how you could get involved.

3. Have patience when dealing with her idiosyncrasies:

Pregnant women are known to have weird food cravings, be it cigarette ash or salty food. Hormonal changes and nutrition deficiency make them come up with such bizarre food choices. She may sometimes wake up in the middle of the night because she is hungry or could not eat the entire day due to nausea. Indulge her by stocking up things she loves.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What part of my stomach will hurt in early pregnancy?

Stomach pain is usually experienced in the lower part of the tummy. It is usually harmless and arises due to stretching ligaments, constipation, and trapped wind (9). It may feel like a ‘stitch’ or mild period pain. However, be cautious of acute abdominal pain as it can occur due to urinary tract infections or other serious issues.

2. How will my stomach feel during the first month of pregnancy?

Abdominal cramps are common because of stretching and growth of the uterus in early pregnancy. Pregnant women may feel bloated due to hormonal changes affecting the digestive tract, causing the body to make more gas (12). Sharp pains or mild pulling sensations in the belly can be felt. It often occurs while coughing, sneezing, standing up, sitting down, rolling over, or during sex (13).

3. Will my stomach feel hard or soft in early pregnancy?

The lower abdominal area may feel hard because of the growing uterus and its pressure against the skin. The expanding fetus impacts the digestive system also. An increase in gas can lead to bloating, which makes the stomach feel hard.

4. How long do early pregnancy cramps last?

In early pregnancy, cramps will not last more than a few minutes to a few hours. They happen because the body gets ready for the expanding uterus. Factors like gas, constipation, and dehydration are other causes of getting cramps in early pregnancy. Note that implantation cramps don’t last for over a day. But if the reason is urinary tract infections, they will get worse and need medical attention (14).

First month of pregnancy symptoms may not be quite significant and, at times, can be confused with the symptoms at the start of your period. However, taking a test after a missed period can help confirm your doubts. The first month is a crucial period that sets the foundation for a healthy journey ahead. Hence, you must attend your doctor’s appointments to ensure you are healthy. Although the first month of pregnancy’s symptoms can cause you to be exhausted, taking care and following precautionary

Infographic: Prenatal Check Up During The First Month Of Pregnancy

Now that you know you’re pregnant from a home pregnancy kit, you must go for your scheduled prenatal appointment to get yourself checked by a doctor. This will ensure a healthy pregnancy and rule out any health issues. Check out the infographic below to learn about various tests and examinations your doctor may advise you during your visit.

tests and exams recommended during the first month prenatal check up (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • During the initial phase of pregnancy, women experience symptoms such as tender breasts, morning sickness, mood swings, sensitivity to smell, and fatigue.
  • Timely prenatal checkups and tests are important to start suitable prenatal supplements and note necessary precautions.
  • Gentle exercise, a balanced and healthy diet rich in fiber and folic acid, is important for fetal growth and development.
  • It is important to avoid harmful substances like junk food, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
  • Taking care of oneself, both physically and emotionally, from the initial month is crucial to stay healthy and happy while pregnant.
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Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming. Learn about the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea, fatigue, and breast tenderness.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Carin Modh et. al.; (2011); First time pregnant women’s experiences in early pregnancy.
  2. Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy.
  3. What are some common signs of pregnancy?.
  4. Derrick Soong and Adrienne Einarson; (2009); Vaginal yeast infections during pregnancy.
  5. Fetal development.
  6. Christopher B. Morse et. al.; (2012); Performance of hCG curves in women at risk for ectopic pregnancy: exceptions to the rules.
  7. Andrew H. Slattengren et. al.; (2013); Is this pregnancy viable?.
  8. G T Fossum et. al.; (1988); Early detection of pregnancy with transvaginal ultrasound.
  9. Stomach pain.
  10. Constipation During Pregnancy.
  11. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.
  12. Week-by-week guide to pregnancy.
  13. Common Changes During Pregnancy: First trimester.
  14. Urinary tract infection during pregnancy.
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Dr. Vimee Bindra is a consultant gynecologist, laparoscopic surgeon, and medical writer. She specializes in gynae endoscopic surgery and endometriosis excision. She graduated from R G Kar Medical College, Kolkata (1998-2003), and pursued her post-graduation in obstetrics and gynecology in Kolkata (2005-2008).

Read full bio of Dr. Vimee Bindra
  • Dr. Pulkit Nandwani
    Dr. Pulkit NandwaniMD, MRCOG Dr. Pulkit Nandwani is a senior consultant gynecologist and laparoscopic surgeon, practicing for the last 20 years in high-risk pregnancies and infertility. She is a senior consultant at various hospitals in Delhi, India. Dr. Nandwani is also a teaching faculty in RCOG North Zone India and examiner for MRCOG, London.
    Dr. Pulkit Nandwani is a senior consultant gynecologist and laparoscopic surgeon, practicing for the last 20 years in high-risk pregnancies and infertility. She is a senior consultant at various hospitals in Delhi, India. Dr. Nandwani is also a teaching faculty in RCOG North Zone India and examiner for MRCOG, London.
Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).

Read full bio of Rebecca Malachi
Swati Patwal
Swati PatwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with more than a decade of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children.

Read full bio of Swati Patwal
Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. With two years of experience, she has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences.

Read full bio of Aneesha Amonz