How To Navigate First Trimester Emotions

First of all...CONGRATULATIONS!   

During the 1st Trimester, even though people around you may not notice that your pregnant, I know you're noticing all the physical as well as the emotional changes that are happening.  You see,  pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are some of life’s greatest transformational processes.   Not only your body but also your mind and spirit are transformed by these amazing events.  

Did you know that your brain is going to shrink and grow while you're pregnant?  Don't worry, you're not loosing brain cells.  This transformation of your brain starts at conception and will literally change the way you think, feel and what you find important.  Not since puberty has your brain gone through such transformation.  These changes that happen in your brain are the most profound and permanent of a woman's life.  

Let's not forget about your hormones that are at an all time high.  For example, progesterone spikes from ten to a hundred times its normal level during the first two to four months of pregnancy which has a sedating effect similar to the drug Valium. This is why you may feel tired during the first trimester. 

Nothing else you will ever go through can so readily teach you that you and your baby are simply miracles of nature and that you can trust in your body’s profound wisdom.  

So lets talk about the emotional aspect of the 1st trimester.  There is no doubt that you will have many emotions. 


1st trimester emotions and what can help.


You and your partner may feel:

Thrilled, stunned, scared, bummed out, excited, relieved, overwhelmed, angry, ambivalent, anxious, apprehensive, hopeful, confident, insecure, and/or full of love now that you are pregnant.

Having all these different feelings are normal as long as they are not so extreme that they interfere with daily life.  I promise you that both you and your partner will have different emotions throughout pregnancy, childbirth and even after the baby arrives.  Sometimes parents are surprised by unexpected feelings and can feel guilty for feeling a certain way.  Trust me you're not alone,  it's not unusual to have conflicting feelings.  You can be happy and scared at the same time.  But if feelings become overwhelming or troubling, it is important to see a therapist.


You may feel:


Closer to your partner:

This is the good news!!  Hopefully I don't need to tell you what to do here.  Get close and love each other. ;-)


Irritable and have mood swings:

Just so you know, you'll probably be more sensitive and have mood swings due to all the wonderful pregnancy hormones that are flooding your body.  You might find that you’re laughing one minute and crying the next.  This is not uncommon.  Being tired or having low blood sugar makes this worse.   Just know that this is normal, and be aware that you may be more sensitive to everything.  So it is extremely important that you take care of yourself.   If something is bothering you ask yourself:

  • How you can help yourself.  

  • What is it that your body really needs?  

You may not know right away, but be patient, thoughtful and loving to yourself.   Try not to take everything personally.   If the mood swings get out of control, you can always speak with your health care provider.   Irritability can be due to lack of sleep and your body telling you need to slow down and rest so you can conserve your energy to build your baby.   Nutrition is extremely important as well.   Low blood sugar and nutritional deficiencies can lead to irritability, sadness, anxiety or depression. 

Accepting your feelings is important.  Buy a journal, this allows your inner voice to come out.  Sit with a warm cup of organic, warm milk and a touch of cinnamon and maybe a little honey added to it.  Or if you’re not into drinking milk try drinking 1 cup of chamomile tea (do not exceed more than 1 cup during the 1st trimester) and listen to soothing music and write down your thoughts and feelings.  Allow yourself to feel and ask yourself questions.  Writing about your feelings can help you work through and resolve concerns you may have. 

OR Paint, draw, sculpt, sing or dance what you are feeling and allow yourself to creatively release any inner tensions you may have. 

Here is a great tea recipe to calm your nerves:

Calming Tea Recipe By Aviva Jill Romm, M.D.

  • 1 tsp. chamomile flowers (limit to 1 cup during the 1st trimester)

  • 1 tsp. lemon balm

  • ½ tsp. of lavender flowers

Steep in cup bowling water (covered) for 10-15 minutes and drink warm with honey.  Enjoy!


Fear your partner will not find you attractive as your body changes:

It is truly amazing how a human grows from a single fertilized egg cell to the trillions of cells that make up a new person.  This is one of my favorite videos showing just that…….

Video- Conception to Birth by Alexander Tsiaras(TED)

Image-maker Alexander Tsiaras shares a powerful medical visualization, showing human development from conception to birth and beyond. (Some graphic images.)

Give love to your partner, tell him why you appreciate him and leave him surprise love reminders in hidden places.  Men love feeling appreciated.


Fear a miscarriage:

Most miscarriages occur before the 8th week of pregnancy.  The further along you get, the less chances there are of you having a miscarriage.   If you do have a miscarriage, (first of all, I would like to say I'm truly sorry for your loss) please know that it is normal to grieve and that it's important that you go through this process.   Be aware that your partner may grieve as well.  The good news is, that there are wonderful support groups available.   For recourses, look under Perinatal Loss Resources: click here


Feel connected to motherhood, turn inward and begin to bond with the fetus (baby) inside you:

This usually happens around the 3rd month, but it can happen at any time.  Some women crave alone time.   This may be nature’s message for you to slow down, retreat, and consider yourself first.   Reassure your partner of your love, but explain that you need a little alone time to tune into the baby.   Journaling is a great way to connect.  You can start an imaginary dialogue with your baby.   Ask the baby questions and write down the first answer that comes to mind.  Don’t think about it, just let it flow.  During pregnancy your intuition gets sharper so take advantage of it. 


Excited or distressed because you no longer fit into your skinny jeans:

This is totally normal.  Did you know that you can buy the Pregnancy Belly Waistband or Maternity Belly Band or the Tummy Band by Motherhood.  My friends swear by them.  So what is it?  It is a piece of cloth that you can wear over your unbuttoned jeans.  It's awesome. 


So, let me ask you a question...

How do you feel emotionally right now?  What do you need?

  • _____________________________ - (fill in the blank)  

Remember that you are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.  

The basis of good parenting is laid down in infancy and early childhood.  Good and healthy lives are built on sound foundations.  Remember that a healthy diet is key to not only to your child’s wellbeing, but to yours as well.  But remember that what you eat, think about, breathe, drink etc. is what your baby will learn to  expect from the world.  So take care of yourself first, love yourself first and that will translate to your baby. To learn more about good nutrition during pregnancy, check out my 12 Days To A Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby & Beyond - Prenatal Nutrition 101 class.

It's true that there is a lot to think about when going through pregnancy, childbirth and infancy but know that there is also a lot of  joy that you will experience during this time.  There is no doubt that you're participating in one of life’s greatest MIRACLES.  You are a miracle!  You are AMAZING and PERFECT just the way you are!  Just take it one day at a time and BREATHE!  You can do this! 

You will probably find some great tips in the following blogs!

If you find this information useful please feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones.  


William Sears, M.D. & Martha Sears R.N. The Pregnancy Book. Little Brown Co. New York, NY, 1997.

Chopra D., M.D., Simon, D., M.D., and Abrams, V., C.C.E., I.B.C.L.C. A holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives. Published by Three Rivers Press NY 2005

Roman, A., M.D., The Natural Pregnancy Book, Published by Celestial Arts, Berkley Ca. 2003

Nicholas, F., and Humenic, S., Childbirth Education, Practice, Research and Theory 2nd Edition. 2000

Simpkin, P.T., Whalley, R.N, B.S.N., Keppler, R.N.,M.N, Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn,

Published by Meadowbrook Press, New York, 2001

CAPPA Childbirth Education Course