The Early Days of Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’ve got that positive pregnancy test and you’re starting on a new journey together with your growing baby. What happens now? What should you expect in the early days of pregnancy?

How you might feel

While you may feel just the same as normal, many pregnant women and people start to feel some changes in their body in the first few days and weeks of pregnancy. Tiredness is a common one, caused by the body needing to make huge physical and hormonal adjustments to the little one on board. Needing to wee a lot is very common! Nausea and/or sickness is a symptom experienced by many pregnant people. While it may be called morning sickness it can go on all day and for some it can be truly miserable. Extreme morning sickness, called hyperemesis gravidarum is quite rare but can make you very ill so see a doctor if you are really struggling to keep food or liquids down throughout the day.

Another interesting early sign of pregnancy is being able to smell things more clearly! Although not everyone experiences this, for some it can be a wonderful experience. For others it can trigger more nausea and sickness and be a rather miserable experience. But hang on in there, for many women the morning sickness does pass in time.

Who you might see?

It can be quite surprising to find that you’re unlikely to see a midwife until around 8 or 10 weeks of pregnancy. Depending on how busy the service is it may be slightly earlier, but could even be longer. If you find out that you’re pregnant at around your first missed period, so about 4 weeks of pregnancy, this month of waiting could feel like forever, and many women and people describe feeling as though no one is there to care for them at a time when they have hundreds of questions. Of course, this is when people often reach out to social media, where like-minded souls can support one another through these exciting and challenging times.

When you do see the midwife, she’ll ‘book you’, which means asking lots of questions and starting a file of maternity notes for you. She may offer to weigh you, do a blood test and check your urine. Every test is optional. Before doing any of these tests the midwife should tell you what the pros and cons of them are, and what benefits and risks any tests may have. So if you want to ask questions, feel free to do so. Their job is to provide you with the answers!

Working out your due date?

When you see your midwife in early pregnancy, one of the things that she will do is to estimate your due date (EDD) based on the first day of your last period. Despite its name, this doesn’t actually mean the day that you are likely to give birth! It simply means the day that you are guessed to be about 40 weeks pregnant. Although the EDD is estimated from the first day of your period, the actual point that you got pregnant in the cycle is more related to when you ovulated, so if you ovulated later or earlier in the cycle than the average of day 14 then the EDD will be inaccurate by that number of days.

You will be offered a dating scan which will normally be done between around 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, although it is most reliable between 8 and 11 weeks1. Even the dating scan can be inaccurate by around 5 days. Add in the fact that our bodies are not machines, and normal lengths of pregnancy vary widely, the EDD, or estimated due date, is really a GDD, or guessed due date! A really good explanation of this is on the AIMS website. Scroll down to the pregnancy calculator, enter your own dates and see what it says about due dates.

In Summary

Early pregnancy may be a magical, exciting and sometimes worrying time. Knowing what to expect can help you to enjoy these first few weeks, often a time when the pregnancy is a secret between you. We hope that this article helps you to enjoy this time a little more.


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