Tommy's PregnancyHub

First trimester worries

It’s natural to have concerns as you get used to the idea of being pregnant. Here, we talk about some common worries that people have in the first trimester.

I drank a lot of alcohol and smoked on a night out before I found out I was pregnant. Will the baby be okay?

It’s very likely that your baby will be fine. Try not to worry too much about what happened before you found out you were pregnant. Taking steps towards a healthy pregnancy now will help make sure your baby is safe and healthy. 

However, drinking alcohol and smoking can harm an unborn baby. It is safest to avoid alcohol and smoking for the rest of your pregnancy.

You are also recommended to avoid secondhand smoke and smoking after pregnancy.

Many people need support to stop smoking or drinking alcohol. Talk to your GP or midwife if you need help. They can give you details of local support services.

Find support to stop smoking.

I’ve had a miscarriage before and I’m terrified that it will happen again. What can I do to ease my anxiety? 

It’s completely natural to feel this way. Try to remember that most miscarriages are a one-off event and there is a good chance of a successful pregnancy in future. 

Try these tips to help with your anxiety:

  • Talk about your feelings to your partner, family and friends. You may be anxious and want to keep the pregnancy to yourself in those first few months but try to open up to someone if you can. It can really help to know you are supported.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you are not feeling excited and happy to be pregnant. It’s normal to be anxious, especially until you pass the point where you lost your first baby. 
  • Try not to read too much into every early pregnancy symptom. Mild stomach cramps and light bleeding are not uncommon in healthy pregnancies as the baby settles in the womb. However, if you do have any concerns about symptoms, always talk to a midwife or doctor and get checked out. It’s always best to check. 
  • Try relaxation and stress management apps. There are many relaxation apps that help manage anxiety and stress. 
  • Try to stay active. Exercise has been shown to improve mental wellbeing and sleep. Exercising does not increase your risk of miscarriage. Your baby is embedded deeply in your body. It cannot ‘fall out’ and will not be jolted around by activity. You may not feel like exercising but even doing 30 minutes a day will help your mood and wellbeing.
  • Focus on each day at a time. If you feel yourself worrying about the future, stop and bring yourself back to the present moment. 

Talk to your midwife or GP if you are struggling to cope with your feelings. We hear from many people who experience mental health problems in pregnancy because of a previous loss. This may be depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.

There is treatment available. It’s important to talk to your midwife early on about how you’re feeling to make sure you get all the care and support you need.

You can contact our midwives if you have a question or if you feel like you need some extra support. Call our free PregnancyLine on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email us at [email protected]

You can also join our Parenting after loss support group on Facebook to connect with others who may be experiencing similar emotions. 

Find out more about managing your mental health during pregnancy

I haven’t been taking folic acid, will it affect my baby?

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Neural tube defects are rare but almost completely preventable by taking folic acid. 

The chances of your baby developing issues are still very low and it is most likely that your baby will be fine even if you missed taking it. The best thing you can do is start taking folic acid as soon as you can up until week 12. After this point, your baby’s neural tube has developed so there is no need to continue taking the supplement.

Some pregnancy multivitamins (including Healthy Start vitamins) include folic acid. You can continue to take this all through your pregnancy. 

Find out more about folic acid in pregnancy

I have morning sickness and I can’t keep healthy food down, what should I do? 

Morning (pregnancy) sickness is common in the first trimester of pregnancy. It can be frustrating when you are advised to have a healthy, balanced diet but certain foods won’t stay down. 

Try not to become anxious about the baby. Although eating a variety of healthy foods is important during pregnancy, the sickness usually improves after the first trimester. 

If you are struggling, you may have to focus on eating foods that stay down, rather than thinking too much about what you are eating. Try to:

  • avoid foods or smells that make you feel sick
  • eat something like dry toast or a plain biscuit before you get out of bed
  • eat small, frequent meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta)
  • drink plenty of fluids, such as water (sipping them little and often may help prevent vomiting). 

Some people experience very bad nausea and vomiting. This is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

Tell your midwife or doctor contact the hospital as soon as possible if you are being sick a lot or you can’t keep any food or drink down. You may become dehydrated, and your midwife or doctor can make sure you get the right treatment.

Find out more about managing morning (pregnancy) sickness

My pregnancy wasn't planned and I'm worried about telling my partner.

It’s important to understand how you feel about the pregnancy first. It may help you to talk to a close friend or a nurse at your family planning clinic or GP.

It may be best to tell your partner early on, rather than putting it off. Finding out you are pregnant for the first time can be isolating if you are keeping it a secret. This can lead to anxiety and extra stress. 

Bear in mind that their first reaction might not show their true feelings. Like you, they may be in shock need time to get used to the idea of a baby. Give them some time to think about the news. 

There are some other things you might like to think about when you’re telling your partner:

  • Think about the best time of day when you will both be calm and in a good head space.
  • If you’re worried about their reaction, ask someone you trust to be with you when you tell them. 
  • If you think you might not get emotional (or practical) support from your partner during the pregnancy, let your midwife know. You can talk to them about how you feel and they can help you think about your support network. 

If you have any concerns about how your partner will react to the news, especially if you feel they may be abusive, it’s important to ask for support.

Remember that anything you say to your midwife or doctor is in confidence. That means they can't tell anyone else without your permission.

You can also contact Women’s Aid 24-hour domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247. They will give you confidential advice and support.

I'm exhausted. Is it normal to feel so tired?

In the first few months of pregnancy, your baby is growing very fast and using up a lot of energy. Your body is changing and developing to support your growing womb and baby. Many people say they feel very tired in these months, with tiredness beyond anything they have ever felt before.

This tiredness will usually pass as you move into the middle months. But, for now, these ideas may help:

  • doing some gentle exercise 
  • resting when you can
  • trying to take some time out for yourself each day, even if it’s just 10 minutes
  • going to sleep earlier if this is possible and making sure you have some time to unwind before bed.

Find out more about managing pregnancy tiredness.

What does it mean if my blood is rhesus negative?

You’ll be offered blood tests as part of your antenatal checks and tests to see if your blood is RhD negative or positive. 

This is because you may need treatment to prevent rhesus disease. This happens during pregnancy when there is an incompatibility between your blood type and your baby’s blood type. 

Being rhesus negative is not a problem in your first pregnancy. But if you have more babies, there is a risk of rhesus disease. This doesn't harm you, but it can cause the baby to become anaemic and develop newborn jaundice. 

Rhesus disease is uncommon because it can usually be prevented using injections of a medication called anti-D immunoglobulin. You will be offered this at certain points during pregnancy or after birth. 

I have a high BMI. Do I need to lose weight even though I'm pregnant?

Having a high BMI can put you at increased risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, as well as creating possible health problems for your baby. 

Although this can sound scary, it’s important to try not to worry too much. There are many factors that contribute to having a healthy pregnancy and your BMI is just one. Your healthcare team will probably give you extra care and support during your pregnancy. It is not recommended to try and lose weight during pregnancy, as you may be depriving your body of important nutrients and energy you need.

You can reduce your risk of complications by managing your weight, having a healthy, balanced diet and being as active as you can. There are no UK guidelines about how much weight you should put on in pregnancy.

Concentrate on making sensible food choices and cutting out foods that are high in sugar and fat. This way, you can keep your pregnancy weight gain to a healthy level and ensure your baby gets all the nutrients they need.

Find out more about being overweight and pregnancy.

I am concerned about covid and pregnancy. Where can I find the information I need?

COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies. 

Our information about covid and pregnancy is based on official guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Find out more about pregnancy and coronavirus.

I’ve been feeling very emotional since I found out about my pregnancy. Is this normal?

Pregnancy is a huge life change and it’s natural to have mixed emotions about it. You may swing from excited to worried, or happy to sad and back again. Pregnancy hormones can also contribute to this mix of emotional highs and lows, especially in the first 3 months.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was convinced it wouldn't stick. I felt a lot of guilt about how easy it was for me to fall pregnant and felt like I didn’t deserve it. I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about it because I had never had a miscarriage before. Now I am further along in my pregnancy, I have found that quite a lot of other mums-to-be have had similar feelings.”

Natalie

Tell your midwife or doctor how you feel. They may be able to reassure you or help you access more support, if you need it. 

Find out more about emotional changes in pregnancy.

NHS. Drinking alcohol while pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/alcohol-medicines-drugs-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed: 29 January 2020 Next review due: 29 January 2023)

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2015) Smoking in pregnancy. https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/patient-leaflets/alcohol-and-pregnancy/

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Early miscarriage. https://www.rcog.org.uk/for-the-public/browse-all-patient-information-leaflets/early-miscarriage-patient-information-leaflet/

Tinloy J, Chuang CH, Zhu J, Pauli J, Kraschnewski JL, Kjerulff KH (2014) ‘Exercise during pregnancy and risk of late preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalizations’, Women’s Health Issues, 24 (1): e99–e104: doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.11.003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439953

Bestwick JP et al. (2014). “Prevention of neural tube defects: a cross sectional uptake of folic acid supplementation in nearly half a million women.” Plos One vol. 9,2

National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (2014), Maternal and child nutrition. National Institute for health and care excellence. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/PH11/chapter/4-Recommendations#folic-acid-2

NHS. Vomiting and morning sickness. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/vomiting-and-morning-sickness/ (Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021 Next review due: 13 April 2024)

NHS. Rhesus disease. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rhesus-disease/ (Page last reviewed: 16 November 2021 Next review due: 16 November 2024)

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2011) Why your weight matters during pregnancy and after birth www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-why-your-weight-matters-during-pregnancy-and-after-birth.pdf

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Covid-19 vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding FAQs. https://www.rcog.org.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-and-women-s-health/vaccination/covid-19-vaccines-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding-faqs/

Review dates
Reviewed: 20 April 2022 | Next review: 20 April 2025