Tips for getting through the first trimester

Sickness, extreme tiredness, aching boobs... the first trimester is not always easy. Here’s some advice to get you through the first 12 weeks.

If you have few or no pregnancy symptoms in early pregnancy

Having few or no pregnancy symptoms in the early days can cause some anxiety for some people, especially if they have lost a baby before. They may feel like their pregnancy isn’t as healthy or that they are more likely to miscarry. This is not true. 

Every pregnancy is different. Some people have a lot of symptoms, and some people don’t experience many at all during their first trimester.

If you have had a positive pregnancy test result, remember that this is almost certainly correct, so try not to worry too much. 

But if you’re worried and would like to know more about the signs and symptoms of miscarriage, we have more information about this

You can always talk to our midwives if you have any questions about pregnancy symptoms. Call our pregnancy line on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

Managing pregnancy tiredness in early pregnancy

Pregnancy tiredness can be all-consuming, like you’re walking through a thick fog for days on end. There are a few things you can try to ease this (or at least get you through the day).

  • Do some gentle exercise, which may give you more energy.
  • Try to go to bed a bit earlier if possible, to give yourself more time to rest.
  • Try to eat well including iron-rich foods to prevent pregnancy anaemia, and slow-release energy foods. Try to eat little and often if morning sickness is affecting your appetite. 
  • Ask for help with day-to-day tasks from friends and family 

I could have slept all day and then still be tired when I woke up. It’s an exhaustion that you’ve never felt before, it’s completely different to any other kind of tiredness I’ve ever experienced.


Coping with morning (pregnancy) sickness in early pregnancy

Pregnancy sickness can be tough to work through. You may find yourself retching at smells or feeling queasy all the time. We can’t promise that these will work, but these things are worth a try.

  • Make a note of the times when you feel the worst. This may help you work out if anything is triggering it.
  • Try travel sickness wristbands. Research shows that acupuncture (putting pressure on certain parts of the body) makes the brain release chemicals that reduce nausea.
  • Get plenty of rest. Tiredness can make nausea worse.
  • 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 meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta) often, instead of 3 big meals a day.
  • Drink plenty of water. Sipping it little and often may help prevent vomiting.
  • Eat foods or drinks with ginger. There's some evidence that ginger may help reduce nausea and vomiting, but check with your pharmacist before taking ginger supplements during pregnancy. 
  • Talk to someone at work (or your boss) to see what support they can offer to make your working day easier.

Tell your midwife (or your GP if you don’t have a midwife yet) as soon as possible if you are vomiting a lot and you can’t keep food or drink down. You might have a severe form of nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum. This is not just a side effect of pregnancy. It can cause dehydration and needs treatment. 

The smell of anything fatty, like bacon and eggs cooking, made me throw up.


Needing to pee (urinate) more often in early pregnancy

You may notice that you need to pee more often. This often starts in early pregnancy because of changes to your hormones and continues as your growing womb presses on your bladder.

Needing to wee a lot or having an uncontrollable need to wee can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is common during pregnancy. 

Speak to your GP or midwife if you have any of these symptoms: 

  • discomfort in the lowest part of your stomach (pelvis)
  • back pain
  • loin pain (your sides between the lower ribs and pelvis, and the lower part of the back)
  • needing to wee a lot or an uncontrollable need to wee
  • cloudy, foul-smelling (fishy) or bloody wee
  • a high temperature (over 37.5°C) or low temperature (below 36°C)
  • feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting.  

It’s still important to drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy, even if you are weeing a lot. You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale, clear colour.  

Deciding when to tell people about your pregnancy 

When you choose to tell other people about your pregnancy is entirely up to you. Some choose not to tell people until after the 12-week scan, because the risk of miscarriage reduces after that point. 

Others may prefer to tell people much earlier. This may be because they are anxious and feel they need more support or because they are finding it hard to hide their symptoms. 

I told my parents at 6 weeks, mainly because if anything had gone wrong at that point I would have wanted their support without having to explain that I was pregnant in the first place. We told everyone else after the 12-week scan.”

Abby, mum of one

Handling the emotional highs and lows in early pregnancy

The hormones surging through your body in the first trimester can make you feel emotional. This is natural and nothing to be ashamed about. Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing is important during and after pregnancy. We have a wellbeing plan that can help you plan for support you might need. 

Although many people experience emotional highs and lows that come and go, some women (as many as 1 in 5 ) are affected by depression and anxiety in pregnancy. It can happen to anyone, even if you have never had a previous issue with your mental health.

If you are feeling unusually low for more than a couple of weeks, it might be time to ask for help from your midwife or GP. They understand that mental health issues are medical conditions that need treatment and won’t judge you for how you are feeling. 

If you are going through pregnancy after loss, you may feel very anxious about anything happening again. Your midwife or doctor can help you find ways to manage this. 

We have a pregnancy and parenting after loss support group that you might like to join. You can speak to others who may be able to relate to what you are going through. 

You can also contact our midwives on our pregnancy line on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

Hang on in there. Many of these symptoms tend to ease in the second trimester. But remember to talk to your midwife at any time if you need extra support. 

NHS. Doing a pregnancy test. (Page last reviewed: 9 February 2022 Next review due: 9 February 2025)

NHS. Iron. (Page last reviewed: 3 August 2020 Next review due: 3 August 2023)

NHS. Vomiting and morning sickness. (Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021 Next review due: 13 April 2024)

Matthews A, Haas DM, O'Mathúna DP, Dowswell T, Doyle M. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD007575. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007575.pub3.

NHS. Vomiting and morning sickness. (Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021 Next review: 13 April 2024)

NHS. Severe vomiting in pregnancy. (Page last reviewed: 30 September 2019 Next review: 30 September 2022)

NHS. Urinary tract infections (UTIs). (Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023)

NHS. Dehydration. (Page last reviewed: 9 August 2019 Next review due: 9 August 2022)

Tong S1, Kaur A, Walker SP, Bryant V, Onwude JL, Permezel M. Miscarriage risk for asymptomatic women after a normal first-trimester prenatal visit. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Mar;111(3):710-4. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318163747c.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2017) Maternal Mental Health – Women’ s Voices:

Review dates
Reviewed: 26 April 2022
Next review: 26 April 2025