What to expect during your pregnancy

Some things are common and of no concern and other things need to be discussed with your Midwife.

Please always ask for advice if you are unsure or concerned about any symptoms or changes in your body or emotions. Never feel as though you cannot ask or don’t want to bother anyone.


Depending on your sensory profile you can experience anxiety and/or pain in a different way to others so please discuss and explain this with your Midwife.

Discuss with your health professional team what reasonable adjustments can be put in pace to support your individual needs and requirements. Remember you are the expert at knowing your own body.

NHS Website gives a good overview of what to expect week by week https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/

Baby Buddy app is great and easily accessible with written content and short videos on pregnancy and birth topics and week by week guide to what is happening throughout your pregnancy journey. https://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/

What to expect in the First Trimester (1-14 weeks)

  • Fullness, bloating or ache in pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Tiredness and sleepiness
  • Occasional feelings of faintness
  • Increased need to wee
  • Breast changes: fulness, tenderness, tingling of nipples, darkened areolas (area around the nipples)
  • Aversion to some foods and odours
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Increased salivation in mouth
  • Increased vaginal secretions
  • Anxiety or hope while awaiting pregnancy confirmation and results of blood tests
  • Focus on body changes and fetal development
  • Mood swings
  • Greater interest or anxiety about motherhood
  • Fear of miscarriage
  • Fear of something going wrong
  • Difficulty acknowledging pregnancy
  • Sympathetic physical changes: weight gain, nausea
  • Concern about mood swings and fatigue
  • Questioning of parenting roles and priorities
  • Changes in sexual relationship
  • Ambivalence towards pregnancy (joy and excitement v’s resentment and anxiety)
  • Examination of feelings towards own parents
  • Financial concerns
  • Concern over wellbeing of baby

Changes in Second Trimester (15-27 weeks)

  • Sense of physical wellbeing, increased energy
  • Noticing fetal movements
  • Increased appetite
  • Disappearance of nausea
  • Constipation
  • Food craving or non food cravings (pica)
  • Groin pain from round ligament contractions
  • Less tenderness in breasts
  • Skin changes: linea nigra (line over pregnancy bump may started to appear oin the skin), mask of pregnancy (chloasma) – this is a butterfly shaped skin change over the face and nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Bleeding gums or nose
  • Relaxation of pelvis joints
  • Leg cramps
  • Greater feelings of dependency
  • Acceptance of pregnancy
  • Increased interest in babies and parenting
  • Introspectiveness (increased about all the things happening)
  • More daydreaming and dreaming at night
  • Developing a sense of growth and creativity
  • Varying feelings about changing appearance
  • Greater involvement in pregnancy
  • Feelings of closeness to the baby
  • Thinking about being a parent- hopes and fears
  • Changes in sexual desire and activities
  • More enjoyment of pregnancy
  • Increasing interest and awareness of parenting styles

Changes in Third Trimester (28-39 weeks)

  • More noticeable Braxton Hicks tightenings over your tummy (these are called practice contractions)
  • Increased colostrum production from breasts
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Shortness of breath as the baby bump takes up more space (this reduces with engagement of the head)
  • Need to pee more often (as baby takes up more space and pushes the bladder)
  • Tingling or numbness in hands (as nerves can sometimes get compressed in wrists)
  • Stretch marks
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased feelings of body warmth
  • Backache
  • Change in balance
  • Light sleep or insomnia
  • Haemorrhoids/Piles
  • Varicose veins
  • Swollen ankles
  • Anaemia
  • Excitement over preparations for baby
  • Focus on labour and birth, anxiety about the unknown
  • Variety of feelings about body image
  • Difficulty in focusing attention
  • Increased dependence on others
  • Desire for protection
  • Decreased sexual interest
  • Increased attention from family and friends may evoke certain feelings
  • Protectiveness towards family
  • Anticipation of parenthood
  • Longing for independence
  • Anxiety over support role in labour
  • Continuing changes in sexual relationship
  • Excitement about baby’s arrival
  • Eagerness for pregnancy to end
  • Fears and concerns about pain in labour and birth, health of mother and baby

What to expect at Term (from 37 weeks onwards)

  • Vague backache
  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Soft bowel movements
  • Nesting urge
  • Blood- tinged mucus from the vagina (known as the mucus plug)
  • Uterine contractions
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid
  • Predictions about what labour and birth will be like
  • Fear of childbirth pain
  • Anxiety about labour and birth
  • Fear for health of mother and baby during childbirth
  • Questioning ability to cope or perform during childbirth
  • Emotional preparation for birth
  • Feelings of anticipation, exhilaration, excitement and apprehension – all at the same time

What to expect in first two weeks after birth

  • Newborn needs lots of sleep, milk, time and quiet to feed, comfort, cuddles, will enjoy  touching looking at and  listening to parents
  • Uterus is at the height of navel right after birth and almost back to prepregnancy size by 10 to 20 days postpartum
  • After pains in tummy, feel like period cramping, discuss with midwife and ask for pain relief if needed
  • Increased need to wee
  • Increased sweating
  • Vaginal bleeding (Similar to a period)
  • Enlargement or engorgement of breasts
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Constipation and haemorrhoids/piles
  • Perineal discomfort or pain, discuss with midwife and ask for pain relief if needed
  • Pain over caesarean scar whilst it heals
  • Emotional ups and downs
  • Varieties of feelings towards the baby like fascination, love, protectiveness, anxiety, frustration and anger
  • Engrossment with baby
  • Protectiveness of family
  • Feelings of being displaced by baby
  • Uncertainty over role and responsibilities
  • Constant care of baby
  • Falling in love with baby by bonding and attachment
  • Trial and error and parenting technique
  • Fatigue induced in patients
  • Strengthened estranged relationship with partner
  • Learning ways to cope with fussiness and crying
  • Utilising resources family friends and Community Services and baby groups online support groups
  • Establishing support network
    making you bonds and links with new parents
  • Taking time to come to terms with the new change and transition

Things to remember when becoming a parent:

  • Be kind to yourself
  • Remember you are awesome and amazing
  • Use all the help available
  • Choose how to use your energy
  • Ensure you have ‘Me Time’ – do things that help you recharge and relax
  • Work in partnership with your partner
  • Spends lots of time without distractions with your baby
  • Try and work through any worries logically
  • Ask for support with worries
  • You need to prioritise your needs first, then you can be in the best health to nurture baby
  • Ensure you eat and drink plenty
  • Ensure you try and keep a good sleep schedule and catch up on sleep when you can
  • You may need help to transition to parenthood and that is ok
  • After baby arrives it will be about a new adventure together, you will need to consider all pre baby routines with fresh eyes and prioritise what is important
  • Make sure you make to time to conserve your energy and always try to have some energy in reserve for challenges as they occur
  • Minimise visitors to the family home in the first month so you can concentrate on getting your routine and feeling safe and secure
  • It is ok to say no to people visiting
  • Make parenting choices together and discuss if things are not going well

With thanks to Diane Fox, Midwife, researcher and Neurodevelopmental Practitioner and co-Chair of MARG (Maternity Autism Research Group) – a collective of professionals and researchers who are autistic and working to promote awareness of autism in Maternity Services for providing this material.