The first trimester of pregnancy is just the beginning of a journey that’s going to take you some strange places. Even if you’ve read every post on babyMed and digested all of the pregnancy literature you can take, chances are you’re really not prepared for what’s going to happen. It’s one thing to read about it, it’s quite another to actually go through it. Still, the more prepared you are the softer the blow will be.

Here are some things you can expect during the first trimester of pregnancy:

Morning sickness
There’s a good chance your partner is going to have morning sickness. Around 70% of women do. You need to know that morning sickness doesn’t always take place in the morning. It can happen at any time of the day. Sometimes, it can even last all day. There’s no need to be concerned unless she’s having trouble keeping food and drink down, at which point dehydration becomes a concern.

Mood changes
Your partner is experiencing physical and psychological changes. In particular, her hormones are rapidly changing. She might become irritable or have mood swings. Most women have some degree or another of fatigue during the first trimester due to these changes, too.

Sore breasts
Breast tenderness is common during early pregnancy. Here again, hormone changes cause her breasts to swell. Her nipples are likely to be sensitive and probably even sore. Use caution when approaching this area.

The risk of miscarriage
Around a quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but about half of those are early miscarriages where the woman may not even realize she’s pregnant. Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester; less than 1% of miscarriages happen after the 20-week midpoint of pregnancy. Get familiar with some of the things that can cause miscarriage (such as smoking) and support your partner as she makes changes to ensure the health of your baby.

Prenatal visits
Your partner’s first prenatal visit will be one of the longer ones of pregnancy. She’ll have some blood work, possibly an ultrasound and likely do an entire family medical history inventory. You’ll want to be there for this one, if possible, as you’ll get all sorts of good information and can help provide the doctor what she needs to know in terms of your family’s genetic history.

Private time
Many couples choose to wait until later on in the pregnancy – after the first couple of months – to discuss their pregnancy with others. If that’s the case with the two of you, enjoy this time. For a little while, it’s your secret. Talk with your partner at length about your pregnancy, birthing and parenting plans. Start putting some of those plans into motion. Most of all, enjoy the private time while you have it. Before you know it, aunts, grandparents, friends, and even complete strangers are going to be rubbing your partner’s belly and grilling you both about when your baby is coming.

The first trimester can be challenging, but it’s also a time to grow closer to your partner and find little ways to help her go through the changes she’s experiencing.