I realized early on that being pregnant was going to be quite the learning experience. Every pregnancy is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Looking back, I found these 5 things most helpful for me. I wanted to share with any new mamas out there who are newly pregnant in hopes that at least one of the following tips will help make their first few months of pregnancy just a little bit easier. The first trimester was definitely the least fun for me, so if that is the case for you too, mama, just know that it won’t last forever!
1. EAT WHEN YOU WAKE UP
I have never been a big breakfast person, but early on into my first trimester I discovered the importance of eating first thing in the morning. In my husbands quest to make sure I stayed healthy during pregnancy, the second he found out I was pregnant he hopped out of bed the next day (and everyday thereafter) to make me a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, blueberries and almond butter. At first I thought it was very sweet (still do), but it was’t until around the 8 week mark that I realized that him ensuring that I ate breakfast everyday was helping me a hell of a lot in the morning sickness department.
One major cause of morning sickness when you are pregnant is that the sphincter that is between the stomach and the esophagus (food pipe leading from the mouth to the stomach) relaxes, so gastric acid gets regurgitated back into the esophagus. The acidity can lead to heartburn and nausea, especially after lying down sleeping all night. When you eat in the morning, it actually helps to get things moving and gets the acidity to subside. There was only a handful of mornings that I experienced extreme nausea, but the second I ate and drank water I felt 100% better. I totally understand that when you wake up feeling nauseous you do not want to eat anything, but I swear- eating helps! Just make sure you eat bland foods that won’t gross you out. It will make a world of difference with your morning sickness or any time through the day that you feel nauseous. (Side note- but I strongly believe that taking my prenatal vitamin with breakfast also helped a lot, too. The one I took was by Garden of Life, see image on the left.)
Endorphins are the BEST natural drug. Trust me, there were days that I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was move, but I ALWAYS felt better after I did. Now I’m not saying you need to crush your PR every workout and make yourself physically exhausted. What I am saying is- listen to your body and move in a way that makes you feel good. If you were super fit and healthy before your pregnancy (and you are low-risk), then keep doing the workouts you were doing beforehand as long as they make you feel good. Going for walks or doing yoga sound up your alley? Go for it! Still up for bootcamp but with some modifications? Great! I promise you, you will not regret moving your body. Once you are on that delivery table you will be feeling grateful that you have a healthy, strong body to get you through the biggest marathon of your life- CHILDBIRTH!
3. IT’S OK TO FEEL LIKE A CRAZY PERSON
Have no fear, if your hormones are raging right now, it is totally normal! I remember sitting in my car one night during my first trimester bawling to my mom on the phone about how I just didn’t “feel like myself anymore.”
The first trimester felt somewhat erratic- some days I was super upbeat and full of energy, other days I felt like I was living in someone else’s body. For a control freak like me, it was hard to see my body start changing. For the first time in my life, regardless of how healthy I was eating and exercising, I was increasing in size and it was out of my control. Between your uterus expanding, your blood volume increasing, and you body retaining water- the first trimester may not make you feel like a beautiful, pregnant goddess. (Personally, I felt more like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!) However, talking to my mom that night did make me realize that I was being WAY too hard on myself. I was pregnant- I was allowed to be emotional! I have never been pregnant before, of course I was scared and of course I was uncomfortable feeling out of control of my own body and the way it was changing. I decided to alter my mindset and instead remind myself how fortunate I was to have a healthy body to house a human in. And if I wanted to cry some days, that was ok too!
4. DON’T KEEP IT ALL TO YOURSELF
Being pregnant for the first time was a rollercoaster of fear and excitement. I knew that the first trimester is usually the most fragile, and I felt more comfortable sharing our pregnancy news wth people once we hit the second trimester. However, I did tell a couple of close mom friends early on and I am really glad that I did. It was so nice being able to shoot them a text and ask if something was normal.
“Guys I am only 11 weeks pregnant and I feel so bloated, is this normal??”
Within seconds I had texts firing back ensuring me that they too felt the same exact way around the 11 week mark and not to worry because the bloated phase would pass in a couple of weeks. Sure, you may have your husband/partner to talk with about your changing body, but it’s so nice to have girlfriends that know EXACTLY what you are going through because they have been through it before. So, even if you want to keep it an absolute secret until you can’t keep it in anymore- for your own sanity, I really encourage you to tell at least one trusted friend who can be a major support system for you during this emotionally charged time.
5. FIND A DOCTOR YOU ADORE
This one will take some time and research, but it will be SO worth it in the end. Your medical team is going to be a big part of your life throughout your pregnancy, so it is super important that you find a doctor that you trust and feel comfortable with. I know a few friends who started off with one doctor that they didn’t ultimately vibe with, so they switched to a different provider and were much happier. I found my mid-wife through the Cambridge Birthing Center and after our first appointment Chris and I were so elated to have met her. She spent over an hour and a half with us at our first appointment answering our questions and getting to know us. The way she talked to us showed that she really genuinely cared and wanted us both to have the absolute best experience throughout the pregnancy. After that initial appointment we both left feeling so excited and way less nervous than when we had first walked in the door. It’s TOTALLY OK to switch doctors until you find a good fit, and it will put you at such ease when you find the right match for you and your family.