I was thinking of calling this Surviving the First Trimester but then thought otherwise. I don’t want us to look at pregnancy as something we need to survive. It’s a total miracle and something we should try to make the best of the hard days and fully enjoy the nice and easy days. The thing is, there are definitely hard days in pregnancy and so far my hardest days were the first trimester.
The first trimester comes with the most symptoms and they are all new and come on full force pretty quickly. I listed below some of the most common first trimester symptoms. Some of the fall into the all-trimester-symptoms category.
- Nausea or Morning Sickness
- Food Aversions
- Fatigue or Exhaustion
- Breast Tenderness
- Frequent Urination
- Sleep issues
- Muscle aches or cramps
- Digestive Symptoms: bloating, gas, constipation, etc
- Emotional changes, hey hormones: sadness, anger, anxiety, worry, etc
Every woman feels different symptoms at different levels of severity. I definitely didn’t have it the hardest by any means. My first trimester was harder emotionally for me than physically. I would say on the spectrum I was in the lower middle. For me, my two main physical symptoms were fatigue, food aversion with no appetite and waking up a few times a night.
Here is my list of making the most of your first trimester of pregnancy
1. Be Thankful and Practice Gratitude
Many of you know that this is not my first pregnancy. The first pregnancy ended at 6 weeks and then we weren’t able to get pregnant for another 7 months. This pregnancy brought a whole host of emotions and I think they were stronger than regular pregnancy hormone emotions because of the loss.
One thing I did daily was practice gratitude. They say gratitude changes everything. I told my husband I didn’t want to complain or be negative in this pregnancy. It was a gift each and every day regardless of what the day brought. There were definitely hard days and I didn’t stuff the emotions inside of those hard days. I shared with my husband, my mom and a couple close friends when I needed prayer or what I was feeling. But the overarching theme of my first trimester was thankfulness.
Even through the different symptoms I was thankful. And honestly, I was so thankful some symptoms, it reminded me there was something going on in my body, a baby was growing. I was thankful for the food aversions (aka total apathy for food) because that is so different from the way I normally live. I love food with a healthy appetite, but I wanted nothing to do with food. Even the times I stood in front of the fridge or drove to the grocery store looking for something to eat I was thankful for my ability to do that.
When I was so tired I was thankful for the rest. Thankful I am in a season where I work from home and could rest whenever I wanted and most mornings be able to sleep in if need be. It was a glorious time of naps, there was about a 6 week timeframe I took a nap daily. I’ve never done that in my life before.
2. Set Your Thoughts Above
My first trimester was emotionally the hardest. I was so worried for the baby’s safety and if everything was alright. My lifeline was my realationship and my time with God. Daily I got in the word, journaled verses and what I was learning, journaled my pregnancy throughts and emotions and prayed a lot. I definitely grew some deeper prayer roots over these weeks.
God was my source of strength, peace and source of truth. I think I would have fallen apart or at least been in constant fear without my trust in God’s plans for us.
My husband was wonderful too, I don’t want to leave him out. But he wasn’t feeling the symptoms and living in my body so he could only relate so much (he told me this). But he was always there to listen and help around the house and encourage me to take my naps if he knew I was tired.
3. Eat the Best you Can
I thought that when I got pregnant it would be easy to eat healthy. How hard is it to make yourself eat something when you know it’s good for you and your baby? Really?
Um, way harder than I thought. About halfway through my first week I started full on food aversions. And the things I disliked the most were fats (so sad butter and coconut oil) and vegetables. I don’t think I consumed a vegetable for about 6 weeks. I just ate snack like foods. Grass fed beef hot dogs, cottage cheese, cheese, berries, fruit, trail mix, yogurt and anything else I could get into me that sounded good at the time.
It was hard, I will say that again. There were some principles I stuck to though. I know my body does really poorly on grains and I wanted to make a point to stay grain free. I knew that was the best for me and the baby. I also ate high quality food when I ate.
One thing I started to eat was more corn (non-GMO of course). I do fine on corn and needed more carbs and it sounded good. Food sounding good was such a rarity. So hello popcorn, corn chips and corn cereal. Oh, cereal made me love breakfast again. It was such a treat and totally my first trimester happy place.
My advice, eat the best you can. Be wise about the quality of food, but sometimes you just gotta get calories in where you can. This too shal pass.
4. Take it Easy and Give yourself Grace
Here’s a hint, there are times in pregnancy (or the whole time in pregnancy) where you’re not able to do everything you once were able to. It may be physically by not being able to do the same workouts that you did in pre-pregnancy. You may get easily winded walking, cleaning or working. You may be more emotional and not be able to handle as much busy, seeing as many friends, handle as many responsibilities.
Guess what? It’s ok.
This is the time to enjoy the process of growing a baby, being more tired and everything else.
Give yourself grace. Allow yourself the opportunity to rest or watch TV or read more. Whatever gives you rest, allow yourself the opportunity. Don’t be frustrated (well, you can have a few moments) but be grateful for the journey and rest.
5. Prepare your Body for Pregnancy Before You Get Pregnant
If you are reading this and are already pregnant, you can skim right over this. If you are reading this and thinking about getting pregnant you will want to focus here. I believe that our health as mom can determine how good (or not so good) we feel in pregnancy. Not feeling well in pregnancy definitely doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy. It’s not a rule set in stone or anything.
Preparing your body is incredibly helpful to having a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. I attribute the low amount of symptoms in my first trimester to the amount of healing, detox and nutrition plan I’ve been doing over the last 5 years. Now, I don’t think zero symptoms in pregnancy means you’re the healthiest. I believe we all will experience our own set of symptoms because, well, we are growing a baby inside and there are so many different and new things going on in our amazing bodies. The symptoms will come and go and it is just a small season of life.
A few things I recommend:
- Figure out your food sensitivities and avoid them. If you don’t identify them specifically avoid the major allergens and see how your body responds to them. Gluten, dairy, eggs, caffeine, soy. I am a big proponent of a gluten free lifestyle and a gluten free pregnancy.
- Detox and support your liver. This is not something you can do and figure out on your own (and the liver cleanses you buy in a store isn’t a true liver detox). I recommend working with a natural practitioner or myself with my one-on-one coaching so you are able to have a customized detox protocol made just for you that works.
- Heal your gut. Our digestive health is crucial to our overall health. In pregnancy or not. Nutrition supports gut health, but often times not enough. Going through an evaluation and protocol to understand and heal your gut will prepare your body well for pregnancy and for a healthier momma too. Did you know the healthier a mom’s gut is the healthier the baby’s gut is too? A healthy gut benefits you and the baby.
- Know your hormone levels and get them balanced. Starting your pregnancy with balanced hormones is incredibly important for feeling well throughout pregnancy and having the healthiest and most successful pregnancy possible. You will also know if you need to support your hormones further once you get pregnant.
- Start pregnancy supporting supplements before you get pregnant. Like a methylated folate, fish oil (or other omega-3 oil), good multi-vitamin, vitamin D3 and anything else your specific body needs for support.
I am so thankful for all of the work I did pre-pregnancy to prepare for this pregnancy. I have had a couple of amazing proud body moments during this pregnancy. I’m trusting it to do what it needs to in pregnancy, to grow the baby, gain the appropriate weight and to feel good (yes, there are weird pregnancy things that go on and I feel and I’m ok with it).
I’ve been really thankful and know so much of it has to do with all of the prep I did before hand. Any work you do before pregnancy makes a difference, never underestimate that.
6. Remember, the First Trimester will Pass
If you are really having a hard time with symptoms, not feeling yourself and are really run down during the first trimester, remember, this too shall pass. You are growing a new life inside of you and it is hard work. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but take it day by day and do the best you can.
Some days may be harder than others, you may have to say no to friends and other obligations, but it’s only about 2.5 months. And that is really short in the grand scheme of life. I remember having a few exceptionally tired days in my first trimester where taking a shower was a lot of work (really an event in itself). I had this thought while in the shower that this is really a short time period and is totally worth it. I knew why I wasn’t feeling great, I was growing a baby. Something I felt so excited and honored to be able to do.
Do your best, give yourself grace, and realize that soon enough you will get that second trimester burst of energy. For me it hit around week 19-20, so about halfway through my second trimester. And I have almost forgotten about the first trimester fatigue and food aversions (I think it’s pregnancy amnesia) now that I’m a few months past.
Keep your eye on the prize, in this case a snuggly baby at the end of the 9 months.
What things helped you Thrive in the First Trimester? Any tips you can share with us?
Join Dr. Meghan's Newsletter
Like what you're reading and don't want to miss out on anything? I get it! I'm going to send you tips and trick right to your inbox to kickstart your health!