The first few weeks after you find out you’re pregnant are a little surreal. No one can see you are forming a little life in your womb, but the symptoms and emotions you feel are constant reminders. For some lucky pregos, the first trimester is a breeze, nothing about their daily life changes. For others, it’s morning sickness and not being able to keep anything down all day.
For me, I felt like I was in survival mode for about a month. I was exhausted ALL the time. I was nauseous off and on all day (though, thankfully, I never got sick). And nothing sounded good to eat. I’m past the first trimester (wohoo) and going on 18 weeks.
Here are my top 7 tips for surviving the first 13 weeks:
1. Find the right apps and information. Right when I found out I was pregnant, I started downloading every pregnancy app there was. I was reading every article, blog post and update in every app, and let me tell you, things got overwhelming fast. All of this endless information, different perspectives and different ways of daily tracking your pregnancy was a stress-trigger to me. I narrowed it down to two apps (The Bump & Baby Story) that I enjoyed the most and deleted the others. I also had to focus on not googling every single new feeling or emotion that I experienced. One little cramp does not mean something is wrong with you or your baby – but googling that and reading everything can make you go crazy. I don’t know how many times I had to stop myself from freaking out after googling something and trying to self diagnose the issue – when in reality, there was no issue! So take my advice, find the a couple apps you like, maybe a good book, and don’t google to try and self-diagnose what you’re feeling.
2. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated has been key for me throughout my pregnancy to help prevent headaches and to feel more energized. But drinking plain water every day wasn’t cutting it with how nauseous I felt. I didn’t want to drink Ginger-ale because I knew I needed something with less sugar and to help me stay better hydrated. La Croix was there to save the day! There are so many flavors to chose from which helped me to not get bored from drinking the thing every day. Also, the carbonation helped with my nausea and no sugar or calories just made me feel better about drinking it. La Croix is one of my favorite things to drink, especially the Lime, Lemon and Grapefruit flavors. With summer time approaching and my third trimester, I plan to keep sippin’ on these to help stay hydrated with some flavor!
3. Find something you can eat. This sounds silly but there’s so many foods that I was completely repulsed by – and still are! Never again do I think I will be able to eat asparagus. I went through a point where all I wanted was just pretzels, goldfish or cereal. My husband would grill this amazing dinner, and I would look at it and gag – WHAT! Steak was out, cereal was in. I felt so terrible not being able to enjoy meals with him, but I literally couldn’t stomach the thought of eating most of the normal food I loved. I found food that worked for me – fruit, cereal, peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, gold fish, smoothies, and pretzels. No it wasn’t the most nutritious diet, but at least I was eating and could keep it down. Another big tip is to never let yourself get too hungry. I kept (well still keep) snacks in my desk, car, and purse. The worst I ever felt was when I let myself get too hungry (or too full!). So eating small meals and snacks throughout the day was best for me and still is.
4. Focus on taking care of you. Pregnancy can cause a lot of anxiety and stress with the constant unknown, and stress isn’t good for the baby. I work full time in a management position in the corporate world, top that off with trying to hide my pregnancy and nausea, and it was an equation for stress for sure. I had to find ways to focus on taking care of me and de-stressing. Warm baths, candles and music helps when you’re feeling achy, tired and stressed. Keep your skin moisturized, my first purchase was stocking up on a good moisturizer! I use one with coconut oil and Vitamin E, not only are you taking care of your skin but you’re helping prevent stretch marks and the dryness that occurs during pregnancy. Make sure your bath and body care is paraben-free for you and baby. Don’t just give up on getting your nails done or hair done now that you’re pregnant. Just make sure you paint your nails with 3-free polish, meaning they don’t contain the three toxic chemicals (DBP, toluene and formaldehyde), my favorite is Essie and wait until your second trimester to get your hair done. I always say when you look better, you feel better (but of course consult with your doctor before you book your next salon appointment). When mommy-to-be is relaxed and happy, baby will be too, and you’ll look and feel better.
5. Talk to your doctor. If you have a question about anything, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor. It’s better to talk to your doctor than to try and figure something out on your own by googling it or asking someone else. Everyone is different and everyone has a different pregnancy, so be open with your doctor. For me, I was nauseous 24-7. I was miserable. I never threw up thankfully, but sometimes I thought it would be better to just throw up and get the feeling over with than having the constant urge. I just thought it was a normal struggle of pregnancy and to just deal with it, but I decided to talk to my doctor about it. And guess what, my doctor gave me medicine to take at night that was for pregnant women and safe for me and baby. Like magic, I felt better! I slept better throughout the night and no longer felt nauseous all day long.
6. Get some rest. I have never felt so tired than in my first trimester of pregnancy, and resting for me is hard. With an A-type personality, I always feel like I need to be doing something. My husband and I are always the ones out and about doing something with friends and family as well, so spending weekends resting was frustrating for me but it needed to happen. From working full time during the week, I felt exhausted once Friday hit, so we spent a lot of weekends the first trimester at home watching movies. If you don’t make yourself take some time to rest, you will just get run down and feel worse. So make time to rest! Try to go to sleep a little earlier at night as well. Being pregnant completely messed up my sleep schedule. I used to fall asleep quick and not wake up until my alarm went off in the morning – not so much anymore! Sleep is key for me and how I feel and even look each day, so going to sleep earlier and making time for rest is a must.
7. Dress comfortably. I have an 8-5 office job, but thankfully it’s a more casual environment so dressing comfortably was easy for me. Your body is changing, you don’t feel good, and if you’re like me, you’re trying to keep it a secret from everyone until your first trimester is over, so comfort is helpful with getting through each day. I didn’t want to invest tons of money in maternity clothes yet (I actually still haven’t bought any maternity clothes), but leggings, sweaters, maxi skirts and flats became my best friend. The one investment I highly suggest is getting a comfy, supportive bra. Whether it’s Converse, leggings and a cute sweater or a maxi skirt and flats, find what makes you comfortable and rock it.
Good luck to all of the new mommy-to-be’s in their first trimester and ladies who are trying, I hope these tips help! For those who have gone through the first trimester, what are some of your tips for surviving those first 13 weeks?