As I enter my second trimester with my second babe I thought I would share my thoughts & tips on surviving the first trimester. There are quite a few first trimester symptoms that can be rough like exhaustion, cramping, outrageous acne, and extremely sore nipples. It seems that the most common first trimester symptom that can be the roughest is “morning sickness”. If you are one of the lucky ones that has been blessed not to experience this…I envy you.
If you’ve been reading along with me you know that this pregnancy has been pretty brutal as far as “morning sickness”. And like I’ve said before, a man must have coined the term using morning, because it can last all day and all night. At 14 weeks I’m still battling the nausea, however, I am experiencing longer breaks between what I call my “nausea attacks”. Over the last week it seems the nausea kicks into gear more in the afternoon and carries on until I go to sleep. I still get moments in the morning of oncoming queasy feelings, but I just chug my water and continue to snack every two hours to keep my stomach full. Surviving the nausea can take up a whole post, and it did…read all about my tips on morning sickness here.
Nausea, extreme exhaustion, sore boobs, headaches, hormonal rages, constant need to pee (I average 3-4 times during the middle of the night alone), round ligament pains, bloating, cramping, bleeding….yep I’ve had it all just in this pregnancy. If it’s your first pregnancy all these changes to your body can be shocking (like instant Dolly Parton boobs!) and scary. Regardless if it’s your first or you’re on your third pregnancy, I suggest having resources readily available to help you understand your symptoms and your baby’s growth.
With my first pregnancy I purchased a few books, but the two that helped the most during the first trimester were: What to Expect When Expecting and Your Pregnancy Week by Week. Towards the end of your first trimester once you feel safe and comfortable with it, buy a baby journal and start to capture all the first feelings you and the dad-to-be are experiencing!
One hurdle that most pregnant women don’t expect to jump are issues with the daddy-to-be. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself (& from convos with my girlfriends), but I expected my husband to just get it. To just understand that my sudden mood swings and over sensitivity were from the raging hormones and not that I was just a witch. That he needed to let me vent and literally cry over spilt milk. Well guess what ladies- some men won’t get it. They might understand that our boobs are sensitive and that our backs hurt…but when it comes to being okay with the mood swings, they will swing right back. I knew that no matter how many times I explained to my husband that the hormones were making me act crazy, he just didn’t understand. So I went looking at the bookstore for some help and found the greatest pregnancy book for men. Knowing Mike would never read three pages of a step-by-step pregnancy book I opted for one that spoke in guy humor. Pregnancy Sucks For Men was probably the best purchase ever. Three weeks after I gave it to Mike he came up to me out of the blue and told me he understood now what I was going through and would try to be more understanding. To a hormonal pregnant lady that made me burst into tears. Mike just needed to read or hear it from someone else other than his “nagging” wife. That book ended up helping Mike be the most supportive husband over the rest of my pregnancy.
Not wanting to lug around my pregnancy books with me I downloaded a few apps to my phone. You will find that most weekly and monthly alerts from books, apps and websites tend to say the say things…but because growing a human being inside your belly is so damn awesome I don’t mind re-reading that by babe has fingernails and is the size of a peach. My favorite apps are the What To Expect (from the famous book series), Sprout Pregnancy, BabyBump, Pregnancy + (from Health & Parenting) and My Pregnancy Today (from Babycenter).
Besides the books and apps, here are other items that helped me survive the first trimester.
Aquaphor. For some reason my lips dry up like the Sahara Desert. Aquaphor lip balm is my saving grace and I apply it all day long to keep my lips from cracking.
Comfy bed & pillow. My bed is my oasis. Some might like a gigantic bathtub or a huge closet, but my bliss is my ultra soft bed with plush pillows. Some days I have been so sick I haven’t gotten out of bed and having my comfy pillow made that nausea suck just a little less! So if you hate your pillow or have been dying to get some nice sheets….go get them. Enjoy this time to sleep & spend money on yourself…because once that baby comes you will have plenty of other stuff to spend your money on (like diapers) and sleep…well what the heck is that???? You don’t really need to buy a pregnancy pillow this trimester. If you find that placing a pillow between your knees brings you comfort towards the end of the first trimester then just use a small pillow. Unless you’re having twins you won’t have much of a belly the first trimester, so no need to spend your money on those pregnancy pillows yet!
Prenatal Vitamins. Of course you have heard to take your prenatals, I’m here to tell you about a great deal on them (because they can be expensive!). I found that the CVS drugstore brand has all the vitamins that you need including folic acid for a fraction of the cost (found here). You can get a bottle of 300 tables (enough to last through your entire pregnancy) for $19.79 where most regular prenatal vitamins cost around $20 for just a one month supply!
Hydration. Staying hydrated is important during your pregnancy. For me I have “thing” while I’m pregnant that the water has to be cold for me to drink it….room temp makes me gag. So I carry around a thermos type jug filled with ice water all day. I love it because it looks like a mason jar! Find it at Walmart here. (Target has them too, but of course Wally World sells them cheaper).
Tums. Acid reflux is no fun. Even if you stay away from triggers you can still get it. Tums help but they are gross. I found the ones that I could stomach were their smoothie flavored ones. They dissolved quickly too!
Toothbrush. Yes my toothbrush has helped me survive one pregnancy symptom…bleeding gums. While pregnant your gums can become swollen and bleed so find a soft toothbrush to help minimize the bleeding.
Comfy Bra. Most women experience a growth in their boob size and/or their boobs become sore. I lived in (& still do) Champion sports bras from Target and the super soft racerback pullover bra from Gap Body. Note that your bra size can get even larger so don’t go overboard buying multiple expensive bras at this stage! If you are planning on breastfeeding your cup size will get even BIGGER once the baby arrives!!
Below the waistline (the TMI section). Sadly constipation can develop during pregnancy due to the hormones causing your digestive system to slow down. Make sure you drink lots of water and eat plenty of vegetables. To help constipation I take the stool softner Colace (Ob suggested Miralax too). One thing to know about stool softners is that you need to keep taking them to continue to help. It is not a one pill and your cleared kinda relief! The ONLY way I obtained any instant relief was using enemas. Yes it is a gross concept of squirting a saline solution up there, but in less than one minute I was flushed out and felt amazing.
Remember to listen to your body and do what it says. If you’re tired then take it easy. Between morning sickness and exhaustion don’t beat yourself up for not committing to every engagement you’re invited to. Kick those feet up and rest! If this is your second or third pregnancy and you have littles running around like me then rely on your baby daddy for some help. Have a birthday party to go to?? Have your husband go solo with your kid (it’s funny how much more they respect our jobs as moms when they have to take care of the kid!). When you do get the energy to cook for your family try doubling the recipe and make a freezer meal for future use. If your like me and choose to order take out often, then just make healthier choices. Try not ordering Papa John’s two nights in a row!
The first trimester can be brutal and I hope these ideas and products help someone survive the first part of their pregnancy!