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Being pregnant for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Here are 14 first trimester pregnancy tips to help you survive and thrive during the early weeks of your first pregnancy.
FIRST TRIMESTER PREGNANCY TIPS: FROM MORNING SICKNESS TO EXHAUSTION!
There are so many emotions that swirl around your brain when you first find out you’re pregnant. There are also a lot of hormones swimming around your body and these two things combined can leave you feeling a little all over the place as you get used to being pregnant.
Of course, the first thing that many of us encounter in the early weeks of pregnancy is morning sickness. It usually kicks in at around six weeks, just as the hormones really start to surge.
I remember my morning sickness kicking in over brunch with my husband at a local restaurant. I can still remember the sweeping feeling of nausea now and I can tell you it took me a LONG time to go back to that restaurant!
But morning sickness isn’t the only thing you’re dealing with for the first time. There’s a whole lot going on with your body and the developing body of your baby in the first trimester. It’s a lot to get your head around.
So, I thought I’d put together a list of simple tips to help anyone about to go through the early stages of a first pregnancy. My aim is to give you ways to not only survive but thrive during your first trimester.
14 FIRST TRIMESTER PREGNANCY TIPS
1. GO EASY ON YOURSELF
I know that Instagram and the media are seemingly awash with pregnant influencers and celebrities looking utterly fabulous, building business empires and running half-marathons. Just remember that a. these snapshots of their lives aren’t reality and b. You are growing a new life inside you, that’s bloody amazing in itself, anything you achieve beyond that is the icing on the cake!!
2. FOLIC ACID
If you do one thing during your first trimester, buy a good quality folic acid supplement and start taking it!
Ideally you should be taking folic acid from the moment you start trying to conceive, because folic acid is an essential nutrient that helps protect the brain and spinal cord of a baby as it grows in the womb.
So, if you haven’t already been taking folic acid, start as soon as you can.
3. PRENATAL SUPPLEMENTS
I’m not a huge believer in taking supplements if you are eating a healthy well-balanced diet, however, the early weeks of pregnancy can be a dicey time for your appetite, morning sickness is no joke, so it’s best to make sure you are getting as much of the essential nutrients as possible.
So, even if you don’t usually take any supplements, it is a great idea to start taking them during your pregnancy. A good quality prenatal supplement will contain the daily amount of folic acid you need, plus a blend of all the other nutrients essential for your body and your growing baby.
4. MORNING SICKNESS
I mentioned it at the start of my post and oh look, I’ve also just mentioned it in my thoughts on taking a prenatal supplement! So, there really is no getting away from it, morning sickness is often a big part of the early weeks of pregnancy!
For many moms-to-be morning sickness starts at around six weeks of pregnancy. I’ve got a whole post on natural remedies for morning sickness – foods/drinks/candies/essential oils – you can use to help quell the feelings of nausea.
But for some quick tips right here, I’d say:
- Have some salt crackers or a banana ready to eat by your bed for when you first wake
- Aim to eat low G.I foods little and often during the day to keep your blood sugar balanced
- Have a tin of Preggie Pop Drops with you at all times
- Don’t worry if you find you can eat very little of nutritional value, your baby is kind of like a parasite at this stage, it will take exactly what it needs from you!
- If your morning sickness is extreme seek medical help, hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness) needs proper medical support
I’ve also got a post on how to put together a morning sickness survival kit, with a big list of all the best products out there that can help relieve nausea and help you cope with vomiting.
OK, I hope you can handle the thought of food after all my talk of morning sickness!
Unless you’re extremely lucky, your eating is likely to go very wonky in the first trimester. I think the best rule of thumb is to eat whatever you fancy whenever you fancy, unless you learn that eating it makes you feel sick, in which case don’t eat it again for a while!!
You will actually find it very easy to avoid eating stuff that makes you feel queasy, because your body will recoil at the merest sniff of it.
Now one of the reasons that morning sickness got its name is because it is usually worse in the morning, which is because low blood sugar / an empty stomach can make you feel nauseous. So, really do aim to eat little and often. Have healthy snacks to hand, just try not to go in full throttle on a ton of sugar.
Rely on your prenatal vitamins (including folic acid) to ensure you’re giving your body and your growing baby everything it needs at this stage.
Water!!! Water, water and more water! It is so important to keep your body hydrated during pregnancy. Your body needs water to produce the extra blood volume it needs, to build new tissue and to create the amniotic fluid your baby grows in.
It’s also really important to rehydrate if you are actually vomiting as a result of morning sickness – do you get the feeling that I am a little heavily focused on morning sickness?!!
I carried around a refillable water bottle with me through my entire pregnancy and I suggest you do the same.
I have a 500ml Chilly’s Water bottle, it is stainless steel and has a double-vacuum wall to keep the water cool. There are so many colors and patterns to choose from, pop over and see which bottle catches your eye.
It is totally normal to feel exhausted during the first trimester. I did!
If it is any consolation, the second trimester is usually a time when you feel full of energy (before the third trimester has you lagging again!!).
So don’t be afraid to grab extra sleep when you can. In fact, activity give yourself the chance to sleep, step away from comatose social media scrolling and give your body and mind chance to rest. I know exactly what it’s like, the mindless scrolling that creeps in when you’re too exhausted to even think. But using your downtime to sleep will do wonders for your pregnant self.
I also found that snoozes and naps helped my body cope with morning sickness. The more sleep I got, the more able I was to keep myself on an even keel and feel less sick.
Even if your pregnancy is the best thing that’s ever happened to you, you will find yourself awash with a huge array of different emotions. Excitement, anxiety, happiness, fear, delighted, exhilarated… ALL THE EMOTIONS!!!
Part of it is because it’s a big thing to be pregnant and part of it is due to the huge amount of hormones running around inside your body. The first trimester is an emotional rollercoaster and that is entirely NORMAL!!
However, always tell your husband/partner or your doctor if you are finding it hard to cope with your emotions. No-one should have to suffer feeling extremes of emotion unsupported.
9. READ UP ON BEING PREGNANT
I think it’s well worth not getting carried away and ending up with information overload. However, it is really good to find a book that tells you exactly everything you need to know about expecting, especially during your first pregnancy.
What To Expect When You’re Expecting is one of the best-selling pregnancy books on Amazon. It’s written by Heidi Murkoff, a mom who couldn’t find the information that she wanted when pregnant with her first child, so she wrote a book on what to expect when you’re expecting.
The book is pretty much known as a pregnancy bible and has sold over 19 million copies. So, buy a copy and start reading!
It is really important to exercise during your first trimester, pregnancy is not an excuse to put your feet up for 40 weeks!! Even though I must admit that at times I really didn’t want to move at all, particularly when morning sickness hit!
But actually, that’s one of the benefits of exercise. Yes, taking a walk or doing some light exercise can actually help morning sickness nausea subside. The challenge is motivating yourself to do it when you are feeling sick as a dog!!
All that said, if you didn’t do a lot of exercise before you got pregnant, don’t jump into a major new workout routine. In fact, always make sure to check in with a medic before you start exercising during your pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all women with uncomplicated pregnancies should do some kind of low-impact aerobic and strength-conditioning exercise during their pregnancy.
I used to do a 35 minute walk to and from work each day and I also went to pregnancy yoga classes and did a little yoga at home. I really valued the pregnancy yoga, it helped me build my strength and the walking got my heart rate up nicely.
Types of exercise to consider include:
- Spin cycling
- Low-impact aerobics
- Resistance training (TRX)
- Yoga or Pilates
- Water aerobics / swimming
There are so many benefits to exercising when you are pregnant, including:
- It can help quell nausea due to morning sickness
- It can help keep you keep weight gain down
- It will energise you when you are feeling exhausted
- It will soothe you when you are feeling anxious
PLUS, women who exercise throughout their pregnancy have a higher chance of having a vaginal birth and lower chances of gestational diabetes, delivering their baby prematurely or giving birth to a baby with low birth weight.
11. TAKE BUMP PHOTOS
Go on, do it! You don’t have to share them on social media, in fact you don’t have to share them with anyone. But it is lovely to be able to look back at photos of your growing bump in years to come. It’s also lovely to be able to show your child a picture of how you looked whilst you were carrying them.
I didn’t keep a pregnancy journal, I really didn’t feel the need to, but I am so happy to have photos of me and my bump at various stages during my pregnancy. It was a precious time, with lots of happy memories.
12. MOISTURIZE YOUR BUMP!
I moisturized religiously during my pregnancy and I escaped without any stretch marks. Now, I do realise that there is a genetic link to stretch marks, but it certainly can’t hurt to do all you can to look after your skin as your body ‘blossoms’ into pregnancy. Oh and boy is it nice to pamper yourself by massaging in a lovely body moisturizer when you’re feeling out of sorts and off-kilter in the first trimester.
A good quality body moisturizer will help nourish and protect your skin, especially the skin on your belly that will stretch as your bump grows.
I used and LOVED Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter when I was pregnant, it is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a vegan, cruelty-free body moisturizer that is rich in omega oils and plant-based actives. This stuff literally melts into your skin and keeps it super supple.
Mama Mio has a whole Tummy Rub range with cream, butter, oil and scrub. Take a peek and choose a little something to pamper yourself with.
13. CONFIDE IN SOMEONE CLOSE
There is a lot of superstition around when to tell anyone (other than your husband or partner) that you are pregnant. And with good reason. However, from my experience it is good to confide in at least a couple of people who are close to you – and trustworthy enough to keep your secret.
Confiding in my mom meant that she was able to help support me emotionally in the early weeks of pregnancy. As a woman who had been through pregnancy herself, it was brilliant for my husband and I to have her support.
I also confided in a friend I worked with when I was pregnant with my daughter. He really looked out for me in the early weeks, before I could tell anyone else at work. He got me food and drinks when I was looking a little green, he was a shoulder to lean on when I was feeling exhausted. I am eternally grateful that he was there to support me.
If the worst happens – as has happened to my husband and me on a couple of occasions – it’s actually a real comfort to have people around who knew you were pregnant. It’s a funny old business coping with miscarriage and hard for others to feel the depth of your emotion if they’ve either not experienced it themselves or only found out that you were pregnant when you share the sad news with them.
14. BE MINDFUL
I didn’t want to end on the low note at the end of tip 13 and this last thought feels like the perfect way to end my first trimester tips… try your hardest to be mindful and present during your pregnancy.
21st-century life can be so fast-paced that it is easy to speed through the weeks and months of pregnancy and when you look back on them they are but a blur.
Whilst I didn’t keep a pregnancy journal, I did try to take the time on a regular basis to just stop and savour the moments of being pregnant. The good moments and the bad moments, yes, I’m going to mention it again… even the morning sickness lows. All the days, weeks and months of my pregnancy helped me create and give birth to my much loved and cherished daughter. I will be forever thankful that I had the chance to carry her and experience motherhood because of her.
I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!
More pregnancy posts:
- STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO WRITING A BIRTH PLAN
- FIRST TRIMESTER PREGNANCY TIPS
- 5 FIRST TRIMESTER PREGNANCY MUST-HAVES
- WHAT TO PUT IN A MORNING SICKNESS SURVIVAL KIT
- 30 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR MORNING SICKNESS
- WHAT TO PUT IN A FIRST TRIMESTER CARE PACKAGE
- HOSPITAL BAG ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST: AKA THE THINGS YOU ACTUALLY NEED FOR YOU AND YOUR NEWBORN BABY
- FREE HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST PDF PRINTABLE
- COPING WITH POLYHYDRAMNIOS
- THE ULTIMATE BABY REGISTRY CHECKLIST AND BEST REGISTRIES GUIDE
- NEWBORN BABY ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST LIST. PLUS FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST
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Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.