Getting through your first trimester can be such a challenge. From morning sickness to fatigue to sleeping issues - your body is going through so many changes as you grow a human. In this blog post and podcast episode, we are sharing tips and tricks on how to get through those first trimester symptoms. We also are going to share our go-to resources that helped us learn and understand the changes our bodies are going through.
I want to take this blog post and podcast episode to share with our listeners who may be trying to conceive or in the same boat as me in their first trimester. What I want you to know is: if you are in your first trimester and just feeling miserable - you are not alone!
Tune in below and read on for all the info...
Please note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you end up clicking and purchasing an item. I worked hard to find my trusted favorites and I want to share them with you so you don't have to deal with all the crappy junk I had to go through. Nuff said.
Before we dive in I have a few disclaimers for this blog post and podcast episode.
First, every person who gets pregnant experiences their first trimester differently. My hope is that some of my suggestions or resources will help ease the harder symptoms if you are experiencing them and make you feel less alone or more prepared in your journey through pregnancy.
Next, I am obligated to say you must consult with your doctor before trying anything I suggest. I am not a doctor and the information and experience shared in this podcast should not be seen as professional medical advice. If you use or rely on the information in this podcast, you do so at your own risk.
Lastly, some of my experience is more unconventional than what you will hear on your own pregnancy journey. My boundary is that you do not shame me or attempt to correct me on my choices. Trust that I have done my own research and come to my own conclusions on what works for me and what doesn’t. If you are a momma who wants to do everything by the book - I wouldn’t shame you for being risk-averse. So I expect the same treatment from you. Capeesh?
What was preception and the conception journey for me?
I used the Ava bracelet to understand when my fertility window landed during my cycle. Thanks to Ava I realized I wasn’t ovulating for almost an entire year. I did a hormonal test (Modern Fertility) and GI test (Viome) to better understand what was going on. I found out that I had two intestinal parasites and treated them with the help of my nurse practitioner. After the parasites where gone I started ovulating and was pregnant within two months!
What are some of the habits you had to start or change?
First and foremost was taking prenatal vitamins and adding supplements. Start taking them as soon as you find out your a pregnant and even consider taking the if you are actively trying to conceive.
These are my go-to prenatal supplements:
My next big habit change was drinking more water. I got myself a big thermos with a straw and started sipping throughout the day. My nurse told me to aim for 80 oz and that was hard at first. I added Zetox to my first glass in the morning. It’s a liquid zeolite suspension that is tasteless that helps absorbs heavy metals and toxins from your digestive tract.
Avoid heat! I love my heating pad and hot hot baths but it’s not good for the developing fetus and can lead to birth defects. I did take one lukewarm bath with epsom salts to help with nausea (more on that in a second) and it was heaven. I definitely missed the heat, but even at body temperature it helped with my terrible morning sickness.
Tips and tricks for managing first trimester symptoms:
Morning sickness is by far the worst of the symptoms you may feel during your first trimester. The best tip I found for dealing with it early on in my pregnancy was eating as soon as you feel a whisper of that sensation in your stomach. Once it got worse, I found the following snacks and tricks to be helpful:
Low Blood Pressure is common in your first trimester and can show up with a whole host of symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and feeling faint. Remember if you do faint and are feeling consistently weak - talk to your doctor.
What worked best for me was:
Heightened sense of smell and food aversions and how to deal with them can be extremely challenging. Here are the tricks that works best for me:
What were my safe foods or cravings?
My most genuine advice is to eat what your body wants (I ate fast food for a few days and felt zero guilt). These symptoms can be so challenging that you should eat what you want to eat if you crave it and have grace with yourself.
Another aspect of the first trimester I noticed was craving novelty every day. I wanted something different every 24 hours and god knows what it was going to be. This meant I couldn’t eat leftovers. My takeaway from this symptom was the body is seeking out variety to get as many nutrients as it can.
My safe foods:
What resources, books, and podcasts helped me through my first trimester?
The Business of Being Born and its sequel docu-series made by Ricki Lake
Start assembling your birth team
What I’ve found to be true is the most important thing about your birth team is that they support you in your preferences and choices. As you learn more about pregnancy, labor, and birth - you are going to start to form preferences and you absolutely want a team that is going to support you 100% on those preferences. There is no room for shame or gaslighting when it comes to labor and delivery.
Finding a Doula - a doula is like a birth coach, they are not a medical professional but the person who is with you while you and your partner while you actively labor. A doula is as much for you as they are for your partner. Your partner is going to need support in understanding how to support YOU while you labor and the doula is there for them as well.
Finding a midwife - your medical pro who would deliver your baby, whether that be at home, at a birth center, or a hospital. She will perform all of my prenatal appointments, be on call for questions, deliver my baby if all goes well at home, be my support person if we have to transfer to my hospital, and then come to my home for follow up postpartum appointments.
Finding an OB - another medical pro. We had no practicing OBs in our county or the county next to us! I actually had to switch insurance. I used the questions in the Birth without Fear book mentioned above and asked my OB everything at our first appointment. She was respectful, attentive, and kind in answering all of my questions. I was sure to understand what the hospital's policies were - not her opinion - because the hospital’s policies are the rule no matter the situation. She was even supportive of home birth!
Consider non-invasive early prenatal testing. We opted for the Harmony Test NIPT as it checks for the three major genetic issues - Trisomy 21, 18, and 17 - to an accuracy of 99% without the risk of miscarriage that amniocentesis can have. It can also tell yo u the fetal sex as early as 10 weeks. Due to our family’s genetic history, it was a must for us. Of course, our insurance didn’t want to cover it (don’t even get me started on this).
Here’s a great tip for my fellow mamas: ask about cash payment discounts when it comes to labs your insurance refuses to cover. Oftentimes your provider will give you some awesome pointers on how to get a discount from the lab or manufacturer itself. That’s what we did and we turned a $900 bill into a $250 bill.
I’m the type of person who needs to understand the limitations in order to form reasonable expectations. If we do have to transfer - I will have a full understanding of my hospital’s policies around cesarean birth and can move on to those sets of expectations so I have a sense of control and understanding around my evolving birth plan. Having a sense of all scenarios is helpful for me, but I understand that could be overwhelming for other mamas.
Again - do what’s best for you as you learn more about pregnancy, labor, and delivery! I hope this list of tips, tricks, and resources for your first trimester has helped you on your journey to motherhood.
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