What to Expect in Your First Trimester
Hello & Happy Saturday!!
I never thought I’d see the day I’d be sharing my first trimester on Eat Drink Shrink. Years go I was so consumed with college and fulfilling my career dreams that I never really gave growing a family a second thought. In the back of my mind I assumed, ..that’s the least of my worries, it will happen right away or when the timing is right.
While I had the timing part right, I had no idea what lay ahead, the stressful days, the waiting, the endless tests, and the embracing the unknown as to whether we would ever be able to conceive. There are many couples that “try” for a few years and then finally get pregnant, it happens. We tried anything and everything and eventually felt our anxiety building and the thought of ever being parents as something that may never manifest.
Whether it’s my personal approach or that fact that I live and breathe nutrition, I felt really powerless and it truly ate me up inside. Genetics and countless other variables contribute to our ability to conceive and it’s easy to lose site of that. Our struggles were a constant reminder that, we make plans, and God laughs. We only have so much control over our lives and the events that transpire..
All we can do is control how we response, change the lens through which we view these struggles, and overcome them. Like the countless curveballs that came my way throughout life, it’s truly about perspective. Looking back I can’t imagine becoming pregnant right away, taking any moment of the process for granted, because today I soak it all up.
Studying prenatal nutrition along with pediatric, you realize that conception and our ability to carry a baby to term is nothing short of a miracle. There is no explanation as to how the human body conforms to organically nurture a fetus, rather than attacking this foreign object like it does everything else. Through our struggles my perspective shifted even more as to how I view pregnancy, motherhood, and even how I’d response to someone announcing there pregnancy.
If I can offer one bit of truth through this experience, it’s that every women needs positive feedback. Whether someone is scared they’ll even carry to term or nervous about the next trimester and what it may bring, always bring the light. The journey is hard enough, going into the unknown scary, so celebrate with every opportunity and be calm amidst the pregnancy storm. An expecting mom will thank you.
Something to note is that each woman and pregnancy, and of course each baby entirely different. Also, if you’re carrying twins, these symptoms are typically exacerbated given the excess amount of hormones than with a singleton pregnancy. Simply put, my experience, may not be your experience, and that’s the beautiful part. You never know what may lay ahead!!
From the earliest weeks to up until about 14 weeks, this is everything I experienced with my first trimester.
is there something you experienced that you didn’t see here?
Something you’d love to share or experienced too? I’d love to know!
While we were filled with excitement, let’s talk about pregnancy anxiety, because it’s inevitable.
My husband and I actually became pregnant the month right before our now son came. I received positives, they were dark, became slightly darker, but eventually.. lighter. We celebrated initially, because after 13 months of trying we thought perhaps this was our time. I went to the doctor and we did a pregnancy test and reviewed my hormone levels, and low and behold they were extremely low. Something in me knew that for some reason that this just wasn’t our time. After reviewing the numbers, I tested later and it was negative. Although they wanted me to come back in to test again, I just couldn’t do it. I knew it was gone. This is classified as a “chemical pregnancy”. This means that while the egg was fertilized, it didn’t attached and wasn’t a viable pregnancy.
The silver lining to this experience was that it challenged us to further reflect upon how much we wanted this baby. Yes, we’ve been together for 10 years, yes we finished grad and undergrad, we’re married, live comfortable lives, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a child nor is it the time. While it wasn’t meant to be, I knew in that moment that our baby was coming, and I knew that his plan was better than mine.
The following month we tested again, and of course got positives! We didn’t celebrate right away, but I tested for a few days, aka a few thousand times lol, and the lines stuck. Our first follow up confirmed a pregnancy along with great hormone levels, then a strong heartbeat at 8 weeks. He had arrived, and our lives were forever changed.
Having struggled for so long, enduring endless tests, I honestly couldn’t celebrate as much as I should have. The fear overtook me, the responses from others who perhaps only wanted to protect me, just didn’t enable me to internalize any of it.
For many women then choose to take a more lax approach to avoid potential stress. However, I personally tested for a few weeks to ensure that the lines remained, monitored my temperature to make sure they were rising and or maintaining and got the doppler to monitor the heartbeat.
There is not right or wrong way to go, but for myself it provided comfort in those first few months and it worked for me.
My energy levels were completely zapped and I felt hungover daily. I knew I needed to work out, but going from a non existent work out routine on top of being ultra careful the first 14 weeks, I waited til the second trimester.
Food: I know this is one that everyone is curious about! The movies lead us to believe that women crave all sorts of things from pickles to ice cream etc. That does remain true for some, often later in pregnancy, but not everyone does. What I did notice is that everything I typically ate didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. As someone who loves a routine and has countless go to’s, it really threw a wrench in everything.
Today I’m plant based and eat eggs and or a lil seafood every so often. Ironically, the smell of eggs made me so nauseous and I had to tell my husband to stop making them in the mornings lol. However, choline, which is abundant in eggs, is great for brain development.
At about 9 weeks or earlier, I was always starving, but nauseous. Even being in the car at 8 weeks made me feel sick and I felt bloated. The challenge of eating turned into almost a game to think of what sounded appetizing in that moment as they shifted from minute to minute. I remember craving Chinese takeout for the first time in over a decade. After a few small bites though, I was instantly overcome with nausea. So you’ll definitely crave things outside your normal routine as you try to get around the nausea! I found myself even reverting back to things I enjoyed in high school, which of course today were terrible lol.
Do you and your significant other almost get into a fight trying to decide what to have for dinner because you can never make up your mind?! This will be interesting for you!! lol
I think cooking full time also worked to decrease my appetite as you’re using all of your senses with cooking. By the end of it you feel as though you had eaten a full meal. By the end of the day, when dinner was on the table, nausea set in like clockwork lol.
Foods that helped with nausea, all the carbs lol:
- Baked potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked fries
- Anything with bread
- Crackers with dairy free cheese
While I had been taking all my prenatal supplements, I realized how nausea creates a struggle with obtaining the proper nutrients from the diet for the growing fetus. I took the Garden of Life Raw prenatal, but switched it up with Smarty Pants prenatal when I just couldn’t stomach the pills.
Something to mention is that when I took more of these gummies, which I believe lack calcium, I got dry spots on the sides of my mouth. When I switched back to the Garden of Life, they were immediately gone. That being said, I’d stick to the raw prenatal or the Rainbow Lite option.
While I never experienced vomiting episodes, I’d wake up feeling nauseous, and once it hit 7pm I was nauseous again. This of course dissipated at about 11 weeks, but many women can experience this for the entire duration of their pregnancy. I’d recommend the foods above, staying hydrated, taking vitamins perhaps at night as they can cause nausea, as well as eating foods in small portions. The smaller portions help with reducing the nausea or fullness you may experience with eating.
I drank water with lime juice and a little stevia. Water is key with pregnancy as your recommended intake goes from 8-12 glasses. Water can seem very unappealing to many so to ensure that I drank enough fluids I made this concoction and it was like a lemonade! Not only does water mitigate nausea, but so does the lime juice. I always had some on hand and literally craved it for 11 weeks.
Once the nausea left, I was able to plain jane water much easier! Another approach I took was taking organic juice and watering it down. That way I cut down on the sugar and drank more water. Other approaches I took were to make smoothies, but I made sure to keep them very basic. I have countless powders and mixes, but even the soil the veggies are harvested from and turned into powder can be harmful to a baby. Rather than worrying, I kept the base of my shakes very basic and opted for just organic fruits and veggies.
In these fragile weeks of fetal development I’d recommend sticking to water or 100% juice as you’re laying the foundation for your baby. You can return to your beverage favorites later!
If you don’t hydrate enough it can cause fainting spells and later in your pregnancy, even contractions. While I’m prone to fainting naturally with low blood pressure, I actually have yet to experience any fainting at all. So again, hydration, hydration, hydration.
Believe it or not, if you think nausea is the only first trimester hurdle you face, constipation is the next! So not only is your appetite all over the place and you struggle to eat real food and your normal go to’s, the increase in progesterone will slow down your digestive system. This has it’s benefits as your body is extracting as much as it can from the food you eat, but you are unable to have normal bowel movements. Dehydration only exacerbates this issue, making it even more imperative to hydrate.
I did both, tried to maintain my normal routine with lots of fresh produce and still experienced it. I tried everything from fiber powder to prune, prune juice etc, and nothing got me moving. The one thing that helped was raw carrots at time, but even that didn’t provide relief at times. My best advice would be to consume raw foods and hydrate as much as you can, and even some light yoga may help to get things moving.
While you can opt for metamucil and other over the counter options, the downside is you may have your food move too fast thru your system and decrease the amount of nutrients absorbed before it’s passed.
I’m a stomach sleeper and continued to do so for as long as I could. However, it becomes uncomfortable and they recommend that you sleep on your left side versus your right. I decided to get a head start so that the transition would be easier when I couldn’t sleep on my stomach and even opted for a pregnancy pillow. While they seem cozy, I found them to be quite the opposite, too firm, too bulky and returned mine. This was my experience with even the best pillow I could find lol. As of the last few weeks I’ve been using this moon shaped pillow that’s intended for nursing, but I’m telling you, it’s so comfortable as a pregnancy pillow. It’s organic, made by hand, comes in fun prints, and even smells like essential oils. Um, yes please! I only wish I had started using it sooner as it’s just that great!
The first trimester brought a few aches and pains, but especially with the chest area. I found that I had to live in a sports bra or I’d be in discomfort throughout the day and couldn’t sleep on my stomach. The one bra that prevented any movement was the Lululemon one with the cross back straps. It’s pricey, but will last, and provides so much support!
Everything fit throughout the first trimester for the most part. However, they became less and less comfortable. I already lived in yoga pants, but opted for the high waisted kind and all I can say is, game changers! I love everything high waisted in terms of jeans so this just took that love next level lol. Whether pregnant or not I’d still wear these post baby as they give you great shape and are just so comfy. Again, some women may find them less comfortable. However, the height protected my stomach that could feel sore while growing. Even early on I experience muscle spasms on my sides which felt like sharp shooting pain as everything was expanding. I personally loved the Beyond Yoga maternity leggings. Pricey, yes, but completely worth it!
While your beauty routine will go by the wayside once the baby arrives, I thought it was valid to share the changes you can experience. Although only the first trimester, I could instantly see how it changed my hair. I went from washing my hair once a week to needing to do so multiple times a week. Every time time though my hair could never get cleaned. Rinsed, repeated, hair still felt greasy. While just a small minor pregnancy hiccup, it was aggravating after a month lol. I tried countless shampoos and finally came across one that worked. Although pricey, it works and that works for me lol. I got the Oribe color shampoo!
In addition to fighting the hair greasies, my skin felt like the sahara dessert lol.
I naturally have dry skin, but with pregnancy coupled with never ending dehydration, my skin was just zapped of all it’s moisture. I was constantly hydrating and avoiding anything that could be drying to the skin. I recommend getting a body and or facial oil and locking it in with a moisturizer on top. It was the only way to make my skin not hurt. Towards the end of the first trimester you could see that the growing of your chest and stomach would become dry and cause itching. I highly recommend the Pai pregnancy combo along with the Buriti Balm as it honestly saved my skin. I started to get dry patches even on my chest and their products not only helped alleviate all of the above, but resolved the dry patches altogether. Mind blown.
With the increasing hormone levels your nails will grow more and your hair falls out less giving it the appearance of more fullness (yay). Now the bad news, you’ll have to get more manicures and also makes unwanted hair grow faster lol. Random hair is related more to genetics, but if you have that now, get your beauty mirror and tweezers ready, because there is no laser hair removal for you while pregnant or nursing lol.
While they recommend staying away from a hot bath, a warm bath is absolutely fine. If you’re worried about the water temperature you can go that extra mile to break out a thermometer. However, as long as you’re not sweating above the water, you should be fine. Since my body felt exhausted and hungover almost in the first trimester baths were such a must. I took them perhaps nightly and it really helped to receive muscle tension and decompress.
Around 12 weeks we got the NIPT results, which scans for various health issues and also confirms the gender. However we didn’t find out until week 14, aka the longest 2 weeks of our lives lol.
Above is our baby announcement video I threw together. Get more of the deets of the gender reveal coming up in the 2nd trimester post!!