Being pregnant is a beautiful, life-changing experience, but people often forget to be transparent in how hard the process can be, especially in the first trimester. The quirky part about pregnancy is that each one is different; so it’s not like you can accurately predict how you’re going to be at any given point. I’m not writing this blog as an expert on pregnancy; I’m writing this as someone who is about to be a mother of two and had two very different experiences with each baby. Before I even dive into my advice, the first thing I want to remind and urge of any expecting or trying to conceive parents is to give yourself GRACE. You may or may not have all the answers and that’s OKAY.
For the sake of clarity: Muffin is my 6 year old daughter. Baby Beignet is baby #2.Credit for both kids’ nicknames goes to my sister.
It’s Okay to be Happy Early!
*Trigger Warning: Miscarriage*
Society has conditioned us to not want to celebrate or even acknowledge that our pregnancies exist until we’re out of the 1st trimester due to the risk of miscarriage. While that reality is indeed possible and a legitimate cause of fear for many expectant parents, that ideology often puts us in a place to not truly embody the experience that we’re having. I feel that the reason we don’t share earlier is that we don’t want people to have to sit in the discomfort of our mourning if things do not go as we hoped.
I personally waited until I was fairly far along with both of my pregnancies before announcing anything because nothing felt REAL to me because I was so consumed by this fear. While I don’t regret my decision because it helped me manage MY anxiety, I just want other parents to know that many of us ARE willing to go on that journey with you if you choose to share, however it pans out.
It is your body and your baby, you are allowed to celebrate or publicize that WHENEVER you feel ready. If that’s the moment you get your first positive, FANTASTIC. If waiting makes you feel more comfortable, that’s fine too! My point is this: you do whatever makes you happy. I hate the idea that often the 1st time we hear of someone’s pregnancy is when it has ended and we weren’t able to partake in the joyous portion of that Rainbow Baby’s journey.
Slow Down: Change is Coming!
Spoiler alert: I’m a busy body. So one of the hardest parts of this pregnancy for me was recognizing that I needed to slowwwww down. With Muffin, I won’t say that I was asymptomatic, but I was still able to work 4 jobs while being full-time in school through my 1st and part of my 2nd trimester!
One thing that I think is fairly universal is the fatigue. You are going to be more tired. Your body has shifted into overdrive and is working overtime to create a tiny human. As amazing and astounding as that is, somehow we’re often still surprised about how much of an energy toll that takes. Take it from me mamas, have a seat! It’s okay to give in to that exhaustion when feasible. Take the extra naps. Your body is asking you for it for a reason; no need to fight it.
“Morning Sickness” is Real & it’s a Misnomer
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that can occur at any time of the day during pregnancy.Every site you can find on google.
Firstly, morning sickness is not limited to the morning. It’s caused by the increase in hormones surging through your body. Since that increase isn’t limited to the morning, neither are the symptoms! The severity of it ranges for everyone. With Muffin, I may have vomited one time my entire pregnancy; that may have had more to do with my bad combination of acidic and greasy food/liquids than the minor nausea I was experiencing.
Baby Beignet though? Nausea hit around 5-6 weeks and stayed for the entirety of my first trimester. To be fair, while my nausea was very severe at times, I never vomited until I got COVID. (That’s a story for another time if yall want it.) What’s frustrating about nausea is that you constantly feel like you’re going to vomit, but you may or may not. I almost think it would’ve been less infuriating had I just vomited, but considering both are miserable, I will be grateful for the card that I was dealt.
For the sake of education: I will mention that some people experience extreme morning sickness, which then gets the fancier name of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Basically, it’s when your morning sickness is so consistent +/- long-lasting that you run the risk of dehydration and weight loss. Unfortunately, people afflicted with it may not be limited to their first trimester & may have it their entire pregnancy. The important takeaway here is that you should be very open in the communication of your symptoms with your provider. Trust your gut if you feel that you need medical attention! Always err on the side of caution!
Here’s a list of the Nausea Management Recommendations I was given by my provider
- Ginger- in many various forms; or if you’re like me and hate ginger= Sprite
- Vitamin B6
- Unisom + the Vitamin B6
- Nausea bands
- Ask for a prescription if nothing else is working for you!
- Eat small meals frequently; bland tends to sit better.
I won’t get into the reasons that we experience heartburn because different research says different things. Honestly, the why isn’t nearly as important as the how do we fix it. Some say that people who experience more heartburn during pregnancy have babies with fuller hair. Others say that some people were already predisposed to having it, but rapidly growing and shifting organs/baby exacerbate the symptoms. I feel fairly confident that I was always destined to have heartburn; I just have much more severe episodes while pregnant!
So what can you do about it?
- Just like with nausea, smaller frequently meals seem to help.
- Avoiding greasy, saucy, spicy foods. (I refuse & therefore default to medicating as necessary)
- Prop yourself up: specifically in bed as laying down can to increase flare ups.
- Tums- I’m not a fan of the aftertaste, but they help.
- Prilosec or Prevacid are both pregnancy safe over the counter medications.
Focus on What You Can Control
When your body is changing at such an unprecedented rate, it’s easy to feel out of control. For some things; it’s true, there’s not much you can do about it. But there are many things that you can do to heighten your experience and decrease your discomfort if that’s what you’re experiencing!
Celebrate the small victories as if they were huge.Whatever you did, YOU DID THAT. And you should be proud of it! Even if you had intentions of doing more.
Ask your provider all of the questions.There is no such thing as a stupid question. Yes, do your own research, but ask your provider every question you have. You’ll feel better knowing that you did rather than wondering if you should have.
Drink lots of fluids and don’t stress about eating the healthiest foods.Especially if you’re struggling to eat or keep anything down, eat and drink SOMETHING. Obviously the recommendation will be water & healthy food options, but be realistic with yourself and do what you can handle; then adjust accordingly.
Invest in a prenatal vitamin that you can tolerate.Your provider will want you taking something, but they’re not usually particular on what brand. Try out a few and find something that doesn’t make you feel horrible. If it doesn’t sit well with you, don’t force it. Take that loss and try something else.
Take! Those! Pictures!One day you may want to recall the experience. Take all the pictures and videos you can. You can always delete what you hate, but you can’t go back in time and do it again.
Enjoy the Journey
The 1st trimester of pregnancy IS a beautiful thing! If you are reading this as someone who hasn’t experienced these issues or yet been pregnant, this is not meant to scare you. It’s just information I wish I had known sooner; so I’m sharing. In spite of my symptoms, I still was thoroughly excited and present during my first trimester. I find it so fascinating how different my pregnancies have been with them being 6 years apart, but I’m so grateful to be in this position and I’d absolutely do it again if necessary!
*That is NOT a guarantee for a baby #3*
Tune in next time for continued support and tips further into pregnancy! Check out my previous post after subscribing to future ones!
As always, questions and comments are welcomed below!