• Valentine Gardener

How to survive the FIRST TRIMESTER of pregnancy, physically and emotionally...

It is no secret that the first trimester can be an incredibly challenging, emotional, and even lonely time for many women, not helped by the cascade of hormones and pregnancy symptoms flooding the body! So what can help?


PHYSICALLY


Many women experience MORNING SICKNESS at some point in the 1st trimester, and for some it is truly all consuming! The name is definitely misleading too as for many women it starts in the morning but goes on all day or some only experience it in the evenings/specific times of the day. If you are feeling rough with morning sickness, I hear you! It can be SO hard to function at work or look after other children when all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep! But hang in there, for most people, the nausea and vomiting will taper off as you move towards 12 weeks mark and hopefully stop completely in the 2nd trimester. Until then, here some ideas that might help…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Eating little and often rather than 3 large meals. The sickness can be worse when your sugar levels are low, so eating every few hours might help. Stock up on the foods that you can stomach and don’t be hard on yourself if you are off green veg for example. It is temporary and your baby receives nutrients from the yolk sac for most of the 1st trimester anyway, until the placenta takes over at around week 10⠀⠀⠀

  • Plainer foods like toast, rice or pasta might go down better. Choose foods that are high in protein, low in fat and easy to digest, rather than greasy, spicy and fatty foods. Saying that, I certainly indulged in my McDonalds cravings more than once!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Drink plenty of fluids, drinking little and often ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Keep a snack by your bedside table to nibble on before getting out of bed such as a plain biscuit or cracker⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Try sickness bands or acupressure – there's some evidence that these can help ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Get outside for a walk and some fresh air, or even exercise if you feel up to it ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Some prenatal vitamins can make you feel queasy (the iron is often to blame) - try taking them before bed rather than first thing or with a snack⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Everything ginger - ginger tea, ginger ale, stem ginger ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • If your morning sickness is severe and you can't keep anything down, speak to your midwife or GP who will be able to prescribe anti-sickness medications that are safe to take in pregnancy ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


EMOTIONALLY

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What about the EMOTIONAL side of the first trimester? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Like many women, I found the first trimester incredibly tough emotionally. After the initial pure happiness of finding out I was pregnant, a dark cloud quickly followed, of worries about how the pregnancy would go, if the baby would be OK, life changing, guilt about the night out I’d had recently etc etc. All this made worse by the rollercoaster of hormones. And then the realisation that I still had 8 WEEKS of this! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So to keep my sanity, I made a conscious decision to focus on staying positive and calm, for mine and the baby's sake! Here are some ideas for surviving this challenging first trimester… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Focusing on what you CAN control: looking after your body and mind e.g. through exercise (adapted for pregnancy), healthy meals (my body’s wish for carbs and non-stop eating got the better of me on that one!), rest, and doing little things for you that make you feel good like a yoga class, relaxing bath or a nap in the day for example ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Meditation and breathing techniques helped me stay positive and to take it one day at time rather than focusing on all the unhelpful ‘What Ifs’ of the future. The Headspace App has a brilliant pregnancy section covering each trimester⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Choosing positive, supportive and evidence-based information and social media accounts. Prof Emily Oster's book Expecting Better is a brilliant read, addressing many common pregnancy concerns. Try to stay away from the likes of Mumsnet and other pregnancy forums if you can. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Tell who YOU want to tell about your pregnancy. It is completely up to you who and when you tell! Some women want support from friends and family in what can feel like a lonely few months, or you might feel like telling work if you are experiencing severe symptoms⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Be kind to yourself if you are having off days, off weeks, not feeling yourself or motivated at work and all you can do is survive - the hormones have a lot to do with it. You are growing an entire baby in there and it's HARD WORK!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I hope these tips help you get through the first few months, and bring you some sanity and positivity. It can be hard to to focus on the joy of pregnancy at this stage, but with every passing day and week, you are one step closer to seeing your baby on that first ultrasound scan!


💌 For more information about Hypnobirthing Birth Preparation courses, Click here 💌⠀⠀⠀⠀

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