I’m midway through my first pregnancy and to be completely honest, still adjusting to this journey I’m on. From strange symptoms to psychological struggles, the first few months were a bit of a rollercoaster. While it’s hard to admit the difficult parts of pregnancy, it’s important. That’s why I’m sharing my tips on surviving the first trimester.
We all know those women, the lucky ones who sail through their pregnancy with little to no symptoms, perfectly formed bumps and glowing skin. The friends who pop up on social media leisurely enjoying a stroll through the park or rubbing their belly with a caption on the magic of motherhood.
Oh, how I envy them and their pregnancy bliss, I am not one of those women.
If you’re an expecting mom reading this and are in the thick of it, please know you’re not alone…Here are a few of the lessons I learned and the tricks I used to survive my first trimester.
Finding out there’s a baby on board is one of the most exciting moments of your life. I was over the moon when I saw that positive test and even had several calm weeks before the projectile vomiting set in.
Then, nausea hit me… HARD, and it wasn’t just in the morning. It was all day.
I threw up constantly and found it extremely difficult to get things done. I tried eating smaller meals, sucking on ginger mints and sniffing lemons (all suggestions I read online.) Nothing seemed to work.
I discovered the wonders of chewing sugar-free peppermint gum! Weird, I know. But it definitely helped. I bought a mega-pack from Walmart and kept a pack in my car and another at home.
SmartWater Alkaline became another “go-to” for me. I read a Japanese study about Alkaline water and its ability to stabilize the body’s pH levels, thus restoring minerals in the body that get absorbed by the fetus. It seemed to help with all sorts of side effects like heartburn and (tmi) constipation.
Lastly, bath salts. Steamy and stuffy showers always seemed to make my nausea worse – so I started sprinkling Arbonne’s Rescue and Renew Detox Soak on the shower floor.
The eucalyptus smell and blend of essential oils totally soothed my stomach. I’m assuming you can do this with any sort of essential oil. I’ve heard eucalyptus also clears nasal congestion and sinus inflammation, who knew??
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of things I LOVE about being pregnant, but the hormones can trigger a serious range of emotions that are not fun.
Working from home became very difficult for me during my first few months of pregnancy. I worked long hours and was a slave to my email, determined not to let my nausea, fatigue or pregnancy “get in the way” of my job.
I felt lonely and isolated when my husband left for work each morning. I’d sit at home puking between conference calls sometimes sobbing into the toilet. My days felt like a blur, just waiting for him to get home.
I had to reassure myself these feelings were normal and truly give myself a break. I finally opened up to other mom friends for support and was surprised to see how many of them could relate to the way I was feeling.
Get Some Fresh Air
I forced myself to get out of the house and went for walks throughout the day. Sure there were a few times I found myself hunched over throwing up in a neighbor’s bush, but overall the fresh air was a game-changer!
Fatigue – It’s Okay To Rest!
Nap. nap. and nap some more. That’s my only advice for pregnancy fatigue. I sometimes found it easier to fall asleep on the sofa in the middle of the day, than get a good solid 8 hours of rest at night.
Pregnancy pillows didn’t work for me, but a sound machine and early bedtime did ease some of the next day grogginess.
Also, be sure to cut down on the amount of water you drink before hitting the hay, that way you’re not peeing all night long. If you do need to get up, use a nightlight in the bathroom instead of turning on the light – this will help you fall back asleep faster.
Dealing With Anxiety
Whether it was finding clothes that fit, worrying about finances or stressing over the growing human inside me, I felt pretty anxious during my first trimester.
I remember being especially fearful in the days leading up to my first ultrasound. What if there’s no heartbeat? What if something’s wrong? What if I did something and messed everything up?
Take It One Day At A Time
Focus on each day at a time. If you’re like me and worried about the future, stop and think about today and only today. Each day that passes brings you closer to the baby’s arrival. Deep inhale, slow exhale. You got this!
O, and stop Googling everything! Yes, you can have sex, no that’s not the baby moving (it’s probably gas) and cooked sushi is fine – more mahi mahi please!
Food Aversions and Cravings
Blame it on the hormones – food aversions and pregnancy cravings are the real deal. They tend to show up at the end of the first trimester and typically peak during the second.
Try not to stress too much about proper nutrition during the first trimester. If all you can stomach is crackers and ginger ale, stick with it. If you’re craving a spoonful of mustard, (yummm) eat it!
As my doctor said, “there’s plenty of time for making healthy choices once you’re feeling better.”
Just be sure to take your prenatal vitamins and get plenty of water in the meantime – especially if you’re throwing up. Dehydration during pregnancy can cause major problems for you and your baby.
It’s All Worth It in the End
Everyone tells me this – and I wholeheartedly believe it. I haven’t even given birth yet and can already say the love I have for this baby outweighs any negativity I’ve experienced thus far during my pregnancy.
I prayed for him, I planned for him and soon, I will get to meet my son face-to-face! What could be better than that?
Shannon Bonetti is a former TV news anchor turned PR consultant expecting her first child in July 2020. She’s originally from the Bay Area but has lived in Nevada for the last 10 years. When she’s not managing clients, Shannon is usually hanging with her hubby Brett and their two pups Timber and Bentley. Her hobbies are cooking, reading and volunteering with local nonprofits. Her favorite weekend activities include day-tripping to Tahoe or scouring the internet for good deals!