If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, firstly congratulations! This is such an exciting time for you and your partner. Discovering that you’re growing a little human inside of you is pretty darn amazing!
But it’s also likely you’re feeling a mixture of emotions.
Perhaps you’re feeling excited, overwhelmed, confused… it seems like there’s so much to get your head around all while dealing with those first trimester symptoms that lots of mummas deal with.
In this post I want to give you 5 tips for managing the first trimester, making it as stress-free and smooth as possible. One of the hardest parts about the first trimester for many Mums is keeping the news quiet until they’re ready to share, all while juggling appointments, fatigue, aversions to certain foods and smells. It can be tricky!
There are plenty of tips and tricks to get you through but here are my top five.
Traditionally, parents-to-be have kept their news quiet until the end of the first trimester. The main reason for this is because the risk of miscarriage is highest in the first 12-13 weeks. So, it does make sense not to go making big announcements until you’re feeling comfortable that everything is looking good.
However, knowing you’re pregnant for 6, 8, 10 weeks is a long time. Even when you’re not consciously thinking about it, the fact you’re pregnant is always in the back of your mind. It’s a big deal! What if something does go wrong and absolute worst-case scenario, you do have a miscarriage? Are you supposed to act as though nothing has happened? As though because it was ‘early days’ and ‘these things happen’ that it’s not worth sharing? Absolutely not!
Having people who know you’re pregnant could be hugely comforting in the event something doesn’t go to plan; their support during that time could be invaluable. On the other hand, having made a big announcement and then having to tell people if something goes wrong could be very difficult too.
If you’d like to read more about miscarriage, what can cause it and pregnancy after loss, check out our post here.
The key thing is that you must share what you feel comfortable with when you feel comfortable doing it. There are no rules and you certainly shouldn’t be putting expectations on yourself to keep this enormous secret for months. Maybe you just want to tell your Mum or sibling, your best friend… or maybe you want to announce it to everyone. What I want all mums-to-be to know is that you don’t have to play by any outdated rules. Do what feels best for you and don’t feel pressured to hold onto this huge secret if you don’t want to. Also, don’t feel the pressure to keep up with the Jones’ of Instagram with elaborate pregnancy announcements – unless that’s your thing, then go for it!
Ask any Mumma who has suffered from morning sickness (some experts estimate it’s up to 85% of pregnant women) and they’ll most likely tell you that their nausea and strange food aversions didn’t suddenly pass at midday. They can go on all day, only come on of an evening or even keep them awake at night. Morning sickness is poorly named that’s for sure!
There are loads of tips and tricks out there to help you manage morning sickness. One of the best ways to minimise morning sickness is to eat little amounts of food regularly. Ironically, you feel nauseas because you’re hungry but because you’re feeling nauseas the thought of eating food can be completely off-putting. It’s a vicious cycle!
Other tips include;
– Eating ginger lollies or drinking ginger tea
– Sucking on ice cubes
– Keeping snacks (such as crackers or healthy muesli bars beside your bed to keep you going through the night)
– Try plain porridge or plain Greek yoghurt
At this early stage, it really is best to just eat whatever you can stomach. If you can eat it and keep it down without feeling worse, then go for it. Many women find plain foods such as toast, crackers etc. much easier to stomach. While of course nutrition is super important, any food is better than no food (don’t forget that if you haven’t started already, you should be taking a high-quality pregnancy multivitamin daily which will help with any gaps in your nutrition at this time.)
Most women start feeling better by the second trimester and can start eating ‘normally’ again. Think loads of fruit, veggies, lean & well-cooked protein as well as plenty of water.
While morning sickness is normal and usually passes by around the beginning of the second trimester, severe morning sickness can last well beyond this point, even right up until birth for a very small number of women. Regular morning sickness shouldn’t be confused with hyperemesis gravidarum (hg), which is a condition affecting only around 1-3% of pregnant women. HG is marked by severe nausea and vomiting with many women who suffer from it unable to keep anything down at all. This biggest risk of HG is to the mother who may become dehydrated and actually lose weight. It can be managed and, in some cases treated with medication, but if you suspect you may have HG you should absolutely seek medical advice from your health care professional.
If this is your first pregnancy, it’s easy to feel slightly overwhelmed with all the dates and what you need to do before your baby arrives. It can feel like there is so much that needs to happen, but once you get the ball rolling and start putting things in your calendar, you’ll soon feel much better that it’s all more than manageable.
First step; check out our blog post here, which covers key dates in pregnancy including scans, check-ups and calculating your due date.
Once you’ve got your head around appointments and check-ups that need to happen, you can start thinking about other decisions you’ll need to make during your pregnancy. Things such as what kind of care provider you’d prefer, where you’d like to birth, what kind of prenatal class you want to take (I’ve heard this online one is pretty great 😉 ), if you want to plan an announcement or babymoon. But don’t forget, there’s plenty of time for all of this but if it helps you feel more relaxed and in control, use your downtime to start researching and noting down any ideas or preferences you have at this stage.
Your biggest priority right now though is to take care of yourself and your tiny but rapidly growing bub! You’ll have plenty of time and really, at the end of the day, your end goal is a healthy baby and healthy you.
If you manage to get through the first trimester without feeling fatigued and utterly exhausted at times – lucky you! Most women will feel extremely tired during the first trimester, which is to be expected when you’re growing not only a tiny human but also a whole new organ (the placenta!).
Your body has so much to adjust to, it’s only natural that you’ll need more rest than usual. So, don’t fight it! If you’re feeling tired, your body is trying to tell you something so take any opportunity you can to go to bed early, sleep in a little or take a nap. I know it can be tricky to nap, especially when you’re at work but even if it’s just 5-10 mins with your eyes closed over your break, it all helps.
Another thing to consider during this time is minimising your social commitments. The thought of catching up with your girlfriends after work for dinner may feel unbearable – all you want to do is get home, into your comfy clothes and zone out on the couch! Remember, your priority is you and baby so don’t feel guilty about taking down-time. Friends and family will soon know the reason why you’ve been quieter than usual, so if you must tell a little white lie in order to get a bit of extra rest when you need it, I say go for it!
It’s easy to feel bombarded with advice and information during this time. You may find yourself lost in a rabbit hole of blog posts, Pinterest searches and pregnancy books stacked by your beside table. Once people do know you’re pregnant you can be sure the unsolicited advice will start coming your way with all manner of do’s, don’ts and old wife’s tales to confuse you.
My top tip?
Just relax. Your body is so perfectly capable of creating this new little life – all you need to do is listen to it. Rest when you feel the need to rest. Eat the best that you can and allow yourself to indulge in your crazy cravings from time to time. Follow the best available advice regarding foods to avoid but don’t worry yourself sick if you accidentally eat something on the no-go list. Move your body in a way that makes you feel good, not just for your body but your mind too. Soak up this time with your partner, enjoying the anticipation of meeting your little one while making the most of your last few months before you welcome a new family member.
Discovering that you’re creating a tiny life inside you really is magical. It can be tough; with fatigue, sore boobs, constant peeing and nausea just a few of the symptoms you may have to deal with – but it’s all completely worth it when you take a moment to relax and think about the beautiful end result that’s just months away from arriving.
You’ve got this Mumma-to-be.