My first trimester was no walk in the park, but compared to many I got off fairly unscathed. That being said, it is a period I am very happy to have behind me. Exhaustion was a serious symptom for me and it hit me hard. Words fail me in describing how utterly drained I felt all of the time. This was one of my biggest complaints, I hated waking up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept in a week. By tired I mean a feeling akin to being hungover, not having slept in two days, just got off a 15-hour flight, flew half way across the world jetlagged kind of tired. I’m not exaggerating, this was not normal exhaustion.
I also learned food aversions are real, I was a vegetarian for almost two weeks. I didn’t think I was going to be able to eat or even be around meat the entire pregnancy, eventually though this passed. My food aversions were strong where I couldn’t be around or smell certain foods, but I only had three weeks of nausea. Luckily, I am now eating meat even though chicken and I still have a weird “not so great” relationship. My “diet” the first trimester was basically carbs, water, ginger ale and lots of fruit! For some reason pregnancy has me eating like a child – bring on the mac and cheese, the grilled cheese, candy, peanut butter & jellys, hot dogs – the works.
As excited as I was to be pregnant, I found this period to be very draining and I felt sad more often than I ever had. I also found aspects of this time to be lonely, even though I had tons of support from my husband and my family. For me, the exhaustion made even the simplest of tasks hard and I really struggled that I couldn’t do it all (or really anything) anymore. I wanted to share some things that helped me personally and interesting things that I learned during this period, including that it does end and the second trimester was the light at the end of the tunnel.
Best Part of First Trimester: Hearing the baby’s heartbeat at the ultrasound around week 8!
Worst Part: Exhaustion, food aversions. Also, peeing all the damn time.
Food Cravings: Fruit, bagels and cream cheese, orange juice, mac and cheese, smoothies, chocolate milkshake, hot chocolate. Most nights ended with me treating myself to a hot cocoa!
Here is what I learned & what helped!
- Baths. I think a bath can cure anything and baths are my go-to when I felt really awful or stressed. One day I think I took three… clearly, it was not my day. I bought fun bath bombs from Lush to elevate the experience and really these baths were life savers for me.
- Fruit has never tasted so good! I became obsessed with grapefruits, eating at least one a day, for the majority of the pregnancy. For two interesting days, the only thing I could stomach were pears. Fruit smoothies were a lifesaver during this trimester and when I was put off with veggies, I would sometimes sneak some spinach or kale in my fruit smoothie.
- Eat often, this helped me feel less nauseous and just better in general. I became a grazer in my eating style. I also carried cheerios and other snacks on me at all times, as well as saltines next to my bed. Crackers are your friend.
- Carbs are magical, bread was one of the only things that I could stomach for awhile and I didn’t hate. Toast, bagels, and croissants were a staple of my diet.
- Yogurt was a great snack in between meals or before bed. I loved yogurt!
- Ginger ale is a gift from the gods.
- Lots of water & fluids
- Leggings, really comfortable clothing and I found comfortable non-underwire bras to be a godsend.
- Crying for no reason is totally normal – thank you hormones.
- Fresh Air is the best cure. What helped me the most was getting outside and walking, even when the idea of leaving the couch made me want to cry. I did short little runs when I felt up to it and they actually made me feel better and not so tired.
- I found working out to be one of the only things that really did alleviate some exhaustion and made me feel better. I did short runs, yoga and went to the gym and I think it really helped me feel more like myself.
- Naps are amazing! Some days I would take more than one, rest and be kind to yourself.
- Give into those cravings, I was pretty miserable during this time and if some mac and cheese or a sundae brought me a little joy it was totally worth it.
- Slowing down
- Talking to doctors, your husband, friends, and family
- Know it gets better!
Books can scare the shit out of you, I found a few that didn’t stress me out but for the most part, I stayed clear. Also, I recommend backing away from message boards – I found them full of terrifying stories that only caused me to worry more. No pregnancy is the same and all the weird aches, pains, and symptoms you do or do not have are probably normal but call your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Every day can be different and for me, it ended as abruptly as it began!