Surviving The First Trimester Pt. 1

This past week I hit the four month pregnancy milestone, which means I am nearly halfway through this journey, and am well out of the dreaded first trimester. Yay! This is definitely a cause for celebration because the first trimester was NOT easy for me. Between the anxiety, nausea, complete and utter exhaustion, and having to more or less keep it a secret, I was looking forward to getting over the 3 month mark.

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The first trimester was hard, but I definitely learned some tricks and tips along the way. (When you have no energy to do little more than lie on the couch and scroll through Pinterest, you learn a few things!) I'm grateful for all the wisdom that the moms who have gone before me have shared, so I'm more than happy to do the same for others.

Here are some of the things that helped me get through the first trimester:

1)Reading Material

There are about a bajillion (approximately) books about pregnancy out there, but believe me when I say that you don't want to read about 90% of them. Most of them are just the cold, hard facts, and ya know what? A lot of scary things can happen during pregnancy. There's no need to be filling your head with possibilities of things that have a less than .1% chance of happening.

Instead, I found a lot of comfort in certain books that are a little different than the usual pregnancy literature. Although it isn't common to discuss the emotional side of pregnancy in conventional medicine, it is a hugely important piece to this journey, and I found books that nurtured that side of myself to be extremely helpful.

Some of my top tips include:

+Ina May's Guide To Childbirth: from the grandmother of American midwifery herself, this book provides a lovely, hippie-dippie approach to childbirth. My favourite part of this book, though, is the first half, which solely consists of stories of natural labour. So often I found myself crying tears of joy at these retellings, and it helped to remind me of the finish line. Labour doesn't have to be a terrifying medical ordeal, but can rather be a beautiful and spiritual life-changing event. This book is a fantastic reminder.

+The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide to Your Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy and Early Motherhood: I really love this book. It provides lots of practical exercises, activities, and tips for those of us who have recognized that with this life change comes a whirlwind of emotions that many of us have not yet navigated. It is funny, yet comforting, like having an old friend guide you through. Highly recommended!

+Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating A Healthy Pregnancy and Birth For Mother And Baby: I stumbled across this book after listening to the author's podcast early on in my pregnancy. Jeanne Faulkner, the author, has been a labour nurse for years, but tends to endorse midwife-led natural births over hospital births. She's no-nonsense, and will tell you exactly is best for you and baby, and why. I will admit, I found certain sections of the book a little anxiety-inducing, because she does include talk of things that could go wrong. But for the most part, I found this book extremely reassuring and informative. If you're hoping to learn a lot about this whole process, but also don't want to be completely terrified, this book is a great place to look!

2)Dealing With Nausea

Ahhh, morning sickness, you poorly-named bastard. (Poorly-named because, if you're like me, you're experiencing it pretty much the whole day. And night.) To be honest, I didn't actually vomit a TON, but the persistent and crushing nausea I felt pretty much from before I knew I was pregnant til about weeks 13/14 was INTENSE. Brushing my teeth became a nightmare, because every time the dang toothbrush got anywhere near the back of my mouth I was gagging. I threw up in my sink more times that I would've liked to. (Hot tip: brush your teeth over your toilet, and keep rubbing alcohol spray handy to disinfect your toothbrush should any vomiting instances occur.)

To be honest, the only thing that really got rid of the nausea completely was a prescription for the morning sickness pill, Diclectin, but I found many ways to make the sickness more bearable until I finally caved with the aforementioned medication.

Here are a few of my tips:

+Pregnancy Pops: First of all, these things taste AMAZING. Like, new favourite candy alert. So that's a plus. But, most importantly, I found that for mild nausea they legitimately helped pretty quickly. I guess it's the tartness of the candies that helps? I'm not sure, but I do know that they helped a ton. I never left the house without a few of them in my purse.

+Teas: Those of you who know me well, know that I'm a huge tea drinker. So imagine my dismay when I found out that many of my favourite pre-pregnancy teas were suddenly a no-go. No matcha, no mat├ęs, and absolutely nothing with any sort of weird herbs or flowers. Booo. But two teas I AM allowed to drink turned out to be hugely helpful in the fight against nausea! Ginger and peppermint have long been known to help with digestive issues, and Lord knows you experience enough of those with pregnancy!

My absolute favourite ginger tea (that's pregnancy-safe!) is this conconction from David's Tea. SO delicious, and it contains green rooibos, which is hugely nutritious, AND tastes like black tea without the caffeine. Score. 

As for peppermint, I love this tea from Steeped Tea. Loose leaf tea always has more flavour, and I like that Steeped Tea's teas are sourced ethically. 

This tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby was also hugely helpful at 4AM when I was too sick and tired to deal with tea strainers and the like. It contains peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, and tastes great. I also found it to be quite calming as well.

+Eat what you can, when you can, and don't worry about calories, and all that. There were times in my first trimester when some variation of these were all I could eat. I would try and add some veggies or hemp seeds to give it a little more nutritional value, but I was more concerned about eating SOMETHING I could keep down, than whether or not it was a vegan super-food. 

Also, you might want to eat a lot of greasy food, as sometimes it helps with the nausea. Eat away, but be careful not to overdo it. One of my worst bouts of vomiting and nausea came after indulging on one too many pieces of fried tempura. And it lasted DAYS. So not worth it. 

I found that on the days when my nausea was really bad, following the BRAT diet helped. (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast.) Oh, I ate SO much toast. There was a good chunk of time when I would wake up every morning around 4 or 5 feeling beyond barftastic, and the only thing that would help was a slice of toast with a bit of jam, and a cup of tea. My nausea was always worse when my stomach was empty, so the toast was crucial.

I also HIGHLY recommend bringing snacks with you EVERYWHERE. Like I mentioned before, hunger worsens nausea, and the last thing you want is to be stuck on a subway car, starving, and trying not to throw up. I carried nuts, ginger snaps, or fresh fruit and veg with me wherever I went, and I found it very helpful.

* * * * *

These are just a few of my tips on surviving the first trimester! Stay tuned for the next instalment where I will talk about dealing with other people's comments, anxieties, and so on!

(Psst: check out part 2 here!)


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