Only a few more days and I will graduate to the second trimester, the glorious golden days of pregnancy.
Hitting the second trimester is a huge milestone for every pregnant woman. It is a beacon of hope that we cling to during the dreary days of exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, and food aversions of the first trimester. If you’re like me, some days feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
During the last three months, I felt that I would never again desire anything besides sleep. That I would never be able to watch my toddler eat a banana without dry heaving. That I would never be able to spring out of bed as soon as I woke up without tossing my cookies. But I made it through, for the third time, and you will too. I promise.
Me waiting for the second trimester like…
Most of you will be able to say goodbye to puking and nausea by twelve to thirteen weeks. However, there are a lucky few, like myself, who have the joy of carrying that on several weeks into the second trimester. To those women who feel sick the entire nine months, my thoughts and prayers are with you. But for the rest of you, be assured this is not the norm.
I dealt with nausea until eighteen weeks with my first two pregnancies. I’m currently twelve weeks with this little squish, and I’m interested to see whether that will be the case again. I’m feeling better at this stage than I normally would, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I am over the worst of it.
The good news is, even though you might still be throwing up into the second trimester, you will likely be doing it much less than you were in the first, and you will have the added bonus of increased energy to combat any nausea that might be sticking around.
If you noticed, the title of this post is not, “How to Breeze Through the First Trimester” or “Tips to Enjoy the First Twelve Weeks of Pregnancy”. You will not breeze through, and you will not enjoy it. If you are one of those rare breeds of women who do, just know the rest of us don’t want to hear about it while we’ve got our head in the toilet. And we might hate you, just a tiny bit.
For those of us who feel like we’re going to die for twelve straight weeks, here are the best tips from my three pregnancies for coping with first-trimester nausea, fatigue, puking, and food and smell aversions.
Eat Small Amounts Frequently.
I know you’ve probably heard this advice a million times already, but I’m saying it again. Find your sweet spot of food intake and stick to it. Keep granola bars, chocolate, and nuts in your purse. Stock the fridge and pantry with plain crackers, arrowroot cookies, cashews, salt & vinegar chips, yogurt cups, cheese sticks, cut up veggies, fruit, etc. Never let yourself get hungry. If your stomach is rumbling you should’ve eaten long ago.
Whatever you can keep down, drink it (minus alcohol of course, and don’t go nuts on the coffee). If you’re throwing up frequently, sip on Gatorade to keep your electrolytes up. Buy a big water bottle and make it your new best friend. Ice water sipped slowly is easiest for me to keep down, and it’s very refreshing. And don’t forget the pregnancy classic, ginger ale. Literally a lifesaver at times.
With my first pregnancy, I always read that drinking water helped with nausea, but I never believed it and wasn’t careful to drink enough during the day. I did better the second time around, but this pregnancy I made a conscious effort to drink eight cups of water a day. I couldn’t believe how much it helped with the “gross” feeling that we know all too well. So drink up!
First Trimester Rule of Thumb: Eat Whatever You Can Keep Down.
Healthy food is awesome. You need it, your baby needs it. If you’re feeling good enough to pound back a quinoa salad with salmon on the side, then you go, girl! That’s awesome. But if the thought of meat and veggies leave you gagging and all you can think about is cheese pizza with extra cheese, don’t feel guilty indulging yourself. You and your baby will be fine even if you survive on burgers and fries for the first part of your pregnancy. There will be time for salad later. Right now, getting food in your stomach is the number one priority. That kale smoothie won’t do you much good if it ends up in the toilet. If eating ice cream settles your stomach, then don’t hesitate. I have consumed my fair share of footlong subs, deluxe pizzas, hamburgers, hot wings, chocolate, and ice cream this pregnancy. I feel no shame.
Ask Your Doctor About Diclectin if You Can’t Function.
I was so sick with my first pregnancy that I was unable to take proper care of myself. I could barely eat or drink, and it was the rare prenatal that made it into my stomach without being violently ejected minutes later. My health suffered greatly, and I felt horrible the entire pregnancy because I was so low on essential vitamins and minerals from a lack of nutrition in the early stages. I could barely keep down the blandest of meals. I had my mind set on having a completely drug free pregnancy and labour and I stubbornly refused the morning sickness medication time and time again when my midwives offered it because I was terrified of taking anything to harm my baby. It did not do me good in the long run.
When I got pregnant the second time and started feeling that all too familiar need to rush to the toilet, I decided that in my situation, the benefits of taking the medication outweighed the risks. I was still nervous to take it, but I knew that I needed to be able to function and care for my son.
The difference those four tiny pills per day made in my pregnancy was incredible. I ate three meals a day, plus snacks. I took my vitamins every morning. I could keep water down. I could go grocery shopping without fear of vomiting in the middle of the aisle. I was able to have a social life since I wasn’t chained to the toilet. It even helped lessen the intensity of my smell aversions. I didn’t have to deal with chronically low vitamins and minerals because I was able to take all the supplements I needed too, which benefited my physical and mental health immensely.
I am taking Diclectin again this pregnancy, and having the same results. It takes me from daily vomiting to manageable nausea. I’m able to cook for the family and change two toddlers’ diapers multiple times a day without losing my breakfast. It is heaven sent.
Get Enough Sleep.
This is definitely harder to accomplish if you have older children, especially ones that are up multiple times at night like mine are sometimes. But it goes without saying that sleep is crucial when you’re growing a human. Our bodies are working around the clock for nine months straight. Nap whenever you can. Sleep in on the weekends and let hubby get up with kids. Just go to bed at any opportunity.
Above all, remember to be gentle with yourself. Lower your expectations of what you should accomplish in a day. Before you know it, this part of pregnancy will be behind you and you can get back to your normal routine without being dragged down by debilitating fatigue. For now, do whatever you need to do to survive. The rest is optional.
Make sure to comment below with any of your own tricks to make it through the first trimester.
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