Well here we are. 17 weeks along and wrapping up my fourth month and first in the second trimester. By “we”, I of course mean myself and Bear (the nickname we have given our unborn child and yes, it is awesome).
My first trimester was full of ups and downs. I was totally rockin’ early pregnancy until my 6th week (so basically it was wonderful for 14 days!) then all-day nausea set in. Ugh. Followed by migraine and tension headaches. Aaah. Thankfully by the time my 12th week rolled around, I was starting to feel more like myself. I figured out a few things that worked well for me and tried to replicate those things on a daily or weekly basis as best I could.
This is what worked for me.
FOR ENDORPHINS: I read this stupid pregnancy book in my first trimester that was so non-committal about a lot of the basic pregnancy dos and don’ts yet there was a whole chapter dedicated to why you shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy. Oh brother. There was no medical rationale just an argument in favour of laziness. Needless to say, I tossed the book and went about researching good prenatal exercise classes and DVDs. I came across Tracy Anderson’s The Pregnancy Project. Since I was already familiar with the Tracy Anderson Method, read through tons of mostly very positive reviews, and liked the $30 price point, I bought the set (9 DVDs – one for each month). I managed to do the DVD a couple of times per week throughout most of my first trimester and I always felt so much better afterwards.
FOR NUTRIENTS: Back in 2012, I had met with a dietician and a naturopath to ensure I was getting the right nutrients – both in my food and through supplements. I had already been taking a (drugstore brand) prenatal vitamin with the hope that the higher iron value would continue to keep my hemoglobin in a healthy range. It was recommended that I try Genestra Brands Pregna Vite to up the dosage of iron (and folic acid for when the time came to start a family). It is not an inexpensive vitamin but it is such high quality that it was one of the few supplements I could swallow during my first trimester. (The B complex vitamin, on the other hand, made me gag every time.)
FOR NAUSEA: On the days I was extremely nauseated, little would really help to address it. Laying down and sleeping was good but I wasn’t always successful in actually falling into a slumber. Eating something every 2 hours kept the nausea at bay for a bit during the last few weeks of my first trimester. Otherwise, the only thing that really worked were almonds. Popping 5-10 raw almonds in my mouth would give me a bit of energy, some calories from protein and something substantial in my stomach. I could carry them wherever I went and they always gave me some relief before the next wave would come.
FOR SANITY: I found early pregnancy to be one of the most isolating experiences of my life. You can’t get any information from your doctor or midwife about your baby until 10-12 weeks in. You can’t talk to anyone else about it because it might not be a “sure thing”. You experience so many weird sensations and symptoms. You “google” said sensations and symptoms only to find out about a million little things that can go wrong. You are hormonal, nauseated, slow and unproductive but can’t explain these things to others for fear of raising concern or suspicion. I wasn’t a woman-in-charge anymore, I was a total basket-case who, at times, teetered on the edge of losing her sanity. So I turned to meditation as a way to “get a grip”. I downloaded the Meditation Oasis Podcast app and haven’t looked back. They have some great meditations on gratitude, stress, patience and yes, even pregnancy.
FOR FUN: I picked up quite a few pregnancy manuals when I first found out I was “with child”. (I stayed away from books that I had heard were extremely alarmist.) Most of them were not the right fit for me. Then I came across Fit Pregnancy magazine and loved the content. It seemed like just the right dose of everything I was looking for. I bought a digital subscription via Zinio and look forward to each new issue.
FOR MEMORIES: I started a Word-based journal the very same day I peed on that all-important stick. The journal had two kinds of entries: some were more about my pregnancy and the experience, and others were letters to Bear with memories or stories that I would want to document and share with him/her. I found this adorable illustrated Fruit of the Womb journal on Etsy by Megan Elizabeth Gilbert. Now I use it to record pregnancy milestones and reflections. My letters to Bear have been transferred to an electronic book with weekly photos that I will get published after his/her birth.
FOR ENERGY: I started to drink a ton of water at around my 9th week. I found myself getting dehydrated. The thing with water is it is refreshing and thirst-quenching but not packed with energy. So I would take a carton of coconut water with me on-the-go and it did wonders for my energy-level.
FOR RELAXATION: The acute sense of smell that one develops during pregnancy is not all it’s cracked up to be. There were few scents during the early days that I actually found appealing or could tolerate. Lavender was pretty much the only exception. So I kept a bottle of essential oil near my bed and desk to relax and revel in something comforting and familiar.