If you didn’t know already, I’m pregnant! Benny and I are so excited to be adding to our little family. I’m currently 12 weeks pregnant. If you’ve been pregnant before, you know that it’s around this time that you typically start feeling a little normal in terms of the first trimester. The past few weeks I’ve been nauseated 24/7, I’ve had about zero desire to do anything other than lay on the couch, and I haven’t really been taking great care of myself.
With all that being said, I read a little post on Instagram recently all about how to push through the nausea and other changes with your body during the first trimester. This post listed different ways of dealing with nausea, such as eating plenty of vegetables and fats, and exercising daily. My issue with this post is that although these recommendations sound great, they’re just not realistic for everyone. I’m definitely someone who tries to be as healthy as I can, but sometimes it’s just not that easy.
For example, the last 5 weeks I’ve been incredibly nauseas all day everyday. When you’re sick to your stomach you don’t want to drink anything, and all you want to eat is bread and rice. You also certainly don’t want to exercise. About a week into my nausea I started really beating myself up over the fact that I wasn’t eating enough vegetables, fats, and fermented foods. I had to take a step back and remind myself that the nausea doesn’t last forever, and if I can’t really stomach avocados and spinach right now, that’s ok.
So, I decided to put together a little list for any of you mamas and/or mamas-to-be with realistic ways of getting through the first trimester.
If you can’t maintain your typical exercise routine, just walk! I know, I know, walking isn’t as intense as your HIIT or CrossFit workouts, but walking can be very beneficial during pregnancy for many reasons:
Walking can lower your risk of Gestational Diabetes by keeping high blood sugar levels in check.
Walking also lowers your risk of Pre-Eclampsia. If you haven’t heard of it before, Pre-Eclampsia is a pregnancy complication that is caused by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine, which leads to premature labor. Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce cholesterol, while also balancing blood pressure levels during pregnancy.
Exercise is great for stress management. When you’re pregnant your hormones can be all over the place, leading to mood swings, anxiety, and stress. Walking, and exercise in general, releases endorphins (hello Legally Blonde). Endorphins are the feel-good chemical, which can elevate your mood as well as manage stress.
Being physically active during pregnancy can increase your chance of a vaginal delivery. I’m a belly birth mama myself, BUT I will definitely be trying for a VBAC this time around. In order to make that happen my goal is to be more active and physically fit throughout this pregnancy. Trust me, it can be easy to fall off the exercise wagon while you’re pregnant. You’re nauseas, then you’re tired, and then you’re so big that everything just hurts. This is where walking comes in. Walking during pregnancy can increase the flexibility of your hip muscles, which can lead to a faster labor and better recovery.
Lastly, walking throughout your pregnancy can relieve the aches and pains we begin to feel in our lower extremities.
Eat what you can. Of course you don’t want to be living off fast food and unhealthy options (you are growing a tiny human), but if you need to incorporate bagels in order to be able to stomach your eggs in the morning, then do it! Just try and stick with cleaner products. The first trimester is all about making sure you’re taking in enough calories. During the first trimester you should be adding in about 100 extra calories per day. If you think about it, that’s pretty much equal to one hard-boiled egg and few almonds. The issue with the first trimester is that we’re typically nauseas for half of it, making it hard to eat the suggested amount of calories per day. It’s important to eat what you can, and just focus on sticking with clean foods.
Stay hydrated. I don’t want to drink a thing when I’m nauseated, and water doesn’t taste good to me at all. So during the first trimester I love to add lemon and cucumber, and sometimes fresh ginger, in order to make water a little easier to drink. There are also many benefits to lemon, cucumber, and ginger.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, pregnant women should be drinking about 80 ounces of water per day. If you eat a fairly healthy diet, 40 ounces of water should be sufficient because you will be getting lots of water from your produce. Another thing to note is that while you’re pregnant your body goes from being composed of about 5 liters of water, to at least 6 liters. This is mostly due to an increase in blood volume, so it’s important to be drinking water throughout the day. Definitely not as fun once you need to pee every 30 minutes, but very important none the less.
Rest when you need it. I learned this when I was pregnant with Amelia. When you’re tired, rest. Trust me, you want to save up all the sleep you can before your baby is here. If that means not setting an alarm in the morning and just letting your body wake up on its own, do it. If that means taking an afternoon nap when you can, do it.
Listen to your body. I can’t push this enough. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you! Are you feeling weak? You may be dehydrated, or you might not be getting enough calories. Are you suffering from brain fog or a lack of desire to do anything? You may need to put on your favorite podcast and go for a long walk in the sun. Pay close attention to how you’re feeling and take care of your body—it’s working very hard right now.
Make time for self-care. Even if you’re feeling nauseas, make time each day to do something for yourself. Whether it’s spending an extra 5 minutes in the shower with the warm water hitting your belly (this definitely helped ease my nausea), or spending 15 minutes sitting in the sun and reading, take time to focus on your hygiene and mental clarity. You want to get into a good habit of doing this now so that once your baby is here you are already in a routine of taking care of yourself.
I’d love to hear the steps you took to manage your nausea in the first trimester! Please leave a comment below, or comment on the according photo on my Instagram!