My First Trimester.
I'm now writing this in my third trimester so had to do this one before I got further away from remembering one of the hardest three months of my life. I aim to be completely honest about my experience as I think its important to be 100% real about the struggles some women go through during this stage. Hopefully you will find some of my tips useful too :)
*please note that everyone's experiences are different - this trimester for me was my worst (so far) however that does mean that yours will be too.
What is the 1st Trimester?
First of all, for those of you who don't know what this is, the 1st trimester is your first three months of pregnancy, followed by your second and third - 9 months in total. It may seem obvious to most but you will be surprised with how many people (mainly men) get confused over this, Mikey was one of them (sorry Mikey)!
Nothing prepares you for this moment. How can it though, being such a massive thing to happen? In our case, the news that I was pregnant came as a (welcomed) surprise. We hadn't really planned for it yet hadn't exactly ruled it out either. To be honest, we were both absolutely terrified about the thought of bringing another HUMAN into this world.
Initial thoughts were:
- Can we afford it? (standard)
- Where are we going to live? We were living with Mikey's Mum at the time.
- What about Uni? I am currently studying Nutrition and am only in my first year.
- What about our business? How are we going to run The Body Project?
- We're not married!
- Are we ready to be parents?
I remember writing out a pros and cons list in a coffee shop the following morning with Mikey. It makes me laugh now to think that we even had to do this but the realness of the decision we were going to make was petrifying, I don't think i've ever been that scared/confused in my life.
So many of these thoughts flooded our brains for a good week until I went to the doctor to find out exactly how pregnant I was. He asked me if I would like him to complete a termination form whilst we decide what to do. The moment I heard 'termination' - I knew that wasn't an option for us. This had happened for a reason and I suddenly felt a huge sense of gratitude for the little 6 week old miracle that was growing inside me. It felt exciting that our lives were about to change forever and I know it sounds corny, but its in these moments, when life gets put into perspective, it instantly bring you so much closer together.
I'm not sure who invented this phrase (probably a bloke) but morning sickness for me was all day nausea. The glorious hang-over kind when all you want to do is eat cr*p and sleep all day. For the first few weeks, I was hopeless. I had zero energy, couldn't work for more than 2-3 hours a day and definitely couldn't train. I was basically a zombie for pretty much 3 constant months! Naat fun.
On the plus side, morning sickness is actually a good sign that your baby is developing at a healthy rate so having this at the back of my mind was reassuring.
'Pregnancy Glow' lol.
I must say, I was very humbled with all the lovely comments about my 'glow' and am thrilled that it looked so nice from the outside. Inside however, I was a simmering furnace of hormones. The night sweats were something else, I didn't think it was humanly possible to wake up that drenched!
As vain as this may sound, the most challenging part of the first trimester for me were the overnight changes to my body.
I literally cannot explain how fast my boobs grew, they were unstoppable! I wasn't small before either so it was bit of a shock to the system waking up every morning to see them even bigger than the day before - Mikey was a little overwhelmed to say the least!
I am also naturally curvy so unlike those (very!) lucky few who have a 'bump only' body, I knew weight gain was creeping around the corner. I avoided the scales from the moment I found out I was pregnant as I knew it would play with my mind but I probably put on around 10lbs in my first trimester. That was pretty hard to accept, especially since it had taken me so long (years) to get to a place where I was finally happy with my body and now it was changing at a million miles per hour, completely out of my control.
It's definitely an awkward time when you're looking fuller, but not quite 'showing' and can't tell anyone - baggy jumpers and training leggings were my best friends.
I actually think there needs to be a bit more honesty about these kinds of mental-struggles. There is far too much pressure to look and feel incredible during pregnancy but in my opinion, it's 100% normal to be worried about body changes, it doesn't make you selfish, it makes you human.
I got asked this a lot but can't say I got many cravings during my 1st trimester. The increase in simple carbs such as bread, crackers and biscuits was more of a nausea relief but I wouldn't say I particularly enjoyed eating these. I did however, start to hate black coffee. Pre-pregnancy, espressos were my fave morning, pre-workout, mid-day fix, but just the smell of black coffee now makes me wretch.
The Big Secret.
The hardest part was not telling anyone. All this crazy stuff happening and you just have to keep schtum. It actually forced me to become a bit of a social letdown. I found myself cancelling most meet ups with friends, mainly due to the nausea but also because I got bored of the constant white lies as to why I wasn't drinking (again) without it sounding too obvious!
To be honest, It got me down a bit. I quickly stopped caring what I looked like as I just wanted to be in bed all the time, my once busy daily routine had been put on pause, I actually felt pretty low during the first few weeks whilst my head (and my hormones) tired to adjust to what was happening inside of me.
The added pressure to look good for our business was also real challenge. Writing nutrition plans whilst munching on an almond croissant (or two) felt very wrong!
The First Scan.
I was a nervous wreck before my first scan. So many thoughts crossed my mind leading up to this:
- Is it alive?
- is it normal?
- Am I even pregnant? (yep, I had these thoughts a lot!)
The moment you see this real-life little person on the screen, everything changes. I couldn't believe we made this beautiful thing, and it was perfect! The last few weeks of awfulness suddenly made sense.
For some reason, I felt like it wasn't real until we saw it. It's still hard to get my head around (even now!) but this was pretty much a turning point for me and I felt so much more responsible for what I was putting into my body after this.
My Survival Kit.
I could easily sit here and say 'if I was to go back in time I wouldn't do this or I wouldn't eat so much of that' but the truth is, the 1st trimester is a bit of a write off for most of us and everyone reacts differently. It would therefore be pretty unrealistic for me to suggest a set diet-plan-for-all at this stage. So instead, I am going to share my personal must haves that made the first three months a little more manageable for me along with some important recommendations for all you Mummys to be:
It’s very common to feel tired or even exhausted during your first trimester when your body is getting used to rapidly changing hormone levels. This was probably the first symptom I had. First piece of advice - don't fight it! Take it easy and don't feel guilty about it (like I did) as you'll end up feeling way worse if you ignore your body. As soon as you get home, turn off your phone, forget about work and get an early night. Once your baby arrives, sleep will be ridiculously precious, so enjoy it while you can!
My morning sickness saviours! I had a pack of dry crackers next to my bed and in my bag at all times. Something about the dryness works a dream with nausea. I lived off the Rivita Crackerbreads for three solid months. Try opting for low-salt versions.
LEMON AND GINGER.
Real lemons + real ginger + hot water (tea bags did nothing) helped me a lot. Mikey made a fresh cup for me every morning and I was so grateful!
I also found that fresh ginger shots did the trick to ease off sickness. The Pret a Manger one's were my go-to, although slightly over-priced in my opinion. If I wasn't feeling so rubbish, I'd definitely make my own by blending:
- Fresh Lemon juice
- Fresh ginger
- 1/2 apple
As tempting as it is to stay in bed all, I found that after a while of slugging around and feeling sorry for myself, it just made me feel worse. So I made a conscious effort to walk everywhere, fitting in at least 1-2 hours a day. The daily dose of fresh air did wonders for me both physically and mentally!
Training for me, was near to impossible due to the nausea however, if you can keep up your exercise routine, do so as this will give you a great start to your pregnancy. However, remember that there is a little person growing inside you so maybe ease off the intensity.
I started taking a daily folic acid supplement as soon as I found out I was pregnant . Folic acid is an essential nutrient that protects your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida. There are also several other vitamins that are important during pregnancy such as vitamin D so I found that taking a pregnancy vitamin that included everything I needed was the easiest way to go about this. I use Pregnacare as they have a great range.
*Eating a balanced diet should also help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Tip: Take pills with a glass of fresh orange juice or a piece of fruit (vitamin C) for maximum absorption.
To be honest, I was pretty clueless about everything in the first few weeks! It's beyond overwhelming. Luckily, there are so many amazing apps out there which help us newly prego ladies to understand and relate to each stage of pregnancy.
My favourite app is Pregnancy + - it takes you through each week of your pregnancy with scary accuracy and helps you feel, well a little bit more normal! It also has a useful advice section on there for partners who can sometimes feel like a bit of a spare part during this stage.
Thanks so much for reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts so please comment below if you have any useful 1st trimester tips!
Follow me on Instagram for bump updates @clementine.rose.london
2nd TRIMESTER COMING SOON!