first trimester tips
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Hey!!!! So if you’re a newly pregnant mama, MASSIVE congrats! It’s such an exciting time, and a daunting time too. The first trimester is a particularly weird one, hopefully you were delighted to find out you are expecting but then there’s just so much choices to be made, sickness to overcome and then this bloody awful 12 week wait before you tell anyone your good news!

To tell or not to tell?

I’ve made no secret of the fact I feel the 12 week wait is actually a disservice to us women who actually need a lot of support during these early days. It’s not a rule other cultures stick to. Yes, your pregnancy could end in miscarriage, it happens to a lot of women, more than we know (because we don’t talk about it), but does that mean we need to hide it?

Well, my take for what it’s worth is to do what feels right for you. If you are a really private person and actually want to keep it to yourself, then do! But if you’re just keeping quiet because you feel you ‘should’ or because our society tells us too, well then speak up sister! Hopefully together we can break the stigma around miscarriage and the first trimester and stop going it alone. For the record, you need support and understanding if you ever do have a miscarriage, so to me it just seems counterproductive to keep it quiet. That said, it’s such a personal decision and I totally get why you might not want to tell the world, but maybe even consider sharing with those you would tell should something go wrong. Because it can be such a lonely, daunting couple of months. I’m currently writing all about my own experience of miscarriage and it will be available soon.

Morning sickness

My four pregnancies have all had a similar first trimester. I get a week of feeling great and eating ALL around me and then the nausea hits. Boom. This pregnancy I didn’t even get that week, which I was pretty irked at. But I’m blessed to have not suffered with severe vomiting or hyperemisis. To the women who have HG I bow down to you, you are superwomen!

So my advice and experience is more for the I feel completely hung over but I’m NOT hungover, on a boat all day kinda mama to be. If that’s you then I highly recommend trying activated b6 (p5p), someone finally let me in on this secret on this pregnancy and it really improved my nausea, like major improvement to the point I got freaked cause ya know, why am I suddenly feeling better anxiety kicked in!!

On my previous pregnancies I had horrendous reflux and heartburn, where I’d vomit mouthfuls for hours after eating each meal and this went on for a a lot of my pregnancy. I’m delighted to say, that since I have removed foods I’m intolerant to which for me are wheat, lactose and highly processed foods, that I have had very little of it this time around. So it is worth considering what are your agitators if you are feeling like this.

Another trick I discovered was eating a high protein meal in the evening, this curbed me waking up in bed feeling like I had just downed 20 shots of vodka.

Essential oils are another natural way of managing nausea. I love oils, but sadly for me my sense of smell goes insane in early pregnancy and I cannot tolerate the smell of ANYTHING in the early days. But some noteworthy oils for morning sickness are peppermint, cardamon, ginger, lemon. Always use an organic, reputable brand. Personally, I love Doterra. You can diffuse the oil or apply diluted along jaw bone.

Homeopathic remedies are worth considering and again are a safe, natural way of managing morning sickness. Some notable remedies are pulsatilla, ipecacuanha, sepia and asarum amongst others. if unsure what your symptoms match best with consult a homeopath. For me, this was the first avenue that gave me some relief.

I’m sure you’ll have heard of ginger biscuits or ginger tea, this did not help me, and in fact aggravated my symptoms. We are all individual so you have to figure out what works for you! But one trick is to always have snacks. ALWAYS!!!!! I had nuts and fruit with me at all times. Eating small and often helps!

Hormone Headaches

I don’t know what exactly causes these, whether it’s surging hormones, stress or exhaustion, these pesky headaches can really get you down. I had a fair few, and am still getting them now into my second trimester. I’m not a fan of taking painkillers, but I have resorted to it once when I had to work and it was going on 24 hours. Ugh! I’m much more for trying to manage it naturally. One thing that helped me was a drop of peppermint oil on my temples. Doterra also do a headache specific roller blend called past tense, I’ve been told it’s great from a friend who gets bad pregnancy headaches, but haven’t used it myself.

Other than that, things that have helped me are a swim in the ocean, homeopathy (belladonna/ gelsemium/ bryonia and others; match your symptoms to the remedy), magnesium, a nice shower and an early night. Yep, I’m a fan of my bed in early pregnancy. If in doubt, sleep it off!

Stay hydrated, and watch out for food triggers or caffeine withdrawals!

Anxiety

This time around I was hands down my most anxious and understandably. A miscarriage changes you, it can’t not. I was on constant knicker watch, if you’ve been there, you’ll know! There were lot of tears during those early weeks. For me, I needed those reassurance scans, they kept me sane, made me cry with relief and helped me trust in my body again.

Even if you’ve no past trauma from IVF, fertility issues or miscarriage. Your body is still absolutely surging with hormones, and we are playing catch up in a really vulnerable time! So don’t be surprised if there’s plenty of tears! Talk it out, cry it out, it will get easier! I highly recommend the Gentlebirth program for all of this.

I started using my Gentlebirth app really early this time. You can read all about my experience using this program here. I used the early pregnancy track to help me relax and the no morning sickness track to help ease the nausea. It definitely helped me keep my anxiety levels under control and fall asleep easier.

I reminded myself, that as shit as it is, I cannot control whether my pregnancy ends early. Of course I hoped and prayed it wouldn’t but I reminded myself that stressing myself about it wasn’t going to change the outcome, it was just going to make me more stressed!

That I’ve NEVER been so exhausted in my life feeling!!

SO, yeah I don’t really know what I can say about this, other than GO WITH IT! Rest. Get into bed early! If you can nap, do! That wasn’t a possibility for me but I did get into bed not long after the kids in the evening and I needed it. Not doing this is only going to heighten your nausea and anxiety. So sleep it off, it gets easier. Promise!

Research your birth options

If you are following me for a while, you’ll know I’m really passionate about positive birth. You can read more on my healing birth story here. Sure, it’s tempting to look at all the cute baby clothes, nursery ideas etc but HONESTLY that won’t mean shit if you have a traumatic birth experience, and TOO many women do. We live in a society where women have forgotten there innate ability to birth, that their bodies actually know what to do. I know there are some special circumstances where thank God we have medical intervention but for most women, we just need the right support system to help us remember that actually, we CAN do this! I’ve listed some helpful tips on choosing your health care provider here. Make sure you choose a system that is going to support the kind of birth you want!

The first trimester is really really long right? So, spending time researching and planning for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum care is a really good way to spend your time!!!!

Some books I love are:

Ina May Gaskin: Guide to childbirth

Tracy Donegan: The Better Irish Birth Book

Heng Ou: The First Forty Days

Dr. Oscar Serrallach: The Postnatal Cure

Nutrition

Over the years I’ve become more and more interested in what I’m putting into my body. Having been very depleted postnatal after Nathan’s birth, which for me manifested in leaky gut, and me being very unwell, I now have a much deeper connection and respect for the foods I fuel my body with. I’m not saying you will end up with postnatal depletion, but by all accounts it is a very common occurrence, some would even say epidemic in our fast paced world.

So, my advice is to eat a well balanced diet, with plenty of fresh, organic produce where possible. I’m not a nutritionist so this advice is based off my own experience. Consult a professional if you have any concerns. Avoid foods that don’t agree with you (this was really hard for me as I’m a big bread fan, so ditching wheat was a very sad, but worthwhile thing for me to do). Limiting highly processed and foods filled with sugar and upping your protein, fruit and veg intake is only going to stand to you.

The bump

If this is your first, it can be a longgg wait for the little bump to appear and you may be well into your second trimester before you notice much change. However, if your on subsequent pregnancies it may pop a LOT earlier. I’ve been shocked by how quick, and even felt weird about it as all pregnant women will come to learn, other people LOVE to comment on our changing bodies and the size of our bumps!

Anyways, this time at 8 weeks my jeans just became too uncomfortable by the afternoons. So I went with it, I invested in some flowy dresses and stretchy leggings. By week 10, I did the dreaded wardrobe change over and packed away all the clothes I would not be wearing for the foreseeable. And now that I’m in my second trimester, I’m wearing a combination of maternity clothes and other non-maternity items that just work for my changing shape. I’ll do another post on my favorite maternity clothes soon.

You might like to treat yourself to a nice oil for your bump, stretch marks are largely down to genetics but its always nice to treat your skin. Consider using tissue salts to support you during pregnancy. Calc fluor is specifically recommended for your skin elasticity and is easily bought in a health food store.

One thing you should consider investing in is a supportive, comfy bra, I love the bravado seamless silk and if the boobs are really on fire in bed you might want to consider a sleep bra like the boob 24/7 one. The boobies go through a serious amount of change during pregnancy and postpartum so mind them!

fun tasks

  • measure your belly, it’s gonna change A LOT!

  • make a memory book, to include first scans, picture of your pregnancy result and other little moments and thoughts. I have a book with little snippets and I love looking back now.

  • take a belly shot, it’s gonna be fun to watch your belly grow and you won’t regret having these!

I hope these tips help you in some way navigate the early days of pregnancy!

Soulfully,

Aisling xx