A pregnancy announcement, recap of my first trimester, my go-to’s and recommendations for this trimester!Holy moly ya’ll! I’m pregnant!
As I’m writing this, I’m 20 weeks, halfway there! It seems wild to me that I’m at the halfway point because my first trimester felt like it was neverrrrr going to end. But here I am, feeling pretty good at 20 weeks and SO ready and excited to share this news with ya’ll. It’s a long time to keep that kind of secret!
The reason I’m writing this post is because I felt pretty lonely at the beginning of my first trimester, before I was ready to tell family and friends, and these kind of posts were a comfort to me. Because I could see myself in them and be like hey, I’m not alone! Or, cool this is normal. And it gave me hope that there were better days ahead. So if you’re currently in that space, I truly hope this post is of value. I see you and you got this, mama.
And if you’re currently struggling with fertility or loss, I see you too. Please feel free to close out this tab and move on if this post doesn’t serve you right now. Just know I’m sending you lots of love.
How We Found Out
We were EXTREMELY lucky to have an easy time getting pregnant. I actually didn’t think we would get pregnant as quickly as we did. But I had a funny feeling I was pregnant before I even took the test at 4 weeks. I guess that’s the blessing of being pretty in tune with your body. At 3 weeks, my boobs started to become sore, I was burping a ton, and I had some emotional rollercoasters. I remember saying to Steve “sure, this could be PMS symptoms but it feels different; something is changing in my body.”
So when I took the pregnancy test and was waiting for the results, I felt excited because I felt like deep down I already knew. And the test confirmed my suspicions! I ran into the living room beaming and told Steve we were pregnant. He was elated and surprised too (because he also didn’t think we would get pregnant as quickly as we did). He kept saying, “really?!” over and over. Then he scooped me up in his arms and carried me to the bathroom where I showed him the proof. A positive test.
When did we tell people?
I remember googling this pretty soon after we found out the news – when should we tell family and friends? The internet will probably tell you at the end of your first trimester. I say tell people whenever you’re ready to tell them. We actually told our family (parents and siblings) after we told some of our friends only because we really wanted to be able to share the news with our parents in-person. And since our parents live eight hours away, it required some planning. And me not wanting to vomit every two seconds. We planned a trip home to tell them the news at 10 weeks but I was still feeling so sick that we ended up canceling it. Thanksgiving was only a few weeks later so we decided to wait to drive home to tell them then and I was about 13 weeks at that point.
But I couldn’t wait 13 weeks to tell anyone! I think we told our first friend at 6 weeks and then slowly started to tell more and more as the weeks went on.
I reached out to a couple girlfriends who had just had babies when I was 8 weeks because I was feeling so awful physically and emotionally that I needed some support from friends who had just recently been through it. I’m SO glad I did.
I found it to be a weird position to be in to be in this trimester where I was most in need of support and then have this cultural conditioning around waiting until the end of the trimester/beginning of second to tell people. I know this is because the risk of miscarrying is higher but ultimately I knew that even if we did miscarry, I would still want close friends and family to know for the support.
Do we know what we’re having?
Yes! We’re having a boy! I give so much credit to folks who don’t find out the sex of their baby ahead of time. But with my personality coupled with all the uncertainties last year, I was like I need something certain to hold onto here.
I oddly enough had a dream shortly after we found out we were pregnant that it was a boy. Who knows if that was coincidence or some cosmic/subconscious intervention but either way we had a suspicion it was going to be a boy.
When are we due?
May 29th! We’ll see if he’s a Memorial Day weekend baby or if he decides to wait until June to arrive. Either way, I can’t stop channeling Justin Timberlake and singing “It’s gonna be MAY.” LOL
First Trimester Symptoms
Oh boy. The first trimester is ROUGH. Here’s a recap of my symptoms:
Weeks 4-5: sore boobs, nausea, fatigue, gas, reflux, severe cramping (so bad we had ended up having an ultrasound at 6 weeks to rule out an ectopic pregnancy), food aversions, heightened sense of smell, and insomnia
Weeks 6-8: all of the above minus the severe cramping + vomiting started at 6 weeks
Weeks 8-12: nausea + vomiting continues
Weeks 13-14: nausea + vomiting slowly starts to improve
By 14-15 weeks, I was feeling much better and my nausea and vomiting had resolved. I was sleeping better and by 16 weeks felt like I had my energy back.
I will say that I am grateful that I didn’t have it worse. I know some pregnant folks are nauseous/vomiting all day. That wasn’t the case for me. I could manage in the morning/afternoon but come 3-5pm, I felt so sick and it lasted until I went to bed. So for 2.5 months, I basically laid horizontally on the couch from 5pm on because sitting upright or moving just made me want to vomit. Morning sickness was such a misnomer for me. It was more like evening sickness.
The other strange symptom I had was lightheadedness in the morning. I would try to make breakfast and feel like I had to sit down and take a minute before standing up again. I still don’t know if this was a blood sugar issue or blood volume thing but it did end up disappearing after the first trimester.
What Helped Relieve/Manage First Trimester Symptoms
- Saltine crackers – I kept a box next to my bed and every morning I would eat a handful before getting out of bed.
- Preggie Pop Drops – They are essentially just sour candies but sucking on one in the morning while making breakfast was also helpful.
- Children’s toothpaste and toothbrush – I think I vomited 3x while brushing my teeth at night before I was like okay, I need a change here! I switched my toothpaste from a mint to a children’s fruit flavor and that helped. I also switched from my electronic toothbrush to a children’s toothbrush – the fact that it’s smaller and I had more control over it helped with my gag reflex while brushing! Also the Cookie Monster image on it made me laugh every time I picked it up.
- I tried a B6 supplement (in addition to my prenatals) but that didn’t seem to help and I wondered if it made my reflux worse so I stopped taking it after 5-7 days of no relief.
- Switching when I took my prenatal vitamins. I used to take them at night but when my evening sickness started I switched to taking them mid-day and that seemed to help.
- Switching the type of prenatal vitamins I was taking (more on prenatals below). I was taking a brand that had three different pills – two out of three of which were large and not gel cap. So I switched to a brand that was just one gel cap and that was much easier to manage when my nausea was at its worst. I even ended up taking gummy vitamins some nights but tried not to do that too often because they didn’t contain iron.
- Eating lots of carbs! More on this in a minute.
- Eating every 2-3 hours. Even though eating more frequently was often the last thing I felt like doing it did help me feel better.
- Having an amazing support person – aka my hubs to manage things around the house like cleaning/laundry/grocery shopping.
- Acupuncture. There is research that supports that acupuncture can help with nausea and morning sickness symptoms. Unfortunately with restrictions and my acupuncturist operating at 50% capacity, I wasn’t able to get in to see her that often, so I didn’t find much relief from it. I do wonder if I would have gone more frequently (like once a week) if it would have made a difference. Either way, I found the visits relaxing and I also wonder if getting acupuncture consistently for the past 2.5 years also helped us get pregnant quickly because there is research that supports that as well.
Eating During the First Trimester + Food Aversions
I remember when I noticed my first food aversion. I was probably five weeks and I made a salad with mixed greens from our farm CSA and it tasted like dirt and I started gagging. I think I ended up making a cheese and apple quesadilla instead. And I was like oh, here we go!From there it got worse. I didn’t tolerate any of my usual protein sources like eggs, chicken or fish. I couldn’t stand vegetables.
I pretty much ate bagels, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, peanut butter (so. much. PB.), cheese, bread, pizza, bean and cheese burritos and quesadillas, takeout, and frozen dinners. Because here’s the other thing, I developed a super heightened sense of smell that also triggered my gag reflex and nausea. It was so bad that I couldn’t even open the fridge without plugging my nose or gagging. So I didn’t cook much at all during my first trimester. I couldn’t stand the smell of food cooking either. Steve often would have to eat dinner in a different room so I wouldn’t smell whatever he was eating.I’m not going to lie it was a weird feeling not cooking and not eating vegetables for ~2.5 months. Being a dietitian and a food blogger added some layers of complexity to my feelings around this. But I’m so glad that I have a healthier relationship with food now and eat intuitively because had I not I think I would have felt a lot of guilt and shame around the way I was eating. But I knew that 1. this was normal and 2. my prenatal vitamins were covering me and 3. hoped that this wouldn’t last the entire pregnancy! :).
Movement During First Trimester
My movement during the first trimester consisted of me running from the living room to the bathroom to vom. LOL. JK. But honestly, I didn’t have much of a movement routine during my first trimester. I was pretty fatigued all the time, wasn’t eating normally, and didn’t feel well in the morning or in the evening so it didn’t leave me much time to feel like moving my body. I did go for walks outside because it was fall and the fresh air and getting outside was good for me. We did a few hikes here and there.
And then I started doing physical therapy probably around 10 weeks because I had an old groin strain from the summer that wouldn’t go away and an old glute injury was acting up. So I would try to do PT exercises every other day if I felt up for it. So that was pretty much it – walking and some PT.Again, I am grateful to have a healthy relationship today with movement too so this allowed me to not stress out about not moving my body in the ways I usually do. It allowed me to tune in and respect the feedback my body was giving me – which was often to rest. And I accepted that this was just a season of life where movement was going to look different. And it will probably continue to look different as I progress throughout my pregnancy, and into postpartum.
First Trimester Favorites
Here’s a list of some of my go-to’s during my first trimester:
- TheraNatal Complete prenatal vitamins. I did a bit of research on finding a prenatal and decided on this one because it had methylated folate (some women have a genetic variation that inhibits converting folic acid to active form of folate; methylated is the active form), and has DHA and choline. But this is the one that contains 3 pills so if you’re struggling to take vitamins in the first trimester, this may not be the best choice for you. The backup prenatals I took when things were rough were Women’s One A Day Prenatal, and Vitafusion gummy prenatal (this is the one without iron).
- These maternity bras from Target. My boobs started to get bigger pretty early on and they were so sore that I wanted a super comfy bra with no underwire. My fellow pregnant RD blogger friend Alexis at Hummusapien had recommended these and it was a spot on recommendation! I’ve been wearing them daily since I got them.
- Preggie Pop Drops, which I already mentioned, but they did seem to help me in the morning keep nausea at bay.
- Lululemon Align Leggings. I didn’t really wear jeans much at all last year (I mean honestly who did?!) but once I became pregnant, I really didn’t want to wear them. Yoga pants felt the best on my body and belly and my favorite, most comfortable leggings are definitely the Align leggings by lululemon. So much so that I ended up buying a second pair once the bump started to pop.
- Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil. I started using this toward the end of the first trimester to keep my skin (and growing bod!) hydrated and refreshed. I apply it after a shower and love how it makes my skin feel.
Books I Read/Am Reading
I may have gotten a little book happy in the beginning – I ordered three books off the bat:
- The Mama Natural Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy. I sadly couldn’t get into this book. I found it to personally be a little too crunchy/organic, elitist, and preachy for my liking. I think I put it away after reading how I should really try to be drinking green smoothies and avoiding XYZ foods. I’m like listen lady I’m just grateful I have some foods I can tolerate right now.
- 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Guide. This book is great for a first time mom who is kind of clueless about what needs to get done and when. Also, good for someone who is more of a planner/type A personality (hi, it me!). This is a quick read and I’ve just been taking it trimester by trimester. I’m certainly not doing every little thing it recommends but it’s given me some good ideas – I’m taking what resonates and leaving the rest behind.
- Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth. I bought this one purely for comical relief. This is Jenny McCarthy’s book that she originally wrote like 15 years ago. I appreciate her candor and humor. She talks about all the unsexy things that happen during pregnancy in a lighthearted manner that makes you just laugh at all the changes taking place in your body (and of course, normalizes it as well). This book was meant to balance out the more serious tone pregnancy books I bought. It worked. If you want some comical relief during your pregnancy, I highly recommend this one.
- Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood – and Trusting Yourself and Your Body. THIS. IS. MY. BOOK. If I could pick one book to read during pregnancy, it would be this one. A dear friend who knows me well bought this book for me. And I’m so grateful to her for it because it’s been such a good fit for my personality and philosophy around pregnancy and birth. The book is written by Erica Chidi Cohen, a black doula, who founded LOOM, which provides education, services and community to the pregnant, parenting, and reproductively curious. I appreciate how in the book she informs and educates to empower you in making your own decisions but comes across as respectful and realistic and not preachy at all. She really is big on you learning to listen to and trust your own body and intuition and that is so in line with the work I do with clients and my own personal philosophy around health, and now pregnancy. This book was also really helpful in educating me to understand the type of birth experience I ideally would like to have. I feel like every mama-to-be needs a copy of this book in their hands.
Stay tuned in a couple months for a second trimester recap! And if you’ve gone through it, feel free to leave any comments about what was helpful for you in your first trimester!